Sermons

"Salvation at Midnight" (Suffering so others may come into the Kingdom)

May 31, 2015 Series: Audio Sermon

Topic: Sunday Morning Scripture: Acts 16:27–16:34

Salvation at Midnight

(Suffering so others may come into the kingdom)

Acts 16:27-34

27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

Introduction

The last time we were journeying together in this text we were talking about how to deal with trouble in the ministry. We saw that Paul and Silas were on their missionary journey when the devil got busy and had themfalsely accused, imprisoned, beat-down, thrown in the dungeon, placed inside of the wooden stocks and left to suffer for their faith.

We discovered that at midnight in the midst of their incarceration and pain, they were praying and signing praises unto God.

We said that this was a result of the brother’s spirit that lived within-them commanding them to worship in the midnight hour of persecution and trouble. They were soldiers in love with Jesus and were willing to endure hardships for the sake of the kingdom.

We learned that it was not pleasurable for them to be beat & imprisoned

It was not glamorous or popular

It was not exciting and or fun.

They were there against their will, nevertheless, while they were there they would WORSHIP God in all of his majesty, in-spite of what their circumstances and situations declared upon their lives.

As a result of their willingness to worship God, HE sent them an earthquake that shook the foundation of the prison. And declared to all who were in the prison that HE was paying attention to HIS servants and was well aware of their trials and persecutions.

We left that message understanding that God had a plan for their sufferings, and HE had set them up so that they could bring HIM honor and glory through painful problems.

Today we come again to the text to see, that because they were willing to live for God, and willing to be ridiculed, God would not forget them.

As a benefit for their sufferings…somebody would get blessed and received everlasting life!

Application:

Sometime your suffering is so that somebody else may come into the kingdom, and get to know Jesus.

Sometime your trials in life are to bless somebody else, so that they may get to know Jesus

Sometime your difficulty is to make somebody else life better, so that they may get to know Jesus.

Sometime your struggles are to prosper somebody else.

Paul and Silas endured great pain so that a brother in this text could get eternal life. God used them, their sufferings, their aches and pains to produce eternal life in the heart of a total stranger.

Question:

Are you available for the sufferings of God today?

Can God use your trials to lead somebody unto himself?

Can you be counted on to endure hardship for the kingdom of God?

If you can, God can use you to introduce others unto himself.

The Soldiers Surprise

27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

Observation:

When we arrive at this text we see that the enemy who once beat and imprisoned the Apostles is on display.

We can learn from his previous behavior that he is not a Christian, nor does he have any empathy for prisoners under his care. This brother is a callous man, a cruel man, a calculating man.

He alone was responsible for beating them, taking them from the holding cell and putting them to the deepest darkest dungeon, and then while they were in the dungeon, he put them inside of the stocks.

This brother was a sinner! A hater! A persecutor! He was anti-Christian and taking full advantage of an opportunity to mistreat somebody. He was a cruel warden, who represented the system in the worse way possible! But he was on the radar of Heaven!

Note:

The text says that after he had done all these things to the brothers he was sleeping…

He was so cruel he could sleep with himself misbehaving it was no problem

He was so cruel he could sleep with them suffering, and it was no problem.

He was so cruel he could sleep with his social injustice and it was no problem.

He was so cruel he could sleep with evil attributes, and it didn't bother him one bit, no problem.

He was just that cruel that he could sleep having been unjust, with no problem at all.

Observation:

So what God had to do was get his attention…

He did so by not only waking him from sleep, but shaking Him from sleep! God knew just what to do to get his attention.

God shook the foundation of His security!

God shook the foundation of his world!

God shook the foundation of everything he trusted in and was secure in.

God wanted this jailer’s attention, and he wanted him to know who he was and what he was capable of doing to him if he wouldn't change his ways.

So when God shook him, he had Paul and Silas in place to preach to him, and to help him understand who was doing the shaking, who was in control and why he was being targeted for a divine encounter.

Illumination:

God doesn't send the earth quake to deliver them, he sends the earth quake to use them.

God doesn't send the earth quake to set them free, they were already free even though they were in chains.

God doesn't send the earth quake to speak to Paul and Silas, He was already speaking to them by confirming their persecution in His name.

God sends the earth quake to demonstrate his power for the Jailer!

The jailer thought his keys and authority could keep the gospel silent!

He thought that his commands and orders would silence Gods word.

He thought that his men could contain Gods men, but no man can contain Gods men

The earth quake was a demonstration of Divine Power over man’s puny ideas of confinement!

You can’t incarcerate Gods man and silence his voice. God will always give him a way to speak

You can’t incarcerate Gods man and quench his miracle working ability. God will always find a way to use him

You can’t incarcerate Gods man and cause him to quit praising God. A praise will break out in the midst of suffering

The more you persecute him, the more powerful he becomes. When they chained and beat them, their praise and worship found a way to bless the name of God in-spite of their wicked conditions.

Illumination:

God chose not to release them but rather to use them.

