Today is Wednesday, October 25th, 2017. Have you ever thought in the middle of a trial, "hmmm... this trial just might not be about me?" In today’s Scripture we see a weary, beaten up, but hopeful Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God in prison. They were in Philippi because someone needed to hear a precious message proclaimed. They were in prison because someone needed to see a precious message lived out as it was proclaimed. I pray that you and I will find courage and strength to live out God’s precious message to others this week no matter what trial we are facing. - Kim
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Take a moment to share your testimony. See if you can share it in 3 minutes or less. Specifically share if the Lord sent someone specifically who shared by word and deed His message of salvation.
_ How is your life a testimony to others? What do people see in your day to day life? How have you been challenged recently to be more intentional about your personal growth so that you can glorify the Lord and be a witness to others?
Lord, we pray for the eyes to see beyond ourselves to your mission in the world. 1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds each of us, 9 “ You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Help us, Jesus, to share your marvelous message of mercy with others.
DISCOVER [Acts 16:25-40]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.
_ In vs. 25 what was Paul and Silas doing? Where were they! Who do we see listening?
_ What miraculous event happened next in verse 26?
_ How have chains been released in your own life through prayer and singing? How has it been a witness to others?
_ Imagine how the prisoners would have felt about their newfound freedom.
_ How is Paul’s response to his freedom radical as he approaches the jailer in vs 27-28
_ How does the jailer respond the evening’s events and then to Paul’s mercy to him? Vs 29
30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
_ What key question do we find in verse 30 after the jailer was extended mercy?
_ What simple but powerful message did Paul and Silas have at the ready to share with the jailer? Vs 31
_ What immediate actions did the jailer take once he heard the good news?
_ What risk/sacrifice was the jailer taking in bringing Paul and Silas to his home?
_ How did the jailer’s life change from his interaction with those who knew the truth? From vs 27 to 34.
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
_ What good news did the jailer have for Paul in verse 36 the next day back in prison?
_ Why was Paul not pleased with this news? How did he share God’s justice with the leadership in Philippi? Vs 37-39
_ What else do we Paul and Silas do before they leave God’s mission field of Philippi? Vs 40
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience? (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Is there an area of your life that you are being invited to be a witness?
_ If so, where and what is your next step this week?
_ What trial are you currently facing? How can you be a witness in the struggle?
_ Is there a place that you are lacking power or strength? Is Jesus calling you to ask for power from the Holy Spirit through intentional prayer and SINGING?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?