Body: Read Acts 16:25-40 4. The Work at Philippi. God provided a miraculous release of Paul and the rest of the prisoners in this section of the book of Acts.
Paul used the opportunity to minister to the jailer and his household. Since Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they had the magistrates come and talk to them, before they left. Paul and company spent some time ministering at Lydia’s house, before they left.
Applications – - Praying and singing through troubled times. Notice in vss. 25-27 of the book of Acts that God can make a way, especially for those who stay focused through prayer and song on His will.
First, doing God’s will doesn’t mean that we will avoid all troubles. Second, God is able to deliver His people, no matter how hopeless it may appear.
Third, if God doesn’t deliver us according to our will, we need to trust that His way is best for us. Fourth, praying and singing together can help us stay focused on God’s will, instead of focused on our pain and troubles. Let’s work on trusting God to have His way in our times of trouble.
- Avoid bitterness. Notice in vs. 28 Paul’s concern for the jailer, instead of expressing any bitterness or disappointment.There are too many who claim to be disciples of Christ who spend more time on complaining and cursing about their pain than staying focused on God’s will for their lives and God’s plan for the pain.
Let’s work on avoiding bitterness and staying focused on God’s will, in our times of trouble. Prayerfully study and obedience with the support of like-minded disciples will help us in this area.
- Lessons from Paul and Silas’ examples. Notice in vss. 29-34 of the book of Acts several lessons from Paul and Silas’ examples.
First, God can use us to minister to people, even in our prison situations. This calls for staying focused on God’s will, instead of simply focusing on our discomfort. Second, everybody, including the jailer, needs
Jesus. If we are not careful, we will entertain the possibility that some people don’t need Jesus. But nothing can be further from the truth. The police, politicians, corporate chief executive officers, doctors, neighbors, homeless, and everybody need Jesus.
Third, don’t be so stuck in tradition that you miss the opportunity to baptize or minister to people. Too many would have skipped baptism, because it could not be accomplished in the traditional way. Everybody will not get saved in church on Sunday morning.
Fourth, there is great joy in being saved and having your household saved. This joy should be one of the goals that inspire us to keep working on helping those we love get saved.
Let’s work on living by the lessons from Paul and Silas’ example – prison ministry, evangelism, and keeping ministry as a greater priority than tradition.
- Civil rights. Notice in vss. 35-39 Paul’s concern with his civil right as a Roman citizen. They beat him publicly but released him privately, after they discovered he was a Roman citizen. On one hand, Paul’s concern did not stop him from being beaten nor from being released privately.
But on the other hand, those who mistreated him were alarmed by his citizenship rights and had to have taken notice of his claim to be a believer. Let’s strive to be wise stewards of our civil rights (i.e., the rights that are afforded to us as citizens).
Living by this application includes being registered to vote, voting wisely, holding our officials accountable, as well as praying for those who have rule over us and doing our part to improve the community.
- Stay focused. Notice in vs. 40 of this section of the book of Acts that after all that had happened, Paul and Silas were still focused on their ministry. They went to Lydia’s house and encouraged their brothers in the Lord.
They did not waste time complaining about the jail. They encouraged the brothers to be faithful in the Lord. And then they went on to their next assignment. Let’s work on keeping the main thing, the main thing.
The main thing is to do God’s will. God’s will includes helping people get saved and helping to them to grow in the Lord.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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