What can Satan do with the likes of these type of servants? Lock them up in a prison and they convert the jailer. Torture them and they share in Christ's sufferings. Martyr them, they go straight to Christ in heaven. Turn them loose and they evangelize everybody they can. That's what Satan fears.
Satan didn't like Paul just coming into Philippi and saving the women with Lydia and those. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Acts.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today, Pastor Rick will continue his message called, What Hell Feared, in Acts chapter 16. You can't flame all the time, but you can burn all the time. You can burn hot for Christ. Job did it the whole time he suffered. He still burned for God. And that's why when Job says, Oh, he slays me, I will trust in him.
Job is very realistic. If it's not God laying this on me, then who else could it be? A profound statement on the sovereignty of God. And instead of saying, Well, he is that sovereign and he's letting this happen to me, I reject him. That is not what he did.
He stood up to those boys that accused him of all sorts of things with their poorly thought-out, short-sighted doctrine. Anyway, coming back to this, God has made salvation so simple. As I mentioned, Romans 10, 9 and 10, just a simple step.
And of course, humans come along and they complicate it. It can't be that simple. You have to do this.
You have to do that. They may not verbalize it, but oftentimes they're practicing it. Romans 10, 9 and 10, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
This is not lightweight stuff. When you were born again, you appreciate it. But we're born again to get others to appreciate it.
And I'd like to stir you any chance I can to have a burden to reach lost souls. It starts with prayer. Well, straight to the point, just a step, a step of faith out of the darkness, not into the darkness. It's into the light of Christ. And these Christians, they marched into Philippi sounding the note of hope, because that's what the world needs, hope for lost souls. They don't believe it. There's going to be those you have to knock the dust off your feet and keep going, but there'll be others that will be saved.
A holy God, a holy God, the holy God cared enough for sinners of all type to make a way for them to come in heaven. And you can have your place setting in heaven at the king's banquet table, or you can go to hell. It's your choice. It's your choice. Should I fluff that up? Should I make it sound like hell really ain't that bad and you'll do okay?
That would be crazy. I'm not going to do something like that. Here, these men, they believed Paul and Silas. They were beaten by others for preaching that they believed.
They were more than conquerors. And he says here, and you will be saved. No doubt in their voice. No hesitation. No, well, you should be saved.
Straight out, you will be saved. That's what the world wants. They don't want more questions. They want Christians to be excited about their faith. Why should anybody be excited about your testimony and you're not excited? That drill, you know, we talk about the Christmas songs, the thrill of the coming of Christ. Well, we should have that all the time. Anyway, this is the great answer that Christ has committed to every believer. Believe on the Lord and you will be saved.
Everyone can have that confidence. Now, had God said, well, you need to pay your way into heaven, then the poor would have been eliminated immediately. It would not have been the good news. Had God said, earn your way into heaven, what about so many handicapped people who cannot earn a sick?
They would be doomed. But he said believe and anybody can believe. Anybody can believe. And maybe we need to point that out to people. Maybe we should say to them, you know, anybody can believe. Or anybody can go to hell. What do you say? It says you and your household.
Now, there are some that want to make that all complicated. It is certain that those in the jailer's family will also be saved if they believe. That's all it means. You'll be saved if you believe. So will the people in your house. So will the people down at the marketplace, down at the garage, down at the chariot wheel making shop. Anybody who believes will be saved.
It's not, well, you got to be such and such a weight or such and such a height or such and such a country. Gospel doesn't factor any of that in. What it factors in is that you believe. Romans 1. Now Paul, when he writes the Romans, the Roman letter, he's writing to believers that have been around a while and he's been around a while and yet the basics are still, are still a priority.
The majors are the majors. And he says I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Which makes you say, are you? Then he says, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes and is ready to take a beating for it too.
You could add that, right? All who believe. Noah, he believed and so did seven of his family members along with him. All who believed. Lot believed as clumsy as he was in his faith and so did four minus one of his family members.
