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Who Are You?

August 25, 2011

We all think we know the best way to do most anything.  So whether that is watching a football game and complaining about the coach, or playing cards, or running a little kid soccer league (all the parents know better)…we all think we know what is best.  And this carries over into our spiritual lives as well.  Seriously, we all have this dream scenario in our minds that we expect to happen where we would share the Gospel.  We think we’ll just “know the right time.”  The problem is; that scenario, whatever it may be, just never seems to happen…and as a result, we tend to never share the Gospel.

 I don’t know if you will, but I hope you will read through Acts 16:16-40 today.

 There is no doubt that one of the things that made Paul effective in his work as an apostle was the fact that he didn’t seem to put any limits on what God could do.  Seriously…in the passage before this, he’s hanging out at a women’s prayer group by the river, he shares the Gospel, Lydia gets saved, and the church is started in Philippi.  And when we begin in verse 16, it says they were “going to the place of prayer.”  Of course they were…why wouldn’t they?  They had seen the Spirit move there.  The truth though, is that many of us have had opportunities to share the Gospel with a friend, or a family member…gotten scared…and never gone there again.  You know what I mean.  The conversation sort of took on a spiritual tone…you had a chance to share…got scared…and never let the conversation get to that point again. Paul went back there.

 We then see that a slave girl who has a “spirit of divination” is following them around shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God.”  I love that verse 18 says Paul had “become greatly annoyed” with her…it just makes him real.  Now, you know what happens next…Paul casts out the spirit.  And if we aren’t careful, that’s all we’ll see from those verses.  But you need to notice the fact that this girl got it right.  She had Paul pegged.  And, if you are a believer…she has you pegged too.  A Christian is a servant of the Most High God.  We forget this way too often.  In the every-day rhythm and flow of life, we often forget that our God…is the Most High God.  We aren’t walking in our strength…we’re carried along by our Father.  Don’t forget that…don’t ever forget that.  It’s His power…not ours.

 Of course the girl’s owners aren’t too pleased with the fact that Paul had cast out their bread winner…so they gather the mob and get Paul and Silas arrested.  The jailer is told to “keep them safely.”  He goes another route and puts them in stocks, a form of torture.  Again, nobody draws up this scenario in their head when thinking about sharing the Gospel.  Paul’s not stopping.  He and Silas start a little a cappella duo in the prison and sing praises to God.  The earthquake comes and the doors open.  See this playing out…imagine it in your head.  The jailer rushes in…he knows what happens to guards who lose their prisoners…so he’s about to fall on his sword…and Paul…get this now…stops him.  Calling out, Paul stops a man who not only wrongfully held him prisoner, but also took it upon himself to torture him.  Paul, in that moment, could have watched him die…and most of us, if in that situation, would understand.  This man, this grumpy old Roman soldier, sees something demonstrated in that moment and asks, “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul, probably still trying to figure out exactly what’s happening says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”  We all think we know the best way to do things.  And I’m sure Paul had ideas about how he would prefer his ministry to go.  But as Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  This is God’s plan of redemption, so trust Him in it.

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