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September 8, 2020 8:00 am
Each one of the most famous questions in the Bible it comes from a prison guard is having such a bad night with earthquakes and broken locks is about to take his own life looking for a reason to live. He speaks the famous words, what must I do to be saved and Paul just happens to be there with the answer to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act X 16 vines Paul and Silas, getting thrown into a prison by some angry slaveowners. It also finds them in the middle of an earthquake.
I jailbreak a suicide attempt and the salvation of an entire household. Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce in her last study of the book of acts we saw how God gave the apostle Paul and his companion Silas vision of a man in Macedonia who said come over and help us by or in Asia at the time.
On one side of the Hellespont.
Macedonia was on the other and in the vision. Paul received there was this man. His words were come over and help us all receive. That is a genuine call of God's bonded party, which by this time apparently included not only Paul and Silas started out Timothy, who had been added along the way but also Luke indicates his presence by using first person plural pronoun we at this point they went over all four of them in Europe and so the gospel began that March through Europe, which in time and by the providence of God is brought home to us is interesting that the first conversion that they had in Macedonia in the town of Philippi was this woman Lydia, a Jewish now as God continues to bless them. In response to the call in their obedience to it.
We find that he now has two more people that he wants to bring out of their sin and ignorance to faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior. First of all, there is the story of the slave girl in her deliverance. She's the first of these additional people would say then arisen.
The second place an attack upon Paul and Silas and the others on behalf of the slave girls owners because they had lost their source of income. Third section of the story deals with Paul's imprisonment and what happened in the prison God delivered him Silas how the Philippian jailer was converted in connection with that deliverance. So that's 1/3 portion of the story and then there is a sequel involves the magistrates and the wrapping up of these affairs a concern the church there.
Let's just go through that look at them one at a time when we read as we know from our perspective in history about someone like this girl who was able to tell fortunes, and who learned a great deal for her Masters by her fortune-telling that seems quite remote wasn't at all an unusual thing in antiquity as a matter of fact is you reading should record you find that this was all very common when we read of this girl, following after Paul shouting after him. You are one who has come in the name of the most high God.
It's like a replay of what we saw so many times in the lifetime of Jesus Christ. Those were possessed by demons in Christ today would follow after him and the demon within them would shout out, in recognition of that one who, though they were in rebellion against him was nevertheless their master.
You are the Christ, the son of the living God. What was involved here and that's what was happening text actually says she had a spirit of Python that also doesn't mean a great deal to us, and for that reason it's not translated merely says she had a spirit that worked Python worked Python means a snake a certain kind of snake used here because it was associated with the great Greek god Apollo so this girl who spoke by divination told things that were to come was identified with that particular manifestation of the Greek God so we could say she had a demonic spirit was associated with the cult. Another clue to how she operated by the word fortune-telling that occurs at the end of verse 16. Apparently this is the way she got her message. She would go into a trance, you would begin to behave in the erratic way and then she would speak and the demon would speak for work. I would just girl began to follow Paul and Silas, as you follow them.
She cried out after them messages one we find there at the beginning. These manner servants of the most high God were telling you the way to be saved first part of that is not at all surprising.
This demon within the woman identified Paul and Silas is servants of the most high God in Isaiah.
In the 14th chapter in the passage that describes the thoughts that went on in the mind of Satan when he rebelled against God and brought sin into the universe. Satan says in that respect. I will be like the most high God is interesting you say because when Satan aspired to be like God it wasn't to be like God in what we would call his most godlike or gracious aspects you want to be like God and love or mercy or even in his wisdom wanted to be like God most high possessor of heaven and earth that is.
Satan wanted to take over the rule of the universe himself by going to that detail, because that particular name for God is most appropriate here on the lips of the woman as this demon who is associated with Satan's rebellion speaks for work.
This is the way God is known to the demons God the most high what they want to bake. I want to be the most time, it can't be the only sovereign God of the universe is the most five. That's what they aspire to select first addressed by this labor was not all surprising. I suppose in a certain sense the second part is not surprising either. You wouldn't expect this testimony necessarily on the lips of one who is possessed by one of Satan's followers girl says they are telling you the way to be saved was a similar thing that happened in the time of Christ. They pointed to Jesus as the Savior. I didn't want to be saved course and it's hard to understand exactly why they identified in this way. Perhaps it was a sort of divine compulsion upon them at any rate, the very same thing that we have seen in the life of Christ in the study of the Gospels is what we find here. He said his men are followers of the most high God were telling you the way of salvation. Apparently, this tells the story.
