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                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                  Two Households At Philippi (16:6-34)


1. With "The Conversion Of Cornelius", we were introduced to an event
   that was not uncommon in the early church...
   a. A situation where an entire family, or household, was converted
   b. We have three similar cases recorded in Acts
      1) The conversion of Lydia and her household - Ac 16:15
      2) The conversion of the Philippian jailer and his household
         - Ac 16:33-34
      3) The conversion of Crispus and his household - Ac 18:8

2. Such households likely consisted of both family and servants...
   a. Cornelius sent two of his household servants to Peter - Ac 10:7
   b. He had gathered his family as well as friends to hear Peter 
      - Ac 10:24,33
   -- Some wonder whether such families included infants as well, and 
      if so, were they were baptized too

3. As the gospel spread to Europe, the first two examples of conversion
   involved "Two Households At Philippi"
   a. With the conversion of Lydia - Ac 16:11-15
   b. With the conversion of the Philippian Jailer - Ac 16:25-40

[As we continue our study in the book of Acts, we shall examine both of
these examples in this lesson, to glean whatever we can about 
conversion, including the issue of "infant baptism".

Let's first consider...]


      1. Paul and his travel companions had been making their way 
         through modern day Turkey, with the Spirit limiting their 
         options - Ac 16:6-8
      2. Paul has a vision of a man of Macedonian pleading, "Come over
         to Macedonia and help us" - Ac 16:9
      3. Taking the vision as a sign that the Lord wanted them to go 
         there, they travel to Philippi (a chief city of Macedonia) 
         - Ac 16:10-12

      1. Paul and his companions go down to the riverside on the 
         Sabbath - Ac 16:13
         a. It was Paul's custom to find a synagogue and on the Sabbath
            to reason with Jews about Christ - cf. Ac 17:1-3
         b. Evidently there were not that many Jews in Philippi, and no
         c. But at least there were some women who met at the river to
      2. Paul speaks to them, and Lydia heeded his word - Ac 16:14
         a. She was evidently a successful business woman, yet one who
            worshipped God
            1) Her name is Greek, perhaps a convert to Judaism
            2) From Thyatira, she was seller of purple dye
         b. The Lord "opened her heart" to heed the things spoken by
            1) In what way the Lord opened her heart is not stated
            2) But she had "heard" what Paul was speaking (cf. Ac 16:
               13c,14a), and we know that "faith comes by hearing the
               word of God" - Ro 10:17
            3) Through the gospel, then, one's heart can be opened to
               be receptive
         c. She was willing "to heed the things spoken by Paul"
            1) I.e., to do or obey whatever Paul had said
            2) We can infer from what follows that it included baptism
      3. Lydia and her household are baptized - Ac 16:15

      1. Once again we see things gleaned from earlier examples of 
         a) Very religious people are being receptive to the gospel 
            - Ac 2,3,8,9,10
         b) Baptism occurs immediately, after hearing just one lesson
            - Ac 2,8,10
      2. In begging Paul and his companions to stay with her, she asks
         "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord..."
         a) What evidence was there to determine whether she was 
         b) At the very least, there was her willingness to be 
      3. Did her "household" include infants?
         a. Proponents of infant baptism often appeal to the example of
            a "household" being baptized as evidence of infant baptism
            in the early church
         b. They say it is plausible to assume infants were present, 
            but is that the case here?
            1) Lydia was a businesswoman, with no mention of a husband
            2) She was from Thyatira, possibly in Philippi only on
               business (though she did have a home)
         c. We can just as easily assume that her household was made up
            of servants, or at the least, children old enough to travel
         -- The burden of proof rests upon those seeking to support 
            infant baptism, and the evidence in this case simply isn't 

[From the example of one who was evidently a truth-seeker, we now turn
to the conversion of one who appears to have "stumbled" onto the 


      1. Paul exorcises a spirit of divination from a slave girl 
         - Ac 16:16-18
      2. Her masters have Paul and Silas beaten and imprisoned 
         - Ac 16:19-24

      1. Events leading to the jailer's conversion - Ac 16:25-29
         a. Paul and Silas are singing in prison at midnight, with 
            others listening
         b. An earthquake shakes loose the doors and everyone's chains
         c. The jailer, fearing the prisoners escaped, is about to
            commit suicide
         d. He is stopped by Paul, who reassures him that all the 
            prisoners are present
         e. Trembling, he falls down before Paul and Silas
      2. The conversion of the jailer and his household - Ac 16:30-34
         a. He asks, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved"
         b. Paul responds, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you
            will be saved, you and your household"
         c. Paul then proceeds to speak the word of the Lord to him and
            those in his house
         d. In the same hour of the night, the jailer washes the 
            stripes of Paul and Silas, and is baptized along with all
            his family
         e. He then brings Paul and Silas into his home, feeds them, 
            and rejoices that he and his family have believed in God

      1. This example of conversion does not teach salvation by "faith
         a. It is common for some people to simply note verses 30-31
            1) They offer this verse as containing the whole plan of 
            2) Denying therefore the necessity of baptism
         b. Of course, this verse says nothing about repentance, 
            confessing Jesus, etc., which the Bible requires elsewhere 
            - cf. Ac 3:19; 17:30; Ro 10:9-10
         c. The context must be taken into consideration
            1) Salvation requires faith, so it is natural that would be
               the first thing to tell someone who asks "What must I do
               to be saved?"
            2) Without faith, one is not a suitable subject for baptism
               - cf. Ac 8:36-37
            3) Having established the necessity of faith, Paul 
               proceeded to speak "the word of the Lord to him and to
               all who were in his house." - Ac 16:32
               a) Though not mentioned, would this not have included 
                  the need to repent?
               b) What is mentioned, though, is that they were baptized
               -- Clearly the "word of the Lord" included baptism 
                  - Mk 16:16
            4) It is not until after he and his family were baptized,
               that Luke describes them as "having believed in God with
               all his household" - Ac 16:34
         d. Taken out of context, one might use verses 30-31 to teach
            salvation does not involve baptism, but in the context it 
            certainly appears to play a significant role!
      2. This example of conversion reveals something about the 
         "purpose" of baptism
         a. Contrary to the doctrine of many churches, the purpose of 
            baptism is not to make a public profession of one's faith
         b. As we saw in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, 
            baptism can occur when there is only the baptizer and the 
            baptizee - Ac 8:36-38
         c. In this case, a family is baptized in the wee hours of the
            morning (after midnight, in the same hour) - Ac 16:25,33
         d. The purpose of baptism is hinted at by the fact...
            1) It was done immediately, even in the pre-dawn hour
            2) It was done whether in private or public
         e. This example of conversion is consistent with the purpose 
            1) By Peter ("for the remission of sins") - Ac 2:36
            2) By Ananias ("wash away your sins") - Ac 22:16
            -- As such, you don't delay, and it doesn't matter if done
               in private!
      3. This example of conversion provides no evidence of infant 
         a. Again, some appeal to the mention of "household" to infer 
            infants were included in the baptism
         b. Yet the text states that:
            1) Paul "spoke the word of the Lord...to all who were in 
               his house", implying that all were able to listen and
               understand what was said - Ac 16:32
            2) The jailer rejoiced, "having believed in God with all 
               his household"; i.e., everyone believed, implying the 
               ability of all to believe what they heard - Ac 16:34
         c. There is nothing here to preclude what we have already 
            concluded as necessary requirements to be a subject 
            qualified for baptism:
            1) Repentance - Ac 2:38
            2) Whole-hearted faith - Ac 8:37
            -- Both of which infants are incