Daily Thought for: 6th December

LYDIA

Acts 16. 11-15, 40

Philippi was to be the bridgehead for the gospel in Europe. ‘A man from Macedonia’ had been seen by Paul in his vision, yet it was a woman, Lydia, who was to be the first recorded convert. 

We are told four things of her. Firstly, her name was Lydia. Secondly, she was a seller of purple, so presumably she was a business woman. Thirdly, she was of the Turkish city of Thyatira, (one of the seven city churches in Revelation—how she contrasted with the woman mentioned in that letter!). Fourthly, she worshipped God. Of all these facts the fourth is the most important, yet of itself it wasn’t enough. God takes no account of my name, my origin or my status in life, but He does want my heart, my worship. 

Yet although she worshipped God, and so was religious, there was, apparently, no knowledge of sins forgiven, and no personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. At best she was genuine and sincere, but this is not enough. What a picture of so many people you and I know today! What an incentive to tell them of the Saviour and to see their genuine conversion. 

Just like the Saviour in John chapter 4, Paul and Silas didn’t preach at the mainly Jewish group of women. Once they observed their meeting place for prayer they joined with them and spoke with them, presumably confirming from the O.T. scriptures the identity of Jesus as the Christ. Speaking in this gentle yet persuasive manner enabled the Spirit of God to work in Lydia’s heart; ‘whose heart the Lord opened’. Sometimes we imagine that we do the opening; here the Lord did the opening—the important thing is He came in and occupied His rightful place! 

The impact was immediate, and conversion was evidenced. Her household was spoken to. They obviously believed. Immediately she wanted to be publicly identified with her new found Saviour in baptism. Furthermore she wanted to be identified with those four servants of the Lord—not only was her heart opened, but so too was her home. Consequently, when released from prison, it was to her home the apostles went—probably the location of the church in Philippi. 

 

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