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Go To Acts: The Church Handbook Series

A Tormented Heart

Acts 16:16-24; Deut. 18:10-12


[continuing the introduction to Philippians, and how the church came to be.]


Last time, the Vision, the Venture, and the Victory…Paul heard God saying, Go west, young man, and we saw the gospel come to Europe, and we looked at Lydia, the first of  “our kind” to be savedshe was atender heart”.  Today, we see the salvation of the slave girl…a tormented heart, and next time, the jailer…a toughened heart.


The Victory continues now…

The Slave Girl:


1. A Controlling Spirit

v. 16        soothsaying=fortunetelling.  She was a psychic.  She had some supernatural powers, but remember, not all of the supernatural is of God.  Hers was of the devil.  She had a demonic spirit, and her masters were making a lot of money off of her.  They were literally “pimping” her out as a psychic/astrologer/palm reader/Ouija master/having séances/summoning the dead/spirit channeling…and all of this is of the devil today as it was then.


Deut. 18:10-12

    There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, [11] Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. [12] For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.


If you play around with the supernatural apart from God Almighty you are playing with fire!  Don’t be surprised if you pick up a spirit that you don’t want. 


A survey was done of 1,700 high school kids…416 admitted to having involvement with Ouija boards.  This is not some harmless board game like Chutes and Ladders, rather, it’s a slippery slide that could easily plunge a person into the realm of the underworld!  Even the manufacturer’s know this, and in their instruction booklet they say:

“if you use the Ouija board in a frivolous spirit, asking ridiculous questions or laughing over it, you naturally will get unnatural influences around you.”


Those are demons!...every bit as much as today’s soothsayers, and even some on church platforms in their white suits, which are wolves in sheep’s clothing!

        Some now say, “Bro. Jerry, you’re being ridiculous!”  Well, if that’s what you think, don’t worry, I’m not preaching to you today.  I’m preaching to those whose hearts are open to receiving what the Word of God says, as we look at it verse by verse!


Out of 1,700 surveyed, 321 admitted to having some involvement with astrology/horoscopes, which originated way back at the Tower of Babel.  The Bible calls it “observing of times” and it’s repeatedly forbidden in the Bible as a demonic, occultic practice!  It’s a counterfeit guidance system which makes a mockery of God’s Holy Spirit Who promises to lead and guide us in all things.


God help the believer who dabbles in such things!


192 of them admitted to involvement with palm reading to tell future events…the ultimate insult to our God Whom we are supposed to trust with our future.

II Kings 1:3

    Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baal-zebub?

        And I repeat it today:  is it because there is no God that you consult a Ouija board?  Horoscope? Palm reader? Call the psychic?  Let’s teach our children to look to God, and that it matters not what tomorrow holds, if we know Who holds tomorrow!


What’s more disconcerting about these figures is that this survey was done in a Christian School!


The problem is that parents aren’t involved enough in their children’s lives, and don’t know where they are or what they are doing.  These things are doorways to darkness, and it’s time for parents to be aware!


This slave girl had a demonic spirit…she could have come by it rather innocently, having cracked open one of these doorways to darkness. 


This was a controlling spirit…


2.     A Constant Sabotage [of the church]

This is where it gets interesting…

v. 17        This slave girl is following the Apostle Paul around [illustrate with volunteer playing Paul].  “these are the servants of the most high God!”

        On the surface this doesn’t seem so bad…she’s telling the truth.  But this was a dangerous and subtle attack.  This was an attempt to infiltrate a “tare” among the wheat.  Satan wanted to infiltrate this infant church just beginning in Europe at Philippi.

This was an attempt to get people to believe she was a part of their group, and that their power was from the same source.  “We’re on the same side!”

And talk show hosts today interview people with supernatural powers, and they attribute them to God, but God is not the source.


Ill.—Sept. 11, 2001/terrorists had infiltrated our country for years prior/living among us in subdivisions/involved in community/blending in/going to college/taking flying lessons…and when the time was right, they attacked.  By the way, there’s thousands of “sleeper cells” today in America, and we shouldn’t be surprised when they awake!


What does this teach us?  The Bible says Satan is the father of lies…but he will use the truth if it suits his purposes.  He’s the Prince of Darkness, but he presents himself as an angel of light.

