Daily Word

Gospel preparation | Acts 16:11-15

11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.

Acts 16:11-15 (NLT) 中文

Recap

The church at Antioch has sent out Paul along with Silas on the second missionary journey. They just picked up John Mark in Lystra and now continue on their way. Originally Paul had intended to visit the churches he and Barnabas had started on their first trip and to extend to some newer areas North and West. But God stopped them and directed them, via a vision, to Macedonia, modern-day Europe.

Luke joins the party

Did you notice a subtle change in the writing starting with the previous passage? The word, “we”, is added to the narrative. As if the author suddenly joined in the activities. Well, most commentators think that this is where Dr. Luke, the author, joined Paul and Silas on their journey. He then continued with them for most of the journey and was with Paul even to his imprisonment in Rome (2 Timothy 4:11).

Following the Lord

So the team obediently follows the Lord’s leading and heads to Neapolis in Macedonia. From there they go inland to the capital city of Philippi. On the Sabbath, they head to the river where they expect to find Jews praying. They probably figured these were the most likely to be sincere in their faith and seeking the Lord. And indeed they were right. God led them to Lydia from Thyatira whose heart He had been preparing for the Gospel.

Gospel preparation

There is a lot that goes into preparing to share the gospel. We need to be intentional, decide where to go and who to share with and how (a culturally relevant way that meets their felt need). Of course we need to (and should be) praying. We pray for many things. But the main prayer is for God the Holy Spirit to do His work in the hearts of the people we encounter. Without Him, our work is just a conversation. 

In this eyewitness account, the key is what? “The Lord opened her heart” (v14). So she believed along with her household. 

RЯeflection

  • When you share the good news with others (if you aren’t then you need to check your faith and God’s call), who does the work? How much do we rely on ourselves to do the work? Sure, we need to be prepared. But we are mistaken to think it’s all up to us – or to act like it.
  • Here’s a link to a practical guide to sharing the gospel
Bird ready to fly. Image from Pxfuel.com

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