Whatever It Takes
So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed. (Acts of the Apostles 16:10-15 NLT)
There are several things going on here. Notice the word "we" in verse 10. This refers to Luke who is also recognized as the author of this book and the gospel of Luke. Luke is the historian who writes this book as a narrative of the first century church. The reason this book has the name "Acts" is that it refers to the acts performed in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit through the apostles.
Paul, Silas, and Luke immediately go to Troas (the seaport) and board a ship to Samothrace (an island in the Aegean Sea. It is about 11 miles long). From there they sailed to Neapolis, a seaport in southeast Macedonia. They, then, traveled to Philippi, a major city and a Roman colony. After staying there several days, they went to the riverbank on the sabbath (Saturday-the seventh day) in hopes of meeting some who had gathered for prayer. Paul knew that if there were any Jewish and/or Gentile worshipers of Jehovah, they would be gathered for prayer on the Sabbath. It is possible that there was no synagogue there. When he arrived at the riverbank, some women had gathered.
Women have a tendency to be more open and tender to the things of God than men. 60 % of attendees in church are women. Would to God that men would turn their ears and hearts to God!
Paul meets a woman named Lydia there at the prayer gathering. She and the others were obviously monotheistic (one God) worshipers. However, they were only aware of the Old Covenant. They had not been instructed in the things of the New Covenant. Paul shared the gospel of Jesus with them and the Lord opened her heart to the truth. She gladly accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord and was immediately baptized in the river. Her household did the same. This could mean her family and servants or just her servants. Either way, the entire household was won to Christ Jesus. They, too, were baptized.
Lydia was well to do. She had made a good living by selling purple cloth. Thyatira, a city in Asia Minor (now Turkey), was known for its dyeing industry. Lydia was apparently a merchant of this trade from that part of the world who was now thriving in business in Macedonia. She insisted that Paul and his traveling companions stay at her residence. She wanted to show her love for Christ by taking care of the men of God. She made sure their meals were provided and any other necessary and appropriate service in order to further their ministry. I'm sure this was of great encouragement to them. Lydia is noted as the first European convert to Christ. She may have given a generous offering to support the gospel ministry as well. We need more people like Lydia in the church. Someone who loves Jesus and is willing to do whatever it takes to serve. How about you?
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Rev. Curtis Norris