Faithlife Sermons

Felton Brannon, Jr.
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How Do You Deal With Your Midnight? I. Scripture: Acts 16:25 (Apostle Paul’s missionary companion Dr. Luke writes), “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” II. Sermon Title: How Do You Deal with Your Midnight? A. Introduction: What Do You Do When the Enemy Attacks You Without Warning? (sermon reflection: the more determined one is to live a righteous life for God the greater your trials/tribulation/trouble/pressures one will face). 1. Persecuted for your Christian walk. 2. Lied on, disrespected, looked over, mocked or made fun of, scorned, abused, treated unfairly, attacked, arrested without cause, incarcerated, physically punished, personal character or Christian witness assassinated. 3. Death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling. Natural disaster such as flood or fire, serious health condition or accident, impoverished, loss of your livelihood, loss of your possessions, or the victim of some crime. B. What is the Biblical/Christian Response to a Midnight Experience? 1. What is your first thought or action during your midnight time? Is it to look for light in the darkness? 2. Paul and Silas provide an excellent example for Christians today to follow. What does Paul and Silas’ example teach the church today? C. Background: Paul and Silas’ Midnight Experience? (Acts 16:20-25) 1. In the city of Philippi (big rich important Roman colony), the two missionaries/evangelist were leaving prayer meeting when they encountered a slave girl with a demonic spirit of divination (Gr. python). She was possessed, enslaved/bound/oppressed physically and spiritually. She was a money maker for her two masters (slave owners) by soothsaying and the devil unlawfully used her for demonic purposes going against the laws of God (the devil is a lawbreaker). God forbids man from consulting familiar spirits (Lev 19:31; 1 Chron 10:13; 1 Sam 28:7). She followed them many days saying, “these men are servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16: 16, 17). 2. Paul, being grieved (pained, troubled, displeased, offended) because the possessed girl would be a distraction causing people to be disgusted and not attracted to the Gospel. Paul turned and said to the spirit, “I command the in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And the spirit demon came out the same hour.” (v. 18). 3. Her slave masters were upset because they lost their revenue. In their anger they grabbed Paul and Silas and took them to the magistrates (Roman legal authorities). a. Dealing with anti-Semitism (relate the Jim Crow laws exclusively for African Americans in every aspect of American society). b. Dealing with Roman nationalism (pride and arrogance of being a world conquering nation and culturally and racially superior. Does this sound familiar). c. Pagan religious pride (proud of their gods. Backed by Satan. Want people to worship him and not the true God in which he is ultimately jealous). Paul and Silas (in fact all of God’s people anywhere and anytime) upset the devil in the slave owners, magistrates, and the populace in the city because they are on the devil’s territory! The power of the Holy Ghost shaking up things, rocking the boat, turning over his apple cart, and running him out of his own place! d. Paul and Silas’ midnight experience- The authorities were all worked up that these strangers were changing their lifestyle & challenging their religious views. In anger, they ripped Paul and Silas’ clothes off (publicly embarrassed) and severely beat them with rods, then threw them into the inner prison without a trial. They put them in stocks (v.24). IV. When it is Dark, Turn on the Light. A. Paul and Silas Prayed and Worship God. 1. They prayed – supplicate (humble one’s self, petition, worship). 2. They sang praises (Gr. hymneo) – praise, celebrate, bless (ref. the “great hallel” Ps 113-118). 3. The prisoners heard them praying and singing. They observed their attitude expressed in worship and praise. They did not hear them cursing, crying in sadness and wallowing in despair. 4. God heard their cry and pitied their groans and saw their unfair treatment and abuse. a. Sent a sign of His great power in a great earthquake that shook the foundations of the jail. b. All the cell doors opened, and the prisoner’s shackles fell off. Everyone’s shackles fell off. God is a deliverer and a yoke breaker. He wants men to be free. V. The Aftermath: The Light of God Shining Bright Out of Darkness A. God Brings Good Out of Evil 1. The devil meant to stop the work of God. Nothing can thwart the will and purpose of God. God is in the business to save men’s souls if they want to be saved. 2. Takes care of His children. 3. God got the glory through Paul and Silas’ example (with the right attitude it will get you a long way. Paul and Silas practiced righteousness by complying with Roman law. They did not try to escape. They could have complained loudly that they were Roman citizens. 4. The world is always watching/judging the Christian. Worldly standards are different than Christian standards. The other prisoners would have expected Paul and Silas to complain loudly, fight back, try to escape, have outbursts of anger, and certainly use the fact that they were Roman citizens. 5. The Christian attitude is to be law abiding, meek and humble, not quick to fight back, exhibit an attitude of thankfulness, be quick to glorify, praise and worship God, be hopeful, joyful, have faith and trust toward God, quick to bless and not curse. 6. By their attitude the other prisoners and jailers had to notice the glory of God working in and through Paul and Silas. They witness God’s miracle of a great earthquake and the doors of the jail open and all their shackles falling off. God worked another miracle by saving the jailers life by keeping him from committing suicide. None of the other prisoners ran away (against their nature to do so). The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home (unheard of!!!), treated their wounds, and fed them. Further, the jailer and his whole family heard the Gospel came to a saving faith in Christ Jesus and were baptized that very night. 7. God moved on the magistrates’ heart to investigate their legal status, apologize for unfair treatment and release them for the unfair treatment. Note: the power of God working through just two of the saints was too much for the city!!! They were glad for them to leave and they urged them to leave with a quickness (Remember: In the city of Gadarenes, when Jesus dismissed the legion of demon spirits into the herd of swine…they wanted Him to leave their city with a quickness.) VI. Conclusion A. Shed light on the darkness when trouble comes like a flood: Turn to God in prayer and joyful praise. Stay humble and patient, wait for God and know that He is the Great Deliver and Lover of your soul. B. Call to Christ C. Prayer
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