Acts 16: 11=40

Harriet Tubman was born a slave.

Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave, but hitting her instead.

This severe mistreatment led to her escaping to Philadelphia in 1859

She immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided many other slaves to freedom.

Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (called "Moses” by many) "never lost a passenger".

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

The sad reality is, it’s easy to become so accustomed to bondage that you no longer recognize you’re a slave.

As Morpheus told New on The Matrix, “Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

With God’s help I want to awaken you to two realities this morning:
• Many of us don’t realize it, but we are slaves
• Jesus is a Deliver that sets captives free
Turn to Acts 16:11
• Paul’s second missionary journey
• Accompanied by Silas, Timothy, Dr. Luke, and others
• Led by the Spirit to go to Philippi (modern-day Greece/Macedonia)

• Along the way we’ll see three different encounters with three different slaves.
• Jesus is a Deliver that sets captives free.
Three Main Points:
• Jesus delivers slaves to religion
• Jesus delivers slaves to sin
• Jesus delivers slaves to circumstances
Ask yourself...
• In what ways am I a slave? And how do I need to turn to Jesus for deliverance?
• In what ways are those I love caught in slavery? And how do I need to point them to Jesus the Deliverer?

1) Jesus Delivers Slaves to Religion
• Verses 11—14a
o What does it mean that Lydia is a "worshiper of God"?
• Religion!!
How is religion slavery? Because you think you are free, while you remain a sinner
• John 8:31-38 -- 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
• Religion + Riches is a deadly cocktail because we fool ourselves into thinking that we're fine!
o Trusting in our church attendance, giving, voting records, religious posts on social media, morality, comparison to other people
o You are not as good as you think you are!!!
When you combine that with any measure of financial prosperity (which is everyone in this country) and we are just like Lydia!
 Your financial condition may not be a sign of God's blessing.
 Read Romans 1:29-2:5
• MAY BE THE MOST DANGEROUS TYPE OF SLAVERY (because we don't know we're slaves)

• Human response to being confronted with our slavery to religion is anger!
o This is why the Pharisees hated Jesus -- end of John 8 they're picking up stones to kill Him!!!
• Notice how Lydia responded...
• Read verses 14b—15
• God opens the heart...
o Slave to religion: God must open your heart!!!!
o Christian: Why we must pray!!!
 Parents, pray for your children
 Wives, pray for your unbelieving husbands
o "Chase God on your knees before you chase men on your feet".
• Before = don't use this as an excuse to stop sharing!
God uses Paul’s words...
o Spurgeon -- "Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, Preach it only to the elect; and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him."

• Have you been set free to slavery to religion?
o Identify with Jesus and His people (baptism, local church membership)
o Devote your gifts and resources for the church (hospitality)
• Are you a slave to religion? Jesus can set you free.

2) Jesus Delivers Slaves to Sin
• Read Verses 16—18
• Notice the Contrast:
o Lydia is named, this girl isn’t
o Lydia is wealthy, this girl is poor
o Lydia is religious, this girl is demonic
o Lydia learns of Jesus during a quiet Bible study, this girl learns of Jesus through a dramatic clash between supernatural powers
• Jesus delivers all types of people!!!
• Phrase "spirit of divination" literally reads "spirit python" in the original language
o According to Greek mythology the python was a snake that guarded the Oracle at Delphi
o The god of prophecy, Apollo killed the snake and took over the oracle at Delphi
o Eventually the term "python" came to refer to anyone who had Apollo's gift of fortune-telling

• We don't know how this girl came to be in this situation, but we know this...
• Notice what she’s saying: “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
o Lesson: you can say all the right things and still be a slave to sin!
• Why is she speaking the truth? Perhaps to plant a false convert in the church
o Satan has two primary weapons against the church:
 infiltration--attack from within
 persecution--attack from without
o Lesson: be on guard!!!!
• Main lesson: the Gospel brings freedom to the slave!!!
• Can’t relate to the religious Lydia? Are you like the slave girl?

• How we become enslaved...
o Sexual sin (fornication, pornography, etc.)
o Substances (Drugs/Alcohol/Food)
o Bitterness
o Worry
o Pride
 Greatest evidence that you're a slave to pride is if you've been thinking about all the other people in the room who are slaves instead of looking in the mirror
o Romans 6:16--Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
o Even if we keep our slavery a secret, we know in our hearts that we're slaves!
o All our efforts to free ourselves are like a vehicle stuck in the mud. The harder we try to get ourselves out, the more stuck we become.
• This doesn’t always mean instant deliverance like this slave girl. Sometimes it’s a long, hard road to learn to live in light of our freedom.
o If you're stuck, get help today. Talk to someone!
o Sin is like a cockroach, it hates the light!

Warning: not everyone responds positively when Jesus delivers slaves to sin...
• Read Verses 19-24
o Lesson: If you’re living for what you can get in this life, you may quickly find yourself opposing Jesus!!
• Are you a slave to sin? Jesus can set you free.

3) Jesus Delivers Slaves to Circumstances
• Read Verses 25-27
o Crisis strikes this jailer’s life
o Explain: Roman law stated that soldiers who lost their prisoners were subject to the same penalty that was due their prisoners
o He’s ready to give up! His life is ruled by his circumstances
• Slaves to circumstances...
o Are happy when things are good
o Complain/get angry/give up/are depressed/bitter when things are bad
What the slave to circumstances needs...
• Read Verses 28-34
• Repent and believe!!!
• What about Christians? Why do we still struggle with this?!?
• Philippians 4:11-13 -- I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
• Easy to say, harder to do!!!
When you're walking with Jesus, even when it looks like you're in bondage you're free!!!

Read v. 25
o But these guys aren't pushovers!!!
• Read verses 35-40
o Tough and tender
Are you a slave to your circumstances? Jesus can set you free.

Warning: Conversion does not make us forever immune to slavery!
• Galatians 5:1 -- For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
• We can return to bondage to religion, sin, and circumstances
• Repent and be restored!
Story is told of a wealthy man who went to a slave market where he noticed a young woman being auctioned off to the highest offer. He bid on her and won. He could see the anger in the young woman’s eyes and could imagine what she was thinking, "another master will buy me, use me, and then discard me."

As the wealthy man walked off with the woman, he turned to her and said, ‘You’re free’.

‘Yeah. What does that mean?’ she replied.

‘It means that you’re free.’
‘Does it mean I can say whatever I want to say?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the wealthy man, smiling, ‘it means you can say whatever you want to say.’

‘Does it mean,’ she asked incredulously, ‘that I can be whatever I want to be?’ ‘Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.’

‘Does it mean,’ the young woman said hesitantly, ‘that I can go wherever I want to go?’ ‘Yes, it means you are free and you can go wherever you want to go.’

‘Then,’ said the woman with tears welling up in her eyes, ‘I think I’ll go with you.’

When you've truly been delivered by Jesus you want to follow Him!