Week Two – Day 7
DAY OF CELEBRATION AND REST
Read Acts 16:16-40
Are you an evangelizer or a criticizer? This question is really asking one thing. Are we going to spend our time evangelizing the world, or are we going to criticize sinners? Isn’t it much easier to judge people rather than reach out to them? A great way to combat criticism is with compassion.
Paul and Silas, in Acts 16, are some pretty compassionate evangelizers. Considering their circumstances, they had every right to complain and criticize. Let’s take a look at the reaction of the jailer after the doors fly open in the prison. Paul says, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here.” This is one of the guys who was persecuting them, the one who had chained them up. But they look past this.
If you have compassion for people and take a stand for Jesus, then they will come to you in times of trouble. They will run to you when they are experiencing a real life earthquake. People are in prison waiting to be set free by the truth we hold inside. Did you notice the question of the jailer? He asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” How simple was that? We’ve made it too difficult, haven’t we? They didn’t have to ask him what church he belonged to or what denomination. We’re scared because we’ve been taught to put all this churchology lingo into the equation. But no one asked you to give a dissertation on the four cardinal doctrines or come up with some cute prayer that sounds righteous. All you have to do is tell someone how Jesus rescued you. All you have to do is encourage them to cry out to the Lord and say, “Help!” Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will give you the boldness and opportunity.
“The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” Acts 16:34 NIV
Pray for wisdom and opportunities to be a witness in your Jerusalem (hometown), Judea (region), Samaria (nation), and to the ends of the earth (the world).