Conversion of the Prison Keeper
- Acts 16:27 (KJV)
- Acts 16:28 (KJV)
- Acts 16:29 (KJV)
- Acts 16:30 (KJV)
- Acts 16:31 (KJV)
- Acts 16:32 (KJV)
- Acts 16:33 (KJV)
- Acts 16:34 (KJV)
The prison guards needed Christ as much as the prisoners. The inmates stood in awe as the place was shaken and the doors were jolted open. Even the shackles that bound them fell off, yet no one moved. They were held spellbound by God's power. The prisoners knew that Paul and Silas had heaven's favor and would not stir unless Paul and Silas did. The prison keeper, fearing that the prisoners had
escaped, was about to take his life, but Paul cried out with a loud voice, “Do thyself no harm.”
Do Thyself No Harm
“Do thyself no harm.” The real harm in life comes from what people do to themselves. Men and women do wrong to themselves and ruin themselves by their sins and by wrong responses to life's difficulties. If we do not hurt ourselves, then no one else can really hurt us either. If we live right, everything plotted against us will ultimately turn to our benefit. Brother, sister, “do thyself no harm.” When we harden our hearts we are destroying ourselves and we are committing spiritual suicide. No one else is doing it to us (though we may claim they are), but in actual fact we are doing it to ourselves. The ten trials Israel faced in the wilderness did not harm them! Their response to the trials is what harmed them. Those trials were ordained of God to bless them and prepare them for Canaan.
What Must I Do to be Saved?
Paul assured the prison keeper that “all are here.” The warden, having been smitten with divine conviction, came trembling and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul was the theologian of the New Testament, yet he merely answered: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Paul was a real salesman. He did not want just the warden to be saved but all of his contacts as well. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
Paul and Silas went to the house of the warden and the whole family became Christians. There was a baptismal service at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. The early Church baptized new believers immediately upon conversion. Remember, Philip baptized the Ethiopian immediately (Acts 8:36-39). Lydia and her house have been saved and baptized. All the inmates of a whole prison have been smitten with divine power and awe, and now the warden and his family have been saved and baptized. We can be sure that the warden became a chaplain to these men. Thus, we see the power of God visiting the city of Philippi, and we see the start of the church at Philippi. Yet Paul was not finished, for he had reserved some choice words for the magistrates of the city.
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