This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Acts 16:25-40 The Life-Saving Power of Faith
16:25-40 is the story of how God can take the bad circumstances of our lives
and use them for good. Paul and Silas had just cast out the demons who were
occupying the servant girl, but her owners had them put in jail. The servant
girl was a sorcerer who made money for her owners, and when Paul and Silas cast
out her demons, her owners lost their source of income. As a result, the owners
had Paul and Silas thrown into jail.
Paul and Silas mad because of their predicament? No, because they sang hymns of
praise to God. They might not have felt like praising, but they had learned to
walk by faith and not by feelings. They weren’t angry with God about what
happened. Instead, they praised God in the midst of their circumstances, and in
return God rewarded them by freeing them from jail.
and Silas did not flee from the jail after the earthquake. If they had fled,
the jailer would have been held responsible for their escape and would have
been put to death. Paul and Silas saved the jailer’s life both literally and spiritually.
Rather than running for their lives, they saw an opportunity to save a lost
the midst of their suffering, Paul and Silas experienced the presence of the
Holy Spirit. It filled their hearts with so much joy and praise that they
started singing. In response, the Holy Spirit freed them from their physical
captivity just like it frees us from spiritual captivity. The Holy Spirit,
working through Paul and Silas, freed the jailer and his family from their
Paul and Silas were freed and vindicated by the Holy Spirit, they sought
freedom and vindication from the authorities. Paul wanted public vindication so
that the Philippians would see him for who he really was. If they had seen him
as a troublemaker and a lawbreaker, it would have hindered the growth of the
church in Philippi. If we want to see people grow in their faith, and if we
want to see our churches grow, we have to let people see us for who we really
are as Christians. They need to see that we are not a threat to them, just like
Paul wanted the Romans to see that Christianity was not a threat to them.
was concerned about his reputation with the Philippians because he did not want
a negative reputation to hinder the development of the church in Philippi. He
knew that people were watching him to see if his faith was real. People are
also watching us to see if our faith is real. The world is always looking for
opportunities to discredit Christians. The world looks for people such as false
teachers and Christian hypocrites. When we reflect Christ’s love and power in
our lives, evangelism will be a fruitful part of our lives. People will see
that our Christian deeds and love will back up our Christian words.
was a powerful experience for the jailer. He saw an opportunity to save his own
soul. He became concerned about the state of his spiritual life, especially as
he prepared to send himself into eternity by preparing to kill himself when he
thought that the prisoners had escaped during the earthquake. He likely knew
that he was unfit to stand before the ultimate judge (God) because of his sin.
A similar experience happens when people who are dying repent. In both cases,
the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?” is simple-“Believe in
Jesus, and be saved.”
jailer and his family believed, and they were saved. They did not have to do
any good works or start going to church first or study the Scriptures. The Holy
Spirit frees everyone so that they can use all things to his glory. In other
words, we are free to use all of our talents and resources to do God’s work in
our world, including singing our own songs.
World War II, many soldiers “got religion” while in their foxholes under enemy
fire. Because many of those “foxhole conversions” were not genuine, some people
become skeptical of anyone who professes Christianity under stressful
circumstances. Yet there are many, including the Philippian jailer, who will
testify that some “foxhole conversions” are genuine. We must be sensitive to
God when we are under stress. He might be using that very situation to help us
get out lives into perspective.
Silas and the jailer trusted in God in their circumstances because they knew
that God would solve their problems. God can solve our problems as well if we
put our trust in him. When we allow him to rule our lives, he will set us free
from all of our prisons. Christian prisoners witness to their faith just like
Paul and Silas witnessed to their faith while they were in jail. Even if we are
persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, God can free us from that prison by
making us a powerful testimony of God’s love.
I mentioned earlier, Paul and Silas likely did not feel like praising God when
they were in jail, but they learned to walk by faith and not by feelings. Paul
commands us to do the same thing. He commands us to walk by faith and not by
feelings. If we do, we will know joy and peace in the midst of our pain. God
will unlock the chains of depression and hopelessness. We will be free to
rejoice in the Lord and worship freely as we walk through the trials of life.
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013)
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.
Fawcett, A.R. and Brown, D.: Commentary
Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Oak Harbour, WA: Logos
Research Systems Inc.; 1997)
and Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 28: Acts (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983)
C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life
Principles Bible, NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2005)
6.Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville,
TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2010)