The Midnight Song

Paul and Silas Sing Against the Midnight

Acts 16:25-40


I.     Background (Acts 16:14-24)


A.   Paul and Silas and Timothy are now in Macedonia [MAP] looking for a man there that they discovered was crying out for help from God!

B.   As they travelled through the city of Philippi, four things happen:


1.    Lydia Gets Saved, and all in her home


a.     The Gospel makes so much sense, logically, rationally, but the blockage is not with the understanding – it is in the heart!

b.    So God has to open and clear it out so that – we can’t open people’s hearts, only God can

c.     God Performs Heart Surgery on Lydia when she heard Paul preach and explain the Gospel (Acts 16:14,15)


2.    Satan Responds


a.     Spiritual Warfare Began (Acts 16:16-24)

b.    Paul Rebukes the spirit – overwhelmed the demon!

c.     And the demon-possessed woman gets freed from her bondage! He comes out! And she gets born again

d.    That’s two lost, pagan women now saved!


3.    Paul and Silas Get Abused – Punished Wrongly


a.     The mob decides to beat and whip them - Many stripes – lashes across their backs

b.    Then imprisoned them


1)    Thrown into the deepest, darkest prison cell

2)    Locked their feet in stocks on the floor so they were unable to move

3)    Sitting in death and excrement

4)    The stench was unbelievable


c.     They were made to Suffer Doing the Will of God


1)    Never hurt anybody – only pocketbooks!

2)    Actually saved the lives and minds of countless broken people

3)    Yet here they were being abused and made to suffer for no good reason

4)    So, When living the Christian life, expect to suffer – to find it hard, and opposed

5)    Because, If you follow Jesus, you are going to have troubles

6)    2Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.


4.    But While Suffering, They Sang!


II.   Message


A.   The Power of Praise (Acts 16:25)


1.    What is our NORMAL response to pain, rejection, mockery, defeat?


a.     Anger, complaining, griping, threatening, yelling, revenge, hatred…

b.    God has allowed these two men to be imprisoned, in deep darkness (terrifying darkness), no light at all, intense heat with no fresh air

c.     Their bodies ache, infection is setting in, fever rising, unable to rest

d.    And unable to move – they are trapped

e.     Sitting in excrement, with rats and insects crawling all over their bodies

f.     And then at midnight … with six more long hours until sunrise…


2.    These two Christian men made a choice - a choice we all must make every time we suffer


a.     Acts 16:25  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

b.    What did we just read?

c.     They chose to PRAY and then to SING PRAISES to God

d.    Praying is doing what 1Peter 5:7 says do… Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.


1)    They had many hurts and abuses and no one to turn to… Except Jesus!

2)    So they had a good long talk with Jesus, and then they started SINGING


e.     They sang praises unto God about Jesus, about the Gospel, about the cross, about sins being forgiven by the God of heaven!

f.     Those songs are called HYMNS


1)    On a Hill, far Away, stood an Old Rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And I love the old cross, where the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners was slain!

2)    Jesus, keep me near the cross, There a precious fountain, Free to all—a healing stream, Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain. In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever; From the cross my ransomed soul Nothing then shall sever.

3)    There is a Fountain, Filled with Blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains!

4)    Jesus! what a friend for sinners! Jesus! lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Saviour, makes me whole. Hallelujah! what a Saviour! Hallelujah! what a friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end.

5)    What a Friend We have in Jesus

6)    Amazing Grace…


g.    They sang loud and clear – so everyone in the other cells could hear them – not like most Christians sing today, meekly and softly!

h.    They gave hope to a whole lot of men who had no hope that night!


3.    Praise and thankfulness were NORMAL for Christianity in the First Century


a.     Examples:


1)    David praised God as a teenager while watching over his father’s sheep

2)    And then later as a young man he praised God even though constantly facing deep hurts when he was hiding in caves and trenches from king Saul for 7 long years

3)    David even praised God when he went through the valley of the shadow of death – he wrote a precious song called Psalm 23

4)    Isaiah praised God when king Uzziah died and the kingdom of Judah was in jeopardy

5)    Job worshipped and praised in the darkest of nights during his loss of everything he ever owned… “blessed be the name of the Lord

6)    And Jesus SANG with His disciples on their way into the Garden of Gethsemane, just before He was betrayed by Judas into the hands of those who would murder Him!

