Sermon 13 - Acts 16,20-34 - The Power of A Song

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1.      There is a name I love to hear

I love to sing its worth

It sounds like music to my ears

The sweetest name on earth

Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus,

Because He first loved me.

2.      Many of you recognize that song.

a.    You’ve sung in churches over your life-time.

b.    We’ll sing it again alter this morning.

c.    For me, it’s one of several songs I sing privately from time to time in my personal walk with Christ.

3.      The power of a song, any song, in a person’s life is tremendous.

a.    Especially for a Christian

b.    And yet, it remains one of the most  unused tools a Christian has for their own spiritual battle.

4.      As we think about the POWER OF A SONG, we’re going to do is in a different way.

a.    I will share various benefits of a song, from the Scriptures, and then we’ll sing of those benefits between the points.

b.    Turn with me to our next text in our overview of Acts.

i)        Acts 16:20-34 (page )

ii)      Paul has completed one missionary journey and is the middle of the second.

iii)    He is in Philippi, a major city of Macedonia (see overhead map)

5.      Through their ministry which threatened the pagainism of this city, Paul and Silas were brought before the two leading magistrates of the city.

a.    Some of the pagan business people faced economic ruin because of it.

b.    These dragged the two before the court with the charge of teaching an illegal religion (true).

c.    Read with me what happened:

Acts 16:20-34

20 “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted. 21 “They are teaching the people to do things that are against Roman customs.” 22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So he took no chances but put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

25 Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Don’t do it! We are all here!” 29 Trembling with fear, the jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas.

30 He brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household.” 32 Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in his household. 33 That same hour the jailer washed their wounds, and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 Then he brought them into his house and set a meal before them. He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.


6.      Understand the abuse

a.    :20 – intimidation – anti-Semitism

b.    :22-23 – beaten with rods

i)        A series of wooden rods bound together and carried by certain police for this purpose.

ii)      Paul was beaten in his life time at least 3 times.

iii)    Very exhausting.

c.    :23 – inner dungeon; clamped feet in the stocks

i)        the dirtiest, darkest part.

ii)      Stocks – legs spread as far apart as possible; sometimes hands put in stocks.

iii)    No wonder Paul writes:

iv)    2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (The Message) 8 We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. 9 We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! 10 And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.

d.   Ever feel like you were not going to make it?

e.    What started the process that allowed God to intervene?

7.      25 Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

a.    And as they sang, they invited God into their environment and God showed up - began to demonstrate Himself

b.    WHY?

c.    Because of the




a)      :25 - Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening


c)      This was different.

i)        There was only one explanation – God.

ii)      ((illus)) Author and speaker Leonard Sweet tells of a London film company which began making a film of street people back in 1971. The film captured the daily rituals of the homeless—their trials and joys. Some were drunk, others mentally disturbed. Some were articulate and others unintelligible.

(1)   In the production studio, the composer for the film’s music became aware of the constant undercurrent of sound that appeared whenever one certain homeless man was filmed. At first, the sound seemed like muttered gibberish. But after removing the background noise, this professional musician discovered the old man was singing.

(2)   The composer learned that this beggar did not drink or socialize with others. The old man was alone, filthy, homeless, but he also had a sunny demeanor. What distinguished him from the others was his quiet singing. He would for hours sing the same thing over and over. The man's weak voice was untrained, but it never wavered from pitch. He repeated the simple phrases of the song over and over.

(3)   One day at the office the musician looped together the first 13 bars of the homeless man's song, preparing to add orchestration to the piece. He left the loop running while he went downstairs for a cup of coffee. When he returned, he found his fellow workers listening in subdued silence, and a few were even weeping. The old man's quiet, trembling voice had leaked from the recording room and transformed the office floor. Here is what he sang:

Jesus' blood never failed me yet

Never failed me yet

Jesus' blood never failed me yet

There's one thing I know

For he loves me so.

(4)   Though not a Christian, the composer created and produced an accompaniment to this homeless person's song of trust in Jesus. The result was a CD entitled Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet. The old man died before he heard it.


i)        Especially on the days you feel beaten, discouraged.

ii)      How many times have I started singing in the darkest days of my life and sense His presence flowing in.

(1)   It invites the presence of God.

(2)   It is an excellent way to talk to one’s self.

(3)   Ephesians 5:19 Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts.

iii)    Some times they’ve been familiar songs

iv)    Sometimes I’ve made up my own song on the spot (I always look around first!)

e)      Let’s invite God’s presence into our lives through the songs Joel will lead us in.






a)      26 Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

b)      Here was the first Christian concert in Europe and it “brought the house down.”

c)      2 Chronicles 20:20-22

i)        I love this story of King Jehoshaphat who, as king of Israel, faced terrible odds against an overwhelming outside army.

ii)      He sought God’s face and the text says: 20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and called them to attention. “Listen to me, O people of Judah and Jerusalem,” he said. “Believe in the Lord your God and you shall have success! Believe his prophets and everything will be all right!” 21 After consultation with the leaders of the people, he determined that there should be a choir leading the march, clothed in sanctified garments and singing the song “His Loving-Kindness Is Forever” as they walked along praising and thanking the Lord! 22 And at the moment they began to sing and to praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to begin fighting among themselves, and they destroyed each other!

iii)    Psalm 21:13 13 Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.

iv)    Psalm 98:1 1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.


(Joel – Solo)






a)      “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household.”

b)      Singing will remind us of the truth that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Eph. 3:20)

c)      I think this is one of the reasons the Devil has attacked the church in our day and divided them over the use of music in worship.

i)        ((illus)) Overheads

ii)      He can save us, if we need saving

(1)   ((illus))How many have come to Christ at the end of a Billy Graham meeting as that wonderful song is sung – Just as I am

iii)    He can bring deliverance from a habit when the enemy comes calling.

(Joel – songs)

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