Summary: God wants us to see: 1. That suffering is part of salvation (vs. 19-25). 2. That lost people are headed to hell (vs. 26-31). 3. That families need fathers who care (vs. 31). 4. That real life comes from the Lord (vs. 31-34).
God Wants Us to See
The Book of Acts - Part 54
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 24, 2014
*In Acts 16, Paul and his mission team were trying to find out where the Lord wanted them to go next. Then in vs. 9-10:
9. A vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us.''
10. Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
*So, they went to Philippi, and began to share the gospel, and the people were responding to the good news about Jesus Christ. But starting in vs. 16, they ran into serious opposition: "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."
*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. Partnership with evil disguises it 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’s why in vs. 18, Paul cast out that evil spirit.
*With this background in mind, let’s read vs. 19-34, thinking about some of the things God wants us to see.
*Many people don’t have to start wearing glasses until they are about 40. One time my eye doctor said, "If people’s arms were long enough, it would put me out of business."
*On the other hand, I was born with bad eyes. But I didn’t know it until the first grade. I remember riding home with my dad just after I got my first pair of glasses. I was astounded. I had no idea what I had been missing. I could read the signs! I could see the leaves on the trees. I could see!
*It’s a wonderful thing to see, but it is infinitely more important to have spiritual vision, to be able to see with the eyes of faith. And in this story, in spite of the abuse and pain, Paul and Silas saw some things that we need to see. They saw some crucial things that God wants us to see.
1. First: God wants us to see that suffering is part of our salvation.
*There are some warped people in this world who enjoy suffering. But any normal person would say: "I don't like to suffer." And that includes me.
*Nobody in their right mind likes to suffer. But some things are worth the suffering. The athlete getting ready for the game is willing to go through struggle and pain. The soldier fighting for his brothers-in-arms, his cause and his country is willing to suffer. I also think of parents who suffer sleepless nights for a sick or wayward child.
*There are many other examples, but none rises above the gospel of Jesus Christ! Many of the greatest heroes of our faith have suffered incredible hardship for the good news about Jesus. And we see a good example starting in vs. 19:
19. But 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.
20. And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, "These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
21. and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.''
22. Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
23. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
*Many of God’s best have suffered the worst for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if we are truly part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, if we are part of the Body of Christ, somehow, somewhere along the way, we are going to suffer for Jesus.
*Suffering for Jesus really is part of our salvation. God's Word makes this truth clear in many places. In Luke 9:22-24, Jesus spoke to His disciples and said: