Faithlife Sermons

God Turns the Tables

Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction
Last Sunday we saw how God used Paul and Silas in the Philippian Jail to lead a jailor and his family to Christ.
They were cast in prison unjustly but they responded with prayer and praise and God ultimately used their testimony to draw the jailor and his family to himself.
It is amazing how God can so often use seemingly negative circumstances to further the gospel.
We are going to expand on that thought tonight as we look at the closing verses of Acts chapter 16. Here we find God turns the tables on the authorities in Philippi as Paul and Silas are released to continue the ministry that God has called them to.
Turn the tables- references as early as 1612 from chess and backgammon players. It originated from the idea of the turning of a board so that you were now forced to work from your opponents previous position.
God is able to turn the tables in any situation. He turned the tables in regard to:

The Control of the Situation

The magistrates and authorities believed at first that they were in control of the situation but ultimately God’s sovereign hand is revealed.
The authorities in Philippi went from unjustly beating and imprisoning Paul and Silas to rethinking their decisions and being willing to release them.
They went from imposing their violent will on Paul and Silas to politely escorting them out of their prison cell.
They went from attempting to strike fear in the hearts of Paul and Silas to fearing for their own safety.
Paul and Silas had by now learned to trust God and to recognize his hand in every situation. They did not question why God had allowed them to be beaten and imprisoned only to be released the following day.
We can be sure that God sovereignly orchestrated their imprisonment so that they would have the opportunity to reach the jailor and his family with the gospel.
If you could ask Paul and Silas they would tell you they had no regrets, they simply wanted to be obedient to the Lord and their primary aim was to reach the world with the gospel even if that meant unjust punishment and imprisonment.
God not only caused Paul and Silas to be imprisoned but He also effected their release.
We must learn from Paul and Silas to never question God’s sovereignty. We must learn to trust, even when we cannot understand, that God is using whatever circumstances that we may experience to further the gospel and to further His kingdom.
As we currently find ourselves in trying circumstances we must yet trust that God is in control and that it is His desire to further the gospel and the kingdom of God during this time.

The Continuation of the Ministry

The authorities in Philippi surely thought that their punishment of Paul and Silas would bring their ministry to a screeching halt but the result was just the opposite.
Paul and Silas continued to minister while imprisoned and then they continued their ministry once they were released.
The authorities thought their actions would slow the spread of the gospel message but
Through this miraculous release Paul and Silas are enabled to return to Lydia and the fledgling congregation and after encouraging them they continue on to Thessalonica to do the work that God has called them to.
Through this miraculous release Paul and Silas are enabled to return to Lydia and the fledgling congregation and after encouraging them they continue on to Thessalonica to do the work that God has called them to.
God’s sovereignty will always assure the continuation of the gospel. There is no circumstance or situation that is beyond the reach of God’s control.
God will ensure that you and I have the opportunity to finish the race that He has set before us. God was not through with Paul and Silas, there was still much work to be done.
God certainly is not through with High Plains Baptist Church and there is still a work to do in Clovis, NM and God is able to provide for the continuation of the ministry regardless of any hardship, trial, or opposition!
God will bring us through the present trial and will continue to use us if we will yield ourselves to His control.
There is no virus, no enemy, no difficulty or trial that can hinder the spread of the gospel if you and I will remain obedient

The Courage of the Church

The actions by the authorities in Philippi were designed to destroy the church but in reality they helped to build and strengthen the church.
Their actions led to the conversion and an entire family who would become members of the church.
They had hoped to leave the church fearful but now the church would be emboldened by the stand that Paul and Silas had taken.
The magistrates who had once been so quick to persecute believers would now think twice about punishing Christians because of their interaction with Paul and Silas.
The response from Paul and Silas and the danger it presented to the authorities would certainly have caused them to be much more hesitant to persecute Christians in the future.
The authorities did not know that by imprisoning Paul and Silas they were actually helping to build the church.
The church would also draw courage from what they had witnessed in the lives of Paul and Silas as they endured persecution and continued to serve the Lord even while in prison.
They would learn to trust God in the midst of hardship and difficulty and to remain faithful to Him.
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