Acts 16 Is where the apostle Paul and Silas heal a demon possessed girl and get beaten and thrown in jail as a result. At the midnight hour, bloodied and in chains, they start to sing and praise God so that all who were in prison heard them. Imagine for a moment this is you laying there in the filth of the inner most part of jail, bleeding and chained to the floor. Yet praising and trusting God.
Suddenly, a mighty earthquake shakes the prison doors and the chains fall off everyone! The lone jailer awakes to see this and knowing the consequences- he draws his own sword to kill himself for this key failure…
“And he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. So he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Act 16:27-30)
You know, I believe that the Lord allowed Paul and Silas to be put in jail just to reach this man. And when you get to heaven and you say, “Do you think that that’s fair, Paul, that God allowed you to get beat like that and thrown in prison just so that jailer could get saved? Do you think God’s fair doing that to you?” I think as Paul would point out, “Well, there he is over there and there’s his family. Not only was he saved, but his whole family. I’d gladly do it in order that I might have him as my eternal brother here in God’s kingdom.” I really believe that God was just reaching that Philippian jailer. That is why he allowed Paul to be in prison.
“What must I do to be saved?” Did Paul say, “Join the church; pay your tithes.” No, that wasn’t said.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Act 16:31),
You mean, that’s all? That’s all. Believing in Jesus Christ. God has made it so simple. There’s no excuse for anyone not being saved (an excerpt from Pastor Chuck Smiths commentary).
I couldn’t help but think about my recent trip to Cuba where my very first evangelism opportunity was in a very run down tenement housing project. It was bad even for a poor family. It was made worse by the decades of government oppression that robbed each person of their liberty. I was encouraged to always seek out the father or man of the house if he was around. We knocked on the door after passing through many curious eyes and were invited in. The mother and her two teen daughters greeted us and found some old chairs for us to sit down. I tried not to concentrate on my surroundings only on the people. I asked for the father Juan to come out which he did. I didn’t know what to say -only that I was there as an ambassador of the most high God and also that Jesus saved my life after I was run over by a car.
I noticed it was February 2015 , almost 9 years to the day of the accident that changed my life.
We shared (my translator, local church worker and I) our hearts with this family, I shared my brief testimony of God changing my life in so many ways and even shared photos of my family which they loved. At the end I explained the gospel and asked if they would each individually invite Jesus to be their Lord and Savior starting with Juan- the father of this family. Slowly he answered yes and then each family member answered yes. They prayed to receive Christ as the entire family. We invited them to church that night where I would be teaching on discipleship. They all came and testified of accepting Christ.
Can you imagine a selfish, greedy but broken businessman leading an entire family to put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ ? What did it take for me to get to this point of surrender and leave comfortable surroundings to go on this mission trip? It took only my desire to trust my master’s direction after realizing the depth of His love.
In Romans 3:27 We read, “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.” All I can do is praise God because of what He has done for me. He never wanted what I could “do” for Him. He simply wanted “me”.
Was it fair, God -to allow a car to crush my body 9 years ago today? The answer is a resounding yes…
In His service,