Summary: The Bible promises us that life will be tough. This message deals with Paul & Silas in prison, and how God brought them through ... just like He can bring you through.
“There’s Victory In Jesus”
INTRODUCTION: The last few weeks haven’t been easy for most of us … we have been through, and survived 2 hurricanes. For SOME of us, it has been even worse:
• Billy Bass – Heart Cauterization.
• John Ross – Back Surgery.
• Michelle Smith – Surgery.
• Donna Tooke – Shoulder Surgery.
• Jo Smith – Ovarian Tumor.
• Susie Roberts – Death of her Mother.
• Jennifer Allen – 4 weeks in hospital.
• Dianne Lovett – Hospital.
Life is tough! BUT … it should come as no surprise. WHY? BECAUSE … Paul PROMISED us that life would be tough. 2 Tim. 3:12 – “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Never get the idea that, just because you’re a Christian, bad things won’t happen to you. If you’ve been a Christian for very long, you know that just isn’t true.
Paul & Silas found this out, when they went on their missionary journey. MAYBE … they expected the world to receive them with open arms. If they did, they were sadly disappointed.
Paul & Silas went into Thyatira, ready to preach and witness for Christ. They found a woman possessed with a spirit of divination. Because of her demon possession, she was given a revelation of the future. Certain men used her demonic gift to make money off of her.
Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, cast these demons from her. Of course, it made the men mad, because they lost their income. A good way to make somebody mad, is to touch their wallet! When you touch someone’s wallet, you touch a touchy spot!
Paul & Silas were brought before the magistrates … beaten & whipped … cast into prison … feet placed into the stocks. Paul & Silas were having a BAD DAY!
DITTY: “How do you know you’re having a bad day?”
Let’s take a look at our text.
16:22-24 – Can’t you just visualize these 2 men? Their backs were a mass of blood & dirt … the PAIN they must have been in! They were thrown into the “inner prison” … dark, damp, rats, cold. They couldn’t even get up and walk around.
What a great opportunity to GRUMBLE … AMEN? Don’t you LIKE to grumble? … be honest now! There’s nothing quite like a good PITY PARTY! We wouldn’t blame Paul & Silas a bit … they had a good reason to GRUMBLE, complain & feel sorry for themselves.
• Weren’t Paul & Silas in God’s will? YES, they were.
• Didn’t God sent them to Thyatira? YES, He did.
• Didn’t they walk through the door that God had opened to them? YES, they did.
• Shouldn’t everything have gone smoothly for them? NOPE!
• MAYBE … they only THOUGHT it was God’s open door.
• MAYBE … they PRIED it open.
NO! Just because things don’t go the way you want, doesn’t mean that you’re out of God’s will. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
They had an opportunity to doubt God … to question His love … to get mad at God. BUT … What did they do?
16:25 – they “prayed”! NOW … that’s not such an unusual thing to do when life knocks you on your back. That’s what we USUALLY do. No matter WHAT … no matter WHERE … we can ALWAYS pray. Paul & Silas were in fellowship with the Lord, so their prayer line was always open.
NOW … THIS is what has always amazed me … they “sang praises unto God”.
• Ephes. 5:20 – “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
• Philip. 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
They weren’t rejoicing in their CIRCUMSTANCES … they were rejoicing in the LORD! God doesn’t expect you to rejoice about all the bad things that happen to you. “All right …Cancer! My house just burned down … Fantastic!” NO! How could Paul & Silas REJOICE over their circumstances? BECAUSE … they knew God was in it … God was in charge/control … God had a plan and a purpose for it all. Wasn’t it Paul who wrote Romans 8:28?
Look at the TESTIMONY it was to the other prisoners … “and the prisoners heard them”. How do YOU REACT when things don’t go your way? What kind of a TESTIMONY are YOU when tragedy strikes? While the other prisoners were moaning & groaning … cursing & swearing … Paul & Silas were PRAYING and SINGING! They were having an old fashioned “shouting” service. WHY? BECAUSE … they had the JOY of their salvation. They had “victory in Jesus”.