Chapter Sixteen — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 05/08/2022Foundation Scriptures:
a. Acts 16:13 NKJV — And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.
b. Prayer (Greek proseuche) — prayer addressed to God; or a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer and worship (if there was no synagogue).
c. It could also be a spacious, uncovered amphitheater.
d. There were many such places used by the Jews—most often near water, on sea sides or on rivers—to accommodate the ceremonial handwashing.
e. On the Sabbath day, since there was no synagogue in that place, they went out to the place where Jews would gather, pray, and worship the Lord.
f. They began to speak to a group of women, who regularly gathered there.
g. Acts 16:14a NKJV — Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God.
h. Lydia was a businesswoman, a seller of purple from Thyatira, who honored and worshipped God.
i. Thyatira was in Asia, where Paul had been forbidden to go, and his first convert in Europe was a woman from Asia.
j. Lydia was a women’s name, taken from the name of the province of Lydia, in Asia Minor.
k. The Lydian women were famous for the manufacture of costly and labor-intensive, beautiful, dyed garments—highly prized by ancient Mediterranean civilizations—whose color covered the spectrum from brilliant red through deep purple.
l. They were dyed using mucus from a type of rock snail, or shellfish, known as Murex.
m. Tyrian purple (Tyre, Lebanon) is a reddish-purple natural dye, also known as imperial dye—Phoenician red, Phoenician purple, royal or imperial purple.
n. These purple fabrics were used in garments worn to denote royalty or high rank.
o. Tekhelet (translated blue), mentioned 49 times in the Old Testament, is a blue-violet, blue, or turquoise dye.
p. It was used in the tapestries in the Tabernacle, and in certain special ceremonial or ritual garments—like the clothing of the High Priest, and in their prayer shawls (tallit), and garment fringes (tzitzit).
2. An Open Heart.
a. Acts 16:14b NKJV — The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
b. The Lord is the One Who opened her heart.
c. Opening (Greek dianoigo) — to open effectually; to open by dividing or drawing asunder; open thoroughly (what had been closed); opening of the eyes and the ears; to open the mind of one, i.e. to cause to understand a thing; to open one’s soul, i.e. to rouse in one the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning.
d. This Greek word was used only in Acts 16:14; 17:3; Mk. 7:34-35; Lk. 2:23; 24:31-32,45.
e. Luke 24:45 KJV — Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
f. Some people are honest, and yield to the Lord to open their hearts to receive.
g. Yet sadly, there are others who refuse to allow God to deal with them and harden their hearts.
h. Acts 16:15 NKJV — And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
i. Lydia, and her entire household, received Jesus and were baptized.
j. She entreated and beseeched them to come to stay at her house.
k. She told them that if they considered her to be a sincere believer then they should also be able to accept her hospitality.
l. They would have a place to stay, and she and her household would be able to hear more of the Gospel.
m. Once we have heard the Gospel, and received Jesus, we must continue on in the Word, so that we can grow in the Lord.
n. She was obviously prosperous because she was able to accommodate and feed them all.
o. Contrary to some people’s opinion, it is possible to be wealthy and still have a heart that’s open to the Lord.
p. When one’s heart is open, one’s hands are also open.
3. Casting Out Demons.
a. Acts 16:16a KJV — And it came to pass, as we went to prayer…
b. They went to the place of prayer to continue to preach the Gospel in that city.
c. Acts 16:16b KJV — …a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
d. A damsel—a young woman; a maidservant, or young female slave.
e. Divination: the Greek word is “python.”
f. In Greek mythology, Python is the name of the Pythian serpent, or dragon, that dwelt in the region of Pytho at the foot of Parnassus in Phocis.
g. It was said to have guarded the oracle of Delphi and been slain by Apollo who then acquired the power to foretell.
h. They believed that those who could “foretell” the future had the spirit of Apollo.
i. A priestess at his temple was called Pythoness and messages were delivered through her.
j. This demon-possessed girl made a lot of money for her masters by her fortunetelling.
k. Acts 16:17 KJV — 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.
l. The demon recognized the Spirit of God on Paul and those with him.
m. What was said was true, but the purpose of it was to discredit the message of the apostles, leading people to conclude that they were in league with the devil and operating by his power.
n. Acts 16:18 KJV — 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.
o. She did this for many days, until one day, Paul, being grieved in his spirit, commanded it to come out in the Name of Jesus Christ.
p. Paul operated in the gift of discerning of spirits.
q. The demon had to bow his knee to the name of Jesus Christ and obey Paul’s command.
r. He came out of the girl immediately and she was completely delivered.