Acts 16 has been exciting to break down over the past few weeks and today we will bring it to a conclusion so we can continue our study in the book of Acts.
Acts 16:35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, "Let those men go!" 36 So the jailer told Paul, "The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace."
I love it when Father God shows out and it changes the mindsets of people. The leaders who had Paul and Silas beaten and cast into prison now sent word to let them go, but go in peace. Just no more earthquakes, not even any more supernatural signs just go in peace.
37 But Paul replied, "They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!"
This verse shows us that there are times when we need to not only walk in heavenly citizenship but also our earthly citizenship. Paul said, wait one minute, they did this to us publically without a cause and we are Romans citizens so they will release us publically.
America is falling because too many Christians do nothing as citizens of the United States. Some were born with the ability to lead our nation, our state, our county or our town and we must fulfill that call upon our lives but we all are called to have a voice in our region religiously and politically. Separation of church and state was meant to keep the government out of the church not the church out of the government. Every Christian has two duties as we represent the Father’s Kingdom in the kingdom we live in and that is to pray for our country and leaders and secondly vote to voice our belief system. I firmly believe if you do not vote in the elections you should never fuss over the outcome. I love our country and let’s do what we can to turn it back into “One Nation Under God” and “In God We Trust”.
38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.
Because Paul stood up and said, I’m not only a child of Father God but I’m a Romans citizen and I don’t deserve to be treated like this, the name of the Lord was lifted up. Christians have rights not only as Christians but also as a natural citizen. When I got saved, I did not forfeit my right as a citizen of the United States, I actually became a better citizen of the United States. The truth is this; we have dual citizenship, Glory to God! We have rights as a child of Father God and we have rights as a natural born citizen.
The City offices not only came and personally released Paul and Silas but apologized to them and then begged them to leave the city. So Paul and Silas left the prison and went and had a home meeting at Lydia’s house to encourage them again and then they left the town on their own free will.
I think we see Psalms 23 taking place at the end of this story.
Ps 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. NLT
Even when Father God did not rescue Paul and Silas from the prison, He was still all they needed and they have supernatural peace and strength. He took them on this path to bring honor and glory to His name. Their story would have not been so powerful if God had not let them go through the beating and through the jail. It’s what we go through that becomes our testimony to lead someone else out from the prison they are in. Then we see Father God preparing a table for them in front of those who had beat them.
Prayer Points: Father God help me be willing to go through what you know I’m able to bear for you to get the glory and see your Kingdom expand in Jesus Name!
The greatest miracle of all miracles is when a person or a family gives their lives to Jesus, making Him Savior and Lord. Paul and Silas went through a lot to be in the position to lead this jailer to Christ but soon every stripe, every bruise, every pain from the mistreatment in their bodies would be forgotten as they lead this family to Jesus.
Remember the jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” To which Paul and Silas gladly replied.
Acts 16:31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household."
Believe is the key word in the reply from Paul and Silas.
Believe: GREEK>pisteu/w, to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ): KJV - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
One of the definitions is to commit. Friends, if you really believe Jesus is the Messiah and that He truly is the only way to eternal life then you will commit yourself to live by His Word with the power of the Holy Spirit helping you. Jesus plainly tells us that if we love Him we obey Him and His Word. Too many people claiming to get saved but have no commitment to the things of God, the body of Christ (church), or the Word of God. Friend, when we truly get born again something changes, our lives are changed.
We are living in a day where the harvest is white and we as Christians must know how to lead people to Father God. Always start with Romans 3:23 which reminds us, that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is very important to the one you are witnessing to, to know that you do not think you are better than them so this verse will take the tension out. Then use Romans 6:23 which tells the good news that the wages of sin is death (Jesus died in our place) but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Explain how death is the eternal separation from Father God’s presence forever and forever. Eternal separation from everything that is good. Sin separates, God’s love unites. Sin destroys but God restores. Stress the goodness of Father God who gave His only Son so we could be sons and daughters of Father God.
After sharing Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 then begin to share
Romans 10:9, 10, 13 which allows them to be saved right where they are standing. We confess with our mouth, believe in our heart which allows us to become children of Father God. Verse 13 declares that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Friends, there is nothing that compares to leading someone personally to Jesus. We are called to Go and Grow!
Then we read: 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.
