Lydia of Thyatira, was a businesswoman who set her mind on doing the will of God, regardless of what impact it would have on her popularity, status and affluence in the community. The first convert in Europe, she became an example of ignoring fear, and having the courage to move in the will of God, and of becoming a blessing to herself and to others. Christians today face that same fork in the road, of living and sharing the faith, in the face of the opinions of others.
'One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. 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 16:14-15)
Popular is sometimes considered stereotypical. It usually means people know who you are. It can also mean well liked. Once you have received Christ as our Savior, do you have the courage to make the same choice as Lydia, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ? To be seen fellowshipping with other believers? When you have stature and prominence, do you deem your reputation more important than your salvation and the salvation of others? Do you hide your belief, in favor of being 'accepted' and fear of 'rejection and being ostracized'? Thinking others may call you 'crazy'?
Why is this relevant? God is seeking through Jesus Christ, to make us a new creation and therefore, living what we speak. Witnessing and making it a priority to seek God’s will over our own. To be in fellowship with him, through Jesus Christ. He wants a relationship with us.
'So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.' (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Some reasons Christians tend not to share or live out the faith are:
1. The fear of being ridiculed, disapproved and persecuted by the world, especially those close to us and those who have authority over us like parents, spouses and bosses.
2. Because their personal walk with the Lord is suffering, and feeling inadequate or hypocritical.
3. Just to keep their jobs, Christians have negated the Great Commission.
4. Because it will cost us something and we have become comfortable.
5. They think they need to keep it private so they don't offend someone.
6. They are afraid of not-knowing how to answer the questions that the non-believers are going to ask.
Being a Christian is doing the Lord's will, sharing and educating with other “professing believers”, in order to have more people sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ, with non-believers, and those that want to come to Christ through his gospel and our testimony. Christian’s shouldn’t hold back with God’s love, but be going out of their way to share it. Talking to friends, family and strangers. As a loving person who cares about people’s salvation. You are sharing it out of love and compassion for that person. You are living your faith.
All Christians are ministers(one who serves). That does not mean you have to stand up in a pulpit, but that you should minister(serve) your family, friends, and people you come in contact with.
'And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." '(Mark 16:15)
'The Apostle Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith. " '(Romans 1:16-17)
Lydia was not ashamed to share the gospel and fellowship with other believers. Her stature and popularity, in the community, became irrelevant. The will of God became forefront in her concerns of the day, and people coming to know Jesus Christ as our salvation. As followers of Jesus Christ, what are your responses? How can Christians overcome their hurdles and fears when it comes to living their faith and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, and not be concerned with popularity? Here are some ways:
1. You have your Pastor-Your Pastor is the primary mentor who guides the way of outreach for his church and the community.
2. Be of hope-Your role is to be enthusiastically available.
3. Be an open vessel to God-Lean into the power of God for fruit that will last. He does the defining work.
4. Continuous learning and communion-Train others as you learn about evangelism yourself. Become a student of the word of God. Attend church and fellowship with other believers.
5. Trust in the timing of God- All good things happen in the timing of God.
6. Follow the leadership of God in evangelism-In order to see ultimate fruitfulness.
7. Pray-Develop and maintain a prayer life. In doing so, God will lead you in all things.
It's now your move. Live and share your faith, without concern to opinions, status, or fear of loss in popularity, as Lydia. Just remember, Jesus Christ is ever interceding on our behalf and God directs our path.
We commend to your keeping, Father, ourselves and each other, our families, our neighbors, and our friends. Enable us by your Spirit to live in love for you and for one another. Father, hear our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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