September 23, 2019, 4:08 PM

God's work in personal evangelism

The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  Acts 16:10

The Apostle Paul and his mission team came to Philippi after Paul had been denied entry into the province of Asia by the Holy Spirit and had seen a vision of a man from Macedonia pleading for him to come and help. Paul's mission strategy was simply to enter a town or city and attend the local synagogue where he could proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (the Messiah, God's promised redeemer) and that Jesus fulfilled the Jewish scriptures of the Law and the Prophets that the Christ had to suffer, die and be raised to life for the forgiveness of sin and man's reconciliation with God to those who believe. 

However, Philippi did not have a synagogue. To have a synagogue requires at least ten men. In Philippi, ten Jewish men could not be found. So Paul and his team learned that Jews met by the riveer outside the city to pray.  So on the Sabbath, they go to the place of prayer and spoke to the women who were gathered there. And Paul told the women about Jesus. 

Among this group of women was Lydia. Lydia was a God-fearing Gentile who participated in these prayer meetings. All we know of Lydia is that she was from the city of Thyatira and had her own business: selling purple cloths. And as Paul spoke, the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to the message. And she believed. And so did her household; Lydia along with her household was baptized.

There is a lesson here for us. It is the Lord who opens hearts to hear and receive the gospel! Jesus told his disciples in John 16 that the Holy Spirit will convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment; the Holy Spirit will work in a person's heart when we tell people about Jesus and why Christ came and how they can be saved by trusting in Christ for salvation because Jesus paid the penalty that our sins deserve. 

We need to pray. We need to tell people about Jesus. We need to explain that our sin separates from a holy God and that there is judgment and wrath to be faced for our rebellion and sin. And we must tell people that Christ came to pay the penalty for our sin and to take away our sin by His death on the cross so that - by faith - we can receive God's forgiveness and be reconciled to God for all eternity. 

And if we clearly tell people the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, then we can trust God to work in that person's heart. The results belong to God! So when we witness, pray that the Lord will open the person's heart to hear, receive and believe the good news about Jesus!

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