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Standalone Sermons

Jan 07, 2024 | Matthew Jones

A Song in the Night: Devotion to Christ Under Trial

Acts 16:1-40

Full Service

1. Our devotion to Christ under trial is fuelled by prayer.
- “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” (vs. 25)

a. Expression of Prayer through Paul and Silas
i. The phrase in vs. 25 - “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” probably translates more literally “Praying, they sang.”

b. Resorting to prayer in the midst of trial flows from an already established lifestyle grounded in prayer. We accurately call prayer a lifestyle because it is so much more than being reactive to situations. This kind of lifestyle is built on being proactive. Prayer is the native language to our identity in Christ.

c. There are layers of purpose God has for us that can only be learned through trial and remaining devoted. We must not quit before the purpose is revealed and the lesson is learned.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

d. In a very real sense, to the extent that our hearts can sing to God in the midst of suffering is the extent to which we are truly fully devoted disciples of Christ.

2. Devotion to Christ under trial has far reaching effects beyond ourselves.
- “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them… (vs. 25)

a. Our prayer songs express the truth of God’s nature to others.

i. The consistency of the joy of the Lord emanating from our hearts, manifested through our actions during troubling times is an effective testimony to Jesus Christ.

b. Devotion to Christ under trial allows for gospel opportunities.

The Greatest of Questions: “What must I do to be saved?” (vs. 30)
- The jailer was saved in two ways: Physical life (vs. 27-28) and Heart and soul (vs. 29-33)

i. Often it is the message of the Cross lived and demonstrated that God uses to open a heart to the Gospel, to soften somebody to be more receptive, but it is the message of the Cross proclaimed through which the power of God saves those who believe its truth

ii. Three key ways we all suffer in similar fashion to Paul and Silas:

Physical suffering - But their devotion was superior to the physical pain they experienced and their prayer song stronger than anguish.

Emotional exhaustion suffering - It was midnight, typically a time when people are getting a good night’s rest, but of course there was no way for them to sleep in their tortured position in the stocks. But their devotion to Christ was superior to the natural human needs of an emotionally fatigued body.

Mental suffering - Their physical prison was meant to stir up a prison of the mind… that’s what prisons do! They’re designed to make you feel trapped physically AND mentally! But their devotion to Christ was superior to the mind fogging clouds of a mental prison.



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