Summary: Paul and Silas praised at midnight in the Philippian jail and found themselves set free.
--Doors for ministry in various parts of Asia were closed. God’s Spirit would not permit Paul and his companions to preach or minister in certain areas.
*They were continually walking in obedience to what God wanted them to do.
--Paul receives a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him to come over and preach. Feeling led by God’s Spirit, Paul and his companions are obedient and go to Macedonia to minister. This spreads the gospel to a new area.
--They eventually come to Philippi which is the chief city of the area of Macedonia which they were in at that time. They spend several days in that area. Philippi is a predominantly Gentile area where there is not even a Jewish synagogue.
*They were right in the middle of God’s will for their lives at that time. They found themselves exactly where God wanted them to be.
(Jesus had sent the disciples across the lake in a boat and the storm came when they were in the middle of the lake.)
--During a Sabbath prayer meeting, Lydia is saved and begins to operate in the gift of hospitality. According to her profession as a “dealer in purple cloth”, Lydia most likely dealt with wealthy individuals and thus carried a certain level of influence. She was the first one to be saved in Macedonia.
--A young lady in the area who was possessed by an evil spirit brought wealth to the area through her divination and psychic abilities. She was well known and in high demand.
*Her declaration that Paul and his companions were servants of the Most High God may originally have seemed like a flattering compliment, but Paul being grieved in his spirit realized it was a mockery of God Himself.
(Jesus never allowed a demoniac to declare His Deity openly.)
--When Paul rebukes the spirit and it comes out of the young lady, the masters of the lady become enraged. They bring false accusations and stories against Paul and his companions.
a. They are accused of causing trouble in the city. Being referred to as Jews who were causing trouble in a Gentile city stirred up lots of problems.
b. They were accused of introducing unlawful customs. The enemy doesn’t mind when you have your own little religious circle, but he gets real ticked if he thinks you’re trying to introduce Christ in his circle.
c. Paul and Silas are not given an opportunity to defend themselves.
*The nice little “kingdom” that these spirits had established had been attacked and weakened.
--As a result, Paul and Silas are badly beaten and thrown into the inner prison—the deepest, darkest, dirtiest, dreariest, etc.. part.
*At about midnight, Paul and Silas begin to pray and sing praise unto God.
1. Praising at midnight brings freedom to you and to those who are in bondage with you.
*All of the other prisoners heard and when the earthquake took place all of the prison doors were opened and everybody’s chains came loose.
2. Praising at midnight brings life to those the devil is using to keep you bound.
*The prisoner and his entire family are saved that night.
a. Paul and Silas were not in a hurry to leave their midnight.
b. Paul and Silas were willing to allow God to use them in their midnight.
c. Paul and Silas continued to praise through their midnight.
3. Continuing to praise through your midnight brings release.
*Freedom came when they praised at midnight, but release came when they praised through midnight.
“Free”=no longer fastened; having liberty
“Release”=free from confinement; discharged
*In the morning they were released. The enemy who had arrested them and put them in prison was forced to release them from prison. Knowing that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, the magistrates came with fear to release them.
*THE ENEMY AND HIS CO-HORTS FEAR THE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN AND IT PAINS THEM TREMENDOUSLY WHEN A CITIZEN OF HEAVEN PRAISES THROUGH THEIR MIDNIGHT AND THEY ARE FORCED TO RELEASE THEM!
*PAUL PLANNED TO MINISTER IN ASIA, BUT GOD WOULD NOT PERMIT HIM TO DO SO. GOD’S PLAN WAS THAT PAUL AND HIS COMPANIONS GO TO MACEDONIA AND END UP IN A PHILIPPIAN PRISON. AFTER THE RELEASE FROM PRISON, PAUL DID GO AND MINISTER IN ASIA & ALL OF ASIA HEARD THE GOSPEL DURING THAT TIME (ACTS 19:10).