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Summary: A sermon abput victory in spite of the circumstances

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God will Shake your Jailhouse

Acts 16:19-26

19. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:

24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

We have a story that is quite familiar in our Christian circles.

It’s a story about a couple of preachers who got into trouble for messing up somebody’s fortune telling business, in the City of Philippi.

There seemed to be these people who owned a slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination, or in other words, she was a fortune-teller who possessed that ability by means of an evil influence.

As Paul was ministering there this slave girl began to follow them around saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

She became quite a pest over the next several days. Everywhere Paul and Silas went she would follow them around saying the same thing over and over again, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

Now there was nothing unusual about this demon possessed woman proclaiming the truth about these men.

For Satan knows who Jesus is, and they know who His true servants are.

(The demons in the deranged man who dwelt in the tombs knew whom Jesus was when he encountered him.)

The demonic power within this slave girl recognized that Paul and Silas were true men of God, and also knew what their purpose was in coming to Philippi.

But why did she proclaim it?

More probably, it was because she saw evident tokens of their being sent from God, and that their doctrine would prevail; and by proclaiming this she hoped to acquire more authority, and a higher reputation for being herself “inspired”.

But after so much of this continual aggravation, Paul became annoyed and cast the evil Spirit out of her.

When this happened she no longer had the power or ability to use her fortune-telling, thus she no longer was of use to her master who had used her to make money.

Upset with this, and seeing their little money game was over, her masters brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates, or the Roman civil rulers.

They said, “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.”

Ac 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

“Thrust them into the inner prison.” It was A damp interior cell from which all light was excluded.

The stocks was an instrument of torture as well as confinement. The feet, stretched wide apart, were thrust through holes in a wall or beam of wood, and the prisoner was fastened there. He could not move around, could not re-position his legs and feet, but was in agony and pain.

We look at this story and possibly say, “That’s awful! These preachers certainly didn’t do anything to deserve this kind of treatment!”

And I agree, but Satan isn’t in the business of treating people fairly!

He’s in the business of trying to destroy the works of Christ and His church, and trying to prevent the gospel from going forth.

Now here is where it gets good!

25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

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