I. AND ON THE SABBATH DAY WE WENT OUT OF THE CITY BY A RIVER SIDE, WHERE THEY WOULD GATHER TO PRAY.
A. As was Paul's method, he first sought to bring the gospel to the Jews.
1. He wrote to the Romans, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first."
2. It was so much quicker to get a work started if you could convert the Jew. He already knew the scriptures. He already had a true revelation of God. All the Jew needed was to see that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
3. In the conversion of a Gentile, they needed so much more teaching to be grounded in the faith. You had to start from zero.
B. The fact that they gathered at the river side for prayer tells us that there were fewer than ten observant adult Jewish men in the community. For as ten men existed it was necessary to build a synagogue.
1. They would usually meet in an enclosure near a stream, for they needed running water for the purification rites.
2. In PSA 137:1
: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, [saying], Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?
3. It is interesting that only women had gathered for the prayers on the Sabbath day. Which would indicate that there was not a large Jewish settlement in Philippi.
II. A CERTAIN WOMAN NAMED LYDIA A SELLER OF PURPLE FROM THYATIRA.
A. It is interesting that Thyatira was in Asia where Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go, but the first convert in Europe where Paul was directed was from Thyatira. Thyatira was one of the seven cities of Asia to which the book of Revelation was addressed.
B. The purple dye for which Thyatira was famous had to be extracted from a certain shellfish, drop by drop, and was thus very expensive.
1. It was a color worn only by royalty and the very rich.
2. It would cost approximately $250 to dye a pound of wool.
C. This is what we know of Lydia.
1. She worshipped God.
a. This means that she must have proselytized into the Jewish faith.
2. The Lord had opened her heart.
a. This surely is our prayer for the lost, that the Lord would open their hearts to the gospel.
b. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
c. Satan is a master deceiver and has blinded the minds of men to the truth of the gospel.
d. It is hard to understand why some people just do not seem to see things that are so obvious to us.
e. You sometimes feel like shaking them and saying, "Can't you see?" and the truth of the matter is, they can't.
f. Jesus said: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.
g. Satan has so distorted the truth of God in their minds that they have such a strong prejudice against the Lord that they cannot even rationally talk to you on the subject.
h. How beautiful it is when you see someone whose heart has been opened to the gospel.
3. She listened attentively to the things that Paul was saying.
a. Being a proselyte to Judaism she probably had a good understanding to the Old Testament scriptures, and believed in the coming of the Messiah.
b. Now to have the scriptures pointed out that said that the Messiah would be despised and rejected, suffer and die, and that Jesus was the Messiah. She believed.
4. She was baptized and her household.
a. They were by the river, so it would have been very convenient to just go ahead and baptize her and her family, and the intimation is that they also believed.
b. The commandment of Jesus to His disciples was to go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
c. Being a Gentile, she would have already been baptized into Judaism, but now she is being baptized unto Jesus Christ.
d. Paul looked at baptism as important, but not essential to salvation.
e. When writing to the Corinthians he thanked God that he had not baptized any of them but Crispus and Gaius, and if there were others, he did not remember them, for God did not send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
III. SHE BESOUGHT US TO STAY AT HER HOUSE.
A. She was a seller of purple, I would imagine from this verse that she was an excellent salesperson and quite wealthy.
B. We do not know how large an entourage was with Paul at this point, but no doubt there were at least four; Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke.
1. She must have had a large house to offer for all of them to stay in her home.
C. Her salesmanship are noted.
1. "She besought us."
2. "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, stay at my house."
a. Putting it that way it made it very hard and awkward to refuse her offer.
b. If they refuse, then it means that they did not count her to be faithful to the Lord.
3. "And she constrained us."