Intro. Paul and Silas are bound in stocks in the jail in Phillipi. Their backs are lacerated from the caning. The blood is slowly drying into scabs. It is now midnight and they are singing and praising God. Suddenly there is an earthquake that shakes so violently that the doors of the prison are shaken open that the stocks that held them fast are loosed. The jailor waking out of his sleep by the earthquake and seeing the prison doors open, figured that the prisoners have escaped and is about to commit suicide when Paul calls out to him, letting him know that the prisoners were all there, none had escaped. It is at this point that he calls for a light and comes in to Paul and Silas trembling, falling down before them.
I. I BELIEVE THAT THE TREMBLING WAS THE RESULT OF THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN HIS LIFE.
A. I can remember a Sunday night when I was a teenager living in Ventura. Our family had just returned from a vacation and my sister and I went to church. I do not remember the message, I do remember the work of the Spirit in my heart. When the invitation was given to come forward, I turned to my friend, Robert Feima, and said, "Let's go forward." He refused so I went forward and prayed. My body began to tremble. When I got home that night, I tried to talk to my parents about my experience but I was still trembling. I cannot explain it, except that there was a strong sense of the presence of God.
1. God said to the people through Jeremiah, "Will you not tremble at my presence?" All I can say is that I felt the presence of God so strong upon my life that night that I experienced this uncontrollable trembling.
2. When Paul was witnessing to that wicked ruler Felix, we read that Felix trembled. No doubt the same kind of trembling as this jailor, trembling under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
B. The jailor asked, "What must I do to be saved?"
1. A moment earlier he had fear of his own life. He was ready to commit suicide for he knew that if the prisoners had escaped, he would be held responsible and would have been put to death.
2. Now he is in fear of his soul. "What must I do to be saved?"
3. This is a question that should concern all of us. What must we do to be saved?
a. Saved from the fires of hell.
b. Saved from the judgment of God against sinners.
C. It seems to me that the question indicates that he knew something of the mission and ministry of Paul and Silas.
1. Where would the thought of salvation come from?
2. No one thinks of salvation unless they have a sense that they are lost.
3. Salvation is a term that is associated with Christianity, not with pagan religions.
4. Pagan religions speak of enlightenment, but not salvation.
5. Perhaps he had heard the young girl that had followed them for several days crying, "These men are servants of the most high God who show us the way of salvation."
6. Their coming to the city of Phillipi and their message of salvation must have been generally known and talked about there in the city.
7. Perhaps he had even heard their message and laughed it off and rejected it.
8. He is not ready to receive.
D. What is the answer to his question?
II. BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED.
A. There was no explaining to him that his question was mute, for unless he was predestined and chosen that it was impossible for him to be saved. So he had better hope that he was among the elect that were chosen, otherwise his desire for salvation was just wishful thinking.
B. There was no complicated process that he had to go through.
1. No church to join.
2. No pledges to make.
3. No sacraments to observe.
4. Just simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Jesus said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
6. John said:
And Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
7. Paul wrote to the Romans:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
C. What does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
1. It is certainly more than just believing that He is the Son of God.
a. The devils believed and confessed that.
b. As James said:
You think that because you believe that there is one God; that you are doing well: the devils also believe that, and tremble.
2. It is more than just believing that He died on the cross for your sins.
3. It is more than just believing that He rose again.
4. There are many people who believe these things who are not saved.
5. It has to do with more than just a head knowledge.
6. It means that you are putting your trust in Him to redeem you from your sins.
7. The word redeem has a connotation of purchasing something.
a. Jesus purchased you, what does that mean?
b. You have been bought with a price, so you are no longer your own.
c. You are not really free to do your own thing, you now have a new Master.
d. You were once mastered by Satan and your lusts.
You were dead in your trespasses and sins; for in the past you were walking according to the fashions of this world, that are being directed by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now controlling the children of disobedience: Our lives were mastered by the lust of our flesh, and we lived only to fulfill the desires of our flesh and mind, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.
f. This is the path of self-destruction and I have been saved from that former life.
8. I enter into this new life in Christ by simply believing that Jesus is Lord.
9. Now because I believe that He is Lord, I submit my life to be governed by Him.
10. It is inconsistent to say that Jesus is Lord and still do my own thing.
11. By doing my own thing, I am denying the Lordship of Jesus in my life.
12. Works can never save me. I am saved by faith, however, the kind of faith that saves causes me to work for Him. As practical James said, "You show me your works and I will show you your faith."
III. SO THEY SPOKE TO HIM THE WORD OF THE LORD AND TO ALL THAT WERE IN HIS HOUSE.
A. Now we immediately begin to seen the evidence of the genuineness of his faith.
1. He first washed their wounds.
a. His heart now had a love and compassion that he had not known before.
b. When these two were first entrusted into his care, he cold- heartedly placed them in the stocks without even caring for their open wounds.
c. This is the first sign of conversion. "By this sign shall men know that you are My disciples, that you love one another."
2. He then was baptized with his house.
a. Baptism is one of the outward signs of repentance from sins and the purpose to live a new life not after the flesh, but now to live after the Spirit.
b. The baptism did not save him, but was one of the proofs that he now was saved.
3. He set meat before them.
a. His hospitality is another evidence of his conversion.
4. He rejoiced.
a. I do not believe that you can genuinely be saved without rejoicing.
b. Not that the rejoicing saves you, but it is a proof that you are saved.
IV. IN THE MORNING THE MAGISTRATES SENT THE SERGEANTS DOWN TO THE PRISON TO ORDER PAUL AND SILAS RELEASED.
A. Perhaps they looked more thoroughly into the matter and realized the ulterior motives behind those who had brought the accusations against Paul.
B. The jailor shared with Paul that the magistrates had ordered his release, that he was free to go in peace.
C. Paul refuses to see this thing swept under the rug. Roman law has been broken, these magistrates need to learn a lesson of true justice.
Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast [us] into prison; and now do they want to release us privately? No way, let them come themselves and release us.
1. It was a capital offense to cane a Roman citizen against whom no charges were filed or proven in the court of law.
2. These men had their necks on the line.
D. When they learned that Paul was a Roman citizen they became frightened, and came down personally to release them and they were very apologetic and desired that they would leave the city.
V. IT IS INTERESTING THAT MOST OF THE TIME THE PERSECUTION CAME AGAINST PAUL FROM THE JEWS. HERE IN PHILLIPI AND ALSO IN EPHESUS, IT CAME FROM THE COMMERCIAL INTEREST THAT WERE BEING UPSET BY THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
A. Here in Philippi it was the men who were the masters of this slave girl who they had been using, had commercialized her demonic powers for monetary gain.
B. In Ephesus it was Demetrius the silversmith whose business was going down the tubes because people were no longer buying the little silver idols of Diana that he made when they once found Jesus as Lord.
C. It is interesting that in Revelation 17
, we find God judging the false religious system, and in 18, the commercial system that has enslaved men by their desire for material things.
D. These seem to be perennial enemies to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.