Fruit in the gospel
It must have been very encouraging to Paul and his companions to se souls saved and lives changed. The young demon possessed girl had now been set free and what a testimony for all to see!
However it came at a cost, for her masters, who were making financial gains through her lifestyle, are now mad. Her salvation meant great loss to them. This infuriated them and they arrested Paul and Silas bringing them to the authorities (Acts 16:19).
They were accused of troubling the city and teaching customs which Romans could not fulfill. This fired up the multitude to rise against them and the magistrates commanded they should be beaten and put in prison.
Oh to see today lives changed by the power of the Gospel! So many under the grip of Satan need to be set free and what are we doing to bring the Gospel to them? We are blessed to have so many resources available yet so few are involved in reaching the lost! It may be costly but the rewards are eternal!
Imprisoned but rejoicing
After being severely beaten, the faithful servants of God were put in prison under the custody of the Roman guard. He put their feet in stocks making sure they would not in any way try to escape.
I am confident that having made sure they were in his safe keeping he would be ready for a quiet night. However in the darkness of that Roman dungeon the place was filled with song.
Two very sore and bleeding disciples were praying and singing praises to God and the prisoners heard them. What kind of music was this? What an impact made on others who were there for their misdeeds! What further impact made as there came an earthquake and every prisoner’s chains fell off!
So great was the effect that when they had opportunity to escape not one of them moved. I am sure although Scripture is silent some would be effected for eternity.
The troubled guard
Such was the impact that night the jailor came in trembling and spoke those all searching words ‘What must I do to be saved’? It is evident from Paul’s response it was not his life he was thinking about but his soul.
Is there a someone troubled reading this article and you are pondering over the issues of your soul, heed the answer given to the question.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31 NKJV)
Nor is there Salvation in any other, for there is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
The outcome of this man responding to the invitation was amazing. He risked his livelihood and maybe his life by taking those two notable prisoners home with him. The result was that all in his house heard the Word of the Lord and believed, and then were baptized that very night.
The genuineness of their faith was evident and so the formation of the Church at Philippi was in the making.
The magistrates’ change of heart
We are not told what made the authorities change their minds about Paul and Silas. However their great desire was to get them out of the city and on their way. They sent word to the jailor to release them.
Paul stayed put and commanded them to come and release them because he was a Roman. This caused great fear because the treatment given should not have been administered to anyone who was Roman. It is interesting Paul takes his Roman citizenship and uses it for his own advantage.
How often I have heard that believer’s heavenly citizenship replaces earthly citizenship. But this is not totally right. We have privileges and responsibilities as earthly citizens and the right to exercise them in keeping with our heavenly one.
Eventually Paul and Silas are let go, entering into the house of Lydia and seeing the brethren they encouraged them, and departed.