Sermons

Summary: Jesus wants to give us: 1. salvation (vs. 26-32). 2. a sympathetic heart (vs. 33). 3. a submissive heart (vs. 33). 4. a serving heart (vs. 33-34). 5. a satisfied heart (vs. 34).

Changed by Christ!

Acts 16:19-34

The Book of Acts - Part 55

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 29, 2014

BACKGROUND:

*In today's Scripture, Paul and his mission team were in the city of Philippi. They had been guided to this region by a God-given vision, and the people were responding to the good news about Jesus Christ.

*But then a young slave girl began to follow the team around. This woman was a fortune-teller by trade, and she was very persuasive, because she was possessed by an evil spirit. Verse 17 tells us that as she followed Paul's team, she cried out: "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.''

*Of course that statement was true, but the Lord doesn't need any help from the devil. And partnership with evil is the last thing God wants for His church, because it makes evil seem good. It disguises evil, and makes it seem innocent, much like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Jesus warned us about that in Matthew 7:15. Partnership with evil also puts a stain on the cause of Christ. That is why in vs. 18, Paul cast out that evil spirit.

*With this background in mind, let's start reading in vs. 19, thinking about how God wants to change our lives.

INTRODUCTION:

*We generally don’t like change. As Mark Twain once said, “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” (1)

*Many times we think of change as a bad thing, and most of the change going on these days is bad. But change can also be good, especially when it's a change made by God. The truth is that all of us need some changes in our lives, and Jesus can give us the changes we need. Jesus Christ wants to change us! And today's Scripture shows us how.

1. First: The Lord wants to give us salvation.

*This Philippian jailer was saved! -- He was saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you have never trusted in the Lord, He wants to save you the same way. But let's take a closer look at how the Lord touched the jailer's life.

[1] First, Jesus touched his life with a crisis.

*We see this truth in vs. 26&27, where:

26. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.

27. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

*That was because if the prisoners escaped, their punishment fell on the jailer. This was a real crisis for that jailer, and many times God will use a crisis to get our attention. You may be wondering why something bad happened, and often it's a mystery. But sometimes God is trying to break through a wall of indifference in our heart. And Church: We need to be sensitive to people going through a tough time, because that may open the door for us to tell them about Jesus.

*In 1912, John Harper of Glasgow, Scotland was the newly called pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, so he headed to America with his 6-year-old daughter, Nina, and her Aunt Jessie. John's wife had died when Nina was born.

*They were all excited to be on the maiden voyage of the greatest ocean liner ever built, -- the Titanic. When the ship hit the iceberg, Nina was saved in lifeboat number 11, sitting on her aunt's lap. Her daddy gave his lifejacket away, stayed with the ship, and began to witness to anybody who would listen. Pastor John was one of the 1,522 people who died that night.

*Four years later, a man at a church meeting in Hamilton, Canada gave this testimony: "I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. Harper of Glasgow, also on a piece of the wreck, near me. 'Man,' he said, 'are you saved?' 'No,' I said, 'I am not.' He replied, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'

*The waves bore him away, but, strange to say, brought him back a little later, and he said, 'Are you saved now?' 'No,' I said, 'I cannot honestly say that I am.' He said again, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!' Shortly after that he went down, and there, alone in the night, with two miles of water under me, I believed. . ." (2)

[2] In order to save us, God sometimes touches us with a crisis. -- And He touches us with a Christian.

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