Summary: Many of us have been seduced into believing that as long as our lives are being lived out within the will of God, everything is going to be alright.
I am convinced that the safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will. You will never find a place more secure than being in the center of God’s will for your life. At the same time, I am also convinced that the center of God’s will; though it is the safest place, it is not always the most pleasant and pain free place. Are you going to pray with me? Many of us have been seduced into believing that as long as our lives are being lived out within the will of God, everything is going to be alright. I’ve found that not to be so. What I’ve discovered is that God is far more concerned about making us holy than He is in making us happy. The God we serve is seeking our holiness and not our happiness. And I think we see that in this scene in Acts chapter 16.
We discover that there is a connection between Paul’s vision in Troas and his visit to Philippi. There is a connection between his vision and his visit. And when you get a chance you should read all of chapter 16. You see, at Troas, Paul has a vision of a ‘man from Macedonia’ crying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” And the Bible said that they assuredly gathered that the Lord had called them to preach the Gospel in Europe. Now no sooner than they arrive in Macedonia, a woman by the name of Lydia is converted. And the Bible says that this young girl begins to follow Paul and Silas everyday as they made their way to the house of prayer. She’s following them and Luke says that she was a fortune-teller. And she follows Paul and Silas daily saying that these are servants of the most high God. She had the right message; Paul’s concern was that it was coming from the wrong source.
The Bible says that it vexed him in his spirit. And one day he turns and he says to her, to that unclean spirit within her, “In the name of Jesus Christ come out of her!” And the word says that she was delivered that same hour. Now her pimps, who were profiting from her, when they saw that Paul had brought an end to their meal ticket; the Bible says that they captured Paul and Silas and brought them before the magistrate on trumped-up charges. And the word says that the were beaten and thrown in jail. It is the Lord’s way of reminding us that we must remember that when you get delivered, not everybody is going to be happy about it. Are you praying with me? That when the Lord delivers you. That when God sets you free. That when the Lord has delivered you from something that has been holding you not everybody is going to get all excited.
For there they are, beaten, and bloodied, and broken lying in a Philippian jail. And Luke says, “and at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God.” Have you ever wondered, what is so special about midnight? Wilson Pickett said, “I’m gonna wait until the midnight hour.” Maria Mulduar spent her midnights at the oasis. And we know that Gladys Knight take the midnight train to Georgia. What makes midnight so special? Well midnight is the darkest part of the night. It is the deepest part of the night because one second after midnight it is a brand new day; it is officially morning. Paul and Silas find themselves beaten, and bloodied, and broken but at midnight, they’re not whinning and crying. Luke says they prayed and sang praise unto God.
All of us who have lived any time at all know what it means and how it feels to have a midnight crisis in our lives. Those times when we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control. We find ourselves caught up in things we cannot handle on our own. We’ve all been faced with some midnight experience! Be it sickness, suffering or sorrow. Be it troubles, trials, or tribulations; we’ve all had our midnights! Not only have we had our midnights but we’ve shared in the midnights of other people. We know how it feels to be there with other people when they are experiencing their midnights. Now if you haven’t face nor experienced midnight, keep going to bed at night. Keep getting up in the morning. Everybody in here this morning is either in a midnight experience, on their way out of one, or heading to one. We all will be faced with midnight.
Now one of the things reminds about midnight; is the midnight hour reminds us that often times God does some of His best work when we think it’s too late. When we’ve given it all up as lost. God has a way of showing up. Even in our midnights. Paul and Silas were aware of that; and so, STANDING FIRM IN THEIR FAITH, Luke says that they prayed and sang praises unto God.