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Sermon Notes: 9/11/22


 

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"He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:30-31‬

This is the verse. This is the place where we want to land. This is the place we want to get to in our conversations, and in our interactions. "What Must I Do To Be Saved!” And the crowd goes wild. The applauds erupt, high fives go around the room, the tears are flowing! Another soul and household is saved for the glory of God!

Man what a moment. What a moment. But as beautiful as this moment is, nobody except Paul & Silas understood what it took to get to this moment.

As a matter of fact from the outside looking in, things looked chaotic. From the outside looking in, things looked unorganized, random, and disconnected leading up to this moment, but oh no my friends…NOTHING JUST HAPPENS.

The same goes for your life. From the inside looking out, things may appear chaotic to you. Things may looked unorganized, random, disconnected, but oh no my friends. The same is true for your life. NOTHING JUST HAPPENS. That’s our sermon title for today…

NOTHING JUST HAPPENS

That’s what Acts 16 is all about. It lets us know that NOTHING JUST HAPPENS. Let’s pick up in verse six.

‬‬ “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:6‬

"I know you don’t understand it now Paul, but nothing just happens."

“When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:7-8‬‬‬

"I know it might not make sense now Paul but NOTHING JUST HAPPENS.”

Since they couldn’t go here, and since they couldn’t go there, they eventually landed in Acts 16:12. It reads,

“From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:12‬

Everything was going good until Acts 16:16 happened,

“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:16‬ ‭

‬‬ “She 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.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:17‬

‬‬ “She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed 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.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:18‬

“When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:19‬ ‭

They began to make up all kind of false accusations against Paul & Silas. Verse 22 says,

‬‬ “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:22‬

“After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:23-24‬‬‬

I can hear the Lord telling Paul & Silas, "I know this doesn’t feel good by any means. I’m not making light of your pain, and everything that you just went through, but Paul and Silas, "NOTHING JUST HAPPENS.”

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:25‬

‬‬ “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:26

“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. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:27-28‬

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:29-30‬

“They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:31-32‬

This moment never would’ve happened if they would’ve landed in Asia. This moment never would’ve happened if they would’ve landed in Bithynia. As tough as it is to say, this moment never would’ve happened had they never been falsely accused, beaten, and thrown into jail. If any of these scenarios would’ve been different, this jailer and his entire household never would’ve been saved! NOTHING. JUST. HAPPENS.

If Paul would’ve landed in Asia, Paul never would’ve made it to Philippi and we wouldn’t have one of the most heartfelt books of the Bible, the book of Philippians. It was at Philippi

where Paul & Silas met Lydia.

What’s the big deal about Lydia? Lydia was the first in her community to believe in Jesus Christ, the first Christian convert on the European continent. Lydia’s home became the place where the church that developed in Philippi gathered for worship and fellowship. If Paul & Silas would’ve landed anywhere else, none of this would’ve came to pass. NOTHING JUST HAPPENS! I say to you today…

📝 GOD IS IN CONTROL.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is THE LORD’S PURPOSE THAT PREVAILS.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭‬‬

It doesn’t matter what you see. It doesn’t matter what you hear. It doesn’t matter how dark things may seem, THE LORD’S PURPOSE WILL PREVAIL. It will prevail in the face of the nay sayers. It will prevail through these times. It is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail because God is in control! Proverbs‬ ‭21:30‬ says it like this,

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:30‬

You know why? Because God is in control! Colossians 1:17 says,

“He is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭‬‬

He’s holding it all together. He’s holding my mind together. He’s holding my peace together. He’s holding my joy together. He’s holding my faith together. He’s holding this church together.

📝 You can’t TAKE APART what God is holding together.

He’s holding it all together, because God is in control. Isaiah 35:4 says,

📝 "say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your GOD WILL COME, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭35:4‬ ‭

God will come to your aid. God will come to your side. God will come to your defense. God will come to your rescue. God will come to your situation. God is in control. All of the pieces may seem disconnected now but NOTHING JUST HAPPENS!

