Summary: Have you ever been asked a question that demanded no answer? A question that requires no answer does so because the answer is self-evident. The question of the Philippian jailor demanded and answer. It was a crucial question and demanded a conclusive ans
The Question That Demanded An Answer
Acts 16: 20-34
Have you ever been asked a question that demanded no answer? A question that requires no answer does so because the answer is self-evident.
The question of the Philippian jailor demanded and answer. It was a crucial question and demanded a conclusive answer.
The conversion of the Philippian jailor is the fifth conversion, detailed for us in the book of Acts. First, we have the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch-a black man; then of Saul of Tarsus-the Jew; next of Cornelius-the Gentile; in the beginning of this chapter Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened is converted; and now we come to this rough prison warden, suddenly changed from a heartless, cruel man into a humble follower of the lowly Jesus.
The circumstances with his salvation are precious and full of pertinent instruction.
I. The PEOPLE TO WHOM HE WAS ABLE TO TURN
The servants of God-Paul and Silas-were unceremoniously arrested, cruelly beaten, and then thrust into an underground dungeon. After putting many stripes upon them, the magistrates charged the jailor to keep the prisoners secure, apparently with the intention of treating them even more severely later on.
This jailor shows his character by not just putting them into the inner prison, but thrusting them there. The inner prison was a dark, damp, windowless, underground hole. In this prison they were put into the stocks
A. Note who they were said to be (20,21)
Paul and Silas were falsely charged.
1. There was the RACIST CHARGE
They were Jews; as Jews they did not worship the gods. Jews were not like other people.
They were guilty of turning people from the gods of Rome.
2. There was the RIOT CHARGE.
These two Jews were accused of making trouble in the city. They are accused of instigating a riot. They were accused of disturbing the peace. They were accused of sowing discord.
3. There was the RELIGIOUS CHARGE.
Their teaching was unlawful. It interfered with the states public worship. It incensed the people against the apostles that they taught a religion destructive of polytheism and idolatry, and preached to them to turn from those vanities.
These charges were pure hypocrisy; for they would have let the missionaries preach whatever they pleased if they had not dried up the source of their gains (19). So they concealed the real cause of their rage under color of a zeal for religion, and law, and good order.
B. Note what they were said to know
The jailer was not ignorant of the nature of the charges on which these men had been imprisoned, seeing they had been publicly whipped by order of the magistrates. No doubt that the whole town was filled with the facts of the case, including that strange cry of the demoniac that day "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation." These words proclaimed not only the divine commission of the preachers, but the news of salvation they were sent to tell. He had heard something about the mission and the mssage of thse men around town.
All this, indeed, would go for nothing with such a man, until roused by the mighty earthquake which made the building to rock; then despair gripped him at the sight of the open doors.
The sword of self-destruction was suddenly arrested by words from one of those prisoners such as he would never imagine could be spoken in their circumstances--words evidencing something different about them.
Then flashed across his mind the words, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation!” This he now must know, and from them, as divinely sent to him, must he learn the way of salvation!
What is your testimony, especially in face of difficultly? He appealed to those who, by their confidence and peace, showed that they had a better hope.
II. The PROBLEM ABOUT WHICH HE WAS ANXIOUS AND TROUBLED
He asked, "What must I do to be saved?" He knows that he needs to be saved, he wants to be saved, and seeks to find out what he must do to be saved.
This question speaks of a deep longing of his heart to be right with God.
A. The words with which he came
The Philippian jailer did not ask, "What must I do to join the Church?" He did not ask, "What must I do to be a good person?" He did not ask, "What must I do to be religious?" He asked what he must do to be saved! He came to the understanding that HE needed to be saved.
“Sirs, What must I do to be saved?” There was a new respect and awe in his voice for these two men.