God chose not to set them free from Jail, but to use them inside of jail

It wasn't Gods plan to release them, but rather to elevate them

God can use chains and bonds, cells and stocks, whips and false sentences for His honor and glory

He has chosen the foolish things of the world to confine the wise.

Observation:

When he saw what had happened, he drew his sword out and was going to take his own life! Why?

According to historians…If a Roman jailer lost a prisoner, it meant his own life would be taken; so it is no wonder that the jailer, on awakening, tried to commit suicide. It was a shameful thing as a “proud roman soldier” to lose your prisoner.

Here we see a clear demonic temptation from the underworld to destroy this soldier after the wicked one has used him to persecute Paul and Silas!

This is Satan the murderer at work again; he wanted to destroy this man’s life…HE comes to steal, Kill and Destroy!

I think that something else is happening in this text…

Perhaps the devil knew that God was going to save him…

Perhaps the devil knew the earthquake was a sign of what was to come…

Perhaps the devil knew that every time God does something supernatural in the earth Salvation is a direct product of Gods actions….

So Satan had to move quickly in order to snatch this soul before God could get him…

But! Paul “The Prisoner….called out and stopped him, that the jailer might not die and go to hell.”

Application

Family let God use your sufferings to save somebody who’s in bondage and being deceived!

Let God use your trials to get the attention of the unbeliever, so they might be saved!

Let God be glorified even in your pain, he has power to get you through it and power to fill you in it!

If you will worship him in your midnight hour, you too can have a vision to save those who are lost, Just like Paul… “Do thyself no harm, we are all here”

This was a surprise to the soldier who himself was on death row, contemplating killing himself!

II. The Soldiers Salvation

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Note:

When we arrive at this verse we see an amazing thing…

The soldier is in the dark of the prison…he can’t see the one who is calling out to protect him

He can’t see the one who has a desire to see him saved

He can’t see the one who cares about his eternal welfare…he needs a light!

Spiritual observation:

What a picture of the world! They can’t see in the darkness of their own prisons!

When God is shaking their world, and when Satan is whispering in their ears to commit suicide, what they need is a voice crying out in their crisis to do themselves no harm… [That’s the voice of the church]

In addition to the voice they need a light!

They need to see them in their sufferings

They need to see the ones they have persecuted

They need to see the ones they have talked about

They need to see the ones they have misjudged and mistreated!

They need a light! [the church is that light]

Textual observation:

A little light in darkness illuminates a great deal of space. When he saw the light he saw that those he had incarcerated were still in their shackles! All of the prisoners were still in their cells.

Though their cells were opened, none had escaped or even tried to leave. Paul and Silas were content in their assignment, and waiting for God to give them the next assignment!

Application:

When God lets your light shine in the dark places, in-spite of your persecution and difficulties, just be still and wait for what he has next for you!

Be available to witness to the first person he brings your way.

They are the reason that you are in the location you are in for the glory of God.

Note:

30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The text says that he released them from the stocks, he brought them out of the cell!

It is a picture of humility and brokenness! This enemy has come to those he has oppressed and wants them to tell him how to be saved!

His cry is a cry for salvation!

He understood from the magnitude of this earth quake that he should have been killed!

He understood that the inmates should have all escaped, and he should've been killed!

He understood that he was wrong for what he did to these men and should've been killed!

So his cry to the brothers is what must I do to be saved?

Application:

This is a great question! “What must I do to be saved?” This is the cry of lost people worldwide, and we had better be able to give them the right answer.

When those that God brings our way have a need of salvation, we must quickly give them the answer to their question.

Every believer must know how to share their faith in the midst of the storm.

Note:

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Note:

Here we see the plan of salvation clear and plain laid out for the jailer in the midst of his sins.

He is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ

He is not to do anything else to obtain salvation.

He can’t work for it, he can’t earn it, he can’t purchase it, he can’t be good enough, he can’t be smart enough, he can’t be rich enough, he is to believe on the lord Jesus Christ.

Then we see a promise given to him as a result of his faith in Christ ….They said to him that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you and your household will be saved.

Note:

This promise is a blessing that is spoken to the jailer, who is clearly concerned about his life and his future, if he will trust God, then as the head of his house, his family will follow daddy’s leadership and trust in Christ just as he has.

Application:

Leadership has his privileges! Leadership makes a difference in the home! Leadership moves the family onto the page of God.

When the father leads in the manner that God has directed, salvation for his family is a direct product of his obedience.

This verse is powerful in that he is given a promise and a blessing that is directly related to believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

Question:

Is there anybody here that's seen this blessing come true in your home?

Is there anybody here that can say my kids are talking with the Lord because I trusted in his promise?

Is there anybody here still waiting on the promise?

Trust in the Lord with all of your heat and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths…

Trust in the promise of Household salvation!

Note

The text then takes a turn in to the promise that is made to the jailer….

32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Between verse 31 and 32 the jailer takes the brothers out of the prison and in to his house! This is a great picture of repentance and reconciliation.

Because he was now reconciled to God he could be reconciled to Paul and Silas. They were no longer his enemies. They were no longer people he couldn't like or associate with. Together they were one in the family of God.

