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“Good.” (Acts 16:25-34) *All verses in NKJV*
– Sometimes I ask myself, “What would I do if it was me, in someone else’s challenging situation?” (School shooting, car accident, cancer, war… temptation, persecution)
– Sometimes it reveals a good lesson that prepares me for things that could come my way.
– Sometimes it’s an exercise in humility, realizing I likely would have done far worse things.
– Sometimes you really don’t know what you would do until you find yourself in that situation.
– As we continue through the Book of Acts, here is the situation Paul and Silas found themselves in:
– read Acts 16:22-24
– It’s easy to say what we would do in this situation, I mean, we all know the good Christian answer.
– BUT, when YOU were confronted with unjust and terrible circumstances in the past, what did you ACTAULLY do? Virtue untested is no virtue at all.
– Our verses for today are (read) Acts 16:25-34
3 things really stood out to me when I read this story:
1. I noticed the attitude in which Paul and Silas dealt with difficulty.
– Acts 16:25, But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
– Example: “Good.” Video, Another fire officer showed me this video featuring Jocko Willink, co-author of leadership books Extreme Ownership, and The Dichotomy of Leadership. He was Commander of SEAL team “Task Unit Bruiser”, during the battle of Ramadi. He said this:
– “This is something one of my direct subordinates pointed out. He would pull me aside with some major problem, and I would look at him and say, “Good.” And finally, one day, he was telling me about something that was going off the rails, and as soon as he finished explaining it to me, he said, “I already know what you’re going to say.”
“What am I going to say?”
“You’re going to say, Good. That’s what you always say with something is going wrong.”
“So, I explained to him that when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it: Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. More time to gain experience and build your resume. Got tapped out, got beat? Good. You learned. Got injured? Good. Now you can get some rest and regroup. Unexpected problems? Good. You get the opportunity to come up with new solutions.
“I don’t mean to say something trite. I’m not saying a positive attitude will solve your problems, but neither will focusing on the problem. Accept reality, but focus on the solution, and turn it into something good. This attitude will spread throughout the team. Finally, if you can say the word ‘Good’, then you are still alive.”
– This reminded me exactly of the attitude that Paul and Silas had! Attitude check!!
– Beaten up and thrown in jail for teaching about Jesus? Good. You have the opportunity to grow in your character.
– Romans 5:3-5, …but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
– Stuck in the inner dungeon with hardened criminals? Good. You can shine your light before a whole group of people that would never here the gospel, at all possibly, before their death.
– Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
– Unfair and undeserved circumstances? Good. You get grow in your patience.
– James 1:2-4, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
– Paul and Silas accepted the reality of their situation, and turned to God in prayer and song during it.
– Our Christ-like attitude comes from focusing on Jesus and His present and future glory, not on our current circumstances.
– My example: I had a job change that has caused me 2 ½ hours of daily commuting? Good. You now have uninterrupted time to listen to some great books that will challenge you and grow you.
– Sure, I could have listened to them before, but I didn’t. Now I have little choice in the matter.
– I can complain about it (which I end up doing half the time), or I can see it as an opportunity.
– Bait of Satan, just in time book, you all need to read it! Now is the season. Story of Joseph.
– God’s Armor Bearer, defines my ministry, needs a refresh at least once a year.
– I Don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist, dismantle every Evolutionist’s argument.
– Mere Christianity, Peace child, 12 years a Slave, Alone with God, Extreme Ownership, The Dichotomy of Leadership, Fathered by God, and the list goes on and on…
– I have listened to more books in the last 2 years than I have read in my entire life. Plus, now my “reading” time can be devoted to the Bible, instead of competing with the Bible.
– Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
– I want to have a “GOOD” attitude. One that recognizes the reality of the situation, but sees it as an opportunity to grow in my faith, and trust God more, and give Him praise in the midst of it all.
*You have to ask yourself, do you believe that God is bigger than your situation, or not.
– I bet that Paul and Silas used the past faithfulness of God to encourage them in the present.
