THE PHILIPPIAN JAILOR
Reading: Acts 16:22-34
[a] Did you ever meet anyone who was so full of joy that it
was literally contagious?
[b] This was the case many years ago when we met a blind man
called John Herbison.
John used to be a drunkard, and in his drunken stupors he
had had fallen on to bed knobs and so forth,
eventually damaging his eyes so much he went blind.
Now when we met John, he had found Jesus, and been gloriously
saved! far from being miserable, he was one of the happiest
people I have had the privilege of meeting.
He had what could only be described as a holy chuckle, that
made something inside you respond, and feel that genuine
happiness that shone from his life!
[c] I am convinced that this was the case with Paul and Silas
who, although they were in chains, although they had been
whipped, and were bleeding, although they had all the pain
and discomfort which it must have caused, were SINGING
PRAISES TO GOD - AT MIDNIGHT!!
[d] If you know any people who profess to be Christians, and
they're miserable all the time - tell them THERE'S SOMETHING
WRONG WITH THEM!!
JOY and REJOICING is mentioned again and again in the
Bible!! MISERY AND CHRISTIANITY ARE INCOMPATIBLE!!
[e] One of the early Salvation Army writers, Commissioner
Samuel Logan Brengle, says in his book "When the Holy Ghost
is come", that you never know when someone who is filled
with the Holy spirit, is going to cry out with Joy and
[f] This is a safeguarded joy, which Jesus says in John
16:22, that no man taketh it from us!
POINT 1 CONFUSION
[a] Confusion comes in many guises and affects all of us at
[b] I remember sitting in a collage lecture and noticing
the young girl and boy in the row in front taking notes.
But then I saw them exchange their notes. This confused me,
and I became interested!
I took a squint over their shoulders, and what met my gaze?
"I LOVE YOU!" "I LOVE YOU TOO!" "WILL YOU MARRY ME??"
"YES! YES! YES!"
I'm not sure if I learned anything in that lecture - the
side show was too interesting!!
[d] A teacher was trying to teach a class of seven year-olds
about the Middle East. She noticed one little girl whose mind
had obviously wandered. She asked her what she knew about
Damascus. She replied with a confident smile, "It kills
ninety-nine percent of all known germs." A little confusion?
I think Damascus, and the well known bleach Domestos are just
a little different.
The War Cry on it's front page one week quotes the United
nations Secretary General (Javier) Perez de Cuellar when he
stated about the unknown future, "GOD ONLY KNOWS"
[e] In our Bible reading, we see a man with his mind
The jailor thought all his prisoners had fled!
He was about to take what he thought was the only appropriate
course in the circumstances - SUICIDE!
[f] Suddenly a voice rings out in the gloom of that dungeon -
"Do thyself no harm, for we are all here!"
[g] Now we are not actually told why they were all still
there! After all, in the great earthquake that took place, it
says in verse 26, "...the doors were opened, and EVERYONE'S
bands were loosed!"
[h] Perhaps the answer lies in what happened just
before, in verse 25, when we read, "And at midnight, Paul
and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: AND THE PRISONERS
[i] What would happen if there was an earthquake, and all the
doors were flung open any of our prisons?? IT WOULD BE EMPTY!
[j] I LIKE TO THINK THAT THE JOY AND FAITH OF PAUL AND
SILAS WAS SO INFECTIOUS, THAT SOMETHING HAPPENED IN THE
HEARTS OF THOSE PRISONERS THAT MADE THEM STAY - THEY HAD FELT
THE TOUCH OF GOD ON THEIR LIVES!
[k] We live in a world of confusion, when everyone is asking,
"Where can we find truth?"
There is but one place we can look to find the truth, and
that is to the Lord, Who states Himself in John 14:6 to be
"THE TRUTH", and to His holy Word, the Scripture, OF WHICH
WE ARE TOLD IN 2TIMOTHY 3:16, "ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY
INSPIRATION OF GOD."
POINT 2 CONVICTION
[a] Not only was he suffering from confusion, but he was
also experiencing conviction! We read that he came TREMBLING
before his prisoners
[b] So often I have seen people TREMBLE under the conviction
of God's Holy Spirit. THEIR SINFUL STATE HAS BEEN REVEALED TO
THEM, and they tremble in the presence of a Holy God Who sees
and knows all things!
[c] I remember a friend of ours, who was under such deep
conviction, that she jumped up and ran from the meeting!
But of course, we cannot escape God, and His voice in our
hearts! Jonah tried to escape from God, and ended up in the
stomach of the great fish - it took all of that experience to
make him realise that he could not run away from God!
[d] If we cannot run away, then the only other response is to
do what the jailor did, face up to it, and seek the Lord!
POINT 3 CONCERN
[a] His conviction led to CONCERN, and he did something about
that concern IMMEDIATELY!!