        When a JW or a Mormon come and knock on your door, they’ll say a lot of things they know you’ll readily agree with…but the worst kind of lie is one mixed with truth.  The worst cyanide is not in a bottle with a warning label and skull and cross bones on it…nobody would drink that.  The worst cyanide is just a few drops mixed into a big jug of Kool-Aid.  It’s just as deadly, plus, you don’t know it’s there!


By the way, when she followed them around reciting her line, it was a form of advertising and promotion that a lot of preachers today would accept.  We are living in a day in which churches will take any kind of endorsement they can get, as long as it promotes them.  Churches consumed with numbers will have Hollywood stars on their platforms, and they come across with the face of an angel, but they have the morals of an alley cat!

Ill.—at the Oscars, these actors who make their filthy movies stand up and “thank God.”  Sorry, I don’t buy it.  And I don’t think the Lord Jesus needs that kind of endorsement.  He has enough attraction of His own.  You don’t have to dress up the gospel with glitz and glimmer in order to get people saved.  And the gospel doesn’t need to be disguised in order to “slip it in” on someone.


The gospel stands in it’s own strength and operates under it’s own power!  Churches who water the gospel down to attract a larger crowd are lowering Christ to a position far lower than He’s worthy of!


A controlling spirit, a constant sabotage…


3.     A Controversial Salvation

v. 18-24           The girl was liberated by the power of Jesus Christ.  She no longer belongs to Satan, but to Jesus!  You would think that would make the whole town happy.  You’d think that would just thrill everybody.  But this made her masters furious, and they drug them before the authorities with a pretend reason for being upset.

“They’re disrupting our city, violating our customs, they’re troublemakers!”


It’s time we unmask the real troublemakers in this world.  Nowadays, Christians are being portrayed as the problem and not the solution, the bad guys and not the good guys.  But the real troublemakers are not the soul-winners who are trying to free people from sin, but those who are trying to enslave people in sin.

Ill.—the gambling crowd who wants people to be addicted…

Liquor/pornography/drugs/music industry…these people know they are destroying people and enslaving people…so why do they do it?  One word:



v. 19        “the hope of their gains was gone”


So, they looked for a problem, something they could try to pin on them, and when you’re looking for a problem you’re sure to find it…it’s true for believers in church as well…and one of God’s ways is to say, ok, you’re insisting there be a problem, I’ll make sure you find it…and sad it is when we lose a good person who got turned in their thinking and resists God's correction and so the Lord allows them to have what they want, and as a result, they are not able to remain with us!


But this slave girl was saved, and changed.  She wouldn’t continue in her old ways even if it would pay well!

II Cor. 5:17

    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

        I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for a salvation that doesn’t change your life.  If your salvation can’t get your beer out of the fridge and into the trash can, I wouldn’t trust it to get you to heaven.  [Tithe out of your wallet and into the plate]  I’m not saying we’re saved by works, just reiterating what we’ve seen over and again in our messages lately, that true salvation will change you!


Last week we looked at Lydia, and this week this slave girl, who was everything that Lydia was not:


Lydia was high society…the slave girl was led around like a dog.

Lydia was very moral…the slave girl is the opposite.

Lydia was part of the up and coming…the slave girl was down and out.

        There’s a great lesson here:

There’s nobody so good that they don’t need to saved, but there’s nobody so bad that they can’t be saved!


A Tormented Heart

Acts 16:16-24


        Lydia…a tender heart

        The slave girl…a tormented heart

        The jailer…a toughened heart.


The Slave Girl:


1.     A Controlling S                 v. 16   


        Not a____ of the supernatural is of God   Deut. 18:10-12


·       Ouija board--a slippery slide that could easily plunge a person into the r________ of the underworld


·       Astrology--a counterfeit g______________ system which makes a mockery of God’s Holy Spirit


·       Palm reading--the ultimate insult to our God Whom we are supposed to t________  2 Kings 1:3


                It m____________ n____ what tomorrow holds, if we know                        Who holds tomorrow


2.     A Constant S______________   v. 17  


        Satan wanted to i__________________ this infant church at                       Philippi


        The worst kind of l____ is one mixed with t________ 


3.     A Controversial S________________   v. 18-24        


        When you’re looking for a p____________ you’re sure to                           f______ it   2 Cor. 5:17


        T______ salvation will c__________ you


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All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.