Songs In The Night

Bible Book: Acts 
Subject: Praise; Worship; Salvation
Introduction

I preached as a student at Gardner Webb College (Acts 16:25-34). Students had assigned seating in chapel and Paul sat behind me. In that service, God did for him what He did for the Philippian jailer.

Once again, the first century disciples are about to learn afresh and anew that Satan's plans to defeat His church will be frustrated. The authorities are about to learn that no prison can hold those whom God wants released.

Charles H. Spurgeon, "It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to ready by...Songs in the night come only from God; they are not in the power of man."

Job 35:10, "But no one says,'Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night.'"

Psalms 42:8, "The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me. A prayer to the God of my life." This passage teaches me that:

I. Praise Does Not Depend On Circumstances 24-25

"Midnight Hour" - Motown; "Midnight Cry" - Church music; "Songs in the Night" - Biblical Literature Prayer and Praise are mighty weapons.

A. Peter arrested

Acts 4:23-31, "And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: 'Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ. For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.'

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."

B. Jehoshaphat came against Ammon and Moab.

2 Chronicles 20:5-12, "Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said: 'O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 'If disaster comes upon us - sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine - we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.' And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir - whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them - here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.'"

C. God uses Praise to defeat the enemy.

2 Chronicles 20:21-22, "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying'Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.' Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated."

Valley of Blessing v.26, "for there they blessed the Lord"

Our problem is that our prison often defeats us instead of developing us for further service.

2 Chronicles 20:17-18, "'You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD."

I wonder if at midnight Paul and Silas began to reflect on why they were in Macedonia/Philippi? God's will/call!

Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work the called according to His purpose."

Peter 5:10, "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."

Philippians 4:4-7, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

II. Praise Does Depend On a Proper Perspective 25-29

"praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them."

God must have us here for a particular reason. There seems to always be suffering before glory.

A. Joy Within

"to God"

Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."

"gentleness" (Phil 4:5) - graciousness, forbearance, meekness. Yielding to Christ's control produced songs of joy.

Ephesians 5:18-20, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The problem often with me is not my circumstances but the lack of living a Spirit-controlled life.

B. Joy Without

"prisoners were listening to them"

Corinthians 3:1-3, "Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart."

The Gospel according to you!

A.W. Tozer, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, 'What comes into your mind when you think about God?' we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man...

A right conception of God is basic, not only to systematic theology, but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God."

Paul and Silas did not have a perspective of God based on their circumstances, but based their circumstances on what they knew to be true of God.

2 Chronicles 20:2, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."

The Lord wanted His servant to go deeper and out further.

III. Power Of God Demonstrated In Salivation 26

Earthquake came: Foundations were shaken, doors were opened, chains were loosed. Question: Did God open the doors for Paul and Silas to get out or for the guard to get in? Question: Did God remove the stone on Easter morning to let Jesus out or to let us in?

A. Investigation 30

"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

This question speaks of a deep longing of the heart to be right with God. Maybe he had heard about the demon-possessed girl being released.

B. Invitation 31

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

John 20:31, "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

Believe He is Who He claimed to be. Believe in What He did on the cross.

Romans 10:9-10, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

C. Explanation 32
D. Demonstration 33-34

1. His Change 33a

"washed their stripes"

John 13:35, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

2. His Confession 33b

"baptized" - public

3. His Compassion 34a

"brought them into his house, he sat food before them" - humility and hospitality.

4. His Celebration 34b

"he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household"

Question: "Prisoners were listening" (25) I wonder what they thought when this guard returned to work?

Conclusion

Reason to Rejoice! "having believed in God with all his household" - Janet, Deanna, Hollie, Katie, Carson, Hope, Addie