June 25, 2015

The Impact of Grace!

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. Acts 16:30-33 (NLT)

Here’s a remarkable story of life change! And it impacted an entire family! One of the great joys we’ve seen at Woodlands Church, over the years, has been when whole families are baptized together – just like the Philippian jailer and his family in this story. The backdrop is just as amazing! Paul and his traveling companion, Silas, had been arrested for simply sharing the Gospel in the city of Philippi. Luke records the account in Acts 16 and says,

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Acts 16:22-24 (NLT)

Paul and Silas’ response was nothing short of incredible! While you might imagine they would give up and become bitter at their mistreatment, they did just the opposite! Luke tells us,

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Acts 16:25 (NLT)

What an impact this must have had on the other prisoners and the jailer. It certainly caught God’s attention! In the midst of the worst situations, God can bring out the best! When God shows up, He always turns the circumstances around for His glory! Luke says,

Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! Acts 16:26 (NLT)

The jailer knew, if the prisoners escaped, he would be killed.  He drew his sword to take his own life! That’s when Paul and Silas saw their opportunity to offer grace! Rather than being vindictive and resentful of the jailer, they shared the gospel with him. Nothing changes lives like the grace of God! The jailer took them to his home that night, cared for them, and washed their wounds – wounds he may very well have inflicted on them himself! His life was changed! The grace of God not only reached him, but his entire household! When Paul and Silas shared Jesus with them, they all put their faith in Christ and were immediately baptized! What about you? Have you put your faith in Christ?  Sometimes, it only takes the example of one for others to follow. Your obedience to Christ in baptism may just be all it takes to persuade others in your family to take that step as well! We receive story after story of couples, families, and multiple generations following Christ in believer’s baptism as they make their commitments to Jesus! The experience is always amazing! Lives are changed! Marriages are restored, and families are healed! This weekend, we have another opportunity to celebrate life change through baptism at our Super Summer Baptism 2 celebration. I hope you can join us at one of our Woodlands Church campuses!