7)    Acts 5:40,41  And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.


b.    Praise is the result of faith and trust in God


1)    2Corinthians 4:8,9  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair [WON’T GIVE UP];  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2)    2Corinthians 6:10  As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.


c.     Praise is often hard to do - But it is something that a Christian CAN and ought to do! (Psalm 116:17)  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.


d.    Praise counteracts the pains of life – makes up for it all – is like a medicine


1)    Proverbs 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

2)    Philippians 4:4-7  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation [STABILITY DURING HURTS] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [PRAISE] let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


e.     We Praise God because HE is worthy of it at all times – not just when things are good (Ephesians 5:18-20) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, SINGING and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ


f.     Praise is because we win in the end (Matthew 5:10-12)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


B.   The Results of Stressful Praise (Acts 16:26)


1.    Acts 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

2.    I guarantee you that Paul and Silas were helped by their time of praying, and singing praises

3.    But more happened than they expected!

4.    God stepped down from heaven


a.     An earthquake – that’s dangerous – everyone could have been crushed

b.    The foundations shook – not just the walls or the ceiling

c.     Doors were broken open – bolts no longer held

d.    Wrist bands and ankle bands became loose – this is not a normal earthquake…

e.     Everyone in those prison cells were instantly set free!


5.    All because two men decided to pray and ask God to help them sing! And then they SANG


C.   The Thought of Suicide (Acts 16:27)


1.    Acts 16:27  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

2.    The Jailor thought of killing himself


a.     At the moment when Paul and Silas were full of joy, another man was full of fear and full of thoughts of suicide!

b.    The jailor had gone to sleep that evening hearing some of the most joyful, encouraging, restful music ever written – hymns – being sung (so unusual in a DARK prison)

c.     But now he is awaken by the ground moving beneath him, bolts exploding, men shouting

d.    Looking down the hallways, he sees all the cell doors fully open and he stops breathing!

e.     Why? Because… The prisoners – they are free… Free to do as they please

f.     And HE will be their pleasure – abusing him for the wicked abuse he had done to them

g.    He has only one choice in his thinking – kill himself before all those prisoners kill HIM


3.    Why Do Men Consider Suicide?


a.     Can a person get so low in their thinking that they would not only despair of life, but would actually desire death? Yes


1)    Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2016 CDC report)

2)    More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED!

3)    Suicide is common in our wealthy, advanced society folks!

4)    And it affects Christians too!


b.    In I Kings 18 a godly man named Elijah went so low emotionally that he just wanted to die and actually begged God to take his life!

c.     Jonah got so far away from the will of God that he just wanted to die too - and he tried to die several times! But God wouldn’t let him die!

d.    So don’t think YOU are above thoughts of suicide!


4.    Five main reasons people, especially MEN think about suicide…


a.     Remorse – Because of regrets that cannot be resolved – overwhelming sorrow and guilt - like what caused Judas Iscariot to hang himself

b.    Revenge – an attempt to hurt someone who hurt them in the worst possible way

c.     Unbelief in the plan of God – so they seek for control of their life one final time


1)    Suicide does not believe that God cares about them


a)    So, so few know and believe that God does care.

b)    And not only can He do something about your needs or problems, but He solemnly promises to work all things together for good!


2)    Suicide does not believe that God is able to forgive some wrong

3)    Suicide does not believe that others will ever care or will forgive them


d.    Demon possession – Satan wants you dead

e.     Trapped - No other way out – from debts, health problems, etc) - which is a lie


f.     THIS is why I stay the course, and preach my heart out, and keep talking to people about getting saved – because the devil is winning and destroying young lives!


