“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, the magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, they have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? Nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”
Paul and Silas were in prison, at mid-night they began to sing and to praise God and suddenly there was an earthquake and the prison doors were opened; everyone’s band was loosed; the Jailer came and bowed down to these people who were praising God and the Jailer got converted with his entire house.
There are seven types of victory:
VICTORY AFTER DEFEAT: In Joshua 7:1-12, Joshua decides to go to war without God. The result was a terrible defeat but he was wise enough to fall on his face before God and say, “I have made a mistake; I should have consulted You before going to battle. I should not have gone without You.”
God said, “Alright, you have restituted your ways. We will go together now” and God taught him what to do. When you get to Joshua 8:1-33, the one who defeated Israel before became completely wiped out. I pray that God will change your defeat to victory in Jesus name.
When you go to war without God on your side, you are heading for defeat. But the moment you invite God in, He will turn the defeat to victory. Let me share with you, the story of one of my daughters who is married with four children and her husband packed out of the house to go and live with a woman with five children. She came to me and said, “Daddy, I fought for my husband; but this strange woman defeated me and took over my husband. Now I need God’s help.” I told her, “When we invite God in now, your husband will come to beg.” We talked to the Almighty God and I told her that God will start a quarrel between her husband and the strange woman. Not long after that, there was a quarrel between her husband and the woman. The strange woman said to my daughter’s husband, “Don’t you know that your head is not correct? If your head is correct, how can you leave your wife with four children, to come and stay with a woman with five children and none of the children is yours.” The man said, “I think you are right.” So he packed his load, came back home and pleaded with his wife to take him back. When you invite God into your defeat, He will change it to victory.
VICTORY WITHOUT A DEFEAT: This time, you go to war with God on your side; and you will get victory without a defeat. In 1 Samuel 17:34-51, David said, “I had fought with a lion and defeated it. I had fought with a bear and defeated it. I am going to fight Goliath and I will defeat him also.” He gave us the secret. He said, “The Lord that delivered me out of the hand of the lion and a bear, the same Lord will deliver me from the hand of Goliath.” When you fight with God on your side, with God fighting with you, you will always have victory without a defeat.
VICTORY WITHOUT A FIGHT: In Deuteronomy 28: 1 & 7, the Bible says “…if you would harken diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day…. the enemies that rise up against you will be smitten before your face….” You are not the one who will do the smiting. He said, they will come against you in one way, and they will flee in seven ways.
There is a difference between God fighting with you and God fighting for you.
When God is fighting for you, you don’t have to fight; He does the fighting while you watch. Romans 8:31 says, if God be for us who can be against us. The book of 2 Chronicles 20: 1–37, talked about three kings coming against a very small king. The king, his wife and his children, the army and the entire nation were so small that they were able to stand before the temple of God.
The people said, how can a king obey God who says, put the choir in front in a situation like this? There are some battles you cannot fight even if you say you want to fight. But when God is fighting for you, you win without a fight. There are battles you can fight and there are battles you cannot fight. If the Doctor tell somebody who has cancer that there is nothing more he/she can do, you can really hand over the battle to God. Is there any battle you are facing that is too big for you, you will get victory today in Jesus name.
WHEN ENEMIES LEAVE YOU ALONE: In Psalm 23:5, the Bible says, “Thou prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies …” Proverbs 16: 7 says, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” That is why praising God is a wonderful thing. When you praise Him, you please Him and when you please Him, He tells the enemy, “Leave this boy alone! Can’t you see he is praising Me?” Psalm 92:1 says “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.” If I do that good thing which is praising Him, He says my eyes shall see my desire on my enemies.
In 2 Kings 7:1-11, when there was a siege against a whole city; the Almighty God decided that the best way to lift the siege was to drive the enemies away and the enemies heard a noise. Some of us don’t have big enemies, we only have small ones. Those of you who have small ones and you are managing them, may I say “congratulations!” For me, I don’t want any enemy at all – small or big.
