Portraits of Grace – Acts 16:11-39

By John Bellingham on October 27, 2013
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Portraits of Grace

Acts 16:11-39

– After following the Paul and Silas to the city of Philippi, Luke tells the testimonies of three of the Church’s founding members:  Lydia, a Slave Girl, and a Roman Jailor

– These three portraits of God’s grace reveal several important truths about salvation:


I.  Salvation is a Universal Need

1)     Lydia was a wealthy female merchant who feared God (vv. 11-15)

2)     The Slave Girl was an impoverished, demon possessed pagan (vv. 16-24)

3)     The Jailor was a middle class servant of Rome (vv. 25-34)



  • God is no respecter of persons when it comes to salvation.  All of us are sinners in need of God’s grace – rich or poor, slave or free, religious or non-religious, male or female


II. Salvation is a Sovereign Work of God

1)     God took the initiative to open Lydia’s heart in an act of sovereign grace (v. 14)

2)     The demon possessed Slave Girl was totally unable to liberate herself from the grip of Satan

  • Like this girl, we are all born enslaved to sin  and unable to liberate ourselves
  • When God saves us He pays the ransom price with the blood of His own Son to free us
  • 3)     In grace, God broke through the Jailor’s sense of despair and hopelessness (vv. 27-28)



  • Because salvation is a sovereign work of God, all of the glory rightly belongs to Him!


III.  Salvation Comes through the Word

1)     Paul preached the gospel to Lydia and the Jailor

2)     God permitted a demon to declare gospel truth through the Slave Girl!!

  • Satan often mixes truth with error in his effort to deceive and ensnare
  • The salvation of the slave girl is not stated outright, but it is strongly implied by the way Luke structured this narrative



  • The Word of God preached is God’s divinely ordained means to bring the elect to saving faith!  (Romans 10:17)


IV. Salvation Requires a Response

1)     Lydia heard the message and responded in obedience

  • She heard and responded in faith and repentance
  • She evangelized her household
  • She was baptized in water along with believing members of her household
  • She shows the fruit of repentance right away

2)     The Jailor responds to God’s initiative with a most important question:  “What must I do to be saved?”

  • Paul’s response:  “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”
  • The Jailor and his family trust in Jesus and are then baptized – faith comes before baptism!
  • The Jailor shows the fruit of repentance



  • Have you responded to the message in repentance and faith?
  • Have you obeyed God’s command by being baptized in water?
  • Are you manifesting spiritual fruit in your life?


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