Summary: Men who sing at midnight are men that cannot be imprisoned. Paul and Silas
This is an arresting and wonderful story.
1. At first we wonder at the singing.
2. Then we wonder at what inspired the singing
3. Then after wondering at what inspired the singing - we wonder what if they had not sung.
To some their singing might seem abnormal but to me it seems normal. It was not the result of emotion but of a constant experience of the soul.
Tonight I want us to look at Three things
1st The Picture presented by these 2 verses.
2nd The one Central Value presented.
3rd What it teaches us.
I. THE PICTURE
1. Notice the Men - Paul and Silas
a. They were Jews - They were Roman citizens - They were Christians
b. Their message challenged the religious views of their day. - both Jews and Pagans.
2. Notice their Circumstances
a. "At midnight" - This suggests all this had happened just a few hours before.
b. They had been beaten and thrown into stocks.
3. Notice their Occupation
a. They were praying and singing hymns.
b. These were not two separate things - they went together.
Someone has said, "What made them glad."
The answer, "What was there that could have made them sad."
4. The Outcome - people listened
II. THE CENTRAL VALUE
1. In the story there is revealed that which is peculiarly Christian - The victory of the soul over adverse circumstances.
"Tribulation worketh patience" "Godly sorrow worketh repentance"
This is the central value of the story
2. The strength of these men was found in their knowledge of God.
3. Paganism (the world) says, "What cannot be cured must be endured."
Christianity says, " These things must be endured because they are part of the cure."
3. ’At midnight" - At the darkest hour they sang and prayed.
At midnight - the earthquake came.
III. THE TEACHING
What can we learn from this.
1. We can learn that men who sing while they suffer are men who have learned that suffering is how joy is perfected.
2. We can learn that men who sing in prison are men who cannot be imprisoned.
It was impossible to imprison Paul and Silas. Their bodies may be in jail - but they weren’t.
3. We can learn that men who sing at midnight are men who are citizens of a land that has no night. The Lord is their light.
4. We can learn that men who sing when their work is stopped are men whose work is never stopped. They preached in prison.
All I’ve said so far has to do with verse 25 but let’s notice the next verse, verse 26
1. An Earthquake came - but one does not always come.
We miss the whole thing if we think that when we are in prison an earthquake will always come. Prison doors may be opened. - Yet thousands have been left in prison and they kept on singing and praying.
2. A few years later Paul was in a prison again. - in Rome.
It was while in this prison that he wrote to this church at Phillipi.
II Tim. 4:6-8, 9-14, and 16-18.
He was still singing. Paul did not sing because an earthquake was coming.
He sang because "the prison did not matter."