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 Laying the Foundations of Faith

 Acts 16:14-15


 

After Christina Onassis died at 38 her stepsister Henrietta Gelber said, "She lacked a sense of achievement, what she was striving for was just to be a normal human being with normal family relationships, which was virtually impossible in her situation.  She had houses all over the world, but she never really had a home." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Sixteen years have past and I still feel bad for Christina.  All the riches she acquired in life are hollow substitutes.  She lived in beautiful houses but never had a home.

 During Paul's second Missionary journey we meet a businesswoman who had more than a house, she had a home. Acts 16:14-15 says "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. [15] And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." (KJV)

 There are a few things I want you to notice about her home.  First, notice that her house was a place of Worship.  Acts 16:14a says "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God." (KJV)

 While it is true that all that we do during this service should be worship, it is also true that this isn't the only place where we worship God.

 Tyler Burkum, lead guitarist for Audio Adrenaline says, "the worship movement has been huge all over the world, but it shouldn't stop in our church. Let's go into this world and worship with our lives." 

 The group created an umbrella group of 15 Christian mission organizations to encourage their listeners to reach out to their friends and neighbors. Burkum describes the Go Foundation as an organization that pairs Christians with ministry organizations that can use their talents. Burkum says, "God uses talents to interest people." He says the Lord uses his talent on the guitar most. 

 Burkum says, "You don't have to walk onto a bus and hand out flyers to worship God. You don't need to go to church and play a guitar. You don't need to take a Bible and thump them on the head to tell someone about God. You don't need to be passive either. You can be totally on fire and use your life as an example." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 I believe AA's strategy is a valid one because it is built on the premise that worship isn't confined to an event or a building.  An attitude of worship also consumes believers who open up everyday activities to the presence of God in their lives. 

 Not only was Lydia's house filled with worship, but it was also full of hospitality.  Acts 16:15b says, "she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." 

 Someone has said, "Poetry is love illustrated, hospitality is love demonstrated."

 We all expect workers in hotels to see that our beds are made and our rooms are clean, but sometimes they do more than their jobs, they show genuine hospitality.  People like Huong Dinh, a Carmel Valley Ranch housekeeper who found an envelope with $5000.00 in it discarded in a trash can and chose to turn it in to her supervisor instead of keeping it for herself.  Or Edwin Harris a Bellman over at the Embassy Suites who remembered that a guest he escorted to the 11th floor of the hotel was disabled, when there was a fire in the building and went to his room and carried the man on his own back down eleven flights of stairs.  "I only did what God gave me the strength to do," Harris said. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Hebrews 13:2 says, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." (NASB) Some have literally entertained angels, as this verse says, but others are angels, in a figurative sense, when they show hospitality to those in need.

 We show the grace of God to others with a cup of cold water, or a slice of hot pizza or warm conversation during a lonely evening.  My friend Josh Hunt is fond of saying, people aren't looking for friendly churches, they are looking for friends.  We encounter lonely people every day of our lives.  They are in the grocery store where we shop, the Sunday School classes we attend, two desks down from us in Math class, and if we look real close, we might even make eye contact with one in the mirror when we brush our teeth.  Hospitality is showing friendship and kindness to people who aren't necessarily in the position to reciprocate.   Is your home filled with hospitality?

 Lydia's home was a filled with worship and hospitality, but it was also a place of Encouragement

 Acts 16:40 says And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed. (KJV)

 Have you ever noticed how easy it is to find a critic and how hard it is to find an encourager?  Let me put that another way.  Have you ever noticed how easy it is to criticize and how easy it is to forget to encourage?

 Pat Summitt, the Lady Volunteer's Basketball Coach is a driven woman who demands the best from herself and others. You might think that her high standards and demanding ways are the reason she starts her 31st season this year with 852 victories at Tennessee, but you'd only be partially right. 

 After a dry spell in the mid 90's, Summitt lost her temper on the long ride home from a game the team should have won. Summitt chewed on one of her seniors so hard that it devastated the athlete. After a sleepless night, Michelle Marciniak, the player, called her coach at six in the morning saying she needed more than to be told when she makes mistakes, she needs some encouragement too. 

 That early morning phone call served as a "wake-up call" for Summitt in more ways than one. Slowly, she's changed her ways to avoid breaking a player's spirit. Her combination of high standards and an encouraging spirit is taking the Lady Volunteers to a new level. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

 Criticism has its place, but it always takes second place to encouragement.  The Bible says, " . . .not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25 NASB) 

 Lydia's house was filled with worship, hospitality and encouragement, but it couldn't have been any of those things if it wasn't a foundation for faith.

 Notice a the three words that appear after the word baptized in verse 15.  It says, "And when she was baptized, and her household,"

 Grace flowed through her to her family.  Please don't dismiss this as an obscure phrase or an anomaly in scripture.  Though people must decide for themselves to accept Christ as their person Savior, each decision will have influence on generations.   I've noticed the theme reoccurring throughout scripture.  Let's read a few of them together. 1 Cor 1:16 says, "Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else." (NIV) 

 Acts 10:2 says "a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually." (NASB)

 Acts 11:14 promises, "and he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household." (NASB) 

 Acts 16:31 says, "'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.'" (NASB) 

 Acts 16:34 says, "And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household." (NASB) 

 Acts 18:8 reports that "Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized." (NASB) 

 All of these scriptures are in the book of Acts and all of them show the same pattern, faith is foundational in some homes.  But the doctrine isn't restricted to Acts.  The writer of Hebrews wrote, 
"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." (Hebrews 11:7 NASB) 

 At our California Southern Baptist Convention this year we celebrated a milestone in the lives of two of our leaders.  Dr. Ron Ellis, the President of California Baptist University just completed his first decade of service with us.  Under his tenure our school has more than tripled in enrollment, attained University status and built new, state of the art facilities.  The growth continues as we scramble to provide the room for all the students who want to be a part of a "Great Commission University."  It is my honor to serve as a trustee of the University and to watch this great leader work.

 The other milestone was for Dr. Jeff Iorg, the new President of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.  I first met Dr. Iorg this summer in Indianapolis where he stole my heart.  These two men have arrived in similar places in their lives, but came from different kinds of families.

 Dr. Ellis and his wife Jane were both raised in Christian homes and are carrying on a legacy of faith.  Dr. Iorg didn't have that privilege.  He was raised in a non-Christian family to say the least.  But at this convention I heard both men say the same thing that one of the goals of their lives is to leave a Christian legacy to their children.

 Both men who have accomplished much in their lives.  But their greatest accomplishment and their greatest legacy will be the foundation of faith they lay in their own homes.

 What foundation for faith have you laid in your home?

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