Summary: What kind of change occurs in a person's heart when they accept Christ as Savior?
* A subject often found in Acts: change
- Christ changes the heart and status of a person before God, resulting in...
- Christ calling the church and believers to change their culture with the Gospel
* Focus is often on outward change because it’s visible: the presence of Christ in one’s life changes his actions, words, attitudes, etc.
* Before outward change occurs there is an inward change
* Scripture speaks of the inward change...
- Eph. 2:13
- Col. 1:21-22
* Internal change always results in an outward change (Eph. 5:8)
* Question: Does my life (outwardly) reflect the change I’ve experienced inwardly?
* TEXT: Lydia experiences the change that Christ causes; her life reveals the difference Christ makes in a person’s life
1. A changed heart is a listening heart (v. 14)
* The many “voices” we hear in our culture that clamor for our attention...
* Before Christ changes us we might listen to all of those “voices.” But when we experience the change he causes, our focus becomes listening to him.
* Explain the difference between listening and hearing...
- You can hear but not listen
- Listening to God always involves obedience
* Example: the people’s response after the Ten Commandments are given to Moses and they realized that God was speaking to them through him = Deut. 5:27 (“We will listen and obey.”)
* Jesus expected his followers to listen so they could obey and follow = John 10:27
* Why we need to have a listening heart...
1) We need to listen because God has something to say
2) We need to listen because God is the ultimate authority
3) We need to listen because of what God expects from us
2. A changed heart is a worshiping heart (v. 14)
* The phrase “worshiper of God” was used for Gentiles who were not proselytes to Judaism but who did worship God; they were not in the NT church, the body of Christ
* “worship” in verse 14 is “sebomai,” which means “to feel awe,” which causes a person to “revere” God
* When Christ changes a person’s heart they immediately feel awe for him; however, sometimes that “awe” wears off
* Why does God no longer “awe” us?
1) God will no longer awe us when we get to comfortable with him.
2) God will no longer awe us when we allow our relationship with him to become a part of our lives instead of our entire lives
3) God will no longer awe us when we fail to allow him to use us to share the Gospel
3. A changed heart is a responsive heart (v. 14)
* Literal translation of “The Lord opened her heart to respond” = “of whom the Lord opened the heart, to attend to the things being spoken by Paul”
* “respond” = to take heed, give heed; suggests devotion of thought and effect to something
* How response works...
1) We are first convicted of sin by God
2) We are then challenged by God’s standards
3) We are able to allow God to change us
* Example of how to respond to God = Isaiah 6
4. A changed heart is an identifying heart (v. 15)
* Lydia was baptized to identify herself with Christ and his bride
* Baptist is a testimony = her allegiance was pledged to Christ
* The example of the early church in identifying with Christ...
1) They identified with Christ through baptism.
2) They identified with Christ through the church.
3) They identified with Christ by meeting needs.
4) They identified with Christ by taking the Gospel out of the church and into the world.
* People around the early believers knew that they followed Christ because of how they identified themselves with Christ.