Peace at Work in Believers’ Lives

Based on Acts 16:12-40, 17:1

Jesus’ followers continued telling people the Good News about Jesus. Two of these followers, Paul and Silas, went from city to city sharing the Good News.

On one of these trips Paul and Silas went to a certain city. On the day of worship they went a little way outside the city, where they thought people would be praying. They sat down to speak with some women there. One of them was Lydia, a merchant of expensive cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to them, God opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She was baptized along with other members of her household. Paul and Silas remained in that city for some days.

Then as Paul and Silas were going down to the place of prayer, they met a slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit. Because of the spirit, she told fortunes and earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and shouted, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day and finally, Paul said to the evil spirit within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.

Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. They shouted to the city officials. “These men are teaching the people to do things that are against our customs.” A mob quickly formed. Paul and Silas were severely beaten, and thrown into prison. The jailer put them into the inner dungeon and chained them.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the Good News about Jesus with him and with all who lived in his household. Then they were immediately baptized. They rejoiced because they all believed in God.

The next morning the city officials released Paul and Silas. They returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left to go to another town.

Drawing Elements: Paul, Silas, Lydia, Church Growth, Jail, Jailer Church Growth – Lydia and the jailers, each along with their families, became believers and the church grew.


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