Thyatira, Jail and Salvation
Acts 16:13-40 – February 19, 2023
Acts 16:13-15. Knowing the Jews of Philippi had no synagogue and met by the river means that there were not many Jewish men in Philippi if any, certainly not ten Jewish men as that would have met the minimum requirement to establish a synagogue.
She responded when The Lord opened her heart to what Paul and his team were preaching … Where was she from?
Thyatira: one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 1:11. Then in Revelation 2:18-28.
Acts 16:16-17. “It actually says, ‘She had a spirit of Pythona.’ It is used here because the python was associated with the god Apollo and near Philippi there was a shrine to the Pythian Apollo.”
Acts 16:18. Paul did not appreciate the free advertising from the demon. He did not appreciate the source of the recommendation, and he didn’t want or need a demon’s approval of his work. Paul was following the example of Jesus, who told demons to be silent, when they told the truth about Him (Matt 8:28-34, Mark 3:11-12). Paul was careful to speak to the demon only in the authority of Jesus Christ
Acts 16:19-24. The owners of the demon possessed girl cared nothing for the girl herself, only for their ability to exploit her possession for money. In a sense, they were occult “pimps,” prostituting this girl spiritually.
Paul and Silas were singled out not only because they were the leaders of the evangelistic group. But those vague charges were enough, because Paul and Silas – they were outsiders and Jewish. They were offended by their strange religion of a crucified Savior.
Acts 16:25. Though they had been arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for doing good, all without a trial, Paul and Silas acted with joy, singing praises to God. It seemed as if nothing would make them stop praising God. And the other prisoners listened to them.
Acts 16:26-29. This earthquake was clearly from God. It would have been easy for Paul and Silas to escape thinking God provided another miraculous jailbreak. But to them, the lives of others were more important than their own personal freedom and comfort.
Acts 16:30-32. The jailer was so impressed by Paul and Silas, they had already saved him once – by the grace they had showed him by not escaping – that he wanted the kind of salvation they had preached and maybe a life of joy even while imprisoned like that of Paul and Silas. God wants our lives to be like this, magnets drawing people to Him. The guard and his family received salvation by grace alone, by faith alone.
Acts 16:33-34. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes: The same jailer who had punished them now cared for Paul and Silas, caring for their wounds and he set food before them. This clearly shows his repentance.
And there was rejoicing: This man was freed and saved from suicide, then went to joy in a short period of time.
Acts 16:35-36. The magistrates have sent your release orders. Now leave and go in peace. Question: If Paul and Silas were going to be released the day after their arrest, beating, and imprisonment, why the earthquake from God?
Acts 16:37-39. As Roman citizens, Paul and Silas had civil rights, which had been violated by the magistrates. They were filled with fear, because it was a terrible offense to treat Roman citizens as Paul and Silas had been treated.
Pastor Dave Elkins once asked, “Are we ready to step out of the way and let God do what He wants? Are we ready to let God be God, and be His servants, His vessels, to use as He wills, not as we will?” Paul and Silas were.
Acts 16:40. When they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them: Only after this, did they agree to go. Paul and Silas would not be hurried out of town until they completed their work there.
We may think Paul and Silas’s experience beyond comprehension and belief, yet in the author of Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand, tells us a different story.
A Communist officer told a Christian he was beating, ‘I am almighty, as you suppose your God can be. I can kill you.’ The Christian answered, ‘The power is all on my side. I can love you while you torture me to death.’ Richard Wurmbrand
I have decided to denounce communism, though I love the Communists. I don’t find it to be right to preach the gospel without denouncing communism. Richard Wurmbrand
Some tell me Preach the pure gospel! This reminds me that the Communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism. Is it really so, that those who are for what is called a pure gospel are inspired by the same spirit as those of the Communist secret police? Richard Wurmbrand
Bottom Line: What would you suffer to save the soul of an oppressor?