Joy in Jail – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Joy in Jail

Acts 16:24, 25

Preached in the chapel service of Calvary Baptist School.

Intro: Paul and Silas had interrupted the financial gain of the Philippian occult movement. (vss. 16-19)

Notice the conditions Paul and Silas were in:

  • 16:19 – they were caught and dragged into the marketplace unto the rulers. –
  • 16:20, 21 – they were lied on – DECEPTION
  • 16:22 – they had their clothes ripped off in public – HUMILIATION
  • 16:23 – they were beaten with many stripes – PERSECUTION
  • 16:24 – they were put in the inner prison – ISOLATION
  • 16:24c – they had their feet fast in stocks. – LIMITATION

Several great Bible characters found themselves in jail.

  • Joseph was thrown in jail – also falsely accused and rejected by his family.
  • Samson was thrown in prison in Judges 16:21 and put his eyes out.
  • The prophet Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18.
  • The prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33:1

and more…

NOTE: There’s more than one kind of jail.

You may find yourself in a situation that feels like jail.

  • David felt like he was in prison in Psalms 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
  • Jonah felt like he was in prison in the belly of the whale. Jonah 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever:

You can still have joy!

  • Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

NOTE: Paul wrote this verse WHILE IN JAIL!

But in verse 25, we find an amazing response to this predicament.

We find Paul and Silas praying and singing praised unto God.

It was so loud that the other prisoners heard them.

They had JOY IN JAIL for several reasons:

I. They were Saved

Salvation is the greatest thing that can happen to anybody.

  • Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

A person that is saved is a person that has been forgiven.

A person that is saved is a person that is not going to Hell.

A person that is saved is a person that has God as their Father.

  • Psalms 21:1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
  • Psalms 132:16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy
  • Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The jailer sprang in asking how to be saved.

He knew that there was no way they could pray and sing under those conditions if they weren’t saved!

The world is watching to see how we respond to persecution.

I Peter 3

  • 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
  • 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

II. They were Suffering

Matthew 5

  • 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
  • 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

James 1

  • 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
  • 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

I Peter 1

  • 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
  • 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

I Peter 4

  • 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
  • 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

III. They were Serving

There’s no joy like the joy God gives when you’re serving Him.

ILLUSTRATION: Queen of Sheba heard reports of King Solomon.

  • 2 Chronicles 9:7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.

The happiest people in the world are people that are busy doing what God has called them to do.

The most miserable people are self-centered, lazy, entitled and have no skin in the game.

The second most miserable people are those that have been called to serve and won’t.

ILLUSTRATION: When God called me to Africa, I hated going to my job after that. I wanted to be in Africa!