The Philippian Jailor


Introduction: Acts 16:16-39 (Our purpose is to study this story to learn about appropriate Christian behavior, and to learn how to become a Christian.) Acts 16:16-19 (This sets the stage for our story. Paul and Silas have assisted a young slave girl who was demon possessed. This cuts into the prophet making scheme her masters had going. It appears that this demon's presence gave her some ability to foretell the future.)

1. The Crimes Against Paul And Silas:

    A. False Charge: Acts 16:20-21 (The slave owners accused Paul and Silas of encouraging civil disobedience. This charge was made against Christians at other times, but the New Testament teaches the opposite. True Christianity has always called for loyalty to government and submission to civil law. The accusation was totally false.)

    B. Beaten And Imprisoned: Acts 16:22-24 (Without proper trial, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison. As Roman citizens, they had a legal right to due process, similar to the rights granted to all in the United States.) Mt. 5:11-12 (We must reflect joy in the face of harsh adversity and unfair persecution. Paul and Silas might have understandable demanded their civil rights and been disruptive. Instead, they submitted and endured their persecution with joy.)

2. The Good Example Of Paul And Silas:

    A. Praising God: Acts 16:25 (Rather than crying "foul", Paul and Silas sang and praised God, in the hearing of the other prisoners. Think of the impression this must have left.)

    B. Didn't Escape: Acts 16:26-28 (We might reason how Paul and Silas could have felt justified in escaping prison. They were not guilty of the crimes of which they were accused. According to Roman law, they were not even supposed to be there. Ask yourself, if Paul and Silas had protested and escaped, would the jailor had the opportunity to hear the gospel? This speaks volumes to you and me as to what power our good example can have.)

3. The Jailor Obeys:

    A. Eager To Learn: Acts 16:29-30 (The jailor reflected an attitude of being eager to learn.) Acts 17:11, Jas. 1:18-21 (We should be eager to investigate the word of God. In the context of that discussion, James says we should be more willing to hear than to speak.)

    B. Gospel Preached: Acts 16:31-32 (Some conclude from Paul's statement that all the jailor had to do to be saved is believe. Does this passage teach faith only?)

    Hope Only? Rom. 8:24

    Baptism Only? 1 Pet. 3:21

    What About Repentance? Lk. 13:3

    What About Confession? Mt. 10:32-33

    (People are grossly inconsistent in this view. Why not argue salvation by hope only or baptism only? Why argue faith only in one breath and then require repentance and confession? Why preach faith only and practice the sinner's prayer? The fact is, no one passage contains the entirety of God's plan. We must take all the passages on salvation to understand God's plan.)

    C. Obedient: Acts 16:33-34 (The jailor didn't question the plan. He was eager to obey because he was eager to hear. He was baptized into Christ.)

4. Some Didn't Repent: Acts 16:35-39 (The ones who accused Paul and Silas didn't want to face the wrong they had done. In similar fashion, most sinners don't want to face their sin.) 2 Cor. 5:9-11 (Some day you will have to face your sin. Why not face it now while you can do something about it. Be like the jailor and obey his gospel today.)