Chapter Sixteen — Part Four: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 05/15/2022Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 16:19 NKJV — But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
b. The men who profited off the demon-possessed girl, did not see a girl who was bound and now free—they only saw their revenue being cut off.
c. Greed, and the love of money, does much harm (1 Tim. 6:10).
d. Acts 16:20-21 NKJV — And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”
e. They dragged them before the magistrates, who would have been the Roman army commanders, or rulers, of the colonies.
f. Because they had no legal basis to bring a charge against them, they fabricated an offence, unjustly accused them of teaching unlawful things.
g. This was a serious accusation because the Romans were very protective of their national worship and would not allow anything else to be preached, or to take its place.
h. For this reason, Jews were banished from Rome.
2. Beaten and Jailed.
a. Acts 16:22 NKJV — Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
b. The mob did not even stop to ask questions, never mind give them a fair trial.
c. In their rage and fury, they tore off their clothes and beat them mercilessly.
d. They assumed because they were Jews, that the apostles were not Roman citizens, with rights under their laws.
e. Acts 16:23 NKJV — And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
f. The Jews gave only 39 stripes, but the Romans beat offenders with rods as many times as they chose.
g. In the course of his ministry, Paul was beaten with rods at least three times (2 Cor. 11:25).
h. Jailer (Greek desmophylax) — jailer or keeper of the prison—used only here in this passage of scripture.
i. Acts 16:24 NKJV — Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
j. The jailer was ordered to lock them up them safely, so he went above and beyond, to secure them in the prison.
k. They were thrust into the worst and most secure part of the prison and their physical movements were as limited as the jailer could possibly make them.
l. He made sure that there was no way they could escape.
m. It would’ve been dark, cold, damp, and filthy, and thoroughly miserable.
n. Roman stocks were designed not only to securely hold you in place, but also to keep you in such a position as to cause severe discomfort and even extreme pain.
a. Acts 16:25 KJV — And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
b. Because of their terrible situation, and the pain they must have been in, most people would have expected to hear them complaining.
c. Instead, Paul and Silas began to sing praises God loudly and unashamedly, so that all the prisoners heard them.
d. Like them, we should never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16).
e. Neither should we ever believe the devil’s lie that God has failed us when we experience persecution for the Word’s sake.
f. The very time to be singing, worshipping, and glorifying God, is in the middle of our worst situation.
g. The Lord is our gracious Deliverer, and He will bring us out as He has promised.
h. Perhaps they were thinking about Joseph, who was also in prison, bound by iron fetters, yet the Lord set him free and elevated him to the highest place in the land of Egypt (Ps. 105:17-20).
i. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMPC — Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
j. God’s Word exhorts us to give thanks IN everything—good and bad—not necessarily FOR everything.
k. It has nothing to do with how you feel—you praise Him because He is good, and His promises are true.
l. When you feel helpless and hopeless, that’s when you lift up your head and you begin to worship Him.
m. We give thanks to God, Who always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
n. Hebrews 13:15 AMPC — Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
o. Paul exhorts us to continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God.
a. Acts 16:26 KJV — And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
b. God answered their prayers by sending a huge earthquake.
c. This was no normal earthquake—it shook the foundations, shook the doors open and everyone’s bands were loosed.
d. Acts 16:27 KJV — And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
e. Jailers were responsible for prisoners, under the penalty of death.
f. He assumed everybody escaped, so he chose suicide rather than face the brutality of the Romans.
g. Acts 16:28 KJV — But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
h. How gracious is the man of God, to call out to save the jailer’s life, even though he treated them so cruelly!
i. Paul and Silas show us how to conduct ourselves in any situation.
j. Walk in love, keep praying, keep preaching, and keep praising.