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Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be Saved (Acts 16:16-31)

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Believe in Jesus, and be Saved

Acts 16:16-31 (Pastor Heo)

“Accept Jesus, and everything will be fine.”

  • Not true: in that even though we accept Jesus, some things will be NOT fine.
  • But TRUE: in that we know that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”


Still, this last sentence is available to everybody at anytime “Believe and you will be saved – you and your household.”

  1. After Macedonia, Paul and his team set sail on the Aegean Sea and traveled to Philippi – a Roman colony (and Paul’s first mission field in Europe).
  2. After arriving on the Sabbath Day, they went outside to a place of prayer – where they met a small group of women.
  3. Paul shared the gospel with them, and one woman believed (Lydia) – and her whole household also believed and were all baptized immediately.
  4. She then opened her house to these apostles as their mission base in Europe. This is the story of the first Christians in Europe.

v. 16

“16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer,…

we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Why did this annoy Paul?

We should know that evil spirits can speak the truth partially, temporarily, but the end goal is destruction.

Imagine, if Paul accepted the witness of the evil spirit, he would be thought to be linking the gospel of Christ with the evil spirits – and also the slave girls’ owners were doing “prophecy for profit” which Paul would be accused of if he didn’t end it. Thus, he was upset and troubled.

Remember, Paul did not say this to the girl, he spoke to the evil spirit directly, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (He did not cast the demon out by his own power, but by the power of Christ).

Yes, the Christian life is engaged in spiritual warfare. Eph 6 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Our struggle is against… spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.” Our fighting is not against other human beings, not against our spouses, nor children, nor our neighbors, nor other people. Rather, it is against Satan, against the sinful nature, against demons, against our old selves.

Immediately, the demon left her.

Good news or bad? GOOD!

She became free from the control of Satan’s evil spirit, but her owners were not happy and became very angry. They didn’t concern themselves with this poor girl, but only cared about $$$.

Paul was preaching eternal truth, but they had no care that this girl was healed. They exploited her misfortune for their fortune…

Even today, there are people around us whose only, first concern, is money. This is a clear sign of idolatry.

The men seized Paul and dragged him into the marketplace.

v. 19-21

“19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” “

By calling them “Jews” (accurate though it was), they were playing off natural “anti-Semitism” present in the area.

v. 22

“22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. “

Can you imagine this situation?

Paul and Silas stripped half-naked and beaten within an inch of their lives, so painful, put in prison, two feet fasten with chains, all doors shut up tight, a jailor watching over them day and night.

Actually, they’d committed no crime, but they were treated as one of the most dangerous criminals (maximum security prison) for doing good.

Consider this:

Yes, Paul and Silas are Christians, brothers in Christ with us.

IF you were Paul and Silas in this TERRIBLE situation, what should you do? How would you respond?

What did they do?

They did not complain; nor blame; nor cry out; call out for revenge; they did not curse anyone nor anything nor themselves.

They worshiped God in this dark place.

Let us give a big hand to them in heaven now.

Imagine in THIS situation, they worshiped God with prayer and songs (“It is well” perhaps? something similar). HOW is this possible?

They responded to their terrible circumstances so unnaturally, so supernaturally. They DECIDED to worship God in this situation (and yes, it was a DECISION). How is this possible?

Here are 4 grounds for WHY they had to worship God in this terrible situation:

WHY Paul & Silas worshiped God in their darkness

1. They knew they believed God WAS THERE

Yes, in body, they were in prison, but they KNEW God was there with them in spirit. Wherever we may be, God is there.

Wherever you may go, God is there with you. The presence of Christ is present wherever you may be.

“God is there; God is here.”

Even when you are fighting; you are in a bad, sad, or terrible situation. This is always true, whether you remember or not: God is THERE.

Psalm “If I go to the heavens, God is there; if I go to the depths of the sea, God is there.”

With God, there is FREEDOM even in prison, there is LIGHT even in darkness.

Tortulion? said, “If your heart is in heaven, your legs will feel nothing even in stocks.”

They chose to worship God because the knew he was THERE with them.

2. They believed GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yes, even today, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, sovereign, and in control of all things.

