Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lydia's Example

Lydia’s Example
Acts 16: 13-15, 40

          What do we know about Lydia? Right off the top of our heads we know that she was a seller of purple and that she became a Christian after hearing Paul preach by the riverside in Philippi, but there’s more to Lydia than those two facts. 
In Acts 16: 13- 15, it says ….
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. (13)  A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. (14) and when she and her household had been baptized she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.”  And she prevailed up on us. (15)
Before we delve into Lydia’s life though, let’s ‘fill in the blanks’ on a couple of things we just read so we’ll have a better understanding of the passage.
The “We” in verse 13 is Paul, Timothy, Silas and Luke, and the “A place of prayer” mentioned, also in verse 13, refers to the place where Lydia and other women met to worship on the Sabbath since there was no synagogue.
So, what are some things we learn about Lydia?
We notice from reading this passage that Lydia was from Thyatira but lived and worked in Philippi.  We can conclude that she evidently had a big house complete with servants and that she was a successful business woman.  It seems her business was dying and selling purple cloth. 
These few Scriptures also tell us a lot about Lydia’s spiritual life.  They tell us that she was a worshipper of God, but … she was not a Christian.  She did not know the whole truth!  She met with other women worshippers of God down by the riverside on the Sabbath Day and not the first day of the week like we do today.  This is because the gospel of Jesus Christ had not been preached in Philippi yet, the Church had not yet been established there and they did not know … they were still worshiping God under the old law.
But once Paul and the others joined them and Paul started preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, we read that ‘the Lord opened Lydia’s heart.’  Ignorance was responsible for Lydia’s closed mind and heart, but as she sat and listened to Paul, the light dawned and her ‘eyes were opened’ so to speak.  She understood and her heart was receptive to what she was hearing.  She now knew the whole truth!
So, what did she do with this truth?  Lydia believed and was baptized. She became the first Christian convert in Europe that we have record of.
Now, we’re going to start seeing Lydia spring into action!  We’re going to see how she made a difference in the Lord’s Church.
First of all we see that she shared her faith.  Did you notice that she and her household were baptized?  Her household could have been her servants, possibly family members or even some of both.  Scriptures are unclear on this point, but non-the-less her household was baptized.  Can we say that?
The next thing we find showing Lydia in action was that she was hospitable.  In verse 15, we find that she ‘urged’ them … she didn’t just ask and then leave it alone, she ‘urged’ them to come to her house and stay, Her exact words were, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.”  She was so grateful for her salvation that she pled with the missionaries to use her house as their headquarters.  She really wanted to help God’s servants!
Reading between the lines it seems that Lydia’s house became the center for Christian fellowship and quite possibly could have been where the first Christian church in Philippi was formed.  She did not step back from using what she had to help further God’s kingdom.  Can we say the same?
Finally, in verse 40, we see Lydia was not ashamed of the Lord’s prisoners. We read that, ‘they (which was Paul and Silas) went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.’  Lydia gladly received Paul and Silas into her home after their discharge from prison.  She was not ashamed of them or the reason they had been imprisoned.
So, what was Lydia’s impact upon the Church?  I’m sure we will never know it all this side of heaven, but right off the bat we can see that by sharing her faith others learned the truth and by being hospitable she provided a place for not only Paul, Timothy, Silas and Luke to rest and to work from, but also a place for other Christians to meet, worship and fellowship as well.
What an example for us women!
Lydia was just one woman like each of us, with a busy schedule, like all of us, but she didn’t let that stop her from doing what she could with what she had to help further the Gospel.
Do you know someone like Lydia?  Someone who allows her home to be used for God!  Someone who genuinely cares about the Lord’s servants and goes out of her way, even to the point of sacrificing her own wants and needs, to help make sure their needs are met?  Someone who gladly shares her faith with others?  Are we that someone?  Could we be that someone if we tried?
It’s not impossible to follow Lydia’s example in this modern world we live in.  We don’t have to have big homes or lots of money as Scripture indicates Lydia had, but what we do have to be willing to do is to make God a priority in our lives, use what He has blessed us with and be willing to be obedient to His word.
I want to close with the following poem.  I hope you can see that it applies to the life that Lydia chose to live and that it can apply to the life we choose to live as well.

The Power of One!  (author unknown)
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start each prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what's true
One life can make the difference
You see, it's up to you!!

I hope you have enjoyed what you've read and that it will encourage you in your walk with God.


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