Summary: We’ve all got stories to tell. Some stories are better than others. Each one of these stories we keep inside of us and treasure, adding to the collection of our testimony of God’s IMPACT! in our lives.
Scripture: Acts 16:16-40
We’ve all got stories to tell. Some stories are better than others. Each one of those stories we keep inside of us and treasure, adding to the collection of our testimony of God’s IMPACT! in our lives. This is what God uses in winning people to the Him. These stories that impact our lives are what make an impact on others coming to know the Lord.
Today’s scripture passage is a reflection on the travels of Paul, Luke, Silas, and Timothy. This story, probably one of many, has all the ingredients necessary to make a great story. Today’s story sounds like a expression of the everyday, or weekly, persecution of Paul and his brothers. Today’s story, this story, has been the result of millions of people saved and has many points that will make an impact on our lives, and help us to make an impact on others’ lives.
Today’s Scriptural Points are:
I. The Wrong Master. (vv. 16-19)
II. The Wrong Reasons (vv. 20-24)
III. The Right Attitude (vv. 25)
IV. The Right God (vv. 26-28)
V. The Right Choice (vv. 29-34)
VI. The Perfect Time (vv. 35-40)
I. The Wrong Master. (vv. 16-19)
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
Having and relying on something or someone else other than the Living God doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time and work to worship the wrong master. Verses 16 through 19 illuminate the elements that are always present when people are following the wrong master. That first element is the wrong spirit.
-The Wrong Spirit leads to the wrong master
Verse 16 says, “…we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit…” This slave girl had made herself available to the leading of a spirit other than the Holy Spirit of God. How she made herself available is not mentioned. It could have started with her following after the wrong spirit. Or, it could have been her parents, her grandparents, aunts or uncles, or maybe five or ten generations of worshipping the wrong spirit. Somehow she was led astray. Somehow, someone convinced her that life would be better for her, or her parents, or her children, if she allowed this evil spirit to lead her life. But, it didn’t stop there, she was convinced to follow that same spirit in the area of fortune-telling.
But, it wasn’t for her benefit. Notice what it says, “she earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling.” Following the wrong spirit is never for the edification of the one that is doing the following, nor is it for anyone else. Instead, it is for the selfish and prideful lust of the spirit that is imposing its will or spirit on the person. Further, the weak are prompted sometimes by family members or relations to follow that spirit, because they are afraid that they, themselves, will be harmed. All of this, of course, telling us that they have become servants to the wrong master.
The wrong spirit always leads to the wrong master…and the wrong motives lead to the wrong master.
-The Wrong Motives lead to the wrong master
The owners of this girl made lots of money because of the spirit that used this poor girl. Which, in turn, put them in bondage to that same spirit. Having the wrong motives, like these men, which was their own lustful gratification, will lead to the wrong master.
-The Wrong Choices lead to the wrong master.
Paul, in the name of Christ, commanded this spirit to come out of this girl. But, the owners of the girl, because they, too, were given over to the wrong spirit, made the wrong choices at this point.
They should have realized that the name of Jesus was more powerful than the actual presence of the spirit that controlled the girl. They should have realized that the name of Jesus was able to drive out this spirit without a fight. Yet, they made the wrong choice, which, in turn, led them to the wrong master.