Others were lost. His wife believed for a while and with longing eyes she cast a glance at Sodom in disobedience to the instructions and she perished. And Jesus later said, remember Lot's wife?
You think this is a joke? Remember Lot's wife. Verse 32.
Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in the house. It's not enough to believe, is it? Why is that? The Satan's going to come along and try to pluck up the seeds, that's why. You can say, I believe. Then what? If there's no word of God there, if there's no discipleship there, if there's nothing else, what's going to happen to that soul? It's like just an abandoned child and they gave those people what they never had before, God's word. Granted, in America we don't have it this easy. We can't just say believe in the Lord Jesus Christ all the time and you will be saved because we've got to remove so much filthy rubbish that has cluttered up that aisle that leads to salvation.
That stream has been polluted and clogged and so you've got to take trash away. You've got to say to a person, no, Christianity is not what you think it is that you heard, that you got somewhere else. Christianity is what the Bible says. Well, those Christians, Christ is not calling you to follow Christians, he's calling you to follow him and the Christians who follow him, those you can follow also so long as they are following Christ.
Again, we can differ and many churches differ on how God does this or that but many of them all agree together who the Lord is and that is a major point. And so they gave him what he never had which was they gave them, Paul and Silas, gave the jailer and his household what they did not have, God's word. How many houses are out there that have Bibles in them and can't even find them or never open them?
Can't tell if it's upside down or not when they do open it because the carnal man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him and we're supposed to help them out. Teach them what the word of God is, not the wisdom of the world or supposedly creative human ideas about creation and life and destiny, human guessing, but the word of God. What can Satan do with the likes of these type of servants? Lock them up in a prison and they convert the jailer. Torture them and they share in Christ's sufferings. Martyr them, they go straight to Christ in heaven.
Turn them loose and they evangelize everybody they can. That's what Satan fears. Satan didn't like Paul just coming into Philippi and saving the women with Lydia and those. He didn't like that they were going around casting out demons so he retaliates, he strikes back because he feared, he feared these men.
And he loses. Satan does. He says in your household, Paul was after everyone. He didn't say believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, have a nice day. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and there are other people that Christ is after too.
And let's begin in your house and let's not stop there. Paul was saying everyone in your house will be saved if they believe. It would be quite obnoxious to suggest that they would be saved whether they believed or not because then it goes against everything Paul was preaching. They asked that question.
It's precluded, that question. Verse 33, and he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes and immediately he and all his family were baptized. Yeah, because they all believed, that's why.
No way Paul was going to baptize somebody if they didn't believe. I mentioned again the third time the temperament of this man. He's going to kill himself, he stops. He's trembling before them, he stops. He brings them home and he cares for their wounds and he feeds them. He's a man of action. This is the touch of salvation and it is instant. It's showing up in his life. He didn't say thank you, I'm saved. Now get back in the jail.
You can't always do this but you can certainly have the same attitude. The first time he touched these men was when he shackled them to the stocks. The last time, barring an departing embrace when Paul left the city, the next time we read of him touching them, he's caring for their wounds. Wounds, I bear on my body the marks of Christ, Paul wrote to the Galatians already and here he has more marks on his body for Christ.
This is amazing grace and immediately he and all his family were baptized. Just what hell was fearing. Hell feared that these men would go and make converts, rescue them from condemnation, conversion by those burdened for lost souls. The antichrist throughout the ages despised this and why? What did Jesus ever do to anybody to make them despise him? The activity of Jesus Christ drives them mad.
Well, we shrug our shoulders at that and get on with our business. In the days of Charles Spurgeon, the late 1800s, a great preacher of the gospel in London, there was another great preacher there too named Joseph Parker. Joseph Parker said, we are not saved by making promises to God, we are saved by believing God's promises to us. So simple, so true and we see it illustrated throughout New Testament. Verse 34, now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them and he rejoiced having believed in God with all his household.
See the intensity of this character, you can do a character study on the Philippian jailer. And he brought them into his house. These are criminals in the eyes of the courts of Philippi.