Yes, Paul and Silas had no reason to expect a miracle. Yes, they knew that God had previously delivered Paul from prison, but they also remembered that Stephen and James had been martyred. So, they didn’t know what would happen to them.

Yet, they still sang praises to God because they believed that he COULD deliver them if he chose. This is reminiscent of the three friends in Daniel (Sadrach, Mishach, and Abednego), “Oh, king, we do not need to defend ourselves in this manner. If you throw us into the fire, our God is able to save us from the fire. But even if he does not, we shall never worship your gods nor the image of gold you have set up for yourself.”

Remember: God is in control of everything.

3. They believed Jesus (their Lord) would REWARD them

They were being persecuted for the sake of their Lord. So they knew without doubt that Jesus would reward them abundantly.

“Blessed are you when you are persecuted for me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In this way, the people persecuted the prophets in the OT.” (Matthew)

Paul “I do not consider our present sufferings to be anything compared to the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven.”

Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon, and I will give to everyone as he has merit.”

4. They knew / believed without doubt that in the END (the very end), everything would be fine

This is strong faith.

Yes, we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, 10 years later, 100 years later, but we DO KNOW what will happen in the VERY END – and it’s gonna be fine.

Paul “We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans)

Paul “If I live, I belong to Christ; if I die, I belong to Christ. So whether I live or die, I belong to Christ.”

Paul’s attitude:

  • If I die, I get to be with Christ – WIN!
  • If I live, I get to preach about Christ – WIN!

How will we respond to sufferings and trials in our lives? And how will people react to our responses?

Remember: Prayer and praise are POWERFUL weapons in spiritual warfare.

v. 25

“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” “

Please remember, prayer and praise are powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.

All of a sudden, God responded to their faithful attitude. He shook the foundations of the prison and opened all the doors widely and loosed all the chains.

All the prisoners could have fled if they had wanted, but they all stayed right there. The fear of God was upon them all, and God himself kept them there. The prisoners knew that the praying and singing of these two prisoners had caused this, and there must be something very special about them.

But the jailor thought they had run, so he almost committed suicide.

At that time, according to Roman law, if a prisoner escaped, the jailors should receive the penalty of the prisoners.

But at that time, Paul said to the jailor, “Don’t harm yourself; we are all here.” He ran out and knelt down before the prisoners. “What must I do to be saved?”

In this situation, suddenly the tables were turned:

  • the jailor became the prisoner (spiritually);
  • and the prisoners became the jailor. “What must I do to be free?” (This is the cry of the lost worldwide.)

This is the most relevant question in our lives. His question means he KNEW he was lost, a sinner, a prisoner, a captive. He knew he needed freedom and he asked, “What must I DO to be saved?”

Do you have a clear answer to this question? All the lost have this question in their hearts, in their spirits. Do you have a clear answer to this question?

  • Paul did not answer: “DO something…”
  • He answered: “BELIEVE in Christ.”

If we receive (or spread) the message that “you must DO something” to be saved, then this is NOT the gospel message. Just BELIEVE in Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, “for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 3?).

Jesus said, “It is FINISHED!”

He has DONE all things necessary for our salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth you confess and with your heart you are justified…?”

Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace, through faith you have been saved. It is the gift of God so that no one can boast.”

Acts 3 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

What a powerful name.

John 3:16-17 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world… Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed.”

What is the meaning of ‘believe’?

Believe = Be – Live

  • BE in Jesus
  • LIVE in Jesus

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

This does NOT mean that the jailor’s faith will automatically bring faith to his family – but rather, “they will be saved IF they also believe.”

We cannot be saved by proxy nor in a group – we are only saved individually, with a personal relationship with Christ.

Still today, all lost souls cry out from their spirits: “What must I DO to be saved?”

“Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Around us today, who knows if the one we share the gospel message with was not one who wanted to kill themselves just one minute ago. “Don’t kill yourself!”

Even around us today, there are so many people who are harming themselves on purpose or in spite of themselves.

What a glorious thing to offer salvation to those who are harming themselves simply by believing in Christ (plus nothing).

We must give this message to the lost:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Let’s pray.

 

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen
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