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Summary: There was a certain course of events that led to the salvation of the Philippian jailer, and these have certain implications with reference to our witnessing today.

The Jailer Who Received Jesus

Text: Acts 16: 29-34

Intro: The portion of scripture we’ve just read is filled with suspense and excitement—the result of a midnight earthquake and an attempted suicide. Lest we view this account as merely a Bible story, let me be quick to remind us that these events literally happened. This is a real-life account of how a whole household came to trust Christ as Savior.

In studying this account I was struck by the series of events that led to the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his family. So many of the implications from this account are applicable to us today. For instance, in anyone’s salvation experience, there is a series of events that lead up to a person receiving Christ. In this particular situation there were a number of parts that came together: (1) The saints’ part, (2) The Savior’s part, and (3) The sinner’s part. God will often go to great lengths to bring a lost soul to salvation. But ultimately the sinner must make a choice—they must see their need, humble themselves before God, and receive His free gift.

As we study this account today, may we determine to be available to God to do our part that others might be brought to Christ.

Theme: What are the events that led to the jailer’s receiving Jesus?

I. THE SINGING OF GOD’S PRAISES (The Saint’s Part—Joy And Christ-likeness)

A. Paul And Silas Rejoiced In Spite Of Their Beating.

Acts 16: 19 “And when her (the soothsayer’s) masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23a And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison…”

NOTE: [1] Verse 19 tells us that this young woman’s masters “drew” Paul and Silas into the market place. One translation of this section says, “…having seized Paul and Silas, dragged them by the heels into the market place to the civil rulers…” (Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; pg. 314).

[2] After being dragged by the heels before the magistrates, Paul and Silas were falsely accused of causing trouble in the city, and spreading unlawful customs. They were then beaten with rods. “It was customary to inflict the blows on the naked body” (Alvah Hovey, D.D., LL.D., Editor, An American Commentary On The New Testament, Vol. IV, published by The American Publication Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; pg. 189).

B. Paul And Silas Rejoiced In Spite Of Their Bonds.

Acts 16: 23 “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:

24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”

NOTE: [1] The stocks, which were used here, are described as follows:

This was an instrument for torture as well as confinement. It was a heavy piece of wood with holes into which the feet were put, so far apart as to distend the limbs in the most painful manner.

Ibid, pg. 189.

[2] One would have thought that Paul and Silas had just murdered someone by the way the officials had them confined. After having been severely beaten with rods, they were not only placed in the stocks, but also in the “inner prison;” or in other words, the most remote and secure cell of the prison.

C. Paul And Silas Rejoiced In Spite Of The Blackness.

Acts 16: 25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

NOTE: [1] Think of it folks. Paul and Silas had been beaten (not to mention being publicly humiliated), placed in bonds, and were now sitting in the blackness of midnight; and yet they still blessed God with songs of praise. Can you hear them singing “Amazing Grace?” “How could that be?” you might ask. Tertullian said it best: “Nothing the limb feels in the stocks when the mind is in heaven.”

[2] The world notices how Christians respond to trials. I am convinced that some people may never be saved because they’ve seen too many “sad sack” Christians. As far as they can tell, there’s no benefit to being saved. I’m not saying that a Christian should never be discouraged or shed tears. What I am saying is that walking around in “the dumps” should not be a way of life for the Christian.

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