Sermons

Summary: When we get shaken up a bit, let us close our eyes and imagine God saying, “DON”T GIVE UP, I’M STILL HERE”

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“A Fresh Start”

Acts 16:25-31

JOKE: “New Years Resolutions” A couple sat facing their marriage counselor who asked, “Why are you here to see me?” The wife answered, “Well it all started when we thought it might be cute to choose each other’s New Year’s resolutions”

INTRODUCTION: New Years Eve is the one night of the year that we all have an excuse to stay up after our bed time.

Many people are considering their resolutions, their special change for the new year… how their going to ‘turn over a new leaf’

QUOTE: The trouble with ‘turning over a new leaf’ is that once you’ve done it twice, you’re right back where you started

No… we don’t need resolutions – and we certainly don’t need to go turning over any leaves…

What we need is a ‘fresh start’ – Which brings me to tonight’s lesson

Let me set the scene for you: Paul and Silas have been whipped and jailed for casting a demon out of a woman who was being used by some men to tell fortunes. The men had Paul and Silas arrested and put into stocks

About midnight they began singing and praying to God. All of the other prisoners were listening in – the actual translation means “listening with pleasure”.

Of course I could talk about how Paul and Silas rejoiced even in bad circumstances – or how God can save us even out of impossible situations

But tonight I am going to discuss the jailer outside the door – I want to focus on the attitude of this jailer

You see 2004 has been quite a year for our small church. We saw many ups and downs, trials and high running emotions – and I believe that a lot of our issues in this past year have been a result of our attitude

I want to bring out in this sermon how quickly the attitude of the jailer changed and why it did

I. At first the jailer was complacent (v. 27a)

a. This was just like any other day for him

i. He probably kissed his wife goodbye on his way to the evening shift at the jail just like he had done countless times before (he maybe even read the morning paper)

ii. He was comfortable in his routine - his life routine – and he fell asleep at his post

b. What surprises me most is that he fell asleep during the singing

i. Paul and Silas were praising and blessing God – and he was ‘sawing logs’

ii. But you know what? His type of complacency is not uncommon in the church today

c. Many of us have, during this past year and even before, fallen asleep in our Christian walk

i. There are those around us who are praising God, doing his work and even sweating blood for His name – and there are others, just seats away, who are asleep at the post!

ii. Sadly they couldn’t care less about what is going on around them in God’s house

Transitional Statement:

“Now notice a drastic change in the attitude of the jailer when a problem arises for him”

II. He went from totally complacent to suicidal (v. 27b)

a. He woke up after the earthquake, saw the doors wide open and immediately decided to kill himself

i. The reason? The Romans were strict, and if a guard let a person go free or escape, his life was taken

ii. The guard saw nothing to live for, so he decided to take his own life rather than be tortured and killed by his commanders


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