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Summary: Inviting others means that we must be willing to tell them the truth. If we aren't willing to tell them about Jesus, how can we ever invite them to experience all that He has for them?

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An Invitation Requires Truth

Acts 16:25-34

Invitations, Part 6

Introduction

- It is important that you and I understand the power of an invitation

-- Whether it’s an invitation to a ballgame, to a BBQ, or even to church

-- Everything we do starts with an invitation to be a part of something else

- Inviting someone to be a part of what you’re doing says several things to them:

1) What you have going on is important

2) What you are a part of is enjoyable to you, and,

3) What you do is worth their time to check out (at least once)

- Contrast: If we won’t invite others, what does that say about what we do?

- Background for our message: Paul and Silas are in prison … Why? (v17-24)

-- A slave girl filled with a spirit a divination continued to pester them for days

-- Her spirit allowed her to tell fortunes, and when removed her owners were angry

-- So they brought Paul and Silas before the magistrate, who had them beaten

-- They were ordered to be locked up and put away for these actions

- Read Acts 16:25-34

- Pray

∆ Point 1 – Even Prisoners can Worship

- If you’ve ever read the book of Acts, this story has always struck me as unusual

-- Not unusual because God showed up (it is the bible after all)

-- Unusual because people read it casually, but still miss God’s invitation

- Prison during this time period was not a welcome or comfortable

∆ Prison Photo 1 (Mamertime)

- Prison would be no more than a chamber to hold the worst criminals in

-- It would be dark, damp, and literally cast away from all persons

-- In prison, you could easily be forgotten about

∆ Prison Photo 2 (Mamertime)

- Both of these images are from an actual prison where Paul was held

-- Today they look cleaned up, well lit, almost ordered sort of holding cell

-- But, these prisons were anything of the sort, they were horrible

-- Knee deep sewage, cold, restrained in chains against a wall; over-crowded

-- They were just the type of place where you knew hope was lost for you

∆ Point 1 – Even Prisoners can Worship

- Yet, notice what’s happening in our story (v25)

-- APP: You have really got to love something/someone to be praising at midnight

-- Even the other prisoners are awake and listening to them also

-- I’ve often wondered … were they shouting at them to shut up? It’s midnight!

- However, when you can testify to how great God is, how can you stay silent?

-- How can you not praise his name for all that He has done for you?

-- Yes … even in prison, the name of the Lord can and must be praised!

- This public praise, this rejoicing and worship leads to something amazing (v26)

-- God, shows up! The doors fall off, the earth shakes, the foundation is rocked

-- IMP: Even in the darkest places, God hears our worship service if we will …

- I’ve often wondered how hard you have to praise for God to descend like this

-- I don’t think it’s a matter of volume, or style … but of sincerity

-- When God’s people cry out to Him, His response is always to show up

- TRANS: The jailer wakes up, comes running, and realizes his head is on the line

-- When your profession is a jailer, you have one job: keep bad people in jail

-- To let them out would be to fail your job; which could lead to instant death

∆ Point 2 – All is NOT Lost

- See how the jailer’s first thought is to draw his sword and end his life? (v27)

-- Does not give consideration to his family (discussed shortly), but only to himself

-- This is the worst case of self-preservation mode I’ve ever really seen

-- APP: “Uh-oh, I’m in trouble … well, let’s just end it all now”

- Paul’s plea to him is not only redemptive, but also restorative … how so? (v28)

- First: “Don’t harm yourself”

-- Nothing says I have no hope left than to end one’s life

-- Even in the darkest times, with Christ, we still have hope of a future

-- Paul knows this and proclaims to him that there is no need to take his life

-- Why? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

- Second: “We are all here”

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