Acts 16

Acts 16 has Paul traveled to Lystra.  He found a man – “A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek”.  Paul sees potential and “wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek”.  Paul took Timothy and they went around the area teaching and sharing the result of the Jerusalem council.  Interestingly, Paul had Timothy circumcised even though it was not required for his salvation.  It did remove an objection of the Jews however.  “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily”.

God directs Paul and Silas to Philippi to meet a woman named Lydia who was a godly woman.  They lead her to know Jesus and stay with her.  While there, a girl possessed continually calls out Paul and Timothy saying “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation”.  True words, but it happened day after day after day as Paul and Silas were teaching. “And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit….come out of her”. This upset the girl’s owners who had made much money from her ability.

So they accuse Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice”.  They were attacked and then “threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks”.  The jailer is taking no chances that these two would get away.  But God has a different plan.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. God doesn’t just free Paul and Silas like he had Peter previously.  This time all the prisoners were set free.  All the doors were opened.  God did His miracle in a total and complete way.  “When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and  was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped”.  He knew by losing them his life was over.

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here”.  They could have all escaped, but they didn’t.  They stayed and shared the gospel with the jailer and prisoners. And the jailer asks “Sirs, what must I do to be saved”? So Paul says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household….and he was baptized at once, he and all his family”.  The next morning, the jailer gets word to let Paul and Silas go.  But they refuse, because they were Roman citizens who had been wrongly treated.  “Let them come themselves and take us out”.  They refused to walk away without the officials coming to set them free themselves.  “So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city”.

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