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June 10, 2016

How a Whole Family was Changed

 

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.”  Acts 16:29-33 (NIV2011)

This unnamed jailer and his entire household were changed in a moment!  It was another Divine Appointment.  But this time the willing witnesses were Paul and Silas.  Given the circumstances, I’m not sure how willing a witness I would have been.  The Bible tells us that Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown in a dungeon for simply preaching the Gospel. Luke records the story in Acts 16.  In verses 23 and 24 he writes, After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.”  How willing a witness would you have been if you were treated like that?

Rather than being bitter and angry, verse 25 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”  They weren’t singing a song of defeat, they were singing an anthem of praise! That kind of praise always brings a response from God!  Verse 26 says, “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”  They must have been singing the original Jailhouse Rock!  Here’s the irony. Those prison doors were opened not so that the prisoners could go free but so that the jailer, himself, could be set free!  The real prisoner wasn’t the apostles behind bars, but the jailer.  The apostles were secure in their relationship with Christ wherever that led them.  But the jailer was lost, his life filled with such hopelessness that he tried to commit suicide. Verses 27 and 28 tell us what happened, “The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” Can you imagine that?  Paul and Silas recognized this as a Divine Appointment.  Not only would it result in the salvation of the jailer but even greater, his entire household!

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.”  Acts 16:29-33 (NIV2011) 

Have you ever asked that question: What must I do to be saved?  The difference between religion and Christianity is the difference between the words do and done!  Religion requires you to do something to merit God’s favor and earn your salvation.  But on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished!”  All the work needed to be done to secure your salvation and mine was accomplished by Christ on the cross!  We simply receive the free gift of God’s grace like this Philippian jailer and believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved.  That’s faith – trusting what Jesus did in my behalf to make me right with God when I turn from sin and commit my life to Him!

That very night the jailer’s life was changed!  Luke wraps up the story with evidence of his changed life. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.”  His first acts of faith were to heal the wounds he may very well have created on the backs of these apostles and then he was baptized.

If you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, then baptism is the next step in your faith journey.  I want to personally invite you to join us for our Super Summer Baptism Celebration after any service on any Woodlands Church Campus this weekend!  It’s not too late to register.  Register now and experience the refreshing waters of believer’s baptism for a new beginning!