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Summary: To learn from Paul’s approach how he spoke to people about the gospel- emphasizes Lydia and her conversion

Paul’s First Convert in Europe

Acts 16:11-15 (quickview) 

Primary Purpose: To learn from Paul how he approached people with the

gospel message.

Background:

As we begin our second missionary journey with Paul we see that the

Holy Spirit is directing their path toward new territory for them. He has

closed 2 doors, but now he opens another one that will lead into Europe.

After seeing a vision, Paul and his companions set sail and arrive eventually

in Philippi. Philippi was a Roman colony. That means that it was a free city

from taxation and a self-governing city. It was a city where Roman soliders

would be given tracts of land as their retirement can up. They would settle

there and be loyal to the Roman government since they had risked their lives

in battle for it. Not many Jews would have been in Phillippi. This is seen in

that it only took 10 Jewish men to establish a synagogue, but they couldn’t

come up with that few in a very large city. Instead, there is a place of prayer,

that Paul finds Lydia and other worshipers at. We know about Lydia

1. She was wealthy- she was a seller in purple fabric, which would have been

some very expensive fabric. She did well enough at this trade that she was

able to own a home away from home. After being baptized, she uses her

wealthy to show Paul and his companions hospitality.

2. She was a worshiper of God- she was a seeker. God was already doing

something in her life. She was receptive to what Paul had to say. That is a

big reason why Paul went there, to find those whose hearts God had already

touched. v.14

3. She was touched by God to respond in faith. Faith is always a gift of God.

Scripture tells us that the Words of the Cross are foolishness to those who are

lost. (1 Cor 1:18). God had brought her to the open where she was actively

listening to what Paul had to say. It says “The Lord opened her heart”. The

word opened means to open completely. She was completely sold out on the

gospel without hesitation. Not only that, but she had led her family to

worship with her or immediately afterward shared what she had learned to

help convert her entire family. v.15.


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