A God-fearing woman named Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from Thyatira, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “if you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house”. And she persuaded us. – Acts 16:14-15
There comes a time in every believer’s life when one must ask himself: do I truly believe? What does the Gospel mean to me? How do I respond to the Word of God? Am I quick to listen, quick to repent and quick to change when on the wrong course? Or do I remain where I am, unchanged, even though I’ve heard the Word? Is my heart opened to the truth of the Gospel?
In Acts chapter sixteen, Paul and other disciples went to Philippi and were looking for a place where they could worship and fellowship on the Sabbath day. The Word tells us that they were specifically in search of a place of prayer. When they found that place, it was full of women who had gathered there. On that particular Sabbath day, these women could have been anywhere considering that they were not Jews. However, they chose to assemble to a place of prayer, a place where they could meet with God freely, and uninterrupted. If someone were to look for them, this is where they would be found. Where will you be found when God is looking for you? Will he find you in a place of prayer where His name is honored? Or will He find you in a club, a bar, or somewhere you know you should not be or in a situation you should not be in? Will He find you seeking Him? Or will He find you seeking the pleasures of this world?
Among the women of Acts 16, there was a woman named Lydia. She was a very savvy businesswoman. She sold purple cloth, a rich and expensive textile dyed purple, which can only mean that she was also wealthy. Purple cloth at the time was only worn by the “rich and famous” of the first century Romans. Very early, Lydia got into the business world, which was uncommon for women. By the little that we know about her, she also seemed to be in charge of her household as scripture says “she and her household…” (Verse 15). However, the most important information recorded about Lydia was not her wealth or her ability to preach a good sermon but it was her character. Lydia was a God-fearing woman. As God would have it, on the Sabbath day, she set aside some time to spend in the presence of the Almighty and go to a place of prayer. Lydia believed in God and she was determined to honor Him in every aspect of her life: in her business dealing, in her home and in her regular “church” gathering. If someone shared the message of your life, would it also be said of you that you are a God-fearing woman (or man)? Would it be said that you honor God with your life and your ‘yes’?
The beauty of Lydia’s story is in her response to the Gospel. As soon as Lydia heard the Gospel from Paul, she received it with an open heart. As soon as she heard about Jesus, she responded with “Yes, I believe”. But her ‘yes’ did not remain three simple words. Too excited about her letter of love from God (the Gospel), she chose to give her life completely to Him and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Her outward act of faith and commitment was a clear indication to God and to others that she believed. You see, Lydia was not about to pass up the opportunity to profess her new faith and seal it with an act of commitment. She heard, she received, she believed and she got baptized. The message of salvation was one that went straight to her heart. It not only took root in her but in her household also. Sharing this good news with her household, they too made a solemn commitment to follow Jesus and honor the Lord with their lives. And so they were all baptized.
For Lydia, the gospel was not just a message; it was life and hope. Lydia understood this message so well that she knew delaying her baptism was unnecessary. Salvation was at stake. And eternal life would be her reward.
Are you like Lydia? Have you received the Gospel as she did with enthusiasm and excitement? Have you responded with a firm “Yes, I believe”? Has your heart been opened to the truth? The Word of God is truth and the truth will not only sanctify you (John17: 17), it will also set you free (John 8:32). Have you sealed your commitment to God through baptism? Friend, there is no time to delay. If you believe, come and like Lydia, be baptized.
“Yes, I believe” is more than simple words. It is more than wearing a cross around your neck, more than showing up to church every week. It’s saying yes with your whole life and choosing to become part of the family of God. Let the world see your “Yes, I believe”.
Friend, if you have not yet given your life to God and you believe, I invite you to make this act of commitment. You do not have to be a Bible scholar, prayer-warrior or theology major student to make this commitment. You certainly do not have to have your life together. Come to Jesus with all your mess. He’s not afraid of it, because only He can clean it up and change you for God’s glory. Come, come as you are! Jesus is waiting for your “yes”. All He’s asking is that you have faith in Him, that you BELIEVE!
Father God, I believe in you. I believe in your Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for me. I believe in the resurrection and that Jesus is now interceding for me, waiting to return very soon and gather the faithful for eternal life. I believe in your Holy Spirit and the work he is doing in me. Lord, I want to be born again and (re)commit my life to you and declare that I have no god other than you. Have your way in my life O Lord that it may be pleasing to you now and forever.
In Jesus’ name,
Acts 16: 25-34