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The Philippian Jailer

The Philippian Jailer

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Published by: Grace Church Modesto on Oct 26, 2009
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02/01/2013

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\u201cThe Philippian Jailer\u201d
(Acts 16:25-34)
I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
1. We saw how the Lord opened the door for a church to be established in Philippi.
a. How the Lord continued to open and close doors, directing Paul and his
companions further and further towards the west.
b. How He gave Paul a vision: the man of Macedonia beckoning to him to
come over and help.
c. How when they came to the city, they didn\u2019t find a group of men, a
synagogue, or even a particular man, but a place of prayer where women had

gathered to worship.
d. How Paul took advantage of that situation by preaching the Gospel to them.
e. And how the Lord opened Lydia\u2019s heart to receive Jesus Christ.
f. The Lord will do His will through His people, and even though we don\u2019t

know exactly what the Lord wants us to do, we know that if by His grace we
push forward, He will lead us by His Spirit where He wants us to go.
f. We should also not despise the day of small things; you never know what the
Lord will do through our efforts.
2. We also saw that when the kingdom moved a step forward, Satan began to fight
back. Satan doesn\u2019t take the subduing of his kingdom lying down.

a. When he saw the kingdom of God advance into Macedonia, he moved his
servant \u2013 the demon possessed fortune teller \u2013 into place to try and frustrate
God\u2019s plans.
(i) She followed them day after day, crying out in a loud voice who they

were and what they were doing.

(ii) Whether she was trying to gain more clout for herself, discredit them by
her associating with them, or just trying to frustrate them, Paul finally
reached the point where he did something about it.

(iii) He turned to her and commanded the spirit to come out of her in the
name of Christ, and it obeyed.
b. When he saw that this tactic failed, he tried another.
(i) He stirred up her owners against them \u2013 Paul had taken away their ability
to make money through her.
(ii) They dragged Paul and Silas before the chief magistrates and accused
them falsely.

(iii) Paul and Silas had their robes stripped from them, they were beaten
many times with rods, and then they were thrown into prison and their feet
were fastened in the stocks.

(iv) But this attack wouldn\u2019t stop them either; because the Lord was planning
to use this situation further to build His church.
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B. Preview.

1. This morning, let\u2019s look at how the Lord used these circumstances again to
advance His kingdom.
a. Paul and Silas were not discouraged by what had happened \u2013 they began

praising God.
b. As they did, the Lord sent a great earthquake that opened the doors of their
cells and caused their chains to fall off.
c. The jailer awoke and was going to kill himself since it appeared that his
prisoners had escaped.
d. But instead of losing his life that day, he actually gained it forever, and the
church in Philippi gained some new members.
2. Let\u2019s consider three things:
a. First, we can rejoice in the worst of times if we know we are doing God\u2019s
will.
b. Second, God will continue to work with us during those times, if we\u2019re only
willing to continue to do His will.
c. Finally, we can expect to see the fruit of changed lives through the power of
Gospel, and God glorified, if we persevere.
II. Sermon.

A. We can rejoice in the worst of times if we know we are doing God\u2019s will: Paul
and Silas were in prison and yet were able to worship God.
1. How many times have we had difficulty worshiping God when things are going

well?
a. How many times do we struggle to read our Bibles, to pray, to come to
worship God on the Lord\u2019s Day?
b. Sometimes persecution can help strengthen us in these areas, sometimes it
can weaken us, depending on our spiritual condition.
c. But I hope we all see that whether in good times or in bad, we should always
worship the Lord.

2. Paul and Silas were able to worship the Lord in spite of what they had gone
through: \u201cBut about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns
of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them\u201d (Acts 16:25).
a. They must have been hurting and somewhat humiliated by the treatment they

received, but they were not downcast.
(i) They were praying, perhaps that the Lord would use their circumstances
to His glory.
(ii) They were singing hymns of praise to God, thanking Him that everything
was happening just as He intended.

b. They were encouraged by the fact that it is a blessing to suffer for the Gospel,
to bear in their bodies the blows meant for Jesus (Gal. 6:17).
(i) The Spirit of glory and of grace was resting on them (1 Pet. 4:14).

3
(ii) They could expect greater rewards in heaven.

c. They also knew that their conduct would be a witness to others around them,
either for good or bad.
(i) Bearing up patiently under abuse in the presence of others for the sake of

the Gospel speaks louder than any words.
(ii) The other prisoners were listening and undoubtedly were affected by
what they heard.
(iii) We don\u2019t know how the Lord used this in their lives, but we do know
how He did for the jailer.

d. Their greatest encouragement must have come from the fact that they were
honoring the One who laid down His life for them.
(i) Suffering for the Gospel is one of the ways we bring the greatest honor to

Christ, and yet it is something we avoid more than anything else.
(ii) We know that every time we have suffered for Him, the Lord has done
something for us or through us for which to praise Him.
(iii) We need to pray that the Lord would give us greater love, courage, and
faith, so that fear will not stop us from serving the Lord as we should.

B. But here\u2019s another reason we can rejoice when we suffer for His sake: God will
continue to work with us during those times, if we\u2019re only willing to keep doing
His will: Paul and Silas did not become discouraged and give up, but trusted the
Lord, and as a result, the jailer and his household were saved.
1. The Lord responded to the prayers and praises of Paul and Silas: \u201cAnd 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\u201d (v. 26).
a. He responded with a miracle: A great earthquake, the foundations of the

prison were shaken, the doors were all opened, everyone\u2019s chains were
unfastened.
b. Remember, the purpose of the miracle is to draw attention to the truth of
God\u2019s Word that He might glorify His name, and that\u2019s how He used it here.

2. This miracle was not meant to free Paul and Silas, but to draw attention to His
Son, Jesus Christ.
a. At first glance, it might appear that the Lord was opening the gates and

moving the jailer out of the way so they could escape:

(i) \u201cWhen 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\u201d (v. 27).

(ii) The jailer was about to end his life: Since the penalty for letting your
prisoners escape was death anyway, he thought he would spare himself the
humiliation that accompanied it.

b. But this was not a miracle of judgment: it was a miracle of mercy:

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