That will change in a moment, but right now it has not changed officially. He feeds them. Better than that gruel they might have been getting in jail. But here he is rejoicing, not letting that go. He's doing stuff, he says, oh man, I just love the Lord.
Thank you so much, praise God. You can hear these outbursts of praise to God as they're talking. You think Paul and Barnabas are not just eating and not talking anymore. They're teaching, they're discipling, they don't have a lot of time.
Well at the moment they probably think they're going to stay there. They're going to leave Luke there. And having believed in God with all his household, and Luke is careful to stress this, if this man can believe, if his family can also believe, then what's the problem of others? So the man cared for them, rejoiced in his new found faith. He, when Paul writes the Philippian letter years later and it comes to Philippi, he is very likely in the congregation years later when the letter to the Philippians is read aloud in the service. When that letter arrives and it is delivered from the pulpit, he's likely in that congregation, he and his family. And they would sit there as that letter was being read. The man who laid loving hands on the man who saved him. A very personal note, was it not?
I don't think it ever faded. There were those alive in those days that could have protested this if it did. Paul and Silas question, was it worth it?
Was it worth the beating? Timothy, Luke, Titus, you saw your friends being abused by the government. What do you think now about God's handiwork? And using the beatings to save a soul, a whole family in this case.
We're not told their age is irrelevant. It was to Luke, to the Holy Spirit and it should be to us. Paul would live and serve to go through worse things. What?
You mean this isn't the only beating? I mean he had others already. Here's another one. Philippians chapter 3. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death.
Not transformed or conformed to the world, but transformed in Christ, conformed to the death of Christ, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead. Listen, preaching is probably, good preaching is probably higher than what we can attain. But, without that good preaching, we wouldn't attain the things we get. I remember hearing sermons and just being on fire afterwards. Well I was preaching sermons of course.
No, no, I mean sitting in the pews. I mean I could remember man, I couldn't wait to leave church so I could share the gospel. I'd say, boy the next day I go to work I'm going to bring this story up from the Bible.
And I would, if God would give me the chance and he often did. Well anyway, Paul and Silas, it was worth it. The jailer and his household would have heard and even got a copy of that Philippian letter, remembering that they were witnesses when Paul wrote that, when Paul says if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. When Paul wrote in that Philippian letter that the fellowship of his sufferings being conformed to his death, they would have been able to say yep, that man was doing it. He practiced what he is preaching. He would remember how Paul saved his life, do yourself no harm. He would remember how Paul saved his soul, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. You know if anyone lines up against Christ and God's word and you join them, hell awaits you both.
Not just the one that suckered you in, but you too if you are foolish enough to drink that Kool-Aid. Exodus 32, let's talk about siding with Christ. This is when Moses comes down and finds, well I'll let the story tell itself, 25 to 28, Exodus 32. Now when Moses saw the people were unrestrained, for Aaron had not restrained them to their shame among their enemies. Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp and said, whoever is on the Lord's side, come to me.
And the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, thus says Yahweh God of Israel, let every man put his sword on his side and go in and out from the entrance to entrance throughout the camp and let every man kill his brother and every man his companion and every man his neighbor. Now that part is the law, not Christian. That 27th verse, we don't put our swords on to go kill people, but we put the word of God on to kill what the devil has done and that is lie. And he continues, so the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses and about 3,000 men of the people fell that day.
It was totally under the law, it was just, it was an execution of judgment. But the part that I'm bringing out is those Levites sided with Moses and you young Christians as you're still in school maybe or just entering the workforce or another level of school of education, you better side with Christ. You better not let them sucker you away. You better understand the devil is not a rookie.
He is not new at this stuff. He knows how to twist you up, but you're not defenseless. You have enough weapons in your bag to teach him a nasty lesson, to stay away from you and you have no excuse. You've been raised in the house of God and if it irritates people around you that you remain loyal to Christ, let them be irritated as you are used by God in search to save more people. That is defiant misery. Wherever in life is not pleasant, you're preaching Christ anyway. Verse 35, and when it was day, the magistrate sent the officers saying, let those men go. So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul saying, the magistrates have sent to you to let you go, now therefore depart and go in peace. Now he's just a messenger. He's saved. He's with them.
