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The Second Missionary Journey The Ministry in Philippi (Acts 16:12-40)

by Larry Miles

The Journey to Philippi:

From Neapolis they journeyed inland to the. city of Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony. According to Garreth Reese, a Roman colony enjoyed three things,

  1. Libertas, or self-government.
  2. Immunitas or freedom from paying tribute to the Emperor.
  3. Jus Italicum or the rights of those who live in Italy—including Roman dress, language, coinage and holidays.

 

Luke mentions 6 different Roman colonies in the Book of Acts. They are: Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, Troas, Corinth, Ptolemais and Philippi. We’re told that the missionary party stayed in Philippi for a few days.

The First Gentile Convert in Europe: Acts 16:12-15

In verse 13 we’re told it is the Sabbath Day. Luke tells us that they went outside the city gate seeking the place of prayer. They. Found the place beside the river. The river here is the Gangites River. Luke tells us that he joined along with Paul and Silas in speaking to the women assembled. In verse 14 we’re introduced to Lydia, Luke tells us that she was from the city of Thyatira. She was a worshipper of God. She was a seller of royal purple. While the missionaries were speaking the Lord opened her heart to respond. The Lord caused the words spoke by Paul to touch this woman and lead her to Christ. Verse 15 tells us that she, along with her whole household were baptized She was baptized without delay. See also the words in Acts 2:38 and 8:38. It was the practice when one complies with the command of Jesus to be baptized into His death.  Her whole household believed and were also baptized. Lydia urged the missionaries to stay at her house. She was offering her hospitality. It was something that she could do to show her gratitude to Paul and his company for caring for her so much that they shared the Good News with her.

The Encounter with The Girl with a Spirit of Divination: Acts 16:16-18

The events in verse 16 take place about a week later. The reason being that they were seen going to the place of prayer, implying it was the Sabbath. We’re introduced to the slave girl with the spirit of divination. She was bringing her masters much profit. She kept following after Paul and his company and crying out, these men are servants of the Highest God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” (NIV). Verse 28 tells us she kept it up for many days. But Paul was fed up with it. He didn’t want the Philippians to think he needed the testimony of demons on his side. He said to her, “In the Name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” Immediately the evil spirit left her.

Pau and Silas Taken Before the Magistrates and Put in Prison: Acts 16:19-24

In verse 19 the girl’s masters realized that the game was up. They had been left out in the cold. Their way of making money had been taken from them. They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before authorities. Verse 2o=0 says they were brought before the magistrates. They made this claim, “these men are. Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice,” (NIV) H. Leo Boles wrote the following,

“Roman magistrates would not pass sentence on abstract theological questions (Acts 18:15); but if the peace was disturbed or a secret sect was organized, they would pass sentence on these matters.”

 

In verse22 the crowd rose up against Paul and Silas. The chief magistrates tore the robes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be beaten with rods. Garreth Reese writes the following,

“The beating was done by the ‘lictors’. Whose job it was to administrate the punishment ordered by the court. Apparently, there was no serious investigation of the charges against the missionaries. The beating was one of three that Paul suffered during his lifetime of service for Christ. Paul was humiliated by the treatment, for he tells us in 1 Thess. 2:2 how he was ‘shamefully treated’ at Philippi.”

 

After the punishment was inflicted they were thrown into prison. They were placed in the custody of the jailer. He was commanded to guard them securely. Concerning the responsibilities of a Roman jailer, Reese writes the following,

“It was customary to hold a jailer responsible for the safe keeping of prisoners and to subject him to the punishment the prisoners would have received if he permitted them to escape.”

 

Further on in verse 24 we’re told that the jailer fastened their feet in the stocks. J. W. McGarvey wrote the. following,

“These men’s faith would have been heroic indeed if some painful questioning did not intrude as to why God allowed them to receive such a reward for their faithful service.”

 

 

The Conversion of the Philippian Jailer: Acts 16:25-34

In verse 25 Luke tells us that the time is about midnight. Paul and Silas are found singing hymns of praise to God. In the next verse we have an earthquake. We’re told that even the foundations of the prison shook. All the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Paul and Silas, along with the other prisoners had a chance for escape. It was at this time that the jailer  realized what was happening. He was roused out of sleep thinking that all the prisoners  would escape. If that happened he would be put to death by his superiors. It was at that moment that he decided to kill himself with the sword. As he was about to do it Paul cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

In verse 29 the jailer, asfter discovering all the prisoners were accounted for called for the lights. He rushed into the prison, trembling with fear. Luke tells us that he fell down at the feet of Paul and Silas.

In verse 30 we have one of the most important questions ever asked. The  jailer  said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The same  question was asked on the Day of Pentecost. We all know what Peter’s answer was that day. Is Paul’s answer contrary to Peter’s? Are you teaching different gospels? No! We must be willing to teach the whole counsel of God. We must be willing take all the. Bible says on any subject.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33