What Today’s Disciples Can Learn from the First Disciples



Being a successful Christian businesswoman isn’t something that just happens—there is a becoming involved.


As I’m sure Mary Whelchel Lowman would agree. She shared her story in her book Extraordinary Women by Grace. It was a remarkable journey. By God’s grace, she has become a businesswoman who faithfully goes about making disciples—in her home, in her church, in her workplace, through her books, and through the international radio program she founded called The Christian Working Woman.


Long ago, there was another successful Christian businesswoman who went about faithfully making disciples. And we would do well to take notes from her story as well.


Lydia was a wealthy businesswoman who relocated from Asia to a Grecian city in Europe. Scripture tells us she was a “worshiper of God” (Acts 16:14). As she gathered with other women at a river in Philippi to pray, God orchestrated the encounter of a lifetime.


The text is also clear in teaching its reader that it was the Lord who “opened her heart to pay attention” to what Paul was telling her (Acts 16:14, ESV)—a noteworthy detail for today’s disciple makers.


It is not our clever tactics or convincing exposés that do the inner work of bringing someone to faith. Instead, we are messengers, sharing the good news that the kingdom of the risen Christ has come to earth.


Immediately Lydia was baptized, followed up by an invitation to Paul: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay” (Acts 16:15). She did not employ lofty claims of her status or boastful self-congratulations. Rather, in humility and hospitality, she opened her life to the apostle.



A Church Is Born


Luke was meticulous in his account to Theophilus about the events that occurred while Paul, Silas, Luke, and company were in Philippi. After telling us about the Philippian church meeting in Lydia’s house, Luke went on to narrate the story of Paul’s annoyance with a demon-possessed female slave. The spirit within her pestered them to the point where Paul drove out the spirit which hindered their work. This enraged those who had been exploiting the girl.


Paul and Silas were arrested and put in prison. Although an earthquake made their escape possible, Paul and Silas stuck around to prevent the jailer from committing suicide (when he discovered the prison doors open). God had allowed the persecution and arrest in order to provide opportunity for Paul and Silas to disciple the jailer.


The Lord was growing His church.


God added to His household those of Lydia’s household and the jailer’s household in planting a church right there in this bustling Roman colony, the first converts on a new continent.


To the first church birthed in Europe, which met in Lydia’s home, Paul would later write, “I pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel” (Philippians 1:5).



What More Can We Learn from Them?



Read the rest of my guest post over here @ Renew.org . . .


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