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Acts 16:19-34

Responding in Tune

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • December 30, 2018

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Responding in Tune

Acts 16:19-34

Intro: That’s not how it’s supposed to go!

This morning we are going to read about two men named Paul and Silas, who sense a call from God to preach the gospel in Philippi of Macedonia, a Roman colony. Upon arriving there, they experience some success in their pursuit however, things ultimately end up going differently than they had planned.

On their way to a place of prayer, a girl in slavery who was used by her masters for profit as fortune teller begins to follow Paul and Silas. With an evil spirit of divination, she began to proclaim their purpose for being in Philippi and it was not the way they wanted their purpose articulated. After following them for many days, Paul rebuked the evil spirit which left immediately. Upon the evil spirit leaving, her masters realized that their money-making scheme was gone. This is where we will pick up the story.

Read Acts 16:19-34

As things went from bad to worse, Paul and Silas would have a choice to make…How would they respond to it all? They responded to call of God in going to this town, yet, they find themselves in darkness at the midnight hour. In an unlikely place, at an unlikely time, they respond in an unlikely manner, singing songs of praise for all to hear. While they did not know the outcome they praised God for His purpose in their process.

Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

While we know this truth, it is often so easy to respond in such a way that brings into question its truth applied to us. For 2019, I encourage you in the midst of whatever you might face, to trust that the Lord has a purpose in your process, the opportunity you have is to respond as Paul and Silas did, in tune with His will no matter what may come your way.

I.Remain Fastened to Christ

Acts 16:23-24, When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

  • After being falsely accused, dragged before the chief magistrates, beaten and jailed; Paul and Silas find themselves in prison.
  • Paul and Silas came to Philippi to share the gospel of Jesus. With great excitement, they began sharing and encouraging those in the land to give their lives to Jesus.
  • I am sure they expected a degree of difficulty in their mission, however, they might not have envisioned it going this way.
  • After being badly beaten, the jailer is ordered to guard them securely and places Paul and Silas into the inner prison, with their feet fastened in stocks.
  • The inner cell of the prison was the harshest, least ventilated, most degrading location.
  • And as Paul and Silas are placed into the inner cell, their feet are fastened into wooden stocks. These wooden stocks were anchored to the floor and were commonly used for torture and detention.
  • The stocks were reserved for prisoners with low social status. Once in these stocks, the prisoner was immobilized.
  • Additionally, there are two factors surrounding the charges that should be noted:
    • There was an assumption that Paul and Silas both were Jews, who were also Roman citizens. As Roman citizens their civil rights were guarded and, in this case, illegally violated due to their appearance as Jews.
    • Secondly, due to the bias against Paul and Silas, the vague charges of being “troublemakers” was enough to falsely accuse, beat, and place them in prison.
  • These two factors could have given them a sense of entitlement when they arrived in prison. “We will be out of here tomorrow, we don’t belong here.”
  • However, in remaining in tune with the Lord purposes in their situation, it seems that they looked at it as an opportunity to sing a different song than most would in their situation.

Illus. You have the wrong guy.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:17, For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

  • What Paul was seeing didn’t look so good in this prison: His body, bloodied and beaten after being struck with many blows, the dirty inner cell they were placed in, and his feet fastened to stocks likely rendering he and Silas, his partner in ministry, immobile.
  • Yet, in the midst of it all, Paul knew that he was to look not at the temporal, but the eternal. While his feet were fastened to stocks, his life remained fastened to Christ.

Illus. Maker of some of finest pianos made, Theodore Steinway illustrated that it is the 40,000 pounds of pressure on the 245 strings in his concert grand pianos that make way for its beautiful harmony.

  • In the midst of their being afflicted, persecuted, and struck down; Paul knew that there was more. And what we find when they are pressed, is a song begins to rise.
  • And with you and I, in the midst of difficulty, when pressed, afflicted, or struck down…a song will begin to rise.
  • The question, however, is: will that song reflect our being fastened to Christ? Or a picture of our being immobilized by chains of this world? What comes out of you when pressed?

Illus. In 1 Samuel 19, we see Saul send men to David’s house in order to watch him all night and put him to death in the morning. David finds out what is happening and decides to sing praise instead of declare his fear.

Psalm 59:16, But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.

  • With their feet fastened to stocks, Paul and Silas remain fastened to the Lord, and the song they begin singing reveals just that.

     A.  Know that the song you sing matters

Acts 16:25, But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

  • Picture this. Paul and Silas enter into the prison, bloodied and beaten. People throughout the town knew that these men were proclaiming the way of salvation in Jesus (Vs. 17).
  • And in the midnight hour, in the darkest of cells, stuck in prison, Paul and Silas begin praying and singing hymns of praise to God.
  • They enter into the prison, whether those in the prison knew who these men were, certainly the jailer had some understanding of what they were in for.
  • And they began singing songs of praise.

Illus. Are those guys singing?

Illus. Let’s see if we can get them to join us!

  • The song you sing in difficulty matters, how you sing it and who you sing it to matters. If you are a follower of Christ, your actions and decisions, they matter.

Colossians 3:2-3, Set your mind of the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

  • You never know who might be listening or watching as you in or life. Make your life hidden in Christ, so that others will see a reflection of Him in you.

Illus. Huh?

  • My hope is that the more he grows and further he goes, his following my example would look more and more like my following Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

  • Here Paul essentially says, “if you want to know what to do…Just follow my example.” My hope personally would be that we can make this statement a reality in our lives as well amongst our families, co-workers, and those who we come in contact with.

Matthew 5:16, Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

  • How you approach this world has an impact on those around you.
  • Live as one who bring the light of Jesus into your every situation.

John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  • Paul and Silas did not know the outcome of this midnight hour prayer, they didn’t have Acts 16 to look back on, yet they praised God trusting He would “work all things for good.” (Romans 8:28)

     B.  Look for God to work all things together for good

  • Before any commentary, seek Him.
  • Is He up to something? Is there a reason for this beyond what is seen? Look for God to work all things together for good.
  • After the prison doors are opened, the jailer responsible to oversee the prison, prepares to end his own life.
  • He knew that once the news about this came out, he was going to be finished so he was about to save his superiors the trouble.
  • Paul yells to him…“We are all here, don’t harm yourself.” vs. 28
  • The jailer runs to Paul and Silas, and after falling down before them asks, “what must I do to be saved?” vs. 30
  • “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, you and your household.” vs. 31
  • The jailer took them to his house and they spoke the word of the Lord to his family. They also believed and were baptized.
  • Through all these troubles and trials God was making a way for the gospel.

Illus – God wanted Paul and Silas in that prison, at that time, in order to open not just prison doors, but to make a way for the jailer and his family to be saved.

  • Ultimately, the purpose the Lord had called them to Phillipi was fulfilled, to evangelize.
  • The way this evangelism would take place was different than they expected, there was great difficulty and pain.
  • Had they not endured that difficulty, been falsely accused, beaten and placed in jail, that particular jail; the jailer and his family would not have likely met Paul and Silas.
  • Through it all, Paul and Silas respond in tune to how the Lord would want to use them in the midst of their being stuck, beaten, immobilized and imprisoned.
  • While we don’t always what we might find ourselves in the midst of in this year ahead, I encourage you to respond in tune, just as Paul and Silas did.

Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Acts 16:19-34

But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.” The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.



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