Summary: A sermon examining the question "What must I do to be saved?"

The Most Important Question You Will Ever Ask

Acts 16:16-34

In case you haven't noticed, people ask a lot of questions. One of the most prominent questions today is "what exactly is a government shutdown?" Others are asking "how long will it last?" Many people have recently began to ask the question "what are the implications of North Korea possessing nuclear weapons?" There are many important questions that we ask throughout our lives.

Many of you men have knelt before the woman you love and asked her "will you marry me?"(Hopefully you had a good idea what the answer was going to be before you asked it!)

Every four years we ask ourselves who we will vote for to be our next president. Well, usually we ask "which one of these morons is the lesser of two evils"

There are many important questions that we will ask throughout our lives. It is my belief that the most important question you will ever ask is the one that the Philippian Jailer asked in our selected text. In Acts 16:30 he asked Paul and Silas "sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

The story of the Philippian Jailor is one of the most detailed and dramatic conversions recorded in the Bible. Paul and Silas had been whipped and arrested because of their success in winning people to Christ. In the midst of great trouble, Paul and Silas didn't through a pity party for themselves, they decided instead to have a prayer meeting and a time of praise. Because of their response, God was able to use them. That night, God brought a new soul into His kingdom. In fact it was more than just one soul, the jailer’s entire family was brought into the Kingdom! The Philippian Jailer reached a point where he was contemplating his eternal destiny. When he thought of the afterlife, he knew that he was not ready. He reached a point of desperation and began to seek information concerning salvation. He was saved that very night. His conversion shows us the immediate change that Jesus brings into a life. This passage also shows us the impact that we can have on our family once we have been transformed by the Savoir.

Let's take a moment and set the stage for the events that are about to take place in that jail: Paul and Silas had encountered a slave girl who was possessed by a demon. She was a fortune teller and she made much profit for her masters. She followed God's men mocking them for several days. Finally Paul had had enough and he turned and said to the demon "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her".... and the demon was cast out!

The men who owned this girl were furious because they had just lost their source of profit. So they took them before the authorities and said: - v20 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. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor 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.

It would seem that Paul and Silas were in a bad place. But these men of God made the best of a bad situation. They didn't gripe, whine, complain or blame God for their circumstances. Verse 25 (says) midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. The way they responded to this situation caught the attention of this jailer.

He came before them and asked the question "What must I do to be saved?" Have you ever have asked that question? If not, I hope that you will today. I can assure you that is the most important question you will ever ask. Because the answer has eternal implications.

Let's look at the conversion of this Philippian Jailer and examine "The Most Important Question You Will Ever Ask"

- Notice first of all:

I. AN INSTENSE SITUATION - v26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

It was this man's job to ensure that Paul and Silas did not escape. He took them to the innermost part of the prison, and to be sure they were secure he fastened their feet in the stocks. He then laid down and was soon fast asleep, then all of the sudden he was awakened by a "great earthquake".

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