Paul’s Ministry Produces "People” Change

“To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be … More


Scripture does not explain why, but the next morning the city officials sent word to the jailer to let Paul and Silas go (v. 35). Paul, however, was unwilling to “sneak out of town” because that would have left the new church under a cloud of suspicion. Instead he told them he was a Roman citizen and demanded a public apology for their unlawful acts the preceding day. We can not be sure why Paul waited so long to mention his Roman citizenship. Perhaps he did not have opportunity when he was arrested because of the haste of the magistrates. According to Roman law, Roman citizens, as both Paul and Silas were, could not be beaten and put in prison without a fair trial.

While the record does not say that the magistrates officially and publically apologized, it does say that they respectfully came to Paul and Silas, escorted them out of prison, and politely asked them to leave town.  Probably they were afraid that word of this illegal act might reach their superiors. Paul’s desire had not been to get personal revenge, but only to give protection and respect to the church.

I believe that it is significant that Paul made no attempt to change society; his work was to change people. He did not use his Roman citizenship, his influence with people, the power of his pen, or his ability to get people to give nobly to a cause to accomplish social change. He did not run for political office or try to be buddies with those in social power. He did not organize demonstrations, publish a paper, or seek alliances with unbelievers of liberal persuasion. In fact, he did none of the things activists consider to be part of the Christian program today. Paul could, and did, urge the claims of Christian love upon the family of God, but he did not campaign for social change in an unbelieving world. It is our job to “preach Christ crucified,” unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”


Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit I need to use all of the liberties I have to get the gospel out. It is not my job to bring social change but to be passing out tracts and witnessing wherever I can.

Acts 16:35-40 (English Standard Version)

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