God rescues the people in Red Sea
Scripture: Acts 16:16-40 (teaching text), Exodus 14 (historical narrative)
Theme: Rescued from the opposition, second chance, new life
Besides the Israelites being delivered from the Egyptians, one of the most well-known stories of rescue in Exodus is the crossing of the Red Sea. In a clear demonstration of supernatural power, God defends and protects His people. What makes this rescue story even more amazing is that God rescues them in a really unique fashion. In other places in scripture, God strikes attacking enemies down, but not in this story. God defends His people, but He also uses this as a chance to teach His people something as well. It must have taken a lot of faith to step in between those towering walls of water and follow the path that God laid out for them.
It would have taken an equal amount of faith and courage to walk some of the roads that Paul had to walk. Following God’s leading to Philippi, Paul and Silas were about the tasks of their ministry. During their stay there, they encountered a possessed woman. She began to hinder their ministry to the point where Paul commanded the spirit within her to leave. This action caused them to be thrown into jail. While in jail, Paul and Silas praised God and sang hymns. God rescued them from their situation. But even while defending His people, God used the situation to lead others to salvation. This week, we will explore the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. We will discuss how God rescues us from opposition.
- Staying strong
- Amazing deliverance
- Following through
Acts 16:25 NIV – “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
Paul, Silas and Moses had something in common. Instead of moaning and complaining about their situation, Moses was encouraging his people and Paul and Silas were encouraging their fellow prisoners. When faced with opposition, they made the most of their respective situations. They did not take time to complain. They decided to commit. Instead of singing the blues, they sang God’s praises. They were staying strong.
The normal reaction for most people when faced with opposition is to blame everyone else in the situation and even the situation itself. We complain about the problem. When faced with opposition, we have to be aware of not only the situation we are in, but also who holds that situation in the palm of His hand. Moses and the boys in Acts knew that God was with them even in their most difficult situations.
Acts 16:26 NIV – “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”
Our God specializes in the unique and powerful. Whether it is a violent earthquake or the parting the Red Sea, our God is able! We talked last week that we couldn’t do it on our own. We need a supernatural God. The same is true in this story. God steps in and does something amazing in each of these situations. It might be a little different for each one of us. It might be a sudden change of heart in an enemy. Or it might be a second chance at a project at work. Or we receive that sudden flash of inspiration to solve a problem. God is still in the deliverance business. He is still looking out for His people.
You may ask yourself the question, “Why would God need to intercede in such an amazing way?” While I do not confess to know the mind of God, I like to think these moments of deliverance are God’s way of reminding me that He is still very present and very real in my life. We serve a truly dynamic, present God. Even thinking back to our conversion experience, not only did God offer us salvation, He gave us the need for salvation. His grace was so great that we knew something was missing in our lives in the first place. He could have let us wander in darkness, but He didn’t. He made a way! God could have left Paul in prison. This would not be Paul’s last time behind bars, after all. He would later continue writing to the new churches while in chains. But God chose this amazing rescue to showcase His glory—to show His mighty power. God wanted Paul to continue spreading the Message and that was what Paul was going to do. God made a way!
Acts 16:30 NIV – “He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”
Both scenes could have stopped before their true conclusion. The people of Israel could have stayed on the edge of the Red Sea without setting foot on the sea floor. Paul and Silas could have easily slipped away during all of the commotion of the earthquake. Do you see the amazing difference in the conclusion of each story? In Moses’ situation, he was to go. And, for Paul and Silas, they were to stay. In each situation, these men of God chose to give God the glory for the deliverance. Moses led his people through the bottom of the Red Sea, which led to the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. Paul and Silas stayed in the jail and ministered to the jailer, which led to his salvation in Christ and eventually to his family’s conversion.
It is not enough to witness God’s deliverance of us from our enemies and opposition. We have to follow through. In doing so, God uses those situations to bring glory to Himself. We have to use the situation to bring glory to God. If we reconcile with an old enemy, do we share with them the source of that reconciliation? If we become successful at work, is it for our own glory or do we give the credit to God? If that inspiration comes to us, do we acknowledge the source or pat ourselves on the back? Moses and his sister Miriam led the people in a song after their deliverance in Exodus 15. In Exodus 15:2, they sing, “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” He is my salvation. He is my God. He is my strength. He is my defense. It wasn’t about what they had done, but rather what God had done for them.
Simply put, we are faced with opposition in our lives. Even so, it’s important to remain faithful and strong in the face of opposition. After we witness how God leads us through these obstacles, we must follow through with His plan for us and give Him the glory.
Do we want to be rescued from opposition?
This sermon is not complete. It is meant to encourage, inspire, and develop your thoughts on the topic.