Acts 16:9-40




Paul was traveling toward Asia.

The need to win souls was great.



But a strange thing happened.

Verse 6 reads, “He was forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in   




Even though Paul was going to preach the Word,

Even though he was going to win souls for Christ,



Even though the need was great,

The Holy Spirit stopped him.



He wanted Paul to go into the region of Macedonia.

Paul had not intended to go there.



But the Holy Spirit had different plans.

So Paul set sail for Macedonia.



He arrived at a Roman Colony called Philippi.

The Sabbath came.



Paul usually went to the synagogue.

But this time, he sought out a place by the river just outside the city.


A group of women were holding a prayer meeting there.

He made contact with a woman named Lydia.



Several facts are given about her:

1st---Lydia was a seller of purple.;



A business woman who sold garments and materials that had been dyed       


There was a limited supply of purple material in those days.



The rich were the only ones who could afford it.

So Lydia was probably rich.



The point is the rich can get saved.

It's hard for the rich to get saved.



But it can happen.

Those who are fortunate enough to have money need to learn to control their          




And not to let their money control them.

A miner got lost in the desert without food and water.



After two days, he came across a box.

He opened it.



It was full of money.

Money was not what he needed after two days in the desert without food and         




He threw it away.

The day will come when we will appear before the Judgment seat.



Money will be worthless.

We won’t have any.



But if we did, we might as well throw it away.

If you have money, don’t let it hinder your relationship with God.



2nd---Lydia was from Thyatira.

Philippi was not her home.



She had moved to Philippi to go into business.

3rd---Lydia worshipped God.



She was striving for a relationship with God.

But she did not know God.



So Paul contacted Lydia.

He led her to Christ;



Baptized her.

And this rich woman was the first Christian convert in Europe.



Then, Lydia introduced Paul to her husband.

When we become a Christian, we should want others to become a Christian;



Especially our family.

Lydia's husband got saved.


Then, Lydia opened her house to Paul.

He lived at her house during his ministry among the Philippians.



Paul kept the prayer meeting going.

He was going to pray one day when a demon possessed slave girl met him.



She told fortunes (Vs. 16).

Certain men used her to make a large profit.



Now, regardless of what you believe about fortune telling it was happening.

And this girl was good at it.



And, as far as the Bible is concerned, her ability was Satanically inspired.

Can this happen today?



Do we have demon possession today?

I think so.



Someone asked the Great Houdini about the magic performed by Satan        


He said, “Ninety-nine percent of it is a fake.”



“I can duplicate it anytime I want.”

“But one percent of it is a mystery.”



“And I cannot duplicate it.”

“Or explain it.”



So regarding fortune telling, it's probably a fake.

And a waste of money.

But if it isn't, its a mistake to be fooling around with it.

Anyway, this girl followed Paul around.



She cried out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, which     

shew us the way of salvation.”

Paul was accompanied by at least three others: Luke, Silas and Timothy.



This is another reason why we believe Lydia was wealthy.

It would require a large house to take in four guests for an extended period of         




So this girl followed Paul around crying, “These men are servants of the Most        

High God which show us the way of salvation.”

 This was true.



But it caused a problem.

Satan was using her



Paul was preaching.

And she was yelling.



It was disruptive;

A nuisance;



And it happened once too often.

Paul discerned that this was a case of demon possession.



So when she did it, he commanded the demon to come out of her in the name        

of Jesus Christ.

The demon left her immediately.


This solved Paul's problem.

It solved the girl's problem.



But it caused another problem.

The girl lost her ability to tell fortunes.



Her masters lost a profitable business.

And they were upset with Paul and his party.



This was Satan's doing.

Satan had failed to hinder the gospel by proclaiming the gospel through this girl.



Did you get that?

Satan was proclaiming the gospel through this demon possessed girl..



He's an angel of light.

But when proclaiming the gospel failed to stop the spread of the gospel, Satan        

turned to a lie.



When the girl's masters saw their profits dropping off, they seized Paul and Silas.

They took them before the magistrates.



They charged them with “troubling the city.”

We would say, “disturbing the peace.”



How were they disturbing the peace?

“They were teaching customs which were not lawful.”



These greedy men were suddenly concerned about the law.

It didn't bother them to own a slave.



But Christianity was costing them money.

The world is full of people like this.



If we won't oppose abortion, drugs, liquor or pornography, they won't oppose us.

But if we start affecting their bank accounts, they will oppose us.



Anyway, either the magistrates were corrupt.

Or they believed the girl's masters because they had Paul and Silas stripped and




They cast them into prison;

Charged the jailer to keep them.



And he certainly intended to do that.

He took them into the inner prison;



The most secure place in the prison;

Locked them in stocks;



Left and went to bed.

He was probably the usual jailer;



A hard, brutal man.

A man unaffected by suffering and pain;




A man who could beat people;

Execute people.



His job was a political job.

He purchased it from Rome.



They didn't elect jailers.

They sold the position.



Men were willing to buy the job because they could get their money back      

with deals under the table.

They took bribes.



Rome overlooked that.

It was just business.



But there was one thing that Rome would not overlook.

They would not overlook a prison escape.



That would cost the jailer his life.

So the jailer took these severely beaten men, cast them into the inner prison,  

and locked them in stacks.



This certainly must have been far from what Paul would have imagined when

the Holy Spirit told him to go to Macedonia.

One would be tempted to complain to God.



