Summary: This passage of scripture shows Paul and Silas in Jail, they have been badly beaten and they are awaiting there sentence which is certain death. However, a miracle occurs in the midst of their dilemma.
Sermon - #41
Title – “A Miracle in the midst of a midnight Dilemma”
Scripture – Acts 16:22-36
Key Terms –
Miracle – A marvel or act of God
Dilemma – A situation that requires a choice between options usually unequally or unfavorable
Background – I have personally witnessed a miracle in the midst of a dilemma, I was driving a truck in which I went sleep while at the wheel. Upon my waking up, I discovered that the truck was upside down and about to begin flipping again, I was in the midst of a dilemma that wasn’t looking favorable for my safety or well being. I did have enough presence of mind to say “Lord, Lord, don’t let me die”, miraculously I was thrown from the truck and the truck continued to flip over and over again. The cab of truck where I was sitting was completely smashed. When it seemed I was destined for death, God delivered a miracle in the midst of my dilemma. I was left to marvel at the power of God. Some of you have been in some dilemmas and only through the grace of God or his miracle power were you delivered. In the text, Paul and Silas are in the midst of a dilemma and their fate is certain death. Paul has commanded a demon to come out of a demon-possessed girl who is a fortune teller. She has been making a lot of flow for her masters and due to the fact that Paul has healed her, she no longer has the gift to tell fortunes and as a result she is no longer a money maker. The owners (Romans) are 38 hot, they are off the chain angry, and you could even say they were smoking over the fact that they could no longer pimp this little girl for her services. They have Paul and Silas arrested, severely beaten and thrown into jail with stocks and chains. Here they are forced to await their uncertain fate likely death. They are in the midst of a dilemma that will require a miracle. Let’s look at what happens in the midst of their dilemma.
Point # 1- Look at the circumstances (v.22-24), Paul and Silas have healed the demon possessed woman and as a result their clothes have been torn off, they are beaten with rods many times and they are cast into a prison which is dark, dirty, rat infested, roach infested and they are thrust into the inner cells (solitary confinement) with their feet locked in chains. They have been immorally treated, unjustly treated and dishonestly treated and that happens too many of us in life today. We are often locked in dilemmas of abusive relationships, dilemma’s of drug and alcohol addiction, dilemmas of sickness and disease and dilemmas of being trapped in a world of sin. The question is what do you say or do in the midst of your dark dilemma represented in the text by midnight.
Point #2 – Look at the commitment (v.25), even though they are in a dilemma they continue to be strong witnesses for Christ. They have been stripped, beaten, imprisoned and put in chains. Their backs are lacerated, bloody and swollen and they are in severe pain. Even though they are in the midst of a dilemma, they bear a strong testimony to the wonderful grace of God. First of all they pray, they probably ask for strength to help them, to forgive their persecutors to use their suffering to reach others for Christ. Secondly, they praised and thanked God for his salvation, the privilege of suffering for the name of Christ Jesus. Can we today as believers pray and praise God in the midst of our dilemmas, don’t answer that because I need to give you specific details, when your husband or wife leaves you and takes all the money and you still pray and praise him, when you lose your mother or father in death can you still praise him, when the house burns up, no clothes, no where to go can you still pray and praise him, when a drug or alcohol addiction has stripped you of your dignity and pride can you still pray and praise him and when our children are off the chain can we still pray and praise him. In other words, in the midst of our dilemmas can we still give him supplication and praise, note all of this took place at midnight and they sang so loud the entire jail could hear them, they were singing “Father I stretch my hands to the no other help I know”, they were even singing “he’s a battle ax in the time of a battle shelter in the time of a storm”, and Paul even led “want it be grand”, because they were not ashamed of the Lord and prayed and praised him despite their circumstances and situation. We are to be committed despite it all and through it all.