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148: Paul’s Second Missionary Journey – Part II [Philippi]

May 15, 2009

Text: Acts 16:11-40


  1. Lydia and Her Household Believe              Acts 16:11-15
  2. A Demon Believes and Leaves                     Acts 16:16-18
  3. Paul and Silas are Jailed                              Acts 16:19-26
  4. The Jailor and His Household Believe      Acts 16:27-34
  5. Paul and Silas Leave                                      Acts 16:35-40


Paul, Silas, and Timothy together with Luke sail from Troas to Philippi, the leading city of Macedonia [see my Background notes on Philippians]. There evidently is not enough Jews present to have a Synagogue so the women meet outside the city near the river to pray. Paul and Silas go there on the Sabbath and begin to preach the Gospel. Lydia, a dealer in purple, responds positively to Paul’s preaching and is baptized. She evidently brings the Gospel to her household and they too respond and are baptized. Lydia then insists that Paul, Silas, and Timothy stay with her in her house.  Luke may have been included but I believe this is Luke’s home town and he stayed in his own home.  Luke’s familiarity with the city is the reason that Paul knew   of the women’s prayer meeting at the river.  See Acts 20:6 where Luke uses the pronoun “we” indicating he rejoined Paul in Macedonia as part of the group bringing Paul’s gift to the Jerusalem church at the end of Paul’s 3rd journey.

This place of prayer near the river became the place where Paul and Silas would go to look for people who wanted to know God. A demon possessed slave girl followed them crying out that Paul and Silas had the way of salvation. She earned money as a prophetess for her owner. Although she spoke the truth, Paul became troubled and called the demon out from the girl in the name of Jesus. Because the owner’s money stream had dried up, he seizes Paul and Silas and brings them before the city magistrates accusing them of creating havoc in the city. A crowd joins in support and Paul and Silas are beaten, flogged, and cast into prison under a heavy guard. All this is very similar to what happened to Jesus before His crucifixion.

Paul and Silas are praying and singing, ministering to the other prisoners, when an earthquake causes the prison gates to open and the chains to come out of the walls. The jailor was awakened and drew his sword to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had all escaped. But Paul reassures him that they are all there. Thus, the jailor asks what he must do to be saved. Paul responds “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”. Paul explains what that means to the jailor and his household and they all believe and are baptized. The jailor immediately washes their wounds and sets food before them, rejoicing at having found a personal relationship with the Lord God.

When daylight came, the magistrates decide to set Paul and Silas free, telling them to leave the city. Paul and Silas refuse because they were mistreated as Roman citizens. The magistrates complied because they were ashamed. They apologized and publicly escorted them back to Lydia’s house where Paul and Silas encouraged the new believers in the Word before leaving.


  1. One’s ministry grows quickly when one is lead by the Holy Spirit.
  2. In presenting the Gospel message to others, sometimes we have to meet them where they are and other times they will come seeking us. Use a balance approach and employ both methods.
  3. Seek personal witnesses who can relate the effect the Gospel has had on their life. A credible witness is one with a first-hand account. Only credible witnesses are able to validate the Gospel message to others. Non-credible witnesses do more damage than good, making a public relations nightmare even if they are speaking the truth.
  4. Persecution appears quickly when the Gospel message begins to trump the false god of economics.
  5. Hospitality is a natural gift bestowed upon new believers because they want to express thanksgiving to those who took time to share the Gospel with them.
  6. We may be suffering but be assured God is working a miracle in the hearts of those around us.
  7. Sometimes we are called to minister in one location. Sometimes we are called to minister in many locations. Do not overstay your welcome. Do your work and move on. Do your ministry and move on. Do your ministry such that you can move on.
  8. The Gospel is for all people; Jew and Gentile, slave and free, prisoners and rulers, government employees and capitalists, children too. Share the Gospel with all people.
  9. Express and experience joy in times of disaster. It is a powerful witness of Christ’s love being greater than anyone can possibly understand.

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