The notes today are on Acts 16:25-40 and have been written by Mark Miller
“I’m in the middle of a chain reaction…….”
Today we join Paul in prison having been beaten and whipped for helping a slave girl gain her freedom from Satan and her employers. The Lord sends an earthquake that shakes the very prison foundations causing locked doors to burst open and locked chains to snap off yet the building stayed intact.
The jailer is now in a state of panic, he didn’t even confirm the loss of any prisoners before trying to kill himself. He didn’t see Paul due to the darkness and Paul probably couldn’t see him yet Paul calls out from his cell at just the right moment!
The Jailer asks a question most of us dream of being asked, the question ‘what must I do to be saved’? The fact he asks this implies he was present at Paul’s previous teachings before his arrest, otherwise how would he know of his position before God and to ask Paul such a specific question.
(V31) They replied, the Apostles were of one mind, despite setbacks, abuse and imprisonment. They were both still focussed and both still united. We as Christians must guard against disunity in the face of persecution.
I’m reminded of one of my favourite films Gladiator and the advice Maximus Meridius (Russell Crowe) gives to a group of gladiators before facing the opposition, he shouts ‘lock your shields, stay as one’
The temptation will be there to perhaps let some biblical truths slide just to appease our culture. The Apostles stood firm, we too should ‘stay as one’ and not bend to whatever is popular and of the moment.
Paul and Silas explained the Gospel (v32) and taught the jailer and his whole house whilst still bleeding, battered and wearing their ripped clothes. Imagine being so thirsty for Bible teaching that you pay no attention to what your speaker looks like or the clothes being worn. Let’s remember this when next being taught. Focus on the important things that are being said to us rather than on appearance and what is being worn.
Carl Beech former Director of CVM (Christian Vision for Men) wrote this on his blog. Despite it being an old stat it is still relevant, if not more so today;
“In 2003, Evangelicals Now published some research that suggested that in terms of seeing whole households come to faith, the following could be statistically proven.
- Lead a child to Jesus and 3.5% of the time the whole family will come to Christ
- Lead a mother to Jesus and 17% of the time the whole family will come to Christ.
- Lead a father to Jesus and 93% of the time the rest of the family will come to Christ.
Now, without wanting to get reactionary and all over the top about it, let me just ask this question; If this is even remotely true, why is men’s ministry so often a bolt-on extra in church life rather than at the central core?
It follows that, if we are passionate about evangelism and concerned to have healthy churches that are great for women, men and children, we would do well to give these stats some serious airtime and consideration. More than that, we should be prepared to rethink so much of our church culture.”
The Jailer, the man of the house became the Christian first and as a result his whole family became Christians. This helps confirm a fact that is still relevant today!
When was the last time we saw a whole household become Christians as a result of the father?
How long ago was the last time you saw a father become a Christian?
In light of reading about the Jailer, can we remember the importance of opportunities to witness to men. Let’s please remember the men contacts we all have and renew our efforts to evangelise them.
Think of how you can reach out to men and introduce them to the concept of Church. Men’s evangelism, it worked in Phillipi, it can work in Talbot Green.
Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious king
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokenness complete
Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is Saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth. (Men of Faith, Martin Smith)