Summary: To establish that the Jailer and household’s conversion follows the New Testament’s “pattern of conversions” as outlined in the Book of Acts. The jailer and his household were saved at midnight after hearing, believing and obeying the gospel of Christ.
1. The Jailer’s Crisis at Midnight
2. The Jailer’s Counsel at Midnight
3. The Jailer’s Conversion at Midnight
1. In our lesson today we will be discussing, a man who asked a very important question. A question that had eternal implications! This is a question that all must ask if they like him are unaware of God’s terms of salvation. Not everyone however will receive the answer, in the same spirit in which he and his entire family did. We are not talking about some man's theology! Or someone’s philosophy! We are talking about things, which are eternal, and divinely ordained. Many have asked this question, but not all have received the same answer. In every case where one inquired of God's terms of salvation, of the man of God, the Lord requires his servants to give the same answer and assistance to the inquirer’s search for salivation. We will notice that this act of conversion follows the New Testament’s “pattern of conversion” as outlined in the Book of Acts.
2. First of all, we will consider the jailer’s crisis at midnight. As a result of an unexpected earthquake at midnight, the jailer would ask a great question out of concern for his safety and salvation. That would be: "what must I do to be saved?" Perhaps fear generated this question. Fear for his life. But, somehow he knew these men could give him the answer he needed. We ought to understand this for ourselves; for each of us must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Most important however, we cannot help others find the way, if we don’t know it first ourselves. It is important to find out what we must do, first do it, and then instruct others how to obey God.
3. Secondly, we will notice the two counselors God had placed in the jail house at midnight. The jailer asked the counselors: "Sirs, what must I DO to be saved?" It implies some action on the part of the jailer. It suggests that he understood that he must do something - to be saved. Unlike the Universalist’s which say, "Ye need not do anything – it has all been done for you." Or like the Calvinist’s which say, "You can't do anything if you are not one of God’s elect." But, Paul told the jailer to have faith in Jesus, and he could be saved he and his entire house. God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. But each must do something to be saved and what is required is taught in this act of New Testament conversion. We will see from this example, what God requires of us all, in order to be saved.
4. Lastly, we will describe the jailer’s conversion at midnight. The jailer desired to be saved. He was not trying to deceive, or attempting to distract them from escaping that night. He truly wanted to be saved. Like so many today! If someone would ask this same question today, would the answer be the same? I sincerely think not. However, God's terms of pardon and salvation have not changed since this man's conversion! He is the "same yesterday, today and forever." In the same hour of the night - this man's life was saved both from suicide and sin, by these men of God. He and his entire household heard, believed and obeyed the Gospel! I would today, that everyone here today would do the same! Let’s consider our first point, the Jailer’s crisis at midnight.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE JAILER’S CRISIS AT MIDNIGHT
A. How the jailer arrived at the conclusion he needed to be saved is a question of speculation. It is possible he had seen or heard of Paul’s work among the Macedonians. It may be possible or even likely, he heard talk of their work among the prisoners or the guards. God sent Paul and Silas into Macedonia. Illustrate: The Macedonian Call, Acts 16:9-17. Philippi was a Roman city and colony. The gospel was being preached in Europe in this city, about 50 AD. Paul’s vison in Corinth, Acts 18:9-10; and his preaching in the city of Rome, Acts 28:23-24, and Acts 28:31.
B. First converts in the city, was Lydia and her household, Acts 16:13-l5. "The Lord opened her heart...as she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her entire household, she, besought us..." How was her heart opened? Through preaching! "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God," Romans 10:17.
C. Healing of a damsel of an evil spirit. Who had followed them and proclaimed: "these men are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation," Acts 16:16-24. For this they were beaten and place in prison, for doing GOOD. Don't be discouraged when people are unappreciative of the good you do, or even cause evil to become part of your day. The man and woman of God seek to relieve the affliction and oppression of others; even if they receive persecution for doing so. Paul admonishes us all not to "Become weary in well doing," Galatians 6:9-10. What does God require? Micah answers: “To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before his God," Micah 6:8.