In the midst of everything that’s happening I say to you today.

📝 GOD IS AWARE.

Nothing just happens. God is aware. God is aware of your tears. God is aware of your trials. God is aware of your test. We know that God is aware because Psalm 121:4 says,

“Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber [briefly] nor sleep [soundly].”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:4‬

Isaiah‬ ‭66:1‬ says,

“This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool...”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:1‬

I’m aware. I see EVERYTHING. Jesus said it like this in Matthew 10:29,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:29‬ ‭

‬‬ “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:30‬ ‭

God doesn’t just know how many pieces of hair are on your head, when one hits the ground he knows which number it was.

“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭

David puts it plainly in Psalm 34:15,

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:15‬ ‭

He’s aware of what you’re going through. God told Moses in Exodus 3:7,

"…I have surely SEEN the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have HEARD their cry because of their taskmasters, for I KNOW their sorrows.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭‬‬

God sees. God hears. God knows your sorrows. He’s not checked out. He’s checked all the way in. He’s aware.

The next verse is POWERFUL. God says,

“So I HAVE COME DOWN TO DELIVERthem out of the hand of the Egyptians…

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:8‬

‭‬‬ "So I HAVE COME DOWN TO DELIVER…

📝 GOD IS ABLE.

God told Moses in Exodus 3, I CAME DOWN TO DELIVER! I didn’t come down to negotiate. I didn’t come down to compromise. I didn’t come down to talk things out. I didn’t come down to reason together. I came down to deliver. I came down to take over, BECAUSE I’M ABLE! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendago said it like this in Daniel 3:17,

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve IS ABLE to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭‬‬

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭9:8 says,

“And GOD IS ABLE to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭9:8

I love how Paul puts it in Romans 16:25,

"Now all glory to God, WHO IS ABLE to make you strong, just as my Good News says...”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭16:25‬ ‭

And of course my all time favorite, Ephesians 3:20,

“Now unto him THAT IS ABLE to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭‬‬

📝 Whatever situation you may be IN, God is able to BREAK YOU OUT!

God is able to do it. God is able to turn it around. God is able to get the glory. He’s mighty to save. He’s mighty to heal. He’s mighty to deliver. He’s mighty to set the captive free GOD IS ABLE! Whatever situation you may be IN, God is able to break you OUT! God is able to break you out. But wait a minute. Acts 16:26 says,

“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:26‬ ‭

“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. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:27-28‬ ‭

We’re all still here??? But AB you said, Whatever situation you may be IN, God is able to break you OUT! Then why are they still all there???

This story had nothing to do with getting Paul and Silas OUT of the prison. This story had everything to do about getting God INTO the prison.

This story had everything to do about getting God into that prison, into the heart of all those prisoners that listened as Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God. Acts 16:25 says,

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:25‬ ‭‬‬

This story had everything to do about getting God into the heart of not just that jailer, BUT HIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD.

“They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:31‬ ‭‬‬

From the outside looking in, things looked chaotic. Things looked unorganized, random, and disconnected, but this morning we see the big picture. NOTHING JUST HAPPENS.

Before the jailer ever laid eyes on Paul & Silas, God was making a way. As Paul and Silas was denied access to Asia, God was making a way. Acts 16:6 says,

‬‬ “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:6‬

Having been kept by the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about you but…

He kept me by keeping some things from me.

He kept me by keeping some people from me.

Psalm 84:11 says,

For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thingfrom those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11

Anytime God kept me from something it’s because it wasn’t good for me. Anytime God kept me from someone it’s because that person wasn’t good for me, because no good thing will he withhold from me.

📝 I thought I knew what I WANTED but He knew what I NEEDED.

I seriously doubt that this is the route that Paul & Silas would’ve taken to meet Lydia. I seriously doubt that this is the route that they would’ve taken to meet the jailer and his household. But what I’ve learned over the years is that,

📝 DISCOMFORT is often the vehicle that God uses to TRANSITION us.

Through it all He’s making a way.

REFLECTION QUESTION: DO YOU TRUST HIS WAY?

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