the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thine house.”
The battle of Philippi was not over yet, the enemy were yet to be vanquished by those whom they had taken prisoner.
They turned, as one has well said, even a porch of death and a gate of hell into a sanctuary and a gate of heaven. With bleeding backs and in a comfortless posture they sang like angels, and made the grim walls ring again. No groans and moans were heard, but a nocturnal jubilate such as that dungeon never echoed with before.
Such an earthquake was evidently supernatural, and was a great wonder; but greater wonders were yet to come, for hearts were to be opened also.
Death, coupled with dishonour, would have been his doom. Desperate and frenzied, he was on the borders of hell; but grace plucked him as a brand from the burning.
Stricken with awe at the miracle, no prisoner left his cell. God can hold men in their places without bonds or bolts.
The answer was quickly given, and in a few words. Is salvation then so simple? Indeed it is! Have we believed, and have we obtained mercy for our house? If not, let us pray in faith.
Acts 16:32 , Acts 16:33
All his house believed and all were baptized. Here the apostles saw who it was that had said “Come over and help us.”
His faith brought forth fruit, which evidenced his change of heart, else this rough jailor would not so courteously have entertained his prisoners.
Paul sets us an example of claiming our civil rights when to do so will further justice and teach oppressors that they cannot violate laws as they like; yet this example must be followed cautiously, or else, like the apostle, we may appeal unto Cæsar, and lose more than we gain.
They did not leave the city at once, but called upon Lydia and relieved her mind with the recital of the work of God in the prison, and then, to prevent further tumult, they went on their way.
Just as I am without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.
“Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles.”
We shall still follow Paul in his missionary wanderings. Silas and Timothy continued with him.
The apostle’s custom was to reason from the Scriptures, and surely there is no weapon so powerful as that which is taken from the armoury of inspiration.
Acts 17:4 , Acts 17:5
On a former occasion Satan employed the honourable to disturb the apostles work, now he summons the low fellows of the markets; little does he care what tools he uses, so that he can compass his ends. The mob attacked Jason’s house, supposing the preachers to be there. The story reads like a tale of the early Methodist times.
Acts 17:6 , Acts 17:7
Earnest Christians have often been attacked with this handy weapon they are innovators, and, of course, are the enemies of “our glorious constitution,” causing infinite disturbance by their newfangled ways. Verily, church history repeats itself.
Acts 17:8 , Acts 17:9
Honoured indeed was Jason to be surety for one against whom the world was enraged, but of whom the world was not worthy.
See how they persevere, they are at their old work again.
The candour of these Bereans was their nobility, they did not condemn unheard. Knowing the Old Testament to be the word of God, they tested the gospel by it.
They proved all things, and then held fast what they had tested.
Earnest saints have earnest enemies; pleased with their success at Thessalonica, the Jews used the same tactics at Berea; yet they only gave wings to the feet of the missionaries and kept the light moving on.
What Berea lost Athens gained, for Paul arrived there all the earlier. Let Satan do what he may, he only speeds on the cause which he desires to hinder. To God be all glory, for thus vanquishing evil with good.
Oh, how restless is the foe
Jesu’s kingdom to o’erthrow!
Shall not we as zealous prove
To proclaim redeeming love?
Let us publish saving grace,
Scatter life in every place;
Dare the world’s and Satan’s frown,
Turn his kingdom upside down.