Step Out and Stand Up

“Then he [the jailer] brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

And they [Paul and Silas] said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.”

Acts 16:30-32 (ESV)

Remember Kendra’s story from last week? About the family in Peru who heard  the Gospel message and accepted Christ’s free offer of salvation all because a few mission team members were willing to do a crazy dance in the middle of the street to grab the attention of those who needed to hear? And then were prepared to speak the word of the Lord to receptive hearts?

Side note: if you have not seen the video of Kendra, her dad (who happens to be the pastor), and their worship pastor dancing, you MUST click over and watch…and read the awesome story while you’re there!

As you may recall, Kendra ended her story with this challenge: “Step out and do something crazy or fun (in other words: take a risk) in order to share the love of Christ with someone else!!”

Hold that thought while we set the stage for Paul and Silas with a little context.

Go read Acts 16:16-34. 

If you’re feeling super adventurous, read all of Acts 16 for even greater context. 

Seriously. I’ll wait.

So, Paul and Silas are in Philippi, and after becoming annoyed by her, Paul delivers a slave girl from her “spirit of divination”. This is a problem for her owners as they can no longer use her for profit, so they bring charges against Paul and Silas.

After being publicly and severely beaten with rods, Paul and Silas are thrown into prison where, in the middle of the night, they pray and sing hymns while the other prisoners listen. Then an earthquake shakes the prison, and all of the prisoners are freed. But no one leaves.

Realizing that everyone is still there (when they should have escaped), the jailer refrains from taking his own life and instead asks Paul and Silas how to be saved. They answer. And the jailer’s entire household is baptized that night.

Were Paul and Silas crazy for staying in the prison? You could say that.

Were Paul and Silas having fun? I’m guessing not.

Were Paul and Silas taking risks? It certainly seems that way.

Were Paul and Silas prepared to share Christ regardless? Absolutely.

Paul and Silas were willing to step out into the crazy and the risk because they were willing to stand up for the message of Christ’s love and salvation.

And they never let their focus stray from that message.

Although they were beaten, they prayed.

Although they were thrown in prison, they worshipped.

Although they could have escaped out of the open prison door, they trusted.

And you want to talk about really crazy?

It’s not until later in the chapter (verse 37 to be exact) that we discover Paul and Silas are Roman citizens, which (as Paul clearly understood) from a legal standpoint means they never should have been beaten and thrown in prison to begin with.

Remaining silent with that knowledge? That is crazy!

And yet, as followers of Christ, we are presented with the same mission that Paul and Silas were presented with in that prison cell:

To step out,

from wherever we are,

even when it seems crazy,

even when it means taking a risk, 

even when it’s fun (like dancing in the middle of the street), 

even when it’s not (like remaining in a prison cell),

and stand up to share the love of Christ with others.

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