Grace Notes 2022-11-09
As we consider how to go about the ministry of evangelism it is always worthwhile to note the examples in Scripture. This week I want us to consider the effect of the Apostle Paul and Silas’ witness on a Philippian Jailer and his family that we read about in Acts 16.
Little did the two disciples have any idea who they might be witnessing to that day. Their effective ministry earlier in the day had caused a commotion in the Macedonian City of Philippi. In exorcising a demon from a slave girl who practiced divination, they effected the lucrative business of the slave girl’s owner who gleaned from her fortune telling. As “disturbers of the peace” Paul and Silas were thrown into prison with their feet in stocks.
The evangelism that ensued was certainly not preplanned, at least by Paul and Silas. Having been beaten and restricted in stocks the pair did what Christians do. They prayed! And they sang hymns! And we are told that other prisoners listened to them.
What happened next was also not preplanned, at least by the two disciples. An earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. Doors became unlocked and everyone’s shackles became unfastened. Paul and Silas must have prevailed upon everyone not to escape. For when the jailer was about to kill himself with his sword, supposing that all the prisoners had escaped, Paul cried out that they were all on hand, no one had fled. At that moment the jailer fell trembling at Paul’s feet. Overwhelmed by the Christian witness the jailer asks Paul what he must do to be saved.
Paul could answer succinctly, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved!” But then he spoke further the word of the Lord to the jailer and his household. That very night the jailer and his household were baptized into the Christian Faith.
So, what do we learn? Live out the faith in difficult moments and be ready to give account for your hope and joy.
Since You Asked…
Why Is the Pastor Using cruets to both fill the Communion Chalice and then to cleanse it afterward?
You may have noticed the Pastor using a little water from a cruet poured into the chalice, swirled around to mix with the remaining drops of wine, and consumed by the Pastor at the conclusion of administering Holy Communion. This is one way to reverently handle the remaining communion element of the cup. And there is a practical benefit. The longer wine sits in precious metal vessels, the more it begins pitting the surface. By adding wine when needed to the chalice, and then consuming soon after the slight remains with a little water, the metal is preserved.