WHEN ENEMY BECOMES A FRIEND: When a former enemy becomes a friend that is a very good victory. In Acts 9:17-21, the Bible tells us about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus who was a great enemy of the church. He had an encounter with God on the road to Damascus; he became a Christian and he started preaching the gospel. Then, everybody began to say, “This was an enemy before; he was the enemy of this people; he was the ark enemy. Well! Now, he is a friend.”
There is another example of victory in Daniel 3:1-21. Here was Nebuchadnezzar boasting to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, saying, “Who is that God that can deliver you from my hand? You are dead.” By the time the story was over, the same fellow who wanted to roast these boys promoted them.
When God arises, He can turn a former enemy to a very good friend. In Psalm 132:7-9, the Bible says, if we go into His tabernacle and worship at His foot stool, then He will arise for us and the saints will begin to shout for joy.
It is a very beautiful thing when your enemies become your friend.
WHEN YOUR ENEMIES BECOME YOUR SERVANT: l like this very much! In Acts 16:33-34, you will discover that the Jailer, who was told to keep Paul and Silas thoroughly bound, was the one who washed their wounds and prepared food for them to eat.
Rather than God wiping out all my enemies, it would be a better idea if He would change them to my servants. It might be a good idea if those who don’t want me to make progress are the ones to come and contribute to my progress. Those who don’t want you to reach the top will suddenly be the ones bringing the ladder for you to climb. Those who said you will never marry, are the ones who will prepare the food on the day of your wedding.
In Psalm 110:1, God made a promise that He will make our enemies our foot stool. In Psalm 57: 5-7, He says when we exalt Him our enemies will fall into the pits that they dug for our feet. Those who want to reduce us to nothing will suddenly become the people who will become our foot stool.
WHEN THE ENEMIES COME TO BEG: This is a scenario when the enemies come to apologize to you and say I am sorry. In Acts 16 that we referred to as our text; after the earthquake and the doors were opened, chains loosed and the Jailer who was saved washed the wound of Paul and Silas and fed them, I was wondering why Paul and Silas did not go. They waited because God had something bigger in store!
By the following morning, those who sent Paul and Silas to prison sent a message to the Jailer to let them go. Paul laughed. He said, “I am not moving. Tell them to come and beg me before I will go” and they all came and begged him. In the Name that is above every other name, before the end of this month, all your enemies will come and beg you.
In 2 Kings 1: 9-15, a King sent fifty soldiers and a captain to go and arrest Elijah. They came, saw him seating on a mountain and said, “Man of God come down, you are under arrest.” He asked “me? Roast! And fire descended from heaven and consumed them. The king waited for them to return, he did not see them; and the king respected Elijah. He sent another fifty soldiers and a captain. They came, said the same thing and Elijah asked fire to roast them too. The king sent another batch. Those ones came, saw ashes in the shape of men and did a quick count and found it to be one hundred and two. The Bible says the captain fell on his feet and said, “Man of God, please I won’t dear come against you, it is the king who sent me, spare my life”
Do you know that when you say you are praising God and you lift your hands to the Almighty, what you are actually saying is, “I surrender.” One thing I learnt when I was a Boxer is that when two boxers are fighting and one realizes that if this fight continues he may die, he will lift up his two hands saying, I surrender. The moment he lifts his two hands, there is a law that the opponent must not hit him again – not even a single blow.
So, lifting up your hands and saying to God, I surrender; He will be the referee now in the boxing ring that will pass instruction to all forces of darkness, “don’t you ever dear touch that fellow again.” The moment you surrender to Him, you lift up your hands and say, “Hey! Referee, I appeal to you, I cannot fight these battles anymore. I am tired of suffering; I am tired of being beaten; I am tired of all these loads coming from right, left and centre” and He, the Everlasting Referee would pass instructions to all those who had been beating you, those who had been fighting you, and say “from now, no more blows.”
If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, do so now so that your tomorrow may be alright.