Hello Project Ezra! I’m glad you are able to join us this week in sharing the truth of God’s grace through the reading of His word. This week’s chapter is Acts 16, and I’m excited about reading it. I’ve read the chapter many times, but never saw the truths that are contrasted in it until recently, and they are profound. I’ll keep the introduction minimal this week, since I think the outline addresses the subject well enough. I pray this is a blessing, and that you will not only participate yourself, but will encourage others to do so as well. As always, I’m excited to hear your testimonies.
All for His glory,
This chapter talks about two miracles, and two different groups who saw those miracles
Their reactions were very different.
I would ask that you ponder those differences as I read.
I will share more on those differences after the reading
READ ACTS 16
Two groups of people who had the privilege of seeing God work
Two miracles with two very different responses
One group considered only what was taken from them
Other group praised God for what they were given
If you were there, what would your reaction be?
The chapter talks about a slave girl with a spirit of divination.
She was a demoniac, and she followed Paul and Silas, crying out after them
She was telling the truth, though most likely in mocking.
Eventually Paul, in frustration, cast the demon out through the power of Christ
Owners saw an exorcism. They should have seen a miracle of God.
But all they could see was the money they had lost. Their god was their money.
So they lied in order to have Paul and Silas thrown into prison
The Roman jailer also saw a miracle. He and his family responded much differently.
Paul and Silas had just been arrested, stripped, and beaten, and were now locked the stocks.
Despite their suffering, they were praising God and singing hymns to Him
That may seem strange, but there is a joy in knowing and serving God that surpasses any earthly troubles
Then there was an earthquake, and all the prison doors flew open
If a Roman jailer had his prisoners escape, he would lose his life.
He was ready to commit suicide, but Paul stopped him.
The same power that opened the doors to the prison kept the prisoners from leaving
The jailer saw that he had been rescued from deadly peril, that his life had been given back to him
He fell to his knees, and begged Paul and Silas to show him how to be saved.
He was not angry for what he could have lost, but grateful for what he had been given.
Like the jailer, your life is in danger.
Like the jailer, through Jesus Christ, there is an escape
You are in danger because you have broken God’s law and offended Him
God is so holy He cannot allow evil in His presence
He is such a perfect judge that He will not leave any guilt unpunished.
That should terrify you, because you are evil and guilty, just like me.
GO THROUGH THE LAW TO SHOW THEIR GUILT, AND YOURS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE SELF-REFLECTIVE WHEN SHARING THE LAW. WE ARE JUST AS GUILTY AS THOSE WE TALK TO, AND SAYING THAT IN HUMILITY WILL GO A LONG WAYS IN ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO LISTEN.
What can you do to remove your guilt?
You can’t do anything on your own
But, but God’s grace, you can be delivered, just as the jailer was.
Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins
His suffering, under the weight of His Father’s wrath, satisfied God’s justice.
Because justice has been satisfied, those who repent of their sins and trust in Him, and His sacrifice alone, can go free
Only through repentance from your sins, and faith in Christ alone, can you be made right with God
Only through faith in the one who carried your guilt, and satisfied justice through His sacrifice, can you be forgiven
Have you done that? If not, please do so today!
Like the slave owners, you will be distracted by the riches of this world
Many things will catch your eye and entice you, drawing you away from God’s truth
But I pray that today, God will open your heart to hear the gospel, as He did for Lydia in this chapter
God is a good and loving God, and be merciful if you repent and trust Him
Life is short, and none of us is promised tomorrow, so don’t delay
His patience will not last forever, and there are no second chances
About 150,000 people die every day
You don’t know when your day will come, but you do know that you will be dead longer than you will be alive
So repent and trust in Christ today while He has given you time
I HAVE NOT NOTED BIBLE VERSES IN THIS PARTICULAR OUTLINE, BUT IT IS VITAL THAT YOUR KNOW AND USE BIBLE VERSES WHEN YOUR SHARE YOUR FAITH. AFTER ALL, OUR OPINIONS MEAN NOTHING. GOD’S WORD MEANS EVERYTHING, AND IT IS NOT UNUSUAL TO BE CHALLENGED ON A BIBLICAL CLAIM. BE IN THE WORD DAILY!!