– Story of Joseph, sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, then ruled Egypt, then saves family from famine. His response to his situation is this:
– Genesis 45:5&8, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” And Verse 8, “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
– YOU can look to the past faithfulness of God, as seen in the Bible, to encourage YOU in your present circumstances too!
2. I noticed how God chose to bless the bless-able.
– Acts 16:26, 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 chains were loosed.
– They had been severely beaten with rods, and unjustly jailed. It is reasonable and likely that the next step for them would be to be put to death, just like Jesus was.
– There was no crying or complaining. They don’t seem angry or bitter. They aren’t wavering in their faith, but only showing resolve.
– They are choosing joy over the pain. Worship over worry. Praying instead of sleeping.
– Their behavior and attitudes were honoring to God, and He answered their prayers.
– Isaiah 1:19, If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.
– We see this happen again and again in the Bible, and life. Those who honor God are blessed.
– What IF the story went like this:
– Paul and Silas are thrown into jail, and become angry and indignant. (I’m a Christian, but I flip tables sometimes.)
– They complain all week to the other prisoners, and try to convince the Jailer to let them go.
– 2 weeks later, the are freed by the magistrate, and come out yelling, “See?! Now what?! I told you we were innocent!” Then sued the City of Philippi for damages.
– Then they go visit the other believers and tell them how God blessed them by freeing them from prison. (Really? Did he though?)
– Their trial would have ended, but they would have learned nothing, and God is without glory.
– Matthew 7:9-11, Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
– Just as with your own children, You want to do good things for them, but you can’t and shouldn’t if they are acting like spoiled jerks.
– If you bless them during their disobedience, you simply reinforce the wrong message.
– What do you think Paul and Silas were praying for/about?
– Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
– Philippians 1:9-11, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
– Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
– Those are the words and prayers of Paul. And what outcome do we see in this story?
– The prison shakes, opening the doors and loosing chains. All can be free.
– There was an apparent change of heart or mind of the other prisoners who DON’T flee. (Paul and Silas’ display of faith and peace must have had an impact on them.)
– The jailer and his whole family get saved.
– Paul and Silas’ wounds are cleaned and they sit at the jailer’s table for a meal.
* Quite the turn of events!
– Don’t judge the calling of God on your life by your current circumstances.
– Hardship will always be there, so you need to commit to praising God through those times.
3. I noticed the single biggest reason that caused the Jailer to seek salvation.
– Acts 16:27-30, 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?”
– He was sleeping. He didn’t hear the prayers and singing. He did see that the earthquake had opened the prison doors. He had assumed everyone had escaped.
– It was because no prisoners had fled, all were accounted for, that his mind changed!
– I’m sure all that the prisoners were thinking about before Paul and Silas showed up, was getting out of that awful place. Were their hearts changing too? A changed life, changes lives!
– John 13:35, By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– Maybe the jailer had heard what the possessed slave girl had said? Acts 16:17, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
– Seeing them in action may have confirmed to him that they know the way to be saved.
– Verse 30, the jailer says, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
– The jailer brings Paul and Silas to his home, they hear the gospel, and they all get saved!
– Ex: A large study was done by the Swiss from 1994-2000, as reported in the Christian Post:
– In short, the study reveals: “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children. If a father does not go to church-no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions-only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers.”
– Ultimately, children will stay in church if they gain an authentic relationship with Jesus, but fathers play an important role in getting them to that point. Godly fathers matter!
– Paul delivers the sweet and simple gospel, verse 31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.”
– “Believe” doesn’t simply mean recognize the existence of. Believe, He is who He says he is!
– His household will be saved by their own belief, but as the father goes, the house goes also!
– John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
– Romans 10:9-10, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
– Acts 2:38, Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
– The jailer was shown mercy, his ill treatment overlooked. He was met with grace upon his sincere inquiry about the gospel.
– The jailer responded to the message, was baptized, he served, and he rejoiced.
– “Believe” is an action. (Do you really “believe it” if it doesn’t cause you to move?)
*Will YOU respond to the message today?
– prayer –
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