|SPEAK AS THE ORACLES RADIO Program #117
THE CONVERSION OF
LYDIA & HER HOUSEHOLD AND
THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER
& HIS HOUSEHOLD
|It was Peter, who explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and used the keys of the Kingdom to admit JEWISH converts into the
church on Pentecost (Acts 2).
Peter was the spokesman at Solomon’s Porch, when about five thousand converts were made at one time (Acts 3 & 4).
When he and John were imprisoned (Acts 4), it was Peter, who made their principal defense.
In Acts 5, it was Peter who reproved Ananias and Sapphira and had them buried, when they were slain by the Lord for lying.
In Acts 8, Peter and John administered the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans; and Peter rebuked Simon for thinking to buy the gift of God
In Acts 9 Peter performed miracles at Lydda and Joppa.
And, in our previous study of Acts 10 &11, it was Peter who further used the keys of the kingdom to admit GENTILE converts into
After recording Peter’s being imprisoned again and his subsequent release in Acts 12, the rise of SAUL OF TARSUS, later called
PAUL, is evident. Having been converted himself, in Acts 9, little more is heard of Saul until Acts 13. But from that chapter on to the
end of Acts, it is Saul (or Paul), who clearly dominates the general scene.
Thus it is that we come upon this apostle and his companion as they were instrumental in the EIGHTH case of conversion recorded
in the Book of Acts — that of LYDIA AND HER HOUSEHOLD; and the NINTH case of conversion in the Book of Acts – that of the
PHILIPPIAN JAILER AND HIS HOUSEHOLD.
(11) Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
(12) And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding
(13) And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake
unto the women which resorted thither.
(14) And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the
Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
(15) And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come
into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
(16) And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her
masters much gain by soothsaying:
(17) The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the
way of salvation.
(18) And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ
to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
(19) And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the
marketplace unto the rulers,
(20) And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
(21) And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
(22) And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
(23) And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
(24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
(25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
(26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors
were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
(27) And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would
have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
(28) But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
(29) Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
(30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
(31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
(32) And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
(33) And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
(34) And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
(35) And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
(36) And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in
(37) But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do
they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
(38) And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
(39) And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
(40) And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted
them, and departed.
I. PAUL AND SILAS WENT TO PHILIPPI, A CHIEF CITY OF MACEDONIA (Acts 16:12).
A. They abode there “certain days.”
B. On the sabbath, they went to a place outside the city where prayers were wont to be made (verse 13).
NOTE: This place could have been an altar or perhaps a temple of prayer.
1. It was located by a riverside.
C. They sat down at this place.
D. They spoke to the women, who had resorted there.
II. AMONG THOSE WORSHIPPING WOMEN WAS ONE NAMED LYDIA.
A. Lydia was evidently a merchant of some sort; for she is called “a seller of purple” (verse 14).
B. Lydia was from the city of Thyatira.
C. She worshipped God.
D. She heard Paul and Silas.
E. The Lord opened her heart to their words.
F. Resulting from this she “ATTENDED” (i.e., gave heed) to the things spoken by Paul.
G. She was BAPTIZED (verse 15).
H. Her “household” ALSO was baptized.
I. Following her conversion, she constrained Paul and Silas to be guests in her house.
NOTE: Those who seek self-justification for BAPTIZING INFANTS often refer to Lydia’s “HOUSEHOLD” being baptized. If the
Scriptures said anything about there being any INFANTS in Lydia’s household, this contention might seem to have some strength.
But the Scriptures are SILENT as to whom Lydia’s household comprised. As far as what is WRITTEN, we cannot tell whether Lydia
was even MARRIED, much less had CHILDREN! It is a bald, unsupported, human assumption to contend there were INFANTS in her
household. She could easily have had SERVANTS, KINSMEN, FRIENDS, and OTHERS living in her house — and NOT A CHILD
AMONG THEM! Let us NOT ASSUME what is NOT SAID.
I. AFTER LYDIA’S CONVERSION, PAUL AND SILAS DID NOT LEAVE PHILIPPI AT ONCE.
A. Lydia, following her baptism, had persuaded them, saying, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house,
and abide there” (verse 15).
B. She constrained them to do so.
II. WHILE THUS ABIDING AT PHILPPI, ONE DAY, PAUL AND SILAS COME UPON A GIRL POSSESSED WITH A SPIRIT OF
DIVINATION (verse 16).
A. Because of her strange power of fortune-telling, she brought her master much gain by soothsaying. (verse 16)
B. She followed Paul and those with him, saying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of
salvation” (verse 17).
C. She did this repeatedly over a period of many days (verse 18).
III. ONE DAY, PAUL, BEING VEXED WITH THIS CONTINUED OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE, TURNED TO THE SPIRIT IN THE GIRL
AND COMMANDED HIM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST TO COME OUT OF HER (verse 18)
A. The spirit of divination came out that same hour (verse 18).
IV. THE GIRL’S MASTERS SAW THUS THAT THEIR HOPE OF GAIN WAS GONE.
A. They caught Paul and Silas and drew them to the market place unto the rulers. B. Before the magistrates they charged Paul and
1. “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city” and (verse 20).
2. “teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans” (verse 21).