But Jesus said, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you

and shall say all manner of evil against you FALSELY for my sake;”

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven”

(Matt. 5:11, 12).

And rejoice is exactly what Paul and Silas did.

Midnight came.



The stocks were uncomfortable.

They were in pain.



They couldn't sleep.

Their higher nature took over.



They began to pray;

To sing praises to God.



To rejoice over the privilege to suffer for Christ's sake.

Do we sing and praise God at times like this?



Paul and Silas did.

Later, Paul wrote the Philippians and said, “Unto you it is given in the behalf

of Christ not only to believe on Him,”



"But also to suffer for His sake" (Phil. 1:29).

Paul and Silas had been tossed into prison for teaching unlawful things in an

effort to silence them.



Now, God had given them a jail ministry.

They became witnesses to those on the inside who couldn't get out to listen.



What appeared to be a tragedy was actually an opportunity;

An opportunity to reach those who probably would never have been reached          

except for this illegal event.



Suddenly, there was a great earthquake.

Not an ordinary earthquake;



A great earthquake;

It shook the very foundation of the prison.



The doors opened.

The stocks came loose.



Someone has said, “We can lock God's men up,”

“But we can't lock God out.”



In the midst of the songs and praise God spoke.

He set these men free.



Could we say this was a normal event?

I think not.



The prison shook, the doors popped open, the stocks came loose,

Normally, a great earthquake would collapse the building on those inside.



But no one got hurt.

This was another one of those miracles that God uses to enforce His Word.



Needless to say, the jailer woke up.

He found the prison doors open.



He decided to save Rome the trouble of killing him.

He drew his sword.


He intended to kill himself.

But Paul stopped him.



“Do thyself no harm for we are all here.”

The doors were open.



The stocks were loose.

But none of the prisoners had escaped.



The jailer called for lights.

He entered into the darkened prison.



He fell down, trembling before Paul and Silas.

His life flashed before his face.



He almost moved out into eternity.

It would be a terrible eternity;



He had taken bribes,

Beaten people,



Executed people.

He was lost.



He brought Paul and Silas out of the prison.

He asked, “What must I do to be saved?”



This is a great question.

“What must I do to be saved?”


Paul said be baptized!

Join the Church!



Believe God exists!




Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

It's that simple.



But someone might ask, “What does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus     


So after Paul said believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “HE SPOKE THE         




I believe he told the Philippian jailer about God's love for sinners,

About the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus,



About God's promise to save all who believe.

That's what the Philippian jailer did.



He believed on Jesus.

Do you want to know whether he was save or not?



“He took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.”

Many overlook this.



They emphasize that he was baptized with water.

But water baptism is not a sign of salvation.




A person can receive water baptism.

And still be lost.



Water baptism is the first good work the Church asks us to do after we say   

we believe in Jesus.

A saved person should be willing to be baptized.



Jesus said, “By their fruit, ye shall know them.”

This jailer did something he hadn't been doing.



He took these prisoners, washed their wounds, and put ointment on them.

We can tell his life was changed because we can see his works.



Then, he fed these prisoners.

He took them home so his family could hear and believe.



The next day, the judge ordered them released.

They left the jail, returned to Lydia's home, said their good-byes,



And left Philippi.

I want to close with seven quick points.



1st---Paul and Silas didn't go where they wanted to go.

They went where God wanted them to go.



They taught the Word,

Cast out demons,



And led people to Christ.

We would normally expect God to keep them out of trouble.

But it didn't happen.

A missionary was serving in a dangerous place.



One man told him, “I wouldn't go there for a million dollars.”

The missionary replied, “I wouldn't either.”



"I went there because God wanted me to go there.”

Going where God wants us to go doesn’t keep us out of trouble.



But it gets results.

2nd---All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that   

are called according to His purpose.



Being cast into prison didn’t look good at first.

Now we know that many got saved.



3rd---We should never take for granted that the one we are witnessing to is the         

only one to be saved.

Paul witnessed to Lydia.



And her entire household got saved.

Paul witnessed to the Philippian jailer.



And his entire household got saved.

Witnessing to one person can bring an entire family to Jesus.



Witnessing to one person can cause this whole Church to thrive.

4th---Paul kept it simple.




Believe on Jesus.

Justification, sanctification, glorification, repentance, water baptism and the   

gifts of the Holy Spirit are important.



But people get saved by believing on Jesus.

5th---Be content with whatever situation you are in.



Paul and Silas appeared to be in deep trouble.

Their response was prayer and singing praises to God.



It may not always seem like it.

But God is always in control.



This war on terrorism is bad.

But God is in control.



I'm going to predict that Church attendance will soon go up.

And people that we never thought would attend Church will start to Church.



6th---We have looked at the salvation of three people.

Lydia was a rich business woman.



The demon possessed girl was a poor slave.

The Philippian jailer was a working man.



This is two females and a male;

Two adults and a girl.



It doesn't matter whether we are rich or poor,

A working person or a non-working person,

A woman or a man,

An adult or a child,



If we will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be saved,

7th---Paul's ministry at Philippi began with a woman named Lydia.



The very first person saved in Europe was a woman.

Women have always had an important role in the Church.



Many Churches couldn't exist without them.

Finally, when Lydia went to the river to pray, she probably had no idea that   

she would accept Christ that day.



Perhaps, you came to Church without any idea that you would accept Christ

or rededicate your life today.

But if you want to, we want you to do it.



All you have to do is come forward and say so while we are singing our        

invitation hymn.