“From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis.12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” Acts 16.11-15
God is continually on the move. Yesterday I wrote about the Asbury revival. It is still happening and spreading to multiple locations. It’s been going on a week now and looks like it will continue. (For more google Asbury University Revival or visit https://firebrandmag.com/articles/revival-at-asbury-university).
He is on the move and doing amazing things in our midst. The timing of this revival from a Methodist perspective is nothing short of a amazing. Of course some critics will suggest its not real, or its fake (read the article above), but I dismiss their lack of faith and skepticism. God is moving and there is nothing we can do about it except get in the way or get out of the way. And just so we don’t forget, Jesus had a few critics in his day.
But in this story in Acts, we see God moving in ways he is still moving today. As Paul and his disciples make their way through Macedonia they come upon a woman name Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth and a worshiper of God (i.e.a faithful Jewish woman). She was listening to the message preached by Paul when God “opened her heart to respond.” She and the members of her household here baptized in Jesus name and then they invited Paul and the disciples into her home.
What God did back then he does still. When God saves souls, he does it for his glory. He doesn’t come and straighten out society initially. He doesn’t come with an agenda, he isn’t an activist, or a socialist. God is grace and he is holy. He comes and works consistently with Scripture in the hearts of humans. He calls all of us to repentance in accordance with his Word.
The critics will say things which are contrary to Scripture, but the Lord moves in spite of the mess. Is the formation of a new Wesleyan denomination(s) and split of a United Methodist Church connected to the Asbury University revival? How is God moving in the world and in our actions to bring about salvation, hope, healing and holiness?
What happened to Lydia is happening now. God is opening the hearts of people to turn, to repent and believe the Gospel of Christ. And what is the Gospel? That Jesus Christ came to die for sinners of whom I am the worst! This the Gospel. Do you believe?
“O Lord God, in the midst of your church, in the midst of this life, surrounded by your Spirit, I give you praise. I glorify your name and your power among your people. Come now, Holy Spirit — burn your fire into our hearts. Help us be spurred to good deeds but most importantly, to holiness. I love you Lord for what your activity can not be contained by human hands. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen