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Dec 16, 2018

The Three Converts

The Three Converts

Speaker: James Gallaher

Series: Other

Category: Sunday Morning

God uses His people to be a voice on the earth for Him. Consider these three converts.

Acts 16:11-13

After arriving in Philippi, Paul, knowing the law, took off to the river on the Sabbath, looking for Jews to whom he could preach the gospel. He found a band of women praying alongside the river.

1) Consider Lydia. Acts 16:14-15

Lydia was a “worshiper of God” meaning that she was a gentile who had come to believe in the God of the Jews, although she was not yet a full convert. She had done well for herself as a seller of purple fabric, had rejected roman paganism, was morally conservative and upright and going to bible study on the Sabbath.

Lydia represents the religious and moral. Those who consider themselves Christian because of these 2 characteristics. But it was  religion but having no fruit and being moral but living in guilt and lacking relationship. Many of these find themselves on the wrong side of eternity.

Lydia sought after and discovered truth.

2) Consider the slave girl. Acts 16:16-23

The slave girl, opposite in every way from Lydia, mocked and distracted the furthering of the gospel. What she was saying was true but her motive was destruction. She was a slave to an evil spirit within and also to evil controlling masters without. 

Paul cast out the evil spirit and she was liberated by the gospel internally and also socially.

The slave girl represents those bound psychologically and physically. Today, we can be oppressed because of addiction, wreakless sin, torment, distress. God finds us in the midst of our oppression and offers a new life.

The slave girl was freed.

3) Consider the jailer. Acts 16:22-34 

After Paul and Silas are thrown in prison, the jailer in charge took it upon himself to punish Paul and Silas to an extreme. He would not want a long intellectual discourse nor would he want an emotional encounter like the slave girl as he was spiritually indifferent – no spiritual desire.

Paul brings the gospel to Lydia, brings the power of the gospel to the slave girl but this guy is drawn to come to Paul. After he sees Paul and Silas praising God in the jail in the midst of their suffering, he is amazed. He sees them reject their own freedom in exchange for his life.

Even in the darkness of his life, Jesus steps in and saves this jailer. Frustration, anger, bitterness, or darkness can grow in us as a result of something we did or were surrounded by.

The jailer finds freedom.

4) Consider the life of Paul. Acts 16:5-10

Paul began his pursuit of God as a Pharisee. Morally upright, adhering to the laws of Jewish life and religion. He said, “Thank you, God, that you have not made me a woman, a slave or a gentile.” But God breaks down these preferences. The gospel was effective because Paul heard and responded, and the church of Philipi was built on a woman, a slave, and a gentile. Paul's success was not attributed to hard work or an extensive knowledge of scripture but rather by listening to the Holy Spirit prompting him.

Summary: God steps into these messy places and rescues us but there are still people stuck in those places that He wants to ransom. God is using us as ambassadors. He rescues us and then sends us back in to rescue others. Let's seek and pay attention to the Holy Spirit's leading. We are so undeserving of grace, but grace commissions us as His ambassadors. 

What conversion do you relate to?

Who is God leading you to take this message to?