C. The multitude rioted against Paul and Silas (verse 22).
D. The magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded that Paul and Silas be beaten (verse 22).
1. They laid many stripes upon Paul and Silas (verse 23).
2. They cast them into prison.
3. They charged the jailer to keep them safely.
E. The jailer, having received such a charge, thrust them into the INNER PRISON, i.e., dungeon (verse 24).
1. To make doubly sure they did not escape, he fastened their feet in the stocks (verse 24).
V. AT MIDNIGHT, THUS IMPRISONED, PAUL AND SILAS PRAYED AND SANG PRAISES UNTO GOD (verse 25).
A. Other prisoners heard them.
VI. SUDDENLY THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE (verse 26).
A. The foundations of the prison were shaken.
B. Immediately all the doors were opened.
C. Everyone’s bands were loosed.
VII. THE KEEPER OF THE PRISON, AWAKING OUT OF SLEEP (verse 27).
A. Saw the prison doors opened.
B. Supposed that the prisoners had fled.
C. Drew out his sword.
D. Would have killed himself.
VIII. BUT PAUL CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, SAYING (verse 28).
A. “Do thyself no harm” for
B. “We are all here.”
IX. THE JAILER CALLED FOR A LIGHT, SPRANG IN, CAME TREMBLING, AND FELL DOWN BEFORE PAUL AND SILAS (verse 29).
A. He brought them out of the prison.
B. He said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (verse 30).
X. PAUL AND SILAS ANSWERED, “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, AND THY HOUSE.”
A. To INDUCE BELIEF, Paul and Silas “SPAKE unto him the WORD OF THE LORD” (verse 32).
B. They also spoke this word unto ALL THAT WERE IN HIS HOUSE.
NOTE: This was necessary, because faith (i.e., belief) comes by hearing the Word. Read Romans 10:13-17.
XI. HEARING THIS WORD NOT ONLY PRODUCED FAITH IN THE JAILER’S HEART, BUT LED HIM TO REPENT, AS WELL; FOR
VERSE 33 TELLS US. “HE TOOK THEM THE SAME HOUR OF THE NIGHT, AND WASHED THEIR STRIPES…”
XII. FURTHERMORE, BOTH THE JAILER AND ALL HIS HOUSE WERE BAPTIZED. THIS WAS DONE —
A. “The same hour of the night” (verse 33).
B. “Straightway” (verse 33).
XIII. AFTERWARD, THE JAILER BROUGHT THEM INTO HIS HOUSE (verse 34).
A. He set meat before them.
B. He rejoiced.
C. He believed in God with all his house.
NOTE: Both the eating and the rejoicing were delayed until AFTER the jailer and his household had been BAPTIZED.
DISCUSSION: This thoroughgoing type of Bible study is calculated to eliminate the many misconceptions, which have gained
currency among the people through carelessness. A text without its context is a pretext. Consider, for instance, how MANY have
stumbled at the teaching in verses 30 and 31, simply by failing (or refusing) to give due consideration to the context. Many an
otherwise splendid Bible teacher has used these two verses, irrespective of context, to support certain denominational ideas of
“salvation by FAITH ONLY.”
He will read the question in verse 30, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Then he will read verse 31, as if it were the complete
answer, and stop. Well, truly, verse 31 says, “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” But is
that ALL it says? No. Verse 32 says, “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”
We have already seen that hearing the Word of the Lord produces belief, i.e., faith. (Romans 10:17). This, in turn, led the now-
believing jailer to REPENT, i.e., he washed their stripes (verse 33). He and all his, then, were BAPTIZED (verse 33).
No one denies that BELIEVING (faith) is essential to salvation. The WORD OF THE LORD says it is (verse 31); so it IS. But the Word
of the Lord NOWHERE says that salvation is by FAITH ALONE. The same New Testament, which teaches faith (belief) for salvation,
teaches REPENTANCE and BAPTISM for “remission of sins” (which is the same) (Acts 2:38).
THE only place in the Bible where the words “faith only” appear, it says, “Ye see then how that by WORKS a man is justified, and
NOT by FAITH ONLY” (James 2:24).
Well, if God’s Word says man is NOT justified BY FAITH ONLY, why should ANYONE contend that he IS? It all goes back to Martin
Luther, who found himself unable to harmonize Ephesians 2:8-9 with James 2:24. The former says salvation is by grace through
faith ... NOT OF WORKS. The latter says we are justified BY WORKS ... not by faith ONLY.
As is true with so many such cases in the Bible, the discrepancy existed, not in the Bible, but in LUTHER’S THINKING. He failed to
recognize at least THREE DISTINCT KINDS of WORKS are considered in the Bible:
1) WORKS OF THE LAW OF MOSES;
2) WORKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; and
3) WORKS OF MAN’S OWN “RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Neither the works of MAN’S righteousness (i.e., meritorious works) nor the works of MOSES’ LAW have any standing before the
Lord. In HIS sight the former are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6); and the latter were, in a figure, “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).
Yet, the very next verse, after Paul said, “NOT of works,” he went ON to say, “For we are his WORKmanship, created in Christ
Jesus unto GOOD WORKS, which GOD hath before ORDAINED that WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.”
So, then, we are saved NOT BY “WORKS” in ONE sense of the term; yet we ARE saved (i.e., justified) BY “WORKS” in another
sense of the term. Hence the injunction, in Philippians 2:12, to “WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Let no one,
therefore, say it takes “EITHER FAITH OR WORKS.”
According to the Scriptures, salvation takes “BOTH FAITH AND WORKS.” And among the ADDITIONAL things, as seen from our
current study, the jailer not only BELIEVED, but he also REPENTED and was BAPTIZED.
Remarks on Righteousness
Lessons & Quizzes
Fundamentals of Faith
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