Reconciliation is a bi-product of salvation!

Reconciliation is an outworking of the Spirits work in the heat!

Where there is true repentance, reconciliation will bloom and blossom!

Where there is no reconciliation there is no repentance!

Note:

Paul and Silas were in the jailers house, and they were there having bible study.

They were invited home to share the good news with his family…

It was an outworking of the promise of house hold salvation.

Since daddy believed the gospel and was saved. He wanted his family to hear the same word.

He use to arrest prisoners, but now he sets them free.

He used to talk about the prisoners, but now he keeps company with them

He used to mistreat the prisoners, but now he is ministering to them

His family sees the change, and now they hear the message, and house hold salvation is working in the jailers house

Application

Is household salvation working in your house?

Are you able to talk about the things of the Lord in your house?

Is there a witness in your family for the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Does your testimony move your family to make their decisions for God?

III. The Soldiers Service

33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

Note:

When we arrive at this verse we see ministry being born into the jailer’s house.

First he is reconciled through repentance to Christ, and then to the brothers.

Then in action for what he did to Paul and Silas, he brings them home and washes the wounds that he inflicted upon them!

He cause them to get beat, but now he ministers to them to bring them comfort.

Observation:

This is a complete picture of salvation.

When we have truly been saved there is repentance for our sins, reconciliation unto God and to men, and healing implemented to those we have wounded and caused pain whenever and where ever it is possible!

Because he could do something about the pain he caused them, he did something…He ministered totem.

Because they were present he wanted to demonstrate that he was sorry and remorseful.

Application

Every believer ought to minister when they have the chance to minister to the one they offended. Truce reconciliation is always a beautiful picture of the born again spirit.

[If you have the chance to forgive you ought to forgive, if you have the chance to minister for the wrongs you have caused you ought to do so to bring God honor and glory]

Observation:

The text says after he washed their stripes…the family was baptized! Wow!

Here we see a direct result of salvation. They aren't baptized to be saved, they are baptized because they are saved.

And it is a direct result of their relationship with Christ. They choose to now identify with Christ, because he has saved them.

They did it as a family!

They did as new Christians!

They did it as an act of obedience and they did it right away!

They didn't put it off!

They did it because they believed!

Discipleship was on the move in the Jailers house!

They were moving quickly in the things of the lord, and then we see a new ministry born in their family, the ministry of fellowship!

34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

Note:

Where there is true conversion and salvation, there will always be fellowship!

They broke bread together, they were in harmony with each other.

They were rejoicing over their new lives in Christ!

They had new brothers in the ministry!

They were once enemies, now they are eating, rejoicing, loving, forgiving and believing together in the word of the lord.

This is a picture of the Church! This is what the house of the Lord ought to look like! They all the ingredients of the family of faith!

A new church is born in Philippi, and God is on the move. The brothers were being used by God to preach, and lead souls into the kingdom of God. God was on the move!

He was calling men with bad reputations, and horrible attitudes, criminal tendencies and saving them just like they were! That’s the gospel.

At midnight God was working through earth quakes. Shattering perceptions, positions and power to bring the worse of men unto himself…

The story:

Dr. Marshall Craig, preaching in a southern university, pleaded for young men and women to place their all on God’s altar.

They began to come—the president of the student body, football players, beautiful girls, campus leaders—sincerely, honestly giving themselves to Christ.

And then Dr. Craig saw a strange thing. Far back toward the rear of the auditorium, he saw a boy start down the aisle toward the front. And that boy was crawling on his hands and knees.

Dr. Craig turned to the president of the university, who said, “It’s all right, sir. That boy is one of our students, but he is a hopeless cripple, and the only way he can get around is on his hands and knees.” Dr. Craig waited until the boy had made his way to the front, then leaned down to greet him.

The young man looked at the great preacher, and said to him, “Sir, you said God had a place for a man. I know God has a place for these athletes with their muscles of steel;

I know God has a place for these campus leaders. But tell me, sir, does God have a place for a wreck like me?”

And Dr. Craig told him through his tears, “Son, God has just been waiting for a wreck like you.”

—Charles Wellborn

Application:

Maybe you're a wreck today, like the Jailer of Philippi, God has a place for you!

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

2000 years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem, the Lamb of God died for all of the sins of the world.

Jesus took your place out on the cross to pay for all of your sins.

He died a painful death. Was buried in a borrowed tomb, and early Sunday morning He was raised from the dead by God the father,

He is alive today sitting on the right of God in Heaven.

Sermon Invitation and Conclusion

The bible say’s that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

The bible say’s that God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

The bible say’s that he that believes in Jesus Christ is not condemned, but he that does not is condemned already. Because he does not believe in the only begotten Son of God.

The bible say’s that this is the record that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son. He that has the son has life and he that has not the son has not life.

Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The bible say’s that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead you shall be saved.

The bible say’s to Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, and the times of salvation shall come from the presence of the Lord.

The bible say’s to repent and believe the gospel, and Christ will save you from your sins.

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