He's just delivering the message. Verse 37, but Paul said, they have beaten us openly. Uncondemned Romans and have thrown us into prison and now do they put us out secretly? No indeed.
Let them come themselves and get us out. There's not pride. There's not like, we're too, you know, you got to learn.
There's none of that. More than an injustice was committed. I mean, it could have been just, you know, this is not just.
This is a right and wrong and you're wrong and this needs to be handled the right way, but there's more than that. They were publicly judged for being Christians, for doing Christian things. They were shamed and beaten against Roman law as though they were criminals without a trial, just on the word of someone else. And Paul did not want to have their witness for Christ associated with criminal charges. He'll write the Corinthians later in the second letter and say, we give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed.
So this was an important thing to him. He did not want to leave those Christians in Philippi with these wolves circling, thinking that, you know, you Christians are criminals anyway. This had to be dealt with for the sake of the church. Leaving the church, which he started, left to the wolves with false accusations would just be poor leadership and a death sentence for that church. And so, they sought judicial and civil vindication for Christ in his church. Now, the question is, I would have is, why did Paul wait until now to assert his rights to avoid a beating? Because when we get to Acts 22, they're about to beat him again. He says, hey, I'm a Roman.
You sure you want to do this? And they don't. They stand down real quick. And then he says, I appeal the season when they wanted to send him to Jerusalem where they would have assassinated him. How come he waits until now? I think that he wasn't crystal clear on his rights going forward as a Christian. And as he was in jail, maybe some, you know, somebody else says, you know, you should have appealed to this as a Roman citizen. And Paul probably said, you know, you're right. How come I lost sight of that? And so, now he brings up, hey, I'm a Roman citizen.
That's the best I can do with this. I think that it went along those lines because, again, he's not, when he can avoid a beating, he's going to. It wasn't like, well, I'm a Christian.
Go ahead, lay it on me. Verse 38, and the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. Yeah, I bet they were. They were panicked because Rome did not play games. You touch a Roman citizen, you touch Caesar.
And they would come down on you pretty hard. Verse 39, then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out and asked them to depart the city. He said, we are so sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Can you just leave? We just don't want you ratting us out to Caesar because he'll come kill us all. Well, so the authorities in Philippi violated the Roman authority and were panicked.
And they issued the public declaration that they were innocent. That would go well for the Philippian church. And that's probably one of the reasons why the Philippian church is one of the best churches in the New Testament because there were some bad ones. Verse 40, so they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia. And when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed. Man, could you imagine being a fly on the wall when they entered, a fly on the wall who could speak English, or, well, in their case, ancient Greek. You know, and you're just hearing Paul come in and Lydia welcoming.
She might have had a big spread laid out. Paul's just, hey, that jailer's house. I mean, just, you know, just a wonderful little note that Luke puts in there. But there's another interesting thing, why I mentioned Luke probably stays in Philippi.
Because, again, the pronouns change from us to they. And so we read verse 40 again, so they went out of the prison, entered the house of Lydia. And when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed. Not we encouraged them and we departed, but they departed. Which is a signal, because he doesn't come back with the pronouns again until chapter 20.
And you do the math and you say, well, that's about five, six years. And so he's likely staying in Philippi with some other brothers to build this church. And then he rejoins them later. Well, while Paul and Silas move on to Thessalonica, Paul did not allow this fresh experience to stop him from preaching the gospel. So he's going to leave the city of Philippi, still smarting, still hurt.
I mean, you don't just heal from that kind of caning like in a week. And he goes through two other sort of small military outpost towns, wasn't anything happening there. And he arrives in Thessalonica. When he gets to Thessalonica, I mean, he just starts doing it again. And this is what we read when he, not years later, maybe months later. He writes to the Thessalonians, because he's going to get chased out of that city too. First Thessalonians 2 verse 2, he writes to them.
He says, but even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict and be like that kind of a servant. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
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