Posted on Sunday, September 6, 2015
How God Wins the World III
Pastor Shannon Rucker
6 September 2015
- Acts 16:14 – The gospel was countercultural – it was preached first to women
- As we saw last week, Paul preached the gospel first to the women
- In that day it was said that the law (The Tora) should rather be burned then preached to women
- God does not conform to culture
- Acts 16:14 – The work of God behind the scenes
- God opened Lydia’s heart to respond to the gospel – it wasn’t a visual action, it was behind the scenes, it was invisible to the human eye
- The Greek word used here for “opened” means to open without obstruction
- Often we are concerned with how we are preaching, the words we use, the language we use – and yet we know that Paul was preaching Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and that was understood by Lydia – do not be afraid of the words used, God works behind the scenes
- What does it mean that God opens mans heart: because of sin a man’s heart is sealed up against the gospel. No matter how much study or reading of the Bible man is blind to the truth. Man might be able to understand the words of the truth (intellectual knowledge), but spiritually man cannot understand the truth; it is a mystery. God opens the heart. Application: Even as a Christian we should not treat the Bible as an intellectual study; understand that God needs to work in your heart to help you understand the spiritual truths of the Bible.
- Application: Don’t let the fact that you cannot see God at work opening mans heart discourage you from doing what God has for you to do: spread the gospel.
- Acts 16:15 – What does a Christian look like after conversion?
- Lydia was judged to be faithful to the Lord – her immediate fruit was that she was welcoming and gracious to the men of God
- Her baptism was a picture of her faith
- Baptism is an important aspect of the Christian faith – it should be dealt with carefully since it is a means to evaluate faith. With that in mind, what is false baptism?
- Moral baptism: it is the “right” thing to do
- Self-esteem baptism: “I want to please X and Y”
- Self-preservation baptism: terrified of hell
- Miss-informed baptism: Those who do not understand the gospel – the church needs to test the faith to ensure the believer understands the true gospel
- How do we know if we are a true Christian? Like Lydia we should have a heart for Christ, we should be driven to love others, we should be convicted of our Sin
- What is true Baptism according to Acts 16:15
- Who – the household was baptized and while nothing is directed stated concerning their faith, but as we understand who Lydia is (an unmarried woman) her household would have consisted of adults – and in that day household often referred to those who were of the same mind as the head of the household, so it can be understood that Lydia’s household was comprised of those whom were her close advisors which would mean they were of the same faith
- What – it is not something that is for everyone, you have to be in the household of faith – a believer of Christ’s gospel – what does being in the household of faith mean?
- Matthew 3:6 – confession of sin – baptism is voluntary as is the confession of sin, the confession comes from the work of God
- Matthew 28:19 – all disciples baptized with the power of God
- Mark 16:15 – belief and baptism are intricately connected – no belief no baptism
- Acts 2:38 – repent and then be baptized – whose without repentance should not be counted in the number to be baptized.
- Baptism is a symbol of what has happened in salvation
- Application: Baptism is not to be taken lightly. Understand what it means. Understand that it is to be a picture of salvation, not salvation itself. Understand that it is a command for all Christians to be baptized.