Summary: Paul and Silas demonstrated how to overflow with love. God also calls us to overflow with His love.
Overflow of Love
In Acts 16 Paul is on his third missionary journey. Paul traveled through Galatia and Phrygia and stopped overnight in Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 16:9
The next day Paul and Silas and his companions sailed to the region of Macedonia and traveled to Philippi a Roman colony and leading city of Macedonia.
One day when they were going to a place of pray they were met by a female slave possessed with an evil spirit, who had the gift of fortune-telling and helped her owners amass a great fortune. She tormented Paul his companions shouting out: “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” Acts 16:17 - For several days she pestered Paul and his team. Paul turned to her and addressed the evil spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her.” At that moment the spirit left her.”
“When the owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.” Acts 16:19 - The owners bought them before the magistrates and charged them with advocating customs unlawful for the Romans to practice. The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be beaten with rods and thrown into prison.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
Paul and Silas could have complained, “We believed God called us to Macedonia and now here we are in prison. Why, did God allow this to happen?” They did complain or question their circumstance; they sang praises to God while they were in a prison cell with both legs fastened in stocks. They had expected open doors for ministry not opposition.
You know you are going to have a bad day when you wake up and when you sink your teeth into a breakfast stake and they stay there. You know it’s going to be a bad day when you call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business. You know it’s going to be a bad day when you horn gets stuck on the freeway as you’re following a large group of Hell’s Angels motorcycles. You know it’s going to be a bad day when your birthday cake collapses from the weight of your candles.
Paul and Silas overflowed with God’s love even when
I. Bruised and Beaten
When bruised and beaten for preaching and healing in Jesus’ name Paul and Silas didn’t complain and ask “Why?”
Chuck Swindoll in his book, Hope Again, tells the answer Dr. Bruce Waltke, his Hebrew professor, gave Chuck Swindoll when he asked his professor about some “whys” in his life. His professor answered: “Chuck, I’ve come to the place where I believe only on very rare occasions does God tell us why, so I’ve decided to stop asking.”
The prophet Habakkuk one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament asked a similar question in Habakkuk 1:1-4, That might be paraphrased this way: “Why is God silent when the world is being turned upside down? Doesn’t God care about our suffering and injustices?”
There are several ways people tend to respond to the “Whys” of life?
Unreal Optimism – is to ignore reality. These people become numb to pain and in every trial and pain say, “All is okay.” They have the attitude, “If anything good is going to happen, it will happen to me. I’m the greatest. Life is a bowl of cherries all you have to do is help yourself. Life is great. Life is grand. I have no problems and I have no pain. I never have a discouraging moment in my life.” I say that person needs to get a life.
Ultimate Pessimism - This person believes that pain and conflict are the only ways to experience growth. To the ultimate pessimist life is a nightmare. This person believes like the comedy actor, Roger Dangerfield, “Whatever bad is going to happen it will happen to me.”
Distorted view of God – This view leaves a person without hope. This view sees God as far off and out of touch with His creation. God created the universe and humanity and then deserted His creation to let it spin helplessly in space. If God has abandoned his creation then all we have to look forward to is living our life, dying and that’s the end.
Have you wondered where God is when life slams in on you like a wrecking ball knocking over a building? How do you deal with the silences of God?