The Jailer

Acts 16:16-34                                    May 12, 2013

What kind of people would be good for church?  As we read through the Acts of the Apostles, we find Jews, Gentiles, the sick, the recently healed, men, women, young, old, rich, poor, and even the in-between people.  There are people who have met Jesus in their life in the church.  There are people who have just heard recently about Jesus in the church.

 What happens when you meet Jesus?  When you meet Jesus, you get to meet all sorts of people.  All the people you meet need the church.  And the church welcomes all the people you meet.  We know this fact because of what we have learned about what happens when you meet Jesus.


We already know that you change.  You want to speak about Jesus.  You get stretched.  You realize that your decision to follow Jesus affects you, and everyone around you.  You become a disciple of Jesus.  You want to do the things that Jesus has done.  You accept the people God accepts!  You realize that God has a lot more in store for the church.  We know also that the Holy Spirit guides our steps.  As the Holy Spirit directs us, we come upon people that are ready to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

For the church in Philippi, there were all sorts of people.  From last week we know Lydia is there.  This week we get to meet some other members of the church in Philippi.  We get to meet a former slave girl and a jailer who finds faith in God.


  1. The girl was owned by others (16:16-24)
    1. A person can be owned?
    2. She followed Paul & Silas
    3. Paul rebuked the spirit that was in her!
    4. Her owners did not like what Paul did – they were going to lose money!
    5. The owners accused Paul & Silas of disturbing the city & advocating unlawful customs
    6. The magistrates had Paul & Silas stripped & flogged
    7. Slavery is so outdated, it doesn’t occur today, does it?  Just like this girl was used for the economic advantage of her owners, even today girls and boys are kidnapped or paid for so that their “owners” can have an economic or sexual advantage. There were reports this week of a sex slave facility in Virginia and slave shop in Ohio.  Maybe we need to rebuke a few people today in the Name of Jesus so that these and other slave locations can be shut down.  Then again, folks would get upset with us for ruining their economic way of life, but it just might be worth it.  So, when Paul & Silas were in the jail, the jailer was watching them, just like Saul was watching when Stephen was stoned to death.  And we remember what happened to Saul!


  • The Jailer finds out how to be saved (16:25-34)

1. Paul & Silas were singing & praying to God

2. An earthquake!

3. Paul & Silas don’t go anywhere

4. The jailer didn’t know they had not left & was going to kill himself (Herod had other jailers killed in Acts 12:19)

5. What must I do to be saved?

a. Also means – rescued, delivered, kept safe, preserved, cured, & made well

b. Was the jailer wanting to be delivered from the      penalty that could come for the prisoners being unsecured?

6. He placed faith in God & was delivered

7. Not only the jailer, but his entire family

8. The normal track for new believers is this:

a. Conversion – What must I do to be saved?

b. Christian Teaching – Believe on the Lord Jesus

c. Baptism – Paul & Silas did this

d. Caring Fellowship – With Lydia & the former slave girl?

9. God does marvelous things, if we could only wait on him!  And that is what Paul & Silas did.  As they waited on God, the jailer & his family were able to express faith in God.  Even the rough time that Paul & Silas had, God was able to make good come from it.  Yes, this was one of the times got to realize the suffering that he had to do for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Yet, that suffering brought a time for an entire family to believe in Jesus Christ.  The church in Philippi was enlarged by the conversion of the jailer and his family. More people were added to the number that will praise God (Psalm 97).


Oh, you didn’t read in Acts 16 about the former slave girl and the jailer going to Lydia’s house for worship?  We do know that the church in Philippi grew.  Paul would later write a letter to encourage the church in Philippi.  It is entirely possible that they did join with Lydia.  You see, that is the normal part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ – you join the church.

 The church has all sorts of people in it.  We need everyone in the church.  Everyone needs in the church.  So, when we meet Jesus, we join a bunch of others in being the church. 


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