5.    A Christian has a better hope!


a.     Paul proved the power of joyful living when he wrote the epistle to the Philippians!


1)    Eighteen times in the letter to the Philippians Paul told them, and us to "rejoice" and to have "joy"  in whatever situations we are going through!

2)    Paul had learned how to be happy, and joyful despite terrible circumstances.

3)    "Not that I speak in respect of want [HE LACKED MANY THINGS]: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [BECAUSE] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:11-13)


b.    His words reflect an incredible attitude, especially when we realize that Paul wrote this letter when he was bound in chains and in another prison in Rome for no other reason than his faith and witness for Jesus Christ!


D.   Compassion on the person who Abused You! (Acts 16:28)


1.    Acts 16:28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. What is Paul saying… WE DO NOT HATE YOU!

2.    Think about what that Jailor had done to them… all the evil abuses

3.    And yet hear how Paul rewards him – with compassion, and concern for his soul

4.    He knew that if that Jailor had killed himself, he would fall straight into an endless hell

5.    No REAL Christian wants anyone to go to hell!

6.    So Paul interrupted the Jailor’s thinking and imminent actions

7.    And the Jailor looked around and saw calm, and restraint by all the prisoners – no one was leaping out of their cells to pounce on him and abuse him!

8.    And then he dropped his personal sword, and jumped into the dark hole that Paul and Silas were sitting in and asked THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION EVER!


E.   The Most Important Question (Acts 16:29,30)


1.    Acts 16:29,30  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

2.    He had only ONE question…


a.     Look at the respect he has now for Paul and Silas… “SIRS!”

b.    He needed to know how to be saved from the judgment he knew he deserved!


3.    This Macedonian man was not stupid


a.     He had heard the Gospel Paul preached in the Markets and on the streets

b.    He heard the Gospel hymns that night

c.     But none of it had pricked his heart yet - He had no reason to apply the Gospel to himself

d.    UNTIL the earthquake, and the danger of dying without hope!


4.    In that moment, he faced a terrifying death and the judgment of the God that Paul had been preaching about

5.    Hebrews 9:27 as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment


F.    The ONLY Answer (Acts 16:31,32)


1.    What was Paul’s answer?


a.     Acts 16:31,32  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

b.    He just blurted out the good news…

c.     BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ

d.    And you will be saved!

e.     So simple! Simple on purpose – simple by design!

f.     So that ANYONE, ANYWHERE can be saved!

g.    Whether you are hanging on a cross next to Jesus, or so far away from God no GPS could find you – you can be saved today!


2.    Sinners do NOT need reforming. They do NOT need religion. They need JESUS!


a.     They need to be SAVED from the wrath to come! Forgiven by God for ALL their sins, and inhabited by the Holy Spirit of God forever!

b.    And that only happens when they / we decide to believe that Jesus is what we have been missing all our lives! JESUS!

c.     That HE is Lord. That HE alone can save!

d.    Paul said the jailor just needed to believe in Jesus enough to trust Him to save HIM!


1)    If baptism was necessary to be saved from God’s judgment, then wouldn’t you think Paul would have mentioned it?

2)    If circumcision, church membership, good works, prayers were necessary to be saved, wouldn’t Paul have mentioned them?

3)    But he didn’t! THANK GOD!


e.     Amazing GRACE, how sweet the sound that SAVED a wretch like me!


3.    With all the religions in the world, Paul’s words narrows them all down to two:


a.     Those that Believe on Jesus Christ only

b.    And the rest who believe we have to become good enough for heaven through our best efforts, our prayers, our baptism, our sincerity, our religious activities, and so on

c.     You can trust your religion, your good works, your priest, your bishop, and you will die and go to hell!

d.    Or you can trust Jesus Christ, and wake up in heaven when you die!

e.     Your choice!

f.     I choose to only believe on Jesus with all my heart, like Paul said you and I could!


4.    Believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ – what does it mean?


a.     Trust Him to do what He promised to do – to save you if you just ask


1)    John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
TRUST HIM to keep you from facing God’s righteous wrath by forgiving you!

