THE JAILER & THE PRISONERS ~ Precious C Philip
There is this popular Bible story among Christians narrated in the book of Acts 16:16-40. It's a story I've heard and also read severally, but on this particular day, while reading the Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E. A Adeboye, this Scripture was the Bible reading for that day, as I read it slowly and attentively, having prayed earlier and asked the Holy Spirit to give me deeper understanding and revelation as I read the devotional, I began noticing things I was oblivious to prior to this time.
These things I noticed, which are revelations from the Holy Spirit, is what I'll be sharing with you today. I'll share both the previous revelations I've received and the new ones I received from the Scripture. The Bible passage is a long read - so I didn't add it to this article to avoid a lengthy blog post, but you can quickly read the passage - Acts 16:16-40, and come back to this article or you can just open your Bible beside you to this above Scripture as we jointly go through the story together.
What are the Revelations from this Bible story?
1. Fortune-telling is not of God. This was revealed in Acts 16:16-18. Paul and Silas could not have cast out the spirit in the slave girl in the Name of Jesus and it obeyed and left the young girl if the spirit operating in her was of God. Apostle Paul would not even have gotten annoyed with her loud public declaration of their identity as servants of the Most of God, if she was speaking by the Spirit of God. Therefore, it is not the Holy Spirit that is behind fortune-telling, but an evil spirit from the pit of hell. You should therefore not patronize fortune-tellers who predict the future in exchange for money or promote fortune-telling in any way as a child of God. God has already revealed your future to you in His word - the Holy Bible, that should suffice, or make personal inquiries from God in personal prayers.
2. We can cast out evil spirits in the Name of Jesus like Apostle Paul did (Acts 16:18). As long as we are disciples of Jesus and children of God, Jesus has given us the authority and power to cast out devils in His Name. Therefore, you and I can cast out demons in the Name of Jesus, as long as we're connected to Jesus and remain obedient to Him.
3. Combine praises with prayers when you want God to show up, or to manifest His power in your life or in a difficult situation, or to do what only He can do, or to do the humanly impossible. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God and His presence was felt, His power was displayed, and a mighty miracle happened (Acts 16:25-26).
4. Love everyone (including your enemies, ill-wishers, and those who you think are not deserving of love) and consider other people in your actions. Is it not a surprise that Paul and Silas did not take to their heels immediately the prison doors flew open and their chains came loose? This is contrary to what many people in their shoes would have done. But Paul and Silas stayed put, refusing to run away, because they were thoughtful of the jailer - knowing that he would either kill himself or be killed by the magistrates when it's discovered that the prisoners had escaped. If Paul and Silas had escaped, the jailer would have committed suicide and died a sinner and gone to hell (Acts 16:27-28).
5. Show people the right way to be saved if you have been saved, and preach the word of God to others. Paul and Silas responded to the Jailer's heartfelt request of being told what to do to be saved by introducing Jesus to him. They showed the jailer the right way to be saved, which is by faith in Jesus; no other way(Acts 16:29-32). Then, they preached the word of God to him and all in his house.
6. True baptism recognized by God is done after one has believed in Jesus and is born again (Acts 16:33). Water baptism is commanded in the Bible, and it is done only after an individual recognize and admit their sinfulness, repent of their sins, accept and believe in Jesus and become a child of God/born again. Any other kind of water baptism (like infant baptism) done asides this is a mere religious act instituted by men, not God, and is therefore not recognized by God. The jailer and his household were baptized only after they believed in the Lord Jesus and became saved. PS: Jesus Himself was not baptized as an infant even though He was God's Son, He got water baptized when He had already reached an age of sufficient understanding.
7. You are filled with joy when you believe in God and accept Jesus His Son into your life (Acts 16:34). Have you believed in Jesus for the salvation of your soul yet? If not, you should do what the jailer did and be saved and be filled with joy.
8. God always have a bigger purpose that is beyond our comprehension for doing whatever He does; His thoughts are not our thoughts. You may think the earthquake, the loosing of the chains and the opening of the prison doors by God was so that Paul and Silas would escape. But alas! It wasn't His primary purpose. The reason God manifested His power was primarily to save the jailer and his household. He humbled the jailer with a demonstration of His mighty power and astounding miracles, and empowered Paul and Silas by so doing, to minister the Gospel of Jesus to him and his household (Acts 16:27-30). Thank God Paul and Silas were sensitive to what God wanted to accomplish and stayed put to play their roles. When they finished working together with God to accomplish His purpose, the following morning, the order came from the magistrates that they should be released and allowed to go.
9. Know who you are, your right, your worth, and your authority in Christ, and Satan and wicked people will not harass you or intimidate you. Paul and Silas did not think of escaping when they supernaturally got their freedom from God, even after ministering to the jailer and being cleaned up and nourished with food by the jailer, they waited till the following morning, because they knew their rights and their identity; if they had escaped, the magistrates would probably have sent some officers to go after them, catch, beat, rearrest, and throw them back into the prison because they're cowards who do not know their rights as Roman citizens (Acts 16:35-39).
10. That you're serving God faithfully does not mean that challenges will not come. Infact the Bible says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19. Challenges will come, but God promises to deliver us from them all just as He delivered Paul and Silas. It's important to note that Paul and Silas were on their way to the place of prayer and stopped to do a laudable work of deliverance when an affliction came. So you may be doing a godly work and a challenge arises, but rest assured that God will deliver you.
Stay blessed till I bring another message from God to you next week Monday.