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  The Philippian Jailor  

Acts 16:16-40
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar
21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.
23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.
27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."
32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.
34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family.
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men."
36 The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."
37 But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."
38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.
39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.
40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

Paul had helped save this demon possessed woman in Philippi. Her owners caused uproar in the town. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten with rods, severely flogged and thrown into the prison. The Philippian jailor was commanded to guard them carefully. He in turn put these severely wounded and bleeding men into the inner cell, held down by stocks and chains. Paul and Silas sang hymns and prayed praises to God. The prisoners there were listening to them. What a time and place to preach and worship!

- How do you view Paul and Silas's persecution? Why did God allow his people to go through such pain?

- Think and meditate about a time when you were persecuted for doing God's work?

- What do you think about Paul and Silas' singing and praying at that time of the night while they were wounded, tired, sleepless and very uncomfortable, held down by stock and chains?

- Do you pray and worship through your pain and distress?

- What were Paul and Silas praying for? Did they pray for freedom? If so why didn't they leave the place when God broke their chains and opened the prison doors? After the magistrates allowed them to go why did they not leave?

- God performed a miracle that day. What was that miracle? Was it the earthquake? Was it the salvation of the pagan jailor's family?

- How did Paul and Silas use God's miracle?

- What was the question the Philippian jailor asked (Vs 29)?

- How did the jailor know that Paul had the answer to his question( read Vs 17 to get an idea of what Paul and Silas were preaching in Philippi)

- What was Paul's answer?

- What did he do after hearing God's word?

- Why did he do it?

- How different was his approach to Paul and Silas once he repented?

- Why did he and his family get baptised that very night? Why not wait for a better time and place? (Perhaps on a Sunday when the whole Philippi church can gather together). When is the best time to get baptised?

- Now that we have reached thus far what do you think Paul and Silas were praying in the night for?

- How do we witness and preach to people? Do we witness to save?

- Who are the people we are witnessing to and praying for today?

Application :
1. Write down the names of people you have been praying for or want to reach out for salvation?
2. Pray that God will provide you opportunities, courage and miracles to reach out to them.