Paul and Lydia: Spiritual friendship breaks down barriers
Text: Acts 16:11-15
Q: Think about your circle of friends. Who is one of the most unlikely friends that you have in your circle and why?
- Give background/context: Paul's vision of a man from Macedonia
Q: What kind of woman was Lydia? How might you describe her?
Q: Why was Paul's reaching out to Lydia unlikely? What excuses/reasons were there for him not to?
- There was not even a synagogue of men. He had a vision about a man, and he found a group of women!
- The rabbis were known to say, "It is better that the words of the Law be burned than be delivered to a woman."
- Lydia shows us a model of responding to the message: She listened, the Lord opened her heart and she responded. She is baptized (part of the response) and Lydia proves her repentance/change of heart by extending hospitality to Paul and his companions. (Side note: Why was she baptized? No local church, not a sign or symbolic act)
Q: Paul, despite evidence of some reservation, accepts the gracious invitation. What could have prevented him from accepting?
- V. 40: After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.
- Paul did not allow social boundaries/awkwardness etc. to keep him from sharing the message with someone who had ears to hear it. Neither should we! Notice how, just like in the case of Philip and Nathanael, God does the heavy lifting and opens the person's heart.
Q: Who are some of the people/groups that can be a challenge for you to reach out to/build connections with?
Q: What keeps us from reaching out to those that are different from us?
Q: How can we overcome this in meeting new friends and helping them respond to the message?
- Go after friendships that are outside of your background/comfort zone. Find creative ways to share the message of Christ with them.