2)    John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

3)    John 7:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
JUST BY BELIEVING and accepting what He did was for YOU!


b.    Believe He is God come in the flesh, so that He could live up to the expectations of God’s Laws, and then so that He could die in the place of all who are guilty of BREAKING God’s Laws!

c.     Believe Jesus to be enough to save a wretch like you, and like the worst of us

d.    Climb into His mighty arms, and let HIM carry you all the way to heaven!


G.   Freedom Beyond Chains (Acts 16:33,34)


1.    Acts 16:33,34  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his [FAMILY], straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

2.    The Gospel frees people from more than chains!

3.    There is nothing like it – nothing makes you free like believing the Good news about Jesus Christ!

4.    Look at how many people enjoyed supernatural freedom


a.     Paul and Silas enjoyed their freedom in Christ BEFORE the chains fell off

b.    ALL the prisoners in the jail that night discovered freedom in Jesus!


1)    They could have fled, but stayed in their cells, and were calm and not full of hatred towards the jailor – they were freed in their soul!

2)    John 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. IN EVERY WAY


c.     The Philippian jailor himself walked home arm in arm with Paul and Silas, FREE

d.    The Jailor’s entire family! They saw the change in their wicked dad, and it drew everybody to the Gospel! They ALL got saved that night!

e.     Me, 42 years ago!

f.     What about YOU? Still in bondage? Still stuck in your sinful habits and bitter spirit?


H.   Time to Move On (Acts 16:35-40)


1.    The Macedonian man has been found, and helped, deeply

2.    A church has been started in Philippi

3.    And Paul and Silas get a “nice” send-off

4.    The city officials knew they were acting out of line, and were hoping to just send these men on their way after a night in jail


a.     Acts 16:35,36  And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.


5.    But Paul rebuked those officials using ROMAN law, and it scared them. Paul could have sued that court and the entire city for MILLIONS, and would have won


a.     Acts 16:37  But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

b.    Acts 16:38  And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.

c.     Acts 16:39  And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.


6.    And when he had accomplished that, he then walked away. He had caused those officials to have great respect for Christians now

7.    And then Paul and Silas, as beat up and hurt as they were, arrived to the home of Lydia where the church was gathered, and they encouraged the believers! Comforted THEM!


a.     Acts 16:40  And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.


III.         Conclusion


A.   So, What are YOU going through right now?


1.    Things out of your control – even though trying to do the right things?

2.    Pray – cast all your cares, hurts, abuses upon Jesus, asking Him to help you sing!

3.    And then start Praising God – thanking Him for everything!

4.    You need to sing


a.     For your own sanity

b.    Because God is blessed when we sing through the tears

c.     Because the devil cannot stand a Christian praising God

d.    Because it means WE BELIEVE GOD more than the pain


5.    And you need to love the people around you – stop all the constant criticism and complaining. Have compassion on people. No one knew that this Philippian Jailor had been secretly crying out in deep pain for help from someone, anyone, and God sent two men to tell him about the cross of Jesus!


B.   What is The Most Important Question? That everyone needs to ask!


1.    Acts 16:29,30  … Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

2.    Do you know the answer? You had better know it!

3.    Do you know what is coming? What you need to be saved FROM?

4.    The consequences of all your sin – the coming wrath of almighty God on this sin-cursed world


C.   What is The ONLY Answer?


1.    Acts 16:31,32  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

2.    Believe Jesus is God in the flesh, so He could live up to the expectations of God’s Laws, and then so that He could die in the place of all who are guilty of BREAKING God’s Laws!

3.    Believe Jesus to be enough to save a wretch like you, and like the worst of us

4.    Trust Him to do what He promised to do – to save you if you just ask Him to

5.    There is nothing easier, yet nothing more humbling than to admit you are in trouble with God and need Jesus!


D.   And then Start Living Free from MORE than Chains – live free from guilt, from the past, from bad habits, and from habitual sins! Free in Christ!

E.    By believing on Jesus constantly! Not just when you feel like it!