There was a time that Paul tried to ignore the interruption last fall became troubled by Hampton turned around and said to the spirit, not the girl in the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her, and spirit did girl was delivered in that instance and we are undoubtedly to understand began to teacher about Jesus Christ and she became the second member of the church at Philippi that we know about that interesting church began with two women Jewish undoubtedly looked down on in part by those of this very Roman community and the second the slave girl who had been used by her Masters to make money while they were upset by this because now they lost their source of income to couldn't tell fortunes anymore. Nobody would pay to have their fortunes told. And so they wouldn't get the money and they were so upset by it that they went to the authorities. This point we have the accusation they made against Paul. It's important to notice the accusation that they may be, for the authorities was not the real thing. They were really upset about is that their source of income is been taken away. Paul had been damaging to their business think we see something like that today people are quite willing to tolerate Christians in their testimony and their worship as long as it doesn't hurt their business. You begin to apply biblical principles to the business world how money is spent in the kind of things are done in the world is up in arms. And anyway, that's what happened here but I really couldn't get very far with that for the magistrates they came with the accusation designed to appeal to is what I've indicated was a very Roman community. Philippi was a town that had been settled by Roman soldiers and those with Internet Roman citizenship. Not everybody did so, they were very conscious of this Roman citizenship in this loyalty was by appealing to this the owners of the slave girl hope to get Paul and Silas condemn these men are Jews. They said they are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us. Romans to accept or practice ally said that they were strongly Roman course that is true but along with that notice. There was a strong note of anti-Semitism because the same breath which they were identifying themselves.
Romans who had certain customs which alone they were able to follow. They said that these men are Jews and their purposes chooses to disrupt those Roman traditions. It's almost funny to hear them say that because we know from what's already been told is in the chapter that there weren't very many Jews in Philippi.
Usually when Paul went into one of these Greek Roman cities. She began by going to the synagogue because there he found the godly Jews and the godly Gentiles known as God-fearing nurse and it provided a base for them to begin to preach the gospel to the citizens of the city. We came to Philippi.
There wasn't even a synagogue and have 10 Jewish man have synagogue and apparently in Philippi. There weren't even 10 Jewish Matt.
Moreover, when he went down to the river to find people were worshiping.
It doesn't even mention men only found was Jewish women wasn't a very big threat to the Roman traditions Philippi what to say when you're in the wrong when you're trying to get after somebody else wrongly use almost any scapegoat you can find serve the purpose of these people to sigh. Well, these Menards you sent everybody knows what these Jews are like they go around stirring things up there here to try and get us to do things that are unlawful for us to do, being Romans I was a lie. Of course, Romans could convert to Judaism was anything wrong with that Romans were very tolerant variety of religions and are always God theaters in the synagogues, but usually they work playing in the prejudice of the crowd and they succeeded, humanly speaking was an uproar. They stripped Paul and Silas at this point.
Luke does not mention himself or Timothy. Apparently the two of them were overlooked, but they did stripped Paul and Silas. They beat them with rods is one of the three times Paul was beaten with rods is going to tell us about it later in the epistles.
And then after they had been severely beaten and was often such a severe beating that some people week people, especially would die from it.
After they were severely beaten. They were thrown into the prison, so seconds stage of the story ends in the third stage begins what you suppose Paul and Silas were doing their in the present, beaten, walked in the stocks uncomfortable position.
They were like many Christians, they would've been saying all we should never have started out on this missionary task. Things are really hard to try to bring the gospel in Europe, I would've said if they were great theologians. I suppose these people are just not among the elect soon as we can. We better get out of here and go somewhere else where God is going to bless or if they spoke the way many Christians do today, they would say certainly God wants us to be happy and were not happy sitting here in the stocks we must be out of the will of God. Let's go seek a more fruitful endeavor for our missionary work. While they didn't do any of that. You know the story as well as I did were told that they are in the present, beaten rats near death locked into stocks.
They spent the night hours praying and singing praises to God as the first sacred concert on the European continent, and if you know the sequence was an earthquake very stones of the prison were shaken with chains came loose.
I guess you could say it was a rock concert. It was certainly one that was blessed by the spirit of God and as Paul and Barnabas. I praise God. The other prisoners who might have been complaining beforehand began to fall quiet as the believing thief who was crucified on the cross next to Jesus Christ and the quietness they listens and they began to learn something about a God who would send Paul and Silas to that place we would look at that, we would say well now things are really bad for Paul, yet it was Paul's extremity. God seemed to act and make this a great opportunity when the earthquake came and the chains fell off Paul and the others so that if they had wished I could've rushed out of the prison in the state. The jailer was awakened by the earthquake, came rushing toward the prison, thinking that that's exactly what happened thinking that all the prisoners of escape and therefore fearing for his life. Think he was rightfully afraid about to do what under the circumstances, and in the code of the Roman military was the proper action. Paul called out to him and said we are all here. Do not harm yourself. And it's in that context that we get this great question on the part of this Roman jailer servers said what must I do to be saved.
It is pertinent. I think that earlier the same story. The slave girl when she pointed to Paul and Silas use the very same word used here by the Philippian jailer.