It’s so important that we know the Bible so we can share His Word with those we are witnessing to. You don’t have to be a bible scholar and yes your personal testimony is powerful but we must be students of the Word so we can give them a firm foundation to stand on. Remember it’s probably around 1 to 2 AM and they are sharing the good news; they are tired but still sharing, they are bloodied but still sharing and then we read after they shared the word with him and his family that the jailer cared for them by washing their wounds. Then everyone in the household was baptized early that morning.
34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
It could have been around 4 to 5 AM and they had been up all night but they took time to cook a meal and eat rejoicing over what had just happened to their family. There is nothing like a whole family getting saved which creates real joy, real excitement, and real celebration.
Heaven is real, but so is hell and both are eternal and people are making choices daily on where they will spend their eternity. When a person wakes up in eternity, it’s too late to change their choice. Father God has entrusted us to help people make a good choice and we must make His mission a priority in our lives.
Prayer Points: Father God help me to become eternity conscious. Help me to see those in my mission field the way you view them and give me a Godly compassion for those who are lost in Jesus Name!
We pick up the story concerning Paul and Silas as an earthquake has shattered the prison foundation and left all the prison doors open as Paul and Silas prayed and sung praises in their midnight hour. Now we read; Acts 16:27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, "Stop! Don't kill yourself! We are all here!"
Every jailor was made responsible for his prisoner, under the same penalty to which the prisoner himself was exposed. The jailor, awaking, and finding the prison-doors open, taking it for granted that all the prisoners had made their escape, and that he must lose his life on the account, chose rather to die by his own hand than by that of others. For it was customary among the pagans, when they found death inevitable, to take away their own lives. This custom was applauded by their philosophers, and sanctioned by some of their greatest men. (from Adam Clarke's Commentary)
First of all notice the jailer was asleep because the earthquake woke him up. It never pays to sleep on the job. Suddenly awakened and seeing all the prison doors open, his quick evaluation of the scene led him to kill himself but Paul screamed, “Don’t kill yourself, we are ALL HERE”!
I need to ask a very important question right here: could it have been Paul and Silas went through what they had to endure because a jailer and his family needed salvation? It wasn’t just about the demonic fortune telling young lady being delivered, but it was also about a prison full of prisoners and a jailer receiving the wonderful news of the power of the Gospel. Paul and Silas suffered a lot because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so will we when we truly fulfill what Father God has destined us to do.
What is the price of a soul? Is it worth us shining for Jesus and what we believe in the Midnight Hour? We show the glory of Father God brighter in our midnight hours than any other time in our lives! Are we really willing to do what it takes to bring the glory of God in dark places? No, it wasn’t fair what Paul and Silas went through, being falsely accused, beaten, and thrown into an inner prison but it had a purpose. We need to remember that as children of Father God, nothing is wasted in our lives, not even one hardship. Father God is never surprised about where we are and what is going on, but rather He has already gone into our future, causing everything to work together for our good if we don’t give up too soon.
I’m so thankful for the mercy, grace and love of Father God who is not willing for any to perish but desires everyone to come to repentance. Just like he did not forget the woman at the well but went out of His way to lead her to repentance and restoration, He did not forget the prison guard and his family.
29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
As a result of the sufferings of Paul and Silas, we see a man, without hope about to commit suicide, get a life change. His first objective after hearing hope from Paul’s voice was to shine light in the darkness. Those who are lost, unsaved and don’t know Jesus have a darkness problem and they need a voice (your voice, my voice) in their darkness. You never know how powerful your voice is until you yield it to the Lord. As you go (Mark 16) then you will grow.
Then all of a sudden the once hopeless man asked the most important question of all time, “Tell me how I can be saved”. I want to emphasize the importance of being a light and being a voice in the lives of those around us even when we are walking in a midnight hour of our lives.
Our actions and reactions in our midnight hour are more effective than any words we would ever say when we are on a mountain top experience with Father God. People know that God is good when everything is fine, but when they find out God is still good during our midnight season by our words and actions; it brings glory to Father God. Our light should shine the brightest in the midnight, not easy but as we mature in the Word we know ALL THINGS DO WORK OUT FOR OUR GOOD!
Prayer Points: Father God help me not be so self centered during the midnight times of my life that others can’t see your light shining through me and want to serve you. Help me to Reach One More!