SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 16:25-40
MESSAGE: Experiencing Real Joy
Q: How much joy do you have in your life? 
“…he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” — Acts 16:34
“Racially, socially, and psychologically they were worlds apart. And yet, all three were changed by the same gospel and they were welcomed into the same church.” — John Stott
Q: What did the jailer experience that brought him this new found joy? 
It was by seeing…(1. Singing sufferers 2. Shaken foundations 3. Surprising grace)
  1. Singing sufferers (v. 22-25)
The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,”
  1. Shaken foundations (v. 26)
and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.
  1. Surprising grace (v. 27-34)
When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.”
Here’s a brutal man. Here’s a Roman soldier, and all he’s ever seen is you repay evil for evil, force for force, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, and here’s a group of men, here are Paul and Silas, who seem to be unflappable. “They’re poised. There’s a joy even in the midst of the darkness, and they’re willing to sacrifice their freedom just to save my skin?” — Timothy Keller
TAKEAWAYS: How can we live with real joy?
“According to the Bible, joy is not an accessory to the Christian life, a perk for shiny saints who can turn their frowns upside down. Rather, joy is tenacious. It fights. It grips the promises of God and won’t let go. And joy is not a mere good mood; it is ballast in our boats, an anchor in our storms, an immovable rock to stand on when the waves of life threaten to flatten us.” — Matt Smethurst
  • God’s joy can overcome adversity
“…do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10
  • God’s joy comes each morning
“…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  — Psalm 30:5
  • God’s joy overflows to others
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” — Romans 15:13
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:2

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