Summary: A sermon challenging women to a closer walk.
“Hope for Your House”
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
One of the most interesting narratives in the NT is found here in this 16th chapter of Acts. While Paul was on a missionary journey with Timothy and Silas on two occasions the Holy Spirit would not allow them to go in the direction that they wanted to go but instead God sent Paul a vision (of a man) beckoning them to come to Macedonia which they obeyed immediately. It was while they were in area that they made their way to the city of Philippi which we are told was the “chief” city of that province. There was a group of women who were meeting for prayer and worship down by a river side on the outskirts of the city. Makes you think of the David Houston song:
I'm gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside
Down by the riverside down by the riverside
Oh I'm gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside, ain't gonna study war no more
Well I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study war no more
Ain't gonna study war no more, I ain't gonna study war...
DAVID HOUSTON - GONNA LAY DOWN MY BURDENS LYRICS
At any rate the missionary team found this group of women there and shared the gospel. That’s where we pick up our story.
First: Luke mentions a woman’s heart.
I. A Woman’s Heart
The heart of a woman is a marvelous thing.
A. Her Spirituality
ILL - Years ago there was a 12 year old boy who had never seen a circus in his life. Imagine his excitement, when one day a poster went up at shool announcing that on the next Saturday a traveling circus was coming to the nearby town. He ran home and asked his dad for permission and the money to go. His family was poor but his dad could tell how badly he wanted this, so he told him if he got his chores done he could attend the circus. That Saturday he got all his chores done early and ran to the breakfast table in his Sunday best to receive a dollar bill from his dad. That was the most money the little boy had ever possessed at one time in his life. The boy was so excited his feet hardly seemed to touch the ground all the way to town. As he neared the village he noticed people lining the streets, and he worked his way through the crowd until he could see what was happening. Lo and behold, it was the approaching spectacle of a circus parade! The parade was the grandest thing he had ever seen. Caged animals snarled as they passed by. The band played a cheerful tune with loud drums and shiny horns. The acrobats astonished the crowd while flags and ribbons swirled overhead. Finally, after everything had passed where he was standing, the traditional circus clown with floppy shoes, baggy pants, and a brightly painted face, signaled the end of the parade. As the clown passed by, the little boy reached into his pocket and took out that precious dollar bill. Handing the money to the clown, the boy turned around and went home. The boy thought he had seen the circus but he had only seen the parade! A lot of folks who attend worship spasmodically are like that little boy. They haven’t seen the circus, they’ve just seen the parade. Remember what Jesus told the devil? "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) If you have been trying to live by bread alone its not enough. Bring spiritual groceries into your household and feed the souls of your family.
Brian Atwood from a sermon entitled “Be the Door to Your Household”
B. Her sensitivity
Paul and the missionary team made their way down to the river side where a group of Jewish proselytes had gathered for prayer. More than likely there was no synagogue in Philippi and this group had gathered to worship. We are told that they “…spake unto the women…” which resorted thither and among this group there was one in particular that paid heed to what was preached and taught. Her name was Lydia and she was to become the first European convert to Christianity. Notice that in verse 14 Luke writes that “…she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” It has been my experience that women are far more spiritually sensitive to the claims of the Gospel that men are. Maybe they are more intuitive or it just may be the way that God made them but that is what I have found and because of that a woman’s heart can be the doorway for the Gospel in her household!