Sunday, October 31, 2021

Life Shape Prayer and Discipleship Block Four – Sin & Separation


This lesson will teach us the aim and the fruit of sin: “Sin Separates!”

Genesis 3

1  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ’You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ ?"

2  And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3  "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ’You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’"

4  Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

These subtle seeds planted by the enemy were clever veiled accusations against God planted in Eve’s imagination and left there to grow.

5  "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

This was the first time Adam and Eve were separated from each other.

8  And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.


God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they enjoyed a close relationship until one day Eve was tempted by the serpent to separate herself and listen to him for just a brief moment.

The subtle question she was asked to consider seemed harmless - Certainly God could mean what He said? This seed of sin was sown in her mind and then she was left to think about it on her own. She began to imagine how good, and pleasant and desirable it seemed and then she decided to eat of the forbidden fruit and gave it to her husband to eat as well. Eve became the harbor and the host for a lie from the pit of hell. Eve was deceived and nurtured a lie. Sin was born and with sin came separation.

Sin did not make her more like God but rather, more like the devil. This reveals an eternal truth: Sin does not keep its promise.

What lie about yourself, about God, or about others are you hosting? What clever lie do you harbor? “Hath God said … ?” Believe me, the devil is not your friend. He wants to isolate and separate you from God’s best.

Sin separated Adam and Eve from one another; sin separated Adam and Eve from God; sin separated Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; and sin separated Adam and Eve, along with their offspring, from an eternity with God. Sin not only separated man from God but also God from man. Sin required the loving Father God to become a critical judge who pronounced punishment, created laws, and established penalties for sin … some penalties which will last throughout eternity.

Today sin still holds two distinct powers to separate. The first power of sin is to damn a soul to hell and thereby separate a person from God for eternity. The second power of sin is the power to deceive and control. This power of sin separates people from God’s will and blessings in this life.

Important Points:

1.   Sin Separates

2.   Sin will take you farther than you expected to go

3.   Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay

4.   Sin will cost you more than you are able to pay

5.   Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021



In about the year AD51, when the Apostle Paul was about 46 years old, he and his team of missionary evangelists arrived in the Europe for the first time. They visited the city of Philippi in Macedonia where they spent a few weeks sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Jews and Gentiles alike and many were saved.

The continuing account of Paul’s first visit to Philippi as recorded in Acts 16, tells of some businessmen getting angry with Paul over one of their slave girls getting delivered from a spirit of divination which cost the businessmen their income. Paul and Silas were dragged into the town center before the magistrates who, in response to a gathering angry mob incited by the businessmen, stripped Paul and Silas naked, beat them severely with rods, chained them and threw them into prison, fastening their feet in stocks.

In the midnight hour, Paul and Silas lifted up their voices and prayed and sang praises to God. Scriptures note that the prisoners were listening. All of the sudden there was an earthquake sent by God and it shook all of the prison doors open and even the chains fell off of all the prisoners. The end result is that many believed, were saved and water baptized, including the Roman jailer and his whole household … the Philippian Church was birthed.

Paul and Silas were so mistreated by the leading politicians and citizens of Philippi that it became best for the new Believers in Christ that Paul and Silas leave the city of Philippi and head to the next city, Thessalonica. Throughout Paul’s journeys, all the way to the end of his life, he continued to pray for and keep in contact with those Believers in Jesus at Philippi.

The book of Acts records several times in which the political leadership of a city or region or nation made rash and unjust decisions based on the demands of angry crowds, mobs, and multitudes who had been either hired or incited to riot. I find nothing much has changed in that respect during the past 2000 years.

About 11 years later, AD61 or AD62, Paul found himself under arrest and in prison again. This time in Rome as a prisoner of the evil lunatic Emperor Nero. Once again Paul was arrested and unjustly judged guilty by the political leadership in Jerusalem due to the rioting demands of an angry mob who had been incited to falsely accuse Paul of crimes he did not commit. The mob even tried to kill Paul themselves. The city leadership was so afraid of the unruly crowd that they arrested Paul instead of those causing the riots or those doing the rioting. At any rate, Paul found himself incarcerated and awaiting trial. He stayed under arrest without being brought to trial for years. Aren’t you glad that can’t happen to you?

While Paul was in prison in Rome the Believers in the Church in Philippi continued to stay in contact with him and send him reports and financial support to help meet his ongoing ministry needs. The Philippian Church also sent a man named Epaphroditus from Philippi to Rome to help and to serve Paul. Epaphroditus brought some much-needed things to Paul as well as a good report of the strength and ministry of the Church in Philippi.

Reports must have passed back and forth between Paul and the Philippian congregation. We know this because at some point Epaphroditus became very sick and almost died. Although Epaphroditus recovered, one of his remaining concerns was that the congregation in Philippi had been so worried about him. Both Paul and Epaphroditus wanted them to know he was ok.

So, in the year AD62, Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Philippi from his prison house in Rome. Of course you know I am talking about the New Testament Epistle of Philippians, which Paul sent to the Church at Philippi by the hand of none other than Epaphroditus. Let’s read a few verses Paul wrote so that we might learn something tonight from this timeless, Holy Spirit inspired writing.

Epaphroditus is mentioned twice by Paul in the main body of this Epistle to the Philippian Church.

Philippians 2 NKJV

24  But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

25  Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;

26  since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.

27  For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

28  Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.

29  Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;

30  because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

We do not know and cannot discern from these writings the nature of the illness suffered by Epaphroditus, but we can clearly understand the heart and the service he performed to meet Paul’s needs in the furtherance of the Gospel on behalf of the congregation at Philippi, which he accomplished without regard to his physical well-being or the danger it presented. Epaphroditus was a man who saw the need, understood the benefit to God, and put his hand to the work without regard as to the personal cost it may in the end require of him.

The sickness came about no doubt from the extra service Epaphroditus gave on top of those things which he first brought to Paul from the Philippian Church, which are accounted for in:

Philippians 4 NKJV

16  For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.

·        Paul remembered the faithfulness and support of the Philippian Believers above a decade earlier, just after he had been released from the Philippian jail and left to preach the Gospel in Thessalonica.

·        There is a fond memory of those who helped us to do the work of the Lord in times past, just as though it was constantly before us.

17  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

18  Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

Acceptable to God … To which Paul confidently and prophetically replies:

19  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Which shall also be true for those who help to further the Gospel efforts of the men and women sent by God to labor in the fields for Jesus today.

Just for a moment and as we close, allow me to take us back to Paul’s description of this amazing man, Epaphroditus, in:

Philippians 2:25  Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;

·        My Brother

o   A Shared Sympathy

o   Having the Same Heart

·        Fellow Worker

o   A Shared Work

o   Pulling Together Alongside

·        Fellow Soldier

o   A Shared Danger

o   To Stand Beside in Conflict

·        Your Messenger

o   Greek: Apostolos

o   One sent with a message or duty to represent

·        My Minister

o   A publicly recognized servant

o   Attending to needs

Epaphroditus was an amazing man by choice and by pursuit. That’s the kind of testimony we hope to have from those to whom God sends us.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Super-Natural


Throughout history the Bible shows God working in the lives of men and women to accomplish incredible feats, miracles of such great magnitude. For example:

·        Noah and his sons who built a boat big enough to hold their family and all those animals plus the provisions needed for a whole year.

·        Then there was Abraham and Sarah. They had a child when they were well past that season of life.

·        And the little shepherd boy named David who defeated the Philistine giant warrior Goliath with a rock.

·        How about Adino the Eznite? He killed 800 enemy soldiers one afternoon with just his spear.

·        The poor widow who fed the prophet Elijah for over a year with just a handful of cornmeal and an ounce of oil.

·        Peter when he escaped being executed by sleepily following an angel through a gate that opened by itself.

·        Paul and Silas who opened prison doors with just a prayer and a few worship songs.

·        Mary when she told those servants to bring Jesus some large containers of water which He then turned into the best tasting wine at the party.

·        Or those four men who tore off the roof of a house and lowered their paralyzed friend down in front of Jesus and Jesus healed him.

Miracle after miracle has taken place because God found someone who would work with Him. God is still looking for people who will provoke the miraculous today.

In each of the accounts we read, we easily see that people were up against difficult challenges; Noah, Abraham, Israel’s army, the widow of Zarephath, her son, the prophet Elijah, Peter, Paul, Silas, the jailer and his family, the paralyzed man … none of them would have made it without God’s willingness to work with them and their willingness to work with God.

It is evident that:

·        God demands we participate in our miracle.

When the natural and the supernatural meet together, something powerful happens. God has always intended man to work with Him.

·        God marries what we can do with what He can do … that’s a miracle.

God working with man … man working with God. Personally, I think it is a miracle God even wants to include mankind in His plans for the future. We have not been the most supportive or loving as a race of people. I’m speaking of the human race. You do know there is really only one race, right? There are different ethnicities, cultures, customs, language groups, clans, tribes, nationalities, color variations, and so forth but the notion there are more races than one is an original doctrine of devils.

The devil has long promoted the heresy that some people groups are sub-human or perhaps that they themselves are super-human and therefore not everyone has the same value or voice. What a bunch of nasty divisive demonic lies … but … back to our word for today.

I am amazed God is still willing to work with us to accomplish His plan for mankind. I know I have not always been easy to work with. However:

·        When what we are willing to do touches what God is willing to do, miracles happen!

·        God marries what we can do with what He can do. That’s how God gets things done.

·        From the Garden to the grave … God works with mankind.

Have you noticed that God seems to always be searching for someone who is willing to let Him use them in a miraculous way? God joins the supernatural, which only He can do, with the natural, which only we can do. Our challenge is often no more difficult than giving God something to work with and a little time to work.

All four of the Gospels: Matthew; Mark; Luke; and John, record the miracle of Jesus multiplying the fish and loaves and the disciples feeding the 5000 men plus the women and children on a hillside belonging to the town of Bethsaida in the Galilee. Let’s read a portion of the account found in the Gospel of John, chapter 6.

John 6 NKJV

9  “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

10  Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

The harmony of the Gospels tell us that when Jesus saw the multitude of people were hungry, He instructed His 12 followers to give them something to eat. Jesus did this to show His disciples the makeup of a miracle. The makeup of a miracle is God working with man and man working with God. Jesus knew He was going to perform a miracle and he wanted His followers to make the most of it.

In every account, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the disciples did not believe they could do what Jesus asked them to do. They did not believe they were able to buy food for or feed that many people. However, they were wrong. In each case Jesus first asked them to give the people something to eat and in each case the disciples ended up feeding every one of those present all they wanted to eat and more. How did this happen?

The disciples found a young lad who had something natural God could use in a super-natural way to meet the need. God demands we participate in our miracles. A miracle is where what we are willing to do touches what God is willing to do. God marries what we can do with what He can do. When we won’t offer what we have, God may not offer what He has. Our faith walk is a partnership, and nothing less will do.

The miracle of salvation happens in an instant at the moment an individual’s willingness touches God’s willingness. And God is always willing to forgive, save, and deliver. The only hold back is the individual and their willingness to be a part of God’s great plan.

There is some small way you can partner with God right now for the miracle you and others around you desperately need. Something you can do, something you can offer, something you can contribute in a natural way that God will use in a supernatural way to make the miracle happen.

It may look like it won’t meet the need or like it is insignificant however, nothing is too small or insignificant for God to use when it is placed in His hands.

What have we discussed today?

1.   When what we are willing to do touches what God is willing to do, miracles happen.

2.   We need to give God something to work with.

a.   God marries the natural and the supernatural to make miracles.

b.   God demands we participate in our miracle.

And – Two things we did not discuss today but I feel I should say them anyway:

·        Don’t take a temporary situation and create a permanent problem.

·        Even though you didn’t break it, God may still need you to help Him fix it.

Life Shape Prayer and Discipleship Block Three – Man


Genesis 1

26  Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Genesis 2

7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

18  And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

22  Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.


        God made man on the sixth day of creation. Man’s first day was God’s seventh day, the day God rested. From this we conclude that man was first invited to rest in God’s finished work. God purposed man to have dominion over all creation upon the earth. Dominion is understood to be both the right and the power to govern and control. Man is God’s steward. Furthermore man was created in the likeness and the image of God.

Man, like God, is a three-part being. God formed man’s body from the dust of the ground; breathed into man’s nostrils the Spirit of Life; and man became a living soul. The scriptures rightly identify God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – God in three persons, the Holy Trinity. Man was purposefully created a triune being like God – Spirit, Soul and Body.

Once created, God did not find it best for man to be alone. God further divided man into two genders, male and female. He gave to each gender the qualities and capacities of life which are necessary to fulfill their ordained roles and responsibilities according to His plan. God does not intend for His relationship with man to take the place of man’s relationship with man … both relationships are important to God and to man.

Whether man or woman, male or female, biologically and anatomically, you are a unique individual created in God’s image, a three-part being, invited to rest with God in His finished work, given dominion over all God’s creation upon the earth, charged with stewardship responsibilities, and destined to live forever. Man’s connection with God is through the Spirit.

One day your earthly body will perish but your soul will continue to exist far beyond the grave, even throughout eternity – the only question is where.

Important Points

1.   Every individual is like God – 1 person, 3 parts.

2.   Every individual is designed to have dominion over God’s other creations.

3.   Every individual is invited to rest with God in His finished work.

4.   You are a unique individual with special value to God and others.

5.   You will live forever – the question is, where?

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Wicked and Unreasonable Men


It’s not over until God says it’s over.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 ¶  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you …

“Just as it is with you …” – What an interesting statement. Perhaps Paul is saying, pray for me that I can be like you. Perhaps Paul was reflecting on:

Psalms 147:15  He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

Allow me to further explain this phrase and its meaning from Paul’s particular point of view.

·        In about the year AD50, the Apostle Paul was 45 years old, and he went on his first mission trip to Europe. He came to what is now Greece, specifically to the port city of Philippi on the Aegean Sea. You can read about his time in Philippi in Acts 16.

·        Although Paul was able to lead several people to Christ and birthed a great Church there, things didn’t go so well for him. He was arrested and beaten and put into prison and fastened in stocks and chains.

·        God performed a miracle there and opened the prison doors. Many more people were saved, including the jailer and his whole family.

·        However, Paul ended up being forced to leave the city of Philippi. Being led by the Holy Spirit, he passed through a few towns to get to another large Roman city about 100 miles away called Thessalonica.

·        Acts 17 gives us the account of Paul arriving in Thessalonica.

·        The Bible says Paul spent three Sabbaths trying to persuade those who attended services at the local Synagogue in Thessalonica that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. We read in:

Acts 17

4  And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

5  But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar …

Every indication is that the Apostle Paul spent very little time with the Believers in Thessalonica and yet they became one of the most powerful and influential Churches in Europe. About a year and a half later, about AD 51 or AD 52, the Apostle Paul was in the city of Corinth, where he wrote his first letter to Thessalonica. Then, less than a year later, Paul wrote a second letter to the Thessalonian Church. Praise God, we still have both.

In less than three years, with perhaps only three weeks initial investment, the Apostle Paul saw the Church in Thessalonica grow to maturity. He credits them with keeping those first instructions he gave and commends them for allowing the Word of God to do such a quick work in their lives.

That’s what Paul was referring to when he told them to pray that the word of the Lord would run swiftly and be glorified through him and his team, just as it is with you. So, with those thoughts in mind, let’s continue.

2 Thessalonians 3 NKJV

1 ¶  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,

2  and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

3  But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

4  And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.

5  Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

What things did the Apostle Paul command those Believers in the Thessalonian Church to do? To find these commands we need to look at the first letter he wrote to them. Let’s go to near the end of that letter …

1 Thessalonians 5

14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

15  See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

16  Rejoice always,

17  pray without ceasing,

18  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19  Do not quench the Spirit.

20  Do not despise prophecies.

21  Test all things; hold fast what is good.

22  Abstain from every form of evil.

I could write an exhaustive commentary on every admonition in this passage. They are commands from the Apostle Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore the living Word of God. Please take time to consider if you are following these commands. Life will be filled with people who do not share your faith in God nor appreciate your commitment to Christ.

However, we need to be bigger than the persecutions and threats of unreasonable and wicked men. Paul knew only too well how it felt to be threatened and persecuted when he had done nothing wrong. He understood how taxing it was to be constantly bombarded with unlawful requirements from the evil people who were in charge. Paul had been misunderstood, misquoted, and maligned by those who should have protected him. He knew he needed prayer to face these challenges.

Instead of allowing other people to get him or the Believers in Thessalonica off track, he encouraged them to take control of their lives and follow the instructions given to him by the Holy Spirit which he wrote to them in 2 Thessalonians 3:5. These words still ring true today: “Direct your hearts” …

1.   Into the love of God.

2.   Into the patience of Christ.

Don’t allow unreasonable and wicked people to draw your focus away from God’s requirements that we love and value others because God loves and values them, and that we don’t lose our patience because things aren’t happening fast enough for us. We need prayer and we need to remember:

Despite what unreasonable men say, It’s not over until God says it’s over.

