Summary: The earthquake of April 18, 2008 had an epicenter just 6 miles east of our church. It provided an opportunity for me to preach a shakeup message to my congregation. maybe your church needs one, too!
GOD CAN SHAKE THIS PLACE!
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 18And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
19But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, "These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
21and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe."
22Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
23And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26Suddenly 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.
27And 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.
28But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here."
29Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
34Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
For us, April 18th, 2008 will be a date to remember.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey,
a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit at 4:37 Friday morning.
The news media says the shaking
was centered near West Salem in Edwards County.
However, the U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter
was in Wabash County about 5 miles north-northeast of Belmont
and 6 miles east of Bone Gap.
It was the strongest earthquake in southern Illinois
since November 1968, when a 5.4 earthquake occurred.
Friday’s quakes were felt as far west as Kansas,
as far north as Upper Michigan, and as far south as Georgia.
The second jolt at 10:14 a.m. was a 4.6 magnitude quake
and was centered 7 miles north-northeast of Belmont
and 7 miles east-northeast of Bone Gap.
I can tell you this;
those quakes sure shook our church building in Bone Gap.
Though there was no damage,
it knocked books off shelves, clocks off walls,
moved the focus of our security cameras,
and caused the bell in our steeple to ring.
We have heard of, and seen on the news,
the deadly destruction that earthquakes cause.
There has been mass destruction.
Cities have been destroyed.
Homes and buildings completely toppled.
Many people have been killed and injured.
We have learned to respect for the power of an earthquake.
But can an earthquake be a good thing?
At first, we would say “No”.
Something so destructive cannot be good.
But in the hand of God, anything can be good.
God can take things that seem bad and use it for something good.
The title of this sermon is, “God Can Shake This place!”
We must be concerned about people!
Paul and Silas were at a prayer meeting in Philippi.
A young girl possessed with a spirit of divination met them.
Her masters were making lots of money with her.
She was telling fortunes.
Verse 17 says she cried out:
"These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation."
She had been following Paul and Silas for several days.
Finally, Paul, being concerned about this young girl,
turned and said to the evil spirit within her,
“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”