Demonstration, explanation, invitation…

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paulsilasprison-1

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. 

There’s a pattern I see repeated in the New Testament, of which our passage is a good example. There’s a demonstration of power (doors open, chains unfastened), an explanation of what happened (God’s power in Jesus’ name, not Paul’s power), then an invitation to receive the Lord Jesus and be saved/baptized.

Demonstration… Explanation… Invitation

In my experience the element that’s often missing in our day is the first one – the demonstration of miraculous power. We can tell people about Jesus, invite people to respond in faith and be baptized, but rarely is there a miraculous event that precedes those two elements. I wonder why that is. Lord, reveal your truth to me today. Help me to understand your ways. Amen.

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