LifeShape Module One – Block Two Creation



Key Scripture: Genesis 1

1 ¶  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 ¶  Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

4  And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

5  God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.


31 ¶  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Commentary: Do not be deceived and imagine that the best and the brightest the world has to offer are either the best or the brightest. Look around … this is where the world’s best and brightest have gotten us so far: Starvation, disease, war, famine, poverty, drugs, violence, crime, divorce, prostitution, illiteracy, and world chaos not to mention pollution, national debt, unemployment, overcrowded jails, teenage pregnancies, abortion, or chemical warfare.

Just because someone has a few letters after their name, lives in Hollywood or wins some public popularity contest by a few votes and is thereby declared president of the United States, we cannot imagine they hold the keys to all truth – or any truth for that matter.

Archeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, biologists, analysts, and scientists of all sorts along with historians and philosophers in every age can only give a personal best guess concerning creation based on their interpretations of things which they did not witness. Some of them have done very well but many are way off base. Unfortunately, it seems that the farther away from God a theory leads, the more palatable it becomes to the world. This is often the dominant factor considered in the equation we know as world consensus. The world is not driven by truth but rather by lusts, sex, money, power, and position.

To learn how the world was made and what actually happened in the beginning, we need to listen to someone who was there … that would be God – He holds the only eye-witness account. Where man’s imaginations, estimations or calculations differ from God’s account, reckon man’s calculations wrong. You don’t have to be any smarter than that … indeed You cannot be any smarter than God!

Neither the big bang theory nor the theory of evolution can account for God having created all things. The Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) Hebrews 11 verse 3 confirms that God created the things we now see from things which could not be seen. God does not tell us the duration of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3. It could have been one instant, one moment, one thought or one billion years – we do not know. However, scriptures clearly tell us that once God saw there was a problem, He moved closer to the problem and decided what He would do. From verse 3 on, God worked six days by His accounting furnishing the earth as a habitation for His creations and He made it all, as it would appear to us, from nothing but His Wisdom and His Word. Then on the seventh day He rested from His labor.

For the Believer to believe anything else would be to not believe God.

1.  The definition of a believer is one who accepts God’s Word as truth recognizing and accepting that: God does not tell us everything

2.  God can make something out of nothing

3.  God does not distance Himself from His problems

4.  God is a God of priorities. He made provision first priority in each case.

5.  The Genesis story of creation is the eye-witness account of our Creator.

Exodus 31:17  … for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Missed Miracles



This evening we are going to read from a familiar passage in the New Testament, specifically in the book of Acts, chapter 16. Acts 16 gives us the accounts of so many miracles which took place in the lives of the Apostle Paul and those to whom he ministered over the course of a few days. Paul saw a man in a vision saying come over to Macedonia and help us.


Perhaps the man in the vision was an angel who was preparing hearts to receive Christ and only needed someone authorized to come and tell them the Good News. God prepares the fields into which He sends His laborers.


Acts 16 also records the salvation of Lydia and her whole household. Then there is the story of the Paul and Silas being stripped naked and beaten with rods in public before being thrown into the dungeon of a prison. As well, the miraculous account of Paul and Silas praying and singing praises at midnight and God sending an earthquake to open the prison doors and set the captives free. Chains fell off of all the prisoners.


After that continues the miracle account of the Roman jailer and all of his household being saved and baptized. Finally the chapter concludes with Paul and Silas being let out of prison and politely being asked to leave town. After they went back to Lydia’s house and collected their things and said their goodbyes, they departed for Thessalonica. 


This coming June, 82 of us in the Church are scheduled to make that same journey together from Philippi to Thessalonica as we follow the Steps of Paul. We will visit the Biblical sites and study each account along the way. I know the Bible will come alive on this trip of a lifetime. The spaces for this trip are currently filled but please don’t let that keep you from signing up if you’d like to go with us. At times occasion demands someone postpone their trip and those who have signed up and are on the waiting list move up into one of those 82 spaces. At any rate … let’s get back to the message for this evening … we are talking about missed miracles. Which miracle do you think is most often missed in the reading, study, or preaching of Acts 16? Let’s see …


Acts 16 NKJV

16 ¶  Now it happened, as we (Paul, Silas, Luke, and others probably including Lydia and her household) went to (the place of) prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed (inhabited; empowered; controlled) with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters (owners) much profit (she must have been made to work a lot of hours) by fortune-telling.

