Opening the Heart

Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette

Watering the Tulips

05/30/2012

“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” - Acts 16:14


What a beautiful picture Luke paints for us here. Paul, Silas, Luke and probably some others had gone down to the riverside where prayer was customarily made. They sought an opportunity to speak to those who were praying. As usual, Paul took the opportunity to share the Gospel with these women. Without doubt, he told them that Jesus was the Messiah and had fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies relative to his first advent here on Earth. As Paul was working, so was the Lord. While Paul was preaching, the Holy Spirit was energizing the message. The Gospel did not come to Lydia in word only, but in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5). Our text plainly says, “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” Oh, the encouragement we can draw from this little phrase. Have you ever wondered why Paul was able to preach so courageously even in the face of trials and tribulations? The answer is a simple one – he knew the Lord alone was responsible for the results. Paul was merely responsible to “preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Paul had no more to do with the new birth than he did with your birth. God alone can make one alive who is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). Knowing this, Paul had great confidence in sharing the Gospel. He was confident that God would bountifully bless if he bountifully served (2 Corinthians 9:6). He knew that the Scriptures declared that God’s Word would always accomplish His purpose (Isaiah 55:11). One may say, “Well, Paul was just a confident person so he was able to do this.” Surely, Paul was confident. But, his confidence was not in Paul. It was in the Lord. Speaking to the Corinthian saints, Paul said, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?” (1 Corinthians 3:5). Paul saw himself as a tool of God. He was simply the medium in which God empowered his Word to the Corinthian saints. Paul preached the Gospel, but God energized it. It was the Lord Who opened Lydia’s heart…not Paul. Would you like to be a tool that God uses? The Bible is certainly clear as to how it works. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek”. The Gospel is not your power. It is God’s. Speaking again to the Corinthian congregation, Paul said, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Paul understood that the seed was the Gospel. However, he also understood that all he could do was plant and water – God alone could give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Child of God, be encouraged! The responsibility to save souls is not yours. That is God’s work alone. Your duty is simply to plant and water the Gospel as you have opportunity. Leave the results to the Lord. The burden to save is off your back. This should be a great relief to you and an encouragement as your serve Him.

 

Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. ìYour app to the Gospelî is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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