A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Lydia’s Conversion

First, in LYDIA’S CONVERSION there are many points of interest. Observe that it was brought about by providential circumstances. She was a seller of purple, from the city of Thyatira. That city was famous for its dyeing trade, which had flourished there ever since the days of Homer. The mode of producing a peculiarly delicate and valuable purple seems to have been known to the women of Thyatira. It may be that Lydia had come to Philippi upon a journey, or that while her work was carried on at Thyatira, she resided during a part of the year at Philippi, to sell her goods. The communication between the two places was very easy, and she may have frequently made the journey; at any rate, providence brings her there when the hour of her conversion is come. You will remember that Thyatira was situated in that part of the country into which Paul was forbidden by the Spirit to go and preach; therefore, had Lydia been at home, she could not have heard the truth; and since “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” she must have remained unconverted. But providence brings her to Philippi at the right time. Here is the first link of the chain.

But how is Paul to be brought there? He must, first of all, be prevented from going into Bithynia; and he must be silenced in his journey through Mysia; he must be brought to Troas, close by the shore of the sea; he must look across the blue sea, and muse upon Europe’s needs; he must fall asleep, and in the visions of the night, he must be prompted to cross to Macedonia; he shall ask for a ship — that ship shall be bound for Samothracia, and for no other place; he must land at Neapolis, and by the same impulse, he must make his way to Philippi; he cannot go in any other direction; he must be brought there at the very time when Lydia is present; he must discover the little place of prayer by the river’s brink, for God ordains that Lydia shall be saved. Now, how many different threads were all interwoven here, to make up the fabric of her providential conversion! In this case, God rules and overrules all things to bring that woman and that apostle to the same place; and, beloved, everything in God’s providence is working together for the salvation of the elect. If there is an elect soul whom God predestinates to be converted by my word, he may have called him home from Australia today, by some untoward accident, as it seems to him; or he may have set sail for America, and the ship may have been turned back; but this I know, that God will shake heaven and earth sooner than to allow one elect soul to miss the predestined moment; for when the eternal counsel runs — “On such a day that man shall be arrested by sovereign grace, and shall be made willing in the day of God’s power,” whatever may happen, and whatever may occur, God’s purpose shall stand; he will do all his pleasure. We do well if we do not forget the preparatory providences which work before our conversion, to bring us to that place where God was pleased to reveal himself to us…

Note, concerning her conversion [next] that it took place in the use of the means. On the Sabbath she went to the prayer meeting of her people. Although God works great wonders and calls men when they are not hearing the Word, yet usually we must expect that being in the way, God will meet with them. It is somewhat extraordinary that the first convert in Europe was converted at a very small prayer meeting…

Notice again, for we will only hint at these things rather than dwell upon them, that it was assuredly a work of grace, for we are expressly told, “whose heart the Lord opened.” She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did not do it; Paul did not do it; the Lord himself must open the heart, to receive the things which make for our peace. To operate savingly upon human hearts belongs to God alone. We can get at human brains, but God alone can arouse human affections. We may reach them, we grant you, in the natural and common way, but in order to reach them, so that the enemy of God shall become his friend, and that the stony heart shall be turned into flesh, is the work of grace, and nothing short of divine power can accomplish it. Please brethren, never forget this…

A love to the people of God has always been a distinguishing mark of the true convert. Look, then, at Lydia, and remembering that she is only a specimen of many, let her case rest before you, and let the prayer go up, “Lord, bring in Lydias this morning, according to your mighty grace.”

This was post was excerpted from a sermon delivered on Sunday Morning, December 13, 1863, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

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One response to “Lydia’s Conversion

  1. Pingback: Acts, Chapter 16, part three with On the Sabbath | whatshotn

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