The Advantages of Christianity

Text: Acts 16:22-35


I.         There are a lot of religions to choose from in the world, if one was inclined to go shopping for a belief, from a claim that there is no God to everyone is right – at least in some fashion.

            A.        So why be a Christian? What advantage is there?

            B.        We are going to examine one conversion, that of the Philippian jailer to make a few points.

II.        Background

            A.        Paul and Silas had been in Philippi, a large city in Macedonia. Here they had converted a woman named Lydia - Acts 16:14-15

            B.        A woman, possessed by a demon, began pestering them and Paul cast the demon out of her - Acts 16:16-18

                        1.         There were men who made profit off of this woman’s affliction who weren’t happy to see her cured

                        2.         So they filed a complaint with the city officials. Not a matter of quietly filing a form, but taking advantage of Roman dislike for Jews, stirred up a mob - Acts 16:19-23

            C.        The focus of our story - Acts 16:24-35

III.       The advantages of being a Christian

            A.        It can solve your problems

                        1.         The release of the prisoners caused the jailor to face a huge problem.

                                    a.         Roman law stated that if a prisoner escaped, the guards would face the same penalty the prisoner would have received, even if it meant death.

                                    b.         The jailer saw all the doors open and knew that all the prisoners were surely gone.

                                    c.         Rather than face this, he determined to kill himself.

                        2.         Paul tells him to not harm himself because no one had escaped. That fact impresses him. They had a chance to escape and didn’t take it.

                        3.         Realizing that the earthquake and the prisoners not leaving were because of Paul and Silas, he desperately needed to know a way out of his problems.

                        4.         You might be facing your own problems. It might appear to be hopeless. But in Christ there is a friend who will help you survive - Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 6:17-20

            B.        It can help your family

                        1.         This man could have committed suicide and left his family grief. Instead, he lived and through the gospel brought his family joy.

                        2.         You might be facing family problems. Your marriage might be on the rocks. Your children could be a pain. Your parents might not be all they should be. But in Christ there are solutions

                                    a.         God teaches us how to treat our spouse - Ephesians 5:33

                                    b.         How to raise children and how to treat parents - Ephesians 6:1-4

                                    c.         God knows about disobedience and rebellion and can help you navigate the rocky waters of a family relationship.

                                    d.         You should be in Christ because it will make your family stronger.

            C.        It can brighten your day

                        1.         The jailer’s day improved when he realized that he hadn’t lost his prisoners.

                                    a.         Going home to those he thought for a moment never to see again must have been special

                                    b.         Learning together about Christ and deciding to be baptized together, well, they were overjoyed

                        2.         No other religion, no other philosophy can do for you what Christ can. - I Peter 1:6-9

                        3.         Wouldn’t a brighter, happier day feel good to you? Then you need to be a Christian.

            D.        It can bring new, better friends into your life

                        1.         I doubt a jailer had much opportunity to make quality friends. After all, he spent most of his life dealing with criminals and other low life.

                        2.         But Paul and Silas were different. Despite their harsh treatment, they didn’t cause him problems. And they spent the hours singing and praying!

                        3.         We know the other prisoners noticed and this jail likely did so as well.

                        4.         He even takes them home to meet his family!

                        5.         The advantage of being a Christians is that you are around people who have high moral standards.

                                    a.         They are people who value other people - Luke 10:27

                                    b.         They are people who smile and enjoy life, despite its problems and challenges - Philippians 4:4

                        6.         Here were people who could sing and pray even while in pain and in prison. The jailer had a chance to join them and jumped at the chance.

            E.        It can save your soul

                        1.         The jailer probably never gave his soul much thought. He was just a hard working man. But the crisis he faced made him realize that life was more than what happens day to day.

                        2.         The greatest part of being a Christian is that you don’t have to wonder what happens to you when you die.

                                    a.         Your trust is in the Savior who already died and who overcame death

                                    b.         There is no fear in death - I Corinthians 15:54-57

IV.      So why not you?

            A.        The jailor changed his life in one event filled evening.

                        1.         He listened to Paul and Silas

                        2.         He believed the truth that he heard

                        3.         He changed from a callous man to a kind man who took people home and treated their wounds.

                        4.         He changed his outlook on life

                        5.         Then, along with others in his household who also heard and believed, he was baptized.

            B.        In the midst of crisis he saw that Christ could meet all his needs

            C.        He knew he wanted to be a Christian.

            D.        How about you?

            E.        The jailer didn’t wait when he found a good thing, he was baptized immediately, that same hour of the night.

            F.        He became a Christian, and so should you.

Based on an article by David Thurman