Actions Speak Louder Than Words
1 John 3:18 Your actions speak louder than words.
Sometimes we are so busy living our life that we fail to realize the importance of what we say to some people is often not the same as what we do to others. This disjointed behavior can be critically important in many ways. It can be used for good or bad. In this story we see a great example of Paul and Silas at Phillippi.
As you read this story look at three things and compare how Paul and Silas behaved with how you would have behaved in that same situation.
First, are you willing to go to jail for speaking the truth?
Second, are you willing to keep hold of the truth when you know that if you deny it you would be rewarded?
Third, if you were imprisoned and you found that you could escape would you do so?
Now please read these verses: Acts of the Apostles 16: 16-40
Imprisonment at Philippi.
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit,* who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling.
17 She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”
18 She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Then it came out at that moment.
19 When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities.
20 They brought them before the magistrates* and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city
21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack on them and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
23 After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
24 When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
Deliverance from Prison.
25 About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
26 there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
29 He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”
32 So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
33 He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once.
34 He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the lictors* with the order, “Release those men.”
36 The jailer reported the[se] words to Paul, “The magistrates have sent orders that you be released. Now, then, come out and go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, even though we are Roman citizens and have not been tried and have thrown us into prison. And now, are they going to release us secretly? By no means. Let them come themselves and lead us out.”*
38 The lictors reported these words to the magistrates, and they became alarmed when they heard that they were Roman citizens
39 So they came and placated them and led them out and asked that they leave the city.
40 When they had come out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house where they saw and encouraged the brothers, and then they left.
Going back to the questions. First, why was Paul and Silas in prison? What truth were they preaching? Why was this truth so at odds with the society they found themself in?
Today, we find that we cannot do certain things that we know are true because of laws of the land. Are you willing to stand up to those laws? It appears that Paul and Silas were and did stand up- will you?
Second, if Paul and Silas had rejected their message or went against what they had testified to them would not have been in trouble. The easiest thing would have been to deny Christ and his resurrection. Paul and Silas were not about to settle for the easiest. Their stand for Christ was remarkable and today is a testimony to us to show us that we too can experience the same results.
Third, the foundation of Paul’s and Silas’ faith is clearly shown when presented with a perfect escape from jail, they stayed inside of the jail. They did not escape when they could. They know they did no wrong and they also knew of their foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. It was through this faith and their actions that the jailer and his family were converted.
Maybe we could learn a great deal from the early Church. Maybe we could learn a great deal from this story about Paul and Silas. Brothers and sisters, maybe we could learn the value of the lesson taught in 1 John 3:18 Your actions speak louder than words. Amen