Acts 16: From Exploitation to Reconciliation in 9 “Easy” Steps

This is something I wrote out for a sermon on 6/2/19 that I thought was interesting. The overall sermon got more good responses than I honestly expected (was ready for zero, and some criticism). If nothing else, this got me to think through the various social movements I see around me, and am a part of, more carefully, and also to say some things that some folks in my congregation needed to hear I think. This is a reflection on Acts 16:17-34:

  1. Those who exploit others still hear the truth, but ignore it and don’t act (v 17)
  2. God liberates the person who is being exploited, often using human means (v 18)
  3. The exploiters are angry at losing profit, make use of the authorities to enforce their will, and punish those through whom God liberates (v 19-24)
  4. Working against the authorities, God continues to liberate those who are part of God’s kingdom and who keep faith (v 25-26)
  5. Seeing this, those who exploit, and the authorities who support them, feel a real existential threat to identity, meaning, and life (v 27)
  6. Those who are liberated, who are part of the kingdom of God, do not abandon those still caught in the system of exploitation (v 28-29)
  7. Those who exploit, and the authorities, are liberated by God through repentance (v 30-32)
  8. When they are liberated, the former exploiters and former authorities bind the wounds they have inflicted (make restitution) (v 33a)
  9. A new community is formed through baptism and table fellowship in the kingdom of God (v 33b-34)

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