He said what must I do to be saved uses the verb form, but earlier she said these men are telling you the way of salvation is the noun form.
It is exactly the same word to the jailer know the testimony of the prophecy of this woman.
I think he probably did.
This was the kind of child which stories like this would rapidly spread these men had been taken and put in his custody must've asked why the story would've come out the slave girl testified that these men knew the way of salvation, and that they had acted powerfully and the demon had been cast out of her.
He must've known that, so when he came in these dark hours of the night trembling fell down before Saul and Silas Boster of the suppliant and called out, what must I do to be saved. I think it's clear the context of the story that he was speaking of eternal salvation. Notice of the apostle Paul did not suggest counseling. He didn't say to this Philippian jailer now I realize you're asking a very important question. What must I do to be say, but it's important. First of all, for you to understand yourself so you'll know the terms of which are asking the question. This is a great Greek principal know myself and you have to begin with that and then we'll talk about the gospel he did nothing of the sort you didn't lecture in theology and talk about the sacraments. He didn't say well you need to understand how that there is a lot involved in Christianity and if you come through this gospel that I'm presenting all these things you have to do. We didn't even talk about the church.
Also Paul answer directly recognize that this man was asking the question a deep question out of the anxiety and anguish of his heart and he answered it in the simplest terms, he knew how. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved or did Paul get that ball learn to preach the gospel like that. He was an intelligent man. We've seen other sermons that he preached often. He quoted from the Old Testament where he learned to make it so simple. Well I think he probably learned it from his master Jesus and that we doubt that we do have an incident from the days of Jesus Christ of which he himself did the same thing again doing on one occasion, and they said good master, what must we do we inherit eternal life as a way of saying, what must I do to be saved. It's the same question. Jesus said we must believe on him whom God had sent and that's what Paul is saying emphasis you see is unbelief. Belief in this context, shows a contrasted doing man said, what must I do Paul said what you must do is not to what you must do is believe you done enough by your doing a brilliant yourself by your doing what you have to do is turn from anything you can do.
Put your trust in Jesus, save yourself to the man understand what that meant. Must've understood something of what it meant to say to the understand all of what it meant. No, of course, he couldn't understand all of it you had heard much of the gospel. It may hurt a little bit of Paul's preaching Jesus was.
He must've understood something, but there was a lot he didn't know what you say. What he didn't know he believed Jesus though he may not understand fully who he was, was nevertheless great big enough to save him. So the man believed not only was he converted regenerated in our and in the course of that evening, but even his entire family was converted as Paul preach the gospel to them. Now there's a sequel the next morning were told magistrates came ordered that Paul and Silas be released.
We don't know why why they change their minds, but we do know how Paul answer.
Paul said were not just going to come out of the prison and slip away because they condemned is wrongly Roman citizens, and they have tried us really without a public trial, and they have beaten us and imprisoned us all of that is illegal for those who bear Roman citizenship. Remember what I said at the beginning this was a Roman conscious town's people were very concerned about observing the laws wrong the Roman Empire and here unknown to them, but nevertheless a culpable way. They have violated those very laws they were frightened. Paul said you told him to send us away to common lead to slouch so they did. Why did he do that. I think he had in mind. Safety of this infant church that he was soon to leave behind wanted to do everything he could to establish and protected. Perhaps I don't know this but perhaps that's even why he didn't declare when they were about to beat him earlier that he was a Roman citizen that he did that later Jerusalem and so was taken into custody and eventually shipped to Rome. It may be that he didn't do that here in order the opportune time might place the magistrates in the position of fear and embarrassment of must provide a basis for the protection of the church. At any rate, that's what happened.
Magistrates requested that they leave the city. Paul didn't insist upon his rights made the magistrates. It's what he teaches elsewhere, especially in the book of Romans. But he did require that you have time to go back and visit the church and so we did. The story ends by saying that he went back to Lydia's house where they met with her brothers and encourage them might think. Under those circumstances that Lydia and the other Christians would encourage Paul and Silas. They were the ones that had been beaten was the other way around. Please, the leaders are the ones that God said they encouraged this little church they left behind, but he said, as Paul would say elsewhere brothers and sisters, we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless God is faithful. I can do all things you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you notice one interesting thing at this point. Look decided to stay behind because he had a pastor's heart spear was a flock and they needed teaching and help and he was the person who was there to do it may not be a pastor in the sense of being a minister, but you are a pastor is a shepherd under the chief Shepherd of Christ to those whom God brings into your care and your job is to minister to them as you do should know the God who is with you is the same God was with the apostles is doing the same work is building his church for the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray father were thankful for the encouragement but a story like this brings thankful for what happened in Philippi were thankful for what is happened in other cities of the world were thankful for what is happening here. Day by day as your people in the city bear witness to your grace. Father, bless their witness onerous granted through it many might find Christ's Savior, so be saved from sin and grant that your church might be strengthened.
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