17  This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Evidently this was known to her by the spirit in her)

18  And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

19  But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

20  And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;

21  “and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”

22  Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.

23  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

24  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.


·      What is this story about?

o   There are so many stories in Acts 16 that it is easy to quickly pass from one miracle to another.

o   This story is evidently about deliverance.

§  Deliverance from demonic possession

§  Deliverance from mean masters

§  Deliverance from prison and chains

§  Deliverance from fear

§  Deliverance from sin and even death

o   It’s an account of being delivered by the name of Jesus

·      Who is this story about?

o   We read it as though it is about Paul and Silas, but it is not …

o   This story is about Lydia and her household, the jailer and his household, the prisoners, and this precious woman who was bound by satan in a situation she could not change …

·      We often pass right by the story of the slave girl and imagine her to be evil, if we ever consider her at all. We never wonder how she felt.

o   Bless her heart … she was a slave, and possessed, and no doubt abused and worked hard and long with no just compensation. Yet perhaps she saw some reason to hope.

o   This slave girl knew the way to salvation but was possessed and by a demon and owned and used by men.

o   She was set free because Paul finally got annoyed … what was Paul annoyed about?

o   Certainly Paul was not annoyed by the truth or the advertisement. It had to be about the girl bound by the devil.

·      I think this girl was perhaps crying out for help the best she knew.

·      Paul turned and spoke to the demon spirit … not to the girl.

·      Paul had compassion on the girl, it wasn’t about him, it was her.

·      But we often forget about the girl … we pass over this deliverance … we miss the miracle of this moment … I bet that girl never forgot it!


There are so many accounts in the Word of God about people receiving a miracle and then immediately other events of life come into play and the drama of life overshadows the miracle which was just done.

·      Jesus healed a blind man and the religious leaders got so upset. Rather than celebrating the miracle they wanted to know who did it. The man told them … I was blind and now I see!

·      Every morning for the rest of his life that man woke up seeing … I doubt he cared anything about the politics of his miracle but only the results. I imagine his miracle was not picked up by the news media.

·      Peter and John prayed for a lame man to be healed … and he was! Acts 2 & 3. Then politics and hateful mobs took the forefront and God’s wonderful people started going to jail and getting threatened and beaten. Whatever happened to the man who was healed?

·      His parents were questioned and even the man himself was accused of lying … however – every morning after when that man got up and walked to the bathroom or the kitchen, I bet he remembered what that miracle moment was all about.

·      It certainly wasn’t about the politics of the moment … Politicians and leaders, kings, and bosses, they come, and they go … Jesus and the miracle we receive from Him in His name is what life is all about.

·      There is no doubt that this woman, just like the demoniac of Gadarenes, wanted to be free. She followed Paul and cried out …


We cannot just pass over the miracle of deliverance and salvation that must have come to that girl that day … I bet that girl never forgot …


This reminds me of the account found in Luke 10 where Jesus corrected the thinking of His disciples concerning the most important part of the ministry. The disciples had gotten all caught up in the drama and power.


Luke 10 NKJV

17 ¶  Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

18  And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

19  “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

20  “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”


Whatever is going on around us, from politics to power, should never cause us to lose sight of what Jesus is doing in the individual lives of those in need. The most important thing is not how it affects us but about those to whom we are sent. we should never forget what life is all about.


Life is about the deliverance and salvation of souls for Jesus.

·      Deliverance from demonic oppression, depression, and possession.

·      Deliverance from the cruel masters of this life who care nothing for the person they are abusing but only for themselves.

·      Deliverance from the sad estate of those who see a better way but who are trapped in sin and cannot help themselves.

·      Deliverance from sin, sickness, poverty, worry, fear, death, and defeat which comes when we call on the name of Jesus.


Speak the name of Jesus … Speak to the spirits who have enslaved and torment others who are in sin… and don’t forget what Jesus is all about … the person who gets delivered won’t! Don’t miss the miracle!