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The account of Paul and Silas being put into jail in Philippi is one of my favorite portions.  It was Act 16:31 that the Lord used to convict me of my sins and bring me to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior.  I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but for time’s sake, we will go quickly over this account.

Paul and Silas, being falsely accused of crimes, were beat and cast into the inner prison, which would have been the deepest and most secure part of the prison.  Even in the inner prison, the jailor had their feet placed in stocks to further insure they could not escape.  As midnight came, Paul and Silas were praying and singing.  What do you think they were praying about?  Perhaps they were praying according to Matthew 5:44 which says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  How could they sing praises after they had been beat and cast into this terrible prison?  Job 35:10 says that the Lord is the one, “…who giveth songs in the night.”  We read earlier that the other apostles had been beaten for the cause of Christ and also rejoiced.  Acts 5:40-41 says, “…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

At midnight there was an earthquake that shook the prison and caused all the doors and the stocks to open.  The jailer woke up and realized what had happened.  Thinking that all the prisoners must have escaped, he determined he would kill himself before Herod could kill him.  Earlier, when Peter had been cast into prison, the Lord sent an angel to rescue him.  We read in Acts 12:19, “And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death…”  So, this jailer, knowing he would be killed, was just about to kill himself, when Paul called to him, assuring him that all the prisoners were still there.  He got a light and rushed to where Paul and Silas were and realized Paul and all the prisoners did not try to escape.  Overwhelmed by this amazing act, this jailer realized his life had been saved.  Now, he wanted to be saved for eternity.  In Acts 16:30 we read the jailer, “…brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Now let’s read Acts 16:31-34, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”  The words of Paul and Silas were concise and powerful.  There was nothing this man could do to be saved; no good works or no amount of money could save him.  He needed to simply believe, or put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.  Does this mean that if the jailer was saved, then his whole family would be saved?  Absolutely not!  Paul simply told this man that he could be saved by believing, and his family could also be saved if they believed.  Notice how that Paul preached to all that was in the jailer’s house.  If they were saved by the jailer’s faith, there would have been no need for Paul to preach salvation to them.

To illustrate the truth of this, let’s compare this account to what we have in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  To everyone that receives the Lord as their savior, they become the sons and daughters of God.  True believers are not saved by blood, which means we are not saved just because our parents are saved.  We are not saved by the will of the flesh, which means we cannot save ourselves.  And, we are not saved by the will of man, which means no other man can save us.  We are saved of God and become the children of God only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  If those in your house will believe on Him, the Lord will save them, too.  We can rejoice knowing this jailer believed in God with all his house as we’re told in Acts 16:34, “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”  (103.2)