[b] He got strait to the point - "What must I do to be
[c] Some people are 'CONCERNED' for years, without actually
doing anything about it!!
THERE ARE 'CONCERNED' PEOPLE ON THEIR WAY TO HELL, AND WILL
END UP THERE IF THEY DON'T DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE ABOUT
[d] God does not promise us tomorrow! He doesn't even promise
us the rest of today!!
AS FAR AS GOD IS CONCERNED, HE SAYS VERY CLEARLY IN 2
CORINTHIANS 6:2, "NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME;BEHOLD, NOW IS
THE DAY OF SALVATION."
[e] We lay such store in life, and yet it is such a flimsy
thing. In 2 Corinthians 5:1, Paul likens this life to a tent
in the desert in which the soul dwells, and can be taken down
at any moment!
[f] So is it not wise to be CONCERNED with the destiny of our
We don't think much of someone who doesn't bother with life
insurance, and yet there are such a vast number with NO SOUL
[g] In one of the parables Jesus told in Luke 12:20, there
was someone like this, a very successful farmer, who made
great provision - for this life, but none for eternity!
GOD SAID TO HIM, "THOU FOOL, THIS NIGHT THY SOUL SHALL BE
REQUIRED OF THEE!"
POINT 4 CONVERSION
[a] Whenever we first came to Scotland, the Army in it's
wisdom sent us to the heart of the Kingdom of Fife - to
BUCKHAVEN, where we couldn't even understand the language!
Although of course, they do speak English, the accent is so
strong, that it was incomprehensible to our untrained ear!
[b] Now you must understand, that coming from Ireland,
we really didn't know anything about natural gas, as
they don't have it over there.
[c] When we came to Scotland, it was at the time, when all
the appliances had to be adapted for natural gas. We went
into the quarters, there was a note on the cooker, which
simply said "THIS COOKER HAS BEEN CONVERTED!"
[d] I thought to myself, "What kind of a country is this, if
they even convert the cookers??"
[e] Thank God, the Jailors concern led him to CONVERSION!
He inquires about the way of Salvation, and receives the
simple answer to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved!"
HE DID!!! AND HE WAS!!! HALLELUJAH!!!
[f] They had been his prisoners, but now, so different is
he through his CONVERSION, he takes them home for supper!
The family too learn about, and find Jesus.
[g] Jesus says in Matthew's Gospel chapter 18 verse 3,
"Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye
shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."
[h] I remember hearing on the local radio
station, of how an ex criminal was setting up a security firm
to advise and help both companies and individuals in how to
safe-guard their property.
He further said, "I have been converted and become a
[h] The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man
be in Christ, he is a new creature (or creation): old things
are passed away; behold all things are become new!"
[i] Before becoming an officer, as a teenager, I was
preaching at a campaign meeting in Belfast, and a very
drunk man staggered in and started asking rather slurred
questions, and making comments.
Eventually they got him to sit quietly while I finished my
message. When I made the appeal, he made a decision to follow
We knelt and prayed together, as he asked Jesus to come
into his life, forgive his sin, and make him a new
Shortly afterwards, he rose to his feet, completely sober,
and walked smartly out of the hall, proclaiming Wait until I
see my son and tell him. He's a minister!!
[a] To make our conversion possible, Jesus had to go the
whole way to Calvary's cross, and die there in agony and
shame, bearing our sin in His Own body!
[b] I trust that is you had any CONFUSION that God has broken
through it tonight!
[c] Has the Holy Spirit of God been speaking to your heart
and bringing CONVICTION showing you that you are not right
[d] Have you permitted this to CONCERN YOU to the degree that
you are willing to act in a constructive about putting your
spiritual life on to an even keel?
[e] If so then you can be GLORIOUSLY CONVERTED tonight!!
Like the jailor, if you "BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED!"
[f] As I gave my testimony in an open-air on the streets of
London's So-ho, a man came up to me, and told me I was
committing the sin of presumption - I was presuming that
I was saved!
I simply repeated the words of Scripture, as I quote them to
you tonight, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND THOU
SHALT BE SAVED!!"
[g] It is a statement of fact - BELIEVE - AND IT HAPPENS!
Admittedly, it has to be a total commitment of Belief to the
point of reliance, like the drowning man believing in one who
IT MEANS ENTRUSTING THE WHOLE OF YOUR LIFE INTO HIS CARE!
ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE THAT COMMITMENT TONIGHT?
THE OPPORTUNITY IS YOURS JUST NOW!
Songs from Salvation Army Song Book
696 802 Storm the Forts of Darkness
338 375 or 382 I'm a soldier
699 264 Stand up for Jesus
490 685 CHORUS ONLY FOR APPEAL
300 767 Out of my bondage