Jailhouse Rock

February 7, 2012
by Associate Editor

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An exerpt from the book, Governors of Praise, by Dr. Joshua Fowler
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The true Gospel is not a “user-friendly” Gospel. Many people believe that when they come to Christ, all of their problems will be solved. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible tells of many believers who were persecuted for their faith.

 

 

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:33-40 KJV)

For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (1 Corinthians 4:9-13 KJV)

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:12 KJV)

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 KJV)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. ( 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 KJV)

I like to say that when you accept Christ, you’re going to catch hell—but you don’t have to hold on to it!

Now I appreciate everything that the Word of Faith movement has done for the Church. Certainly there’s a lot of truth in the fact that the words you speak in your situation will help shape that situation in your life. But when people come up with the misguided notion that everything will be perfect if they just have enough faith to overcome, unfortunately, they have taken the teaching to the extreme. That doctrine is not taught in the Scripture. So many of us want to know God in the power of His resurrection, but we forget that we must also participate in the fellowship of His sufferings. We believe that if we just have enough faith, we won’t have to go through certain situations. I think the apostle Paul would have had to disagree!

Throughout the course of his ministry, Paul wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, established churches throughout the known world, and preached to and saw hundreds of people converted. But he also faced imprisonment, stoning, shipwreck, and snake bites! We all say we want to be like the apostle Paul—until it’s time for the persecution. Paul was a man of faith and a man of power, but he ended up in jail.

Let’s take a look at what happened:

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities (Acts 16:16-19)

In most cases, we would believe that casting a demon out of a person and setting her free would be a good thing. But at this time, Paul was being persecuted for ministering the love and power of Jesus Christ.

And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (Acts 16:20-24)

What would most of us do in a situation like this? What would you do? I think most of us would whine and complain—but not Paul and Silas.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (Acts 16:25-34)

Historians tell us that the sewers of the day ran directly through the Roman jails. Paul and Silas were very likely being held in the lower parts of the dungeon, where the stench of the sewer was running by their feet…perhaps even over their feet. They were in shackles. They were in bondage. Historian have also said that many times the Roman jailers would leave prisoners in stocks and bonds long after they were dead, so perhaps Paul and Silas were strapped in chains directly next to corpses in the stocks on either side of them. Can you imagine? Most people in the Church today would have given up at that point.  In fact, many of us will give up if we get an unexpected bill in the mail, and if somebody talks badly about us, we call that persecution. Persecution is the Bible was when Christians were boiled in hot water and tar! When the flesh of believers was pulled from their bones—that was persecution.

But the apostle Paul and Silas, even in the midst of their terrible situation, said, “ Let’s sing and praise God!” The Bible says that when they prayed and sang praises to God, the place was shaken. Glory to God! Do you want to see things begin to shake around you? Begin to praise the Lord in your situation and watch things begin to move!

You might be familiar with the song made famous by Elvis Presley, “Jailhouse Rock.”  Well I am telling you, he wasn’t the original writer of that song! Paul and Silas wrote the original “Jailhouse Rock.”  That song was written when Paul and Silas began to praise God in the midnight hour. The place began to shake, and there was a jailhouse rock. The doors swung open, and the Bible says that not only were Paul and Silas set free, but everyone in the prison was also set free. And even the jailer, the one who had been persecuting them, was led, along with his family, to the Lord.

Remember what the Lord said in Genesis 49:10, I’m going to make you a hearth of fire. I’m going to cause all nations to come to you!  There will be gathering of the people where there’s praise.

When you begin to praise God, prison doors open. If you go to your job and you whine and cry about how lost everyone is, nothing is going to happen. But if you go to your job and get there a few minutes early and praise God over that place, anoint that place with prayer, and take your lunch break and go out and pray in the break room, I guarantee that you’ll start shifting the heavens over that place because you’re taking your seat—a rightful seat in the heavenly places.

Look at Amos 9:11:

On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.

What was it like in the days of old? Stop and think about it for a moment.  In the days of old, 24/7, 365 days a year, there was continuous praise. There were some 3,000 musicians who were appointed and paid to stay at the house of God and constantly praise God. But David went beyond his dispensation—he went into another dispensation and recognized that he would offer up a more excellent sacrifice than that of goats and lambs. He would offer up the sacrifice of praise. And from this praise, all the battles that Joshua didn’t win, David went on to be victorious in, conquering all of the enemies. Why? Because he brought in the tabernacle of David and established it; he brought in the Ark of the Covenant and said, “We’re going to minister to God continuously in this place!” From that point on, every enemy and adversary of God was put under their feet.

Do you want to see every enemy that’s coming against you put beneath your feet? Follow what David did.  David established the place of praise, to worship God continually. But now take a look at verse 12:

“That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the Lord who does this thing.

Notice those words:  “That they may possess.” Are you a possessor? Do you have in your possession the promises of the Lord? Verse 13 continues:

“Behold the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.”

When David’s fallen tent is restored, when the praises of God are raised again, the people will rise up as Governors of Praise and establish God’s throne. The scepter of the Lord will be extended over regions and over territories so that the heathen will come to know the God of the universe. Do you want to see the new wine of God in the house? Do you want to see the praise of the Lord make a difference in the lives of your loved ones, your family members, your nation, and the world? Do you want to receive the land and the promises that God has for you? Praise is what will put you into the land and keep you there!

This isn’t just an Old Testament promise. Take a look at what James told the brethren in Acts 15:16-18:

“‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.’ Known to God from eternity are all His works.”

The tabernacle of David has fallen down, but God promises to restore it and set it up. God is saying in this hour, “I need some Governors of Praise…I need some people who will arise and will build Me a tabernacle of worship.” Why? So people will seek after the Lord! From the beginning of the world, my friend, God planned there to be a Davidic company that would arise in this hour—governors of Judah, Governors of Praise, who would raise up the tabernacle of David so the lost would be able to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. These “pre-believers” are going to come to know our God! Do you have any unsaved loved ones? God’s promise is for you: there are pre-believers in your life who are going to come to know God because you are arising as a Governor of Praise!###
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Dr. Joshua Fowler is the apostle and senior minister of Legacy Life Church in Orlando, Florida. He ministers with apostolic authority, prophetic precision and has established churches and ministries throughout the United States and other nations. For more information on Dr. Fowler and his ministry, visit http://www.legacylife.org


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