Open your Bibles to Acts 16:6. This is where we are going to begin. Paul is on his second missionary journey at this point in Acts.
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia,
they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
He was in Galatia and really wants to go to Asia, but God has said no to this plan.
Acts 16:7 -
After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia
but the Spirit did not permit them.
He tries to go to Bithynia, but, again, God says no.
Acts 16:8-9 – Paul is in Troas.
So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night.
A man from Macedonia stood and pleaded with him saying,
"Come over to Macedonia and help us."
That night in Troas, he gets a vision from a man of Macedonia. This man pleads with him to come to Macedonia to help them.
Acts 16:10 –
Now after he had seen the vision, immediately, we sought to go to
Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to
preach the gospel to them.
I love how it says "IMMEDIATELY" they went to Macedonia to preach the gospel to them. There was no whining, arguing, complaining - they went! “They” now becomes “we” – so we assume that Luke is with him on this part of the journey since he is the author of Acts. Therefore, what we are about to read is a FIRST hand account!
Acts 16:11-12 –
Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace,
and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony.
Paul sails from Troas and goes to Philippi which is the foremost colony of Macedonia. We need to learn a little about the city of Philippi so we better understand what is going on in this account.
1. Named for Phillip II – Alexander the Great’s father – it’s founder
2. Greek city
3. Gold bearing mountains were to the north of the city.
4. Was a prosperous Roman colony on the Egnatian Way – linking eastern providences to Rome
5. Many Roman soldiers lived there
6. There were not enough Jews to have a synagogue – have to have 10 reliable males; River Gangites was were the “place of prayer” was in the city
Acts 16:13-15a –
And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside,
where prayer was customarily made, and we sat down
and spoke to the women who met there.
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller
of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God.
Then the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
And when she and her household were baptized, . . . .
On the Sabbath day, they went to the river to pray and there they met Lydia. Who is Lydia? There are some things we need to know about her as well.
1. She was a lady. (vs. 13)
2. She worshipped God. (vs. 13)
3. She was a successful businesswoman selling purple. (vs. 14; Proverbs 31:13)
4. She was from Thyatira in Asia Minor. (vs. 14; Rev. 2:18-19)
5. She was a Gentile. (vs. 14)
6. God opened her heart to hear what Paul had to say. (vs. 1 4)
7. She was head of her household. (vs. 15)
8. She was hospitable. (vs. 15)
9. She was first convert in Europe. (vs. 15)
Acts 16:15b –
. . . she begged us saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful
to the Lord, come to my house and stay." So she persuaded us.
She urged them to stay with her - begged them; some versions say “constrained." This word “constrained” – in Greek means she was met with hesitation and objection – she had to urge them to stay. The same word is found in Luke 24:29 – when the two men on the road to Emmaus urged Jesus to stay with them.
But they constrained Him saying,
"Abide with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent."
And he went in to stay with them.
On a personal note, when I think about hospitality, I think of Uncle Charles and Aunt Marydel who insisted that we live with them until our furniture arrived. Uncle Charles said that he couldn't sleep at night if he knew we were sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor at our house while they had empty beds. Uncle Charles "constrained" Daddy to let them do this. We stayed with them 10 days while we waited for our items to come from Tennessee, San Antonio and Korea. They became our "family" there.
The story does not end there when it comes to Lydia.
Acts 16:16-18 – Paul and Silas drive a demon out of a slave girl; her owners are not happy about it
Acts 16:19-24 – Paul and Silas are thrown in jail
Acts 16:25-37 – Paul and Silas are thrown in jail; this is where they meet the Philippian jailer and convert his house
Acts 16:38-40 – Paul and Silas are “let go” because they are Roman citizens.
So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia,
and when they had seen the brethern, they encouraged them and departed.
From jail they go back to Lydia’s house to stay and encourage the church there before they left
There are many lessons we can learn from Lydia. The one we are going to look at specifically is her hospitality and how we can learn hospitality from her. Many people believe that the church in Philippi met at Lydia's house. This seemed to be a logical place to many showing us that Lydia had always been a hospitable person to the people of Philippi. The church at Philippi must have been a huge source of encouragement to Paul while he was in prison. Later on in the study, we are going to look at the book of Philippians to see what we can learn from this hospitable and encouraging congregation.
Come back tomorrow for a look at what hospitality is as well as what we can do to begin making hospitality a priority in our lives. Don't forget the giveaway as well!!!!