Summary: Luke shares with us the importance of salvation - especially when it comes to our families. Salvation comes through 1. Hearing the Word of God 2. Believing the Word of God 3. Living out the Word of God
Scripture: Acts 16:16-34
Proposition: Household Salvation - 1. The Whole Household HEARD the Word of God. 2. The Whole Household BELIEVED the Word of God 3. The Whole Household LIVED OUT the Word of God
Good morning. What a joy it is to be with all of you.
This morning, our passage of scripture takes us to the heart of the Apostle Paul's journeys in Macedonia. Paul and Silas (along with Luke and at times Timothy) were going from town to town sharing the message of Jesus to everyone who would listen. Our particular passage has them evangelizing in the area of the city of Philippi. Philippi was considered one of the most important city in the district of Macedonia. At the time of Paul, there were over 12,000 people living in the area of Philippi. Philippi served as the retirement center for Roman soldiers after their active duty was served or who had suffered a career ending injury. Nearly 90 % of its citizens were either Roman or Greek and the common everyday language used in speaking and commerce was Greek instead of Latin.
The Apostle and his missionary team stepped into this bi- cultural area with the Gospel of Jesus and almost immediately found themselves in hot water. After beginning a new church through the help of Lydia, Paul finds his missionary team being harassed by a certain slave girl. She was known to possess the spirit of fortune-telling. That is to say, she appeared to have the gift of being able to tell people what was going to happen to them in the future. It also seems that she was highly accurate in her abilities. She had made her owners quite a bit of money being able to mesmerize people with her skills. In short, this little slave girl was a carnival act that was golden.
Luke shares with us that this young lady followed Paul's team around crying out as loud as she could:
“These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
Day after day after day, she would go around following Paul, Silas and the rest of the team. Finally, the whole act got on Paul's nerves. He was tired of her antics and of her constant yelling. He wheeled around and in the name of Jesus Christ commanded the demon to go away. He commanded the demon to leave the young girl and never return. Suddenly, she was overwhelmed with the power of the Holy Spirit and was immediately free. No longer was she in bondage to this demonic spirit.
However, without the demon, our writer tells us that she could no longer tell people their fortune. Or at least she could no longer deceive them into thinking that she could. Her owners became furious. Their golden goose was now gone. Their meal ticket had been punched so to speak. In revenge for what Paul had done, they started a riot. They had Paul and Silas arrested on some trumped up charges of causing civil unrest and committing blasphemy against the worship of Caesar and the Roman State. On those last charges these men were right - Paul and Silas would not worship Caesar or any of the other false gods.