In Acts, we see many prominent women being evangelized and persuaded by Paul. The apostle was no misogynist. Like his Lord, Paul respected women and touched their hearts when he presented the gospel, including "prominent" women—persons of education and means. For example, he reaches such women in Thessalonica (Acts 17:4); Berea (17:12), and Athens (17:34). One of the best-known female converts is Lydia, the subject of this podcast (13 mins).
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- Lydia is from Asia (Thyatira), but resident in Europe (Philippi). She is the first convert from Europe in the book of Acts.
- Philippi is a Roman colony—there's no synagogue. Still, Jews and those Gentiles attracted to Judaism had regular places of prayer, typically outside the city and out of doors—like at rivers.
- Paul (and Luke) visit the river on the Sabbath, expecting to find worshippers of God. And so they did!
Text: Acts 16:14-15, 40
- "Lydia" is a place name – after a region of Asia Minor. (Like calling someone "Kansas" or "Sydney.")
- Lydia is a merchant—reminding us of the Proverbs 31 Woman (Prov 31:12-31).
- Possibly she was a widow, or otherwise well-off / independent.
- She hailed from Thyatira of Revelation (Re 2:18).
- "Worshiper of God" indicates she was drawn to the true God (of Judaism).
- The Lord opened her heart. (See Luke 24:31-32). Her response includes baptism.
- Lydia seems to have been the first convert in Europe!
- She’s mentioned one more time—just 25 verses later. Her home is where Paul and Silas headed after their incarceration (v.40). It is likely that her home, and her network of relationships, served as a sort of beachhead for the gospel.
- Just because you run a business doesn’t mean you can’t live an active Christian life.
- Regardless of our degree of busyness with our business, we're never too busy to serve the Lord.
- We model not only hard work and productivity, but also fairness, respect, gentleness
- If you have been blessed with material goods and a home, make it available for the spread of the gospel. Hospitality is an important virtue. It’s expected of church leaders.
- In evangelism we don’t need to seek atheists and agnostics only—it’s fine to focus on those already on a faith journey. Paul spoke of the gospel as first for the Jew, then the Greek (Rom 1).