Hello my awesome followers and amazing readers!
Today, I’ll be writing on a very important subject- ‘The Opportunities in critical Conditions’. God forbid that we would go through a difficult phase in our lives and make a waste of the reason we were there in the first place ( the football term for that is 2-0).
Acts 16: 16-34
The justification for the people that wanted Paul and Silas to be imprisoned is found in vs 21 NAS, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, BEING ROMANS (compare this verse to 35-40, with key focus on 38), even though their motivation came from verse 19 NIV, when the owners of the slave girl realised that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
Have you ever been in an office were everybody else wanted you ‘fired’ because you wouldn’t collect bribe? At that point, they do not care whether or not you are coworkers- all they know is that you are a stumbling block to their ‘unholy and greedy’ acts. Have you ever been at that point?
Did you notice that when they plotted their evil graphs, they tried to appeal to the conscience of the group? (they will never report you for being a honest fellow, but will rather look for a fault so they seem selfless)
This occurs in our everyday lives- in Church – at School- in our Relationships- you name it; Everywhere. ‘He’s got to go’…. I don’t want to hear it, He’s got to go!
What do you do when in such a situation?
Do you lose your cool and be all gangster on them and miss purpose? Or
Do you for fear/favour fall prey to their devices and still miss the opportunity therein?
When for innocence, you are persecuted- what do you do? From the context of today’s message, what should you do?
Vs 16-24 (AMP) tells us a story of a lady that was possessed by a spirit of divination (claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge), which translated to alot of profits for those that owned her; and how Paul commanded the spirit out in the name of Jesus. There was nothing wrong with the doings of the Apostles- it was the right thing to do; even the ‘masters of the girl’ knew this for a fact- that was the major reason they couldn’t report that that was the offence the Apostles committed, and so they paraphrased the motive behind their anger to the appeal of their audience, so much so that they got the support and backing of the crowd.
Then the rulers commanded them to be thrown into prison after been beaten without trail or reason (Vs 22b-23).
Has anyone ever given up on you without the decency of a reason?
Have they thrown you into the dungeon for the guilt of their immoral conscience?
The instruction was so strict that the jailer put them in the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks (Vs 24)
If you’ve ever found yourself in such a time as this, or you know someone in situations similar or worse than this- Hold On- to the Christians suffering persecution all over the world- HOLD ON, DO NOT WAVER! remain true to who you are and do not give up on God- He still gat you- He’s got something only you can accomplish in such a place, at such a time.
We see in verse 25 (NIV) that the attitude of Paul and Silas did not change. They kept to their prayers and praises– Remember in verse 16a (NAS), it happened that as they were going to the place of prayer…. So even pro – persecution, they did not change their attitude or mindset (Isn’t it funny how we see God unfaithful anytime the going gets tough). They didn’t keep quiet because they were not in church (remember where the heart of worship is, John 4: 20-24), they knew the were the church and so whether in a physical parish or prison, they were ready to pray and praise, because they understood that the place of prayer is an opportunity to evangelise-
Vs 25b, and the other prisoners were listening to them. WOW! The prisoners weren’t just hearing them by reason of sound, they were actually concentrating- listening to them. Wow- what a lesson!!!
What comes out of your mouth when things don’t go your way?
When instead of finding your heart desires, people trick you and push you to the limits, what do people hear coming out of your mouth as they listen to you?
Paul and Silas understood that whether in the ‘place of prayer’, or in ‘prison’- Every location is an opportunity for them to introduce somebody to meet Christ Jesus.
Asides church on Sunday, where else do people see Jesus in you?
Verse 26-34 KJV
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
In Vs 25, after Paul and Silas had communicated with God via prayer and praises, the next couple of verses explain that the jailer wanted to kill himself because his job was ‘on the line’ and subsequently his life. The bible doesn’t tell us that they couldn’t have escaped, but it records that they stayed. Two things I want us to get from this
They PHYSICALLY saved a life.
When the going gets tough and you’ve done all you can do and it seems as though you are ‘going for dead’ and an escape route shows up that is illegal- what do you do? This is a very critical situation, because, every time you take the easy way out that is illegal; a soul is lost. The reason you are were you are, the way you are, enduring this persecution, is because somebody needs to be saved (you might not know it or even see it, but just like Paul and Silas, you are saving that jailer). When you commit to God in truth and in spirit, He will never send an ungodly act to rescue you, He is a God of principle- He will always rescue you appropriately.
They SPIRITUALLY saved a family.
They brought a man and his family into salvation. There is nothing as pure and real as a live lived so evidently to the glory of God. People might not be convinced about your words towards Christ, but there is no way, that they would see you in action living and leading a Christ-like life and not be convicted about it (remember the woman at the well- the feeding of 5 thousand men? So it was with the evidence of the Christ-like life they lived, the jailer surrendered and sought after salvation- Together with his family.
Now, just imagine what would have happened if Paul and Silas had escaped…
Then, think of the jailer and his family….
Matthew 5: 10-12
Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs ìs the kingdom of heaven!
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you. (2 chronicles 36:16).
NAS- New American Standard, NIV- New International Version, AMP- Amplified, KJV- King James Version
With much Love,
Oluwatosin Olabode (Double_St)