Conversions in Philippi
Text: Acts 16:13-40
I. On the Sabbath day, after they had arrived, Paul, Silas, and Luke went down to the river outside of town.
A. They figured they would find Jews worshiping there and, sure enough, they found women gathering there.
B. The fact that the gathering was of women indicates there were not enough men in the town to establish a synagogue. Jewish custom dictated that 12 men are needed.
C. Paul and his companions began speaking with the women.
D. Lydia was receptive to the teaching.
1. She and her household were baptized.
E. She prevailed upon Paul and his companions to stay with her while they were in town.
II. On another day, as they were heading out to the river again, a slave-girl met them.
A. She was possessed by a spirit that let her make prophecies. Her owners made a tidy sum from her divinations.
1. She began following Paul and his companions saying “These men are the bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
2. The statement was true, but consider the source. Would a servant of God want a servant of the devil proclaiming who he is?
B. She did this for several days, until Paul finally got too annoyed.
1. He turned to the woman and commanded the spirit to leave the girl in the name of Jesus Christ.
2. The demon left immediately.
C. While this might have pleased the girl, it did not please her masters.
1. They made money off this girl and Paul just ruined their income.
2. Of course, it would be difficult to press charges concerning this. Instead, they dragged Paul and Silas to the court in the marketplace and claimed these Jews were throwing the city into confusion by teaching customs that violated Roman law.
3. A mob took up the cause. The judges tore off Paul and Silas’s outer garments and ordered them beaten with rods.
4. They then tossed them into jail.
III. Paul and Silas in prison
A. Jailers in those days kept prisoners with the guarantee of their own life.
1. This jailer wanted to make sure Paul and Silas did not escape, so he placed them in the innermost cell and locked their feet in stocks.
B. About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns.
1. The other prisoners were listening. So even when jailed, they had the opportunity to teach.
C. An earthquake struck, shaking the very foundations of the prison. All the doors swung open and everyone’s chains fell off.
1. Obviously a miracle since shaking normally doesn’t release locks.
2. Of course, this wakened the jailer.
D. As soon as he saw that the prison doors were opened, he assumed everyone had escaped.
1. He would be better off dead than to face the Roman authorities, so he drew his own sword to commit suicide.
2. Paul cried out for him to stop. He pointed out that no one had left.
3. The other prisoners probably followed the lead of Paul and Silas.
E. The jailer called for lights
1. He fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
2. He knew that the earthquake came on the account of these men.
3. He knew they could have walked out, but they stayed. They had saved his life.
4. He probably also heard the prayers and songs of Paul and Silas.
5. He wanted to know what he had to do to be saved.
a. They told him to believe in the Lord Jesus
b. They began teaching him and his household.
c. Then the jailer washed their wounds
6. And that same hour he and his household were baptized.
IV. He brought Paul and Silas out of the prison and into his own house
A. He brought out food and held a feast.
B. He and his whole household rejoiced in their new belief.
C. When dawn came, the magistrates sent word that Paul and Silas were to be released.
1. The jailer told this to Paul.
2. But Paul refused.
a. They had been beaten without a trial and put into prison
b. Roman citizens are not to be treated in this fashion
c. They would not have the magistrate’s crimes covered up in secret.
d. He wanted the magistrates to come personally.
D. Word was brought back to the magistrates and they were afraid
1. They had violated Roman law and to find out that these men were citizens!
2. They came and begged Paul and Silas to leave the jail – and to leave town.
E. Instead, Paul and Silas returned to Lydia’s house
1. They spoke with the brethren before leaving
2. The pronouns change once again indicating that while Paul and Silas left, Luke remained behind to work with this new congregation.