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The Scriptorium

Same Song, Next Verse

The ongoing work goes on. Acts 16.11-15

The Gospel to Europe (3)

Pray Psalm 66.1-4.
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.”
Selah

Sing Psalm 66.1-4.

(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name!”

Read Acts 16.1-15; meditate on verses 11-15.

Preparation

1. Where did Paul and his team go in Philippi?

2. Whom did they meet there?

Meditation
Paul and his team determined to bring the Gospel, first, to the people they considered most likely to be open to hearing it – those who already believed in and practiced prayer. There being no synagogue in Philippi, Paul sought out a place where people would be praying. Then, same song, next verse: The ongoing work of Christ goes on, just as He’d promised.

Lydia was a woman who worshiped God. This suggests she was a Jew or had some contact with Jews. As a businesswoman, her contacts doubtless ranged beyond her own city of Thyatira (on the Asian mainland, where synagogues were plentiful, as we have seen), and she may have made it her practice to join Jews at worship in various places. She was the one most open to the Gospel; and when she heard it, she believed and was baptized, together with her entire household, who were with her in Philippi.

She immediately showed the effects of the Gospel on her life by opening her home to Paul and his companions, insisting they make their abode with her while they remained in Philippi. So the first evidence here of the work of the Spirit is not speaking in tongues, as in previous situations, but hospitality – love for the brethren. True faith produces spiritual evidence (Heb. 11.1).

The ongoing work of Christ proceeds in small increments, typically, one person at a time. Faithful witnesses, like Paul, look for opportunities to engage others in conversation about spiritual matters, whether to strengthen them in their faith or to explore the possibilities for sharing the Gospel. We should imitate him in this practice, so that the ongoing work of Jesus can continue in and through us (1 Cor. 11.1).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Worship can happen anyplace. It does not necessarily have to take place in a church building. These women of Philippi were gathered by the riverside where prayer was customarily made (Acts 16.13).

Jesus taught His disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18.20). Anywhere.

If all the earth is worshiping God and singing praises to Him, then that is happening everywhere (Pss. 66.4; 148). Not just inside a building.

The wise men from the East, who were following the star to find the Child Jesus, were planning to “worship Him” whenever and wherever they found Him (Matt. 2.2). Not just inside a cathedral.

When the Lord returns, He plans to have a huge meeting of His elect: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven” (Mk. 13.26, 27).
No building ever made by men will be able to handle that crowd!

But until that great Day of gathering we must content ourselves to worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4.24). In all the areas of our life, every moment, and in every way. (Building not included.)

Of course, we do worship together in buildings also. A time to lift our voices together in praise and thankfulness to Him, Who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2.20). A time to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…but exhorting one another, and so much more” as we see the Day approaching (Heb. 10.24, 25).

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His pow’r and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

(William Kethe, 1561)

Building not required. And maybe even happening down by the riverside.

For reflection
1. What does it mean to worship God? Why can we worship Him anywhere, and not just in a building?

2. God must open the heart of everyone who will believe. We can’t do that. But what is our duty?

3. What is hospitality? How can hospitality be a means of grace? How should you practice hospitality in your Personal Mission Field?

As an artisan in purple dyes, Lydia was a wealthy woman who had come to Philippi to practice her trade. Paul preached the gospel, but the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to it. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Acts 16.14

Pray Psalm 66.5-9, 13-20.
Use this psalm to renew your own commitment as a witness for the Lord (Acts 1.8). Whom will you see today? Whether they are believers or unbelievers, ask God to give you a word of witness to share with them. Thank Him for the grace that empowers you as an ambassador for His Kingdom.

Sing Psalm 66.5-9, 13-20.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.

He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be.
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.

To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!

When we cried to You, You answered, filled our mouths with highest praise.
Let not sin abide within us, lest we languish all our days.
Bless the Lord, Who hears our pleadings and preserves His love always.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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