Summary: Exposition of Acts 16:13-15 about the conversion of Lydia
Text: Acts 16:13-15, Title: A Gospel Encounter, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/21/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: read some of the responses to the blog “why I am not a Christian”
B. Background to passage: Paul and Silas, and now Luke and Timothy have crossed the Aegean Sea from Troas to Neapolis, and more importantly from Asia to Europe. So they went to Philippi because it was a leading city in the colony of Macedonia, and strategically, it was the end of the Egnatian Way. And as Paul’s habit would have been, they were heading for the synagogue on the Sabbath, but in Philippi there was not enough men to have a synagogue, and so God in his providence had provided a way through the government to give Jews the legal right to meet, pray, baptize near bodies of water, and that’s were faithful Jews went to pray.
C. Main thought: this is a text book case of a missionary gospel encounter where salvation takes place.
A. Seeking (v. 13)
1. From the text we know that Lydia was a Gentile woman of means. But the language used is that of those who have forsaken polytheistic ways and embraced Jehovah, but not to the point of becoming a full proselyte. She had used the little light that she had well and God was at work in her heart for she was seeking God.
2. Rom 3:10,
3. Illustration: the many world religions, and even home-grown ones are testimony that man is seeking something bigger, higher, better than himself,
4. There are many today that are still seeking. It may not be Jesus that they know they are seeking, but they are longing for truth, for faith, for something that fills the void. Some of you have found Him, and remember what it was like to be looking and to find. Some of you are seeking today, some of you have not found what you are looking for. Christ is the treasure of greatest worth!
B. Proclaiming (v. 13)
1. The second thing that we note is that there was a person called of God to proclaim the truth of the gospel. And it was a big deal for these women to have a visiting rabbi. But it was a bigger deal for a Pharisee to speak to a women, let alone teach a group of them.
2. Rom 10:14, 1 Cor 9:22,
3. Illustration: Voddie’s interview quote about Palin, women’s position in the church, and scripture,
4. God has ordained to use human means to achieve divine ends. All of you that know Him are apostles, sent ones. For others to be saved, you must tell them the gospel, or at least get them to somewhere where they can hear it. But most don’t want to come here, so you must tell them out there.
C. Listening (v. 14)
1. Thirdly, Lydia was listening. The verb is imperfect meaning that she kept on listening, and possibly even enquiring about Paul’s message.
2. 15X Jesus tell the people, “he who has ears to ear, let him hear”
3. Illustration: as a fifteen year old, I heard the preacher, but didn’t listen to what he said, Waylon not sleepin
4. Did you know that you can hear the words of the preacher, and never listen to the message of the sermon? Some of you are in here week after week, but never listen to what is said in the songs or sermon. Some of you have done that for years. God doesn’t speak just to hear Himself talk. Do you come longing for truth, disciplining yourselves to listen with ears to hear?
D. Opening (v. 14)
1. Fourthly, God was not only working in the beginning sending Paul and preparing Lydia, He was the One who opened her heart to the things of God spoken by Paul.
3. Illustration: quote from Tozer, MacArthur Comm, p. 95,
4. God is absolutely sovereign in salvation. He is the first and the last. He begins in and completes it. And it that we have no room to boast in anything that we have done to get saved. And no credit or glory goes to anyone but God. Even if you had a little part, you would be giving God help that he needed. If you are saved this is how it happened. And if not, I pray that this happens now! Lord, open eyes, command light!
E. Believing (v. 14)
1. Fifthly, Lydia believed. It is not explicit, but required. She trusted Christ alone, and his finished work on the cross for salvation. This is the flip side of the coin of election. Nobody get saved that is not elected, from a divine perspective; and from a human perspective, nobody gets saved unless they actively put your faith in Christ. This means to trust wholly in Christ, to rest in Him and the cross. To acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy, and your complete dependence on Christ for salvation. To turn from sin and to Him.