Lydia

     We know that Paul said that the gospel was the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). But before the gospel came many people viewed access to God as a limited thing. Indeed, part of the process God pursued from patriarchy through the Law of Moses to the gospel was to prepare mankind to understand the truth of Romans 1:16. The gospel’s power is in no way prescribed to any categorization of human beings.

     This is taught throughout the Bible but perhaps most effectively in Luke’s gospel and in the Book of Acts. Luke in Acts allows us to see the gospel move from the Jews to the Gentiles (Acts 10) as well as to what would be considered in those days (and in ours) widely different racial groups (Acts 2 and 8). Paul summarizes this principle in Galatians 3:26-28. Luke provides an account of the gospel manifesting its power to save in the life of a woman, Lydia.

     The account is Acts 16:11-15. Luke is with Paul for this part of his work as is indicated by the use of the word “we” in Acts 16:12. Paul, Luke and Silas came to Philippi after receiving the Macedonian call. On the Sabbath day, which was Saturday, they went to the riverside where they had evidently learned that people gathered to pray. The account indicates that the gathering was of women. Paul and the others spoke to the women there about Christ and His offer of salvation.

     We know that this was the subject because of the reaction of a woman named Lydia. When the text says she “heard” them it indicates that she listened with understanding. She was from Thyatira, a business woman of some substance and a worshipper of God. We can reasonably conclude that she knew quite a bit about God and His plan for saving man through Christ because of her response to the words that Paul and his friends spoke. God used those words to the effect of opening her heart. This is the power of the gospel.

     Lydia was not the kind of person to delay doing what she knew to be right. She and her family and household were baptized right away. A person does not need forever to act in the matter of saving one’s soul. If a man or woman knows they have sins and they believe Jesus is the Christ, then the only thing to do is obey the gospel. So she did. Then she persuaded Paul, Silas and Luke to stay in her home. She began to serve the cause of Christ immediately. So we see Lydia as a great example of the power of the gospel to save. Have you followed her example? Would you?