“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25
As we read through the account of Acts chapter 16, we are amazed at the response of Paul and Silas. It seems that Paul throughout his entire ministry faced severe opposition to the Gospel. Paul's preaching of the Gospel had such a far reaching impact that he is often the subject of many sermons preached out of the New Testament only second to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But Paul's witness had more depth than just a few verses that he had memorized and often quoted. He and his companions lived a life that was in close fellowship with the Lord. When we come to this account starting at the beginning of chapter 16, we become enamored with the situation that unfolds and perhaps miss a key element in what resulted in souls saved and a local New Testament church being birthed. Notice the order of what transpired in the above verse:
They Prayed to God.
They Praised God.
The Prisoners Heard.
What a wonderful testimony to our great Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Paul and Silas in the midst of severe affliction are helped through their worship of God. Here also the prisoners are affected by Paul and Silas’ worship of God. There is a great lesson for you and I in this passage. Likewise, in the book of James we also find this twofold instruction, “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)
Our testimony to those that are without should raise up Jesus Christ. Our Savior speaking of his impending crucifixion stated, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Oftentimes though, we put on a sour face and portray God as a hard taskmaster requiring us to do what we do not want to do. And yet here Paul and Silas are affected and affect those around them simply by praying and praising God! Psalm 103 is a tremendous example of the many things that we can praise God for! This list is by no means exhaustive because of God's great goodness and glory, but it does help us to once again focus our attention on how good God is.
So what can we praise God for? Well the psalmist David tells us:
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;" (v2,3)
1. We can praise God for forgiving all our iniquities (those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior). Psalm 103:3
2. We can praise God for our health. Psalm 103:3 – The Great Physician has blessed us with physical and spiritual health.
"Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;" (v4)
3. We can praise God for redeeming “thy life from destruction.” Psalm 103:4 – He has done more than just forgiven us, He has received us into His house.
4. We can praise God because he has shown us “lovingkindness and tender mercies;” Psalm 103:4
"Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." (v5)
5. We can praise God because he has given us what we need to be satisfied. Psalm 103:5 “No man is ever filled to satisfaction but a believer, and only God himself can satisfy even him.” – Charles Spurgeon The Treasury of David
"The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." (v6)
6. We can praise God that He is the Just Judge and will continue to execute righteousness and judgement. Psalm 103:6
"He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel." (v7)
7. We can praise God because He has made known His ways unto His children. Psalm 103:7
"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." (v8)
8. We can praise God because He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounds in mercy. Psalm 103:8 God is not as man, fickle in forgiveness. God has not stated as Peter, “how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Matthew 18:21 How low we stoop in our mercy towards others!
"He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever." (v9)
9. We can praise God He does not reprove indefinitely. Psalm 103:9 God corrects us perfectly.
10. We can praise God that “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10
"For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him." (v11)
11. We can praise God for His mercy cannot be measured. Psalm 103:11 His mercy is “Like the height of the heaven” if thou can measure that!
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (v12)
12. We can praise God because our sins are gone, nowhere to be found. They are impossibly removed from retrieval. Psalm 103:12 – “Fly as far as the wing of imagination can bear you, and if you journey through space eastward, you are further from the west at every beat of your wing. If sin be removed so far, then we may be sure that the scent, the trace, the very memory of it must be entirely gone.” - Charles Spurgeon The Treasury of David
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him." (v13)
13. We can praise God because He has compassion for you and I. Psalm 103:13
"For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth." (v14,15)
14. We can praise God because He “knoweth our frame;” Psalm 103:14,15 God knows how we are constituted for He is our Maker. “…we are dust….” and our “…days are as grass…”
"But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;" (v17)
15. We can praise God for though we fade away as a flower, His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting; immeasurable. Psalm 103:17 (and 15)
"To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them." (v18)
16. We can praise God because He is a covenant keeping God. What He has promised to do, He will do it. Psalm 103:18
17. We can praise God because He expects us to be obedient. Psalm 103:18 What loving God would not guide us in the paths of life?
"The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all." (v19)
18. We can praise God, because He is the Almighty. Psalm 103:19 God’s is sovereign over all, His throne is higher than all ‘thrones.’
"Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." (v20)
19. We can praise God because of His creation; the heavenly host. Psalm 103:20 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:14
"Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure."(v21)
20. We can praise God because of His magnificent work. Psalm 103:21 – God in His great plan has chosen to allow you and I to participate in this wonderful work. “Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.” Psalm 103:22
Perhaps if we would be a praying people that are praising the Lord more people would turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and give glory to God!
- Pastor James Grandinetti, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
Showing People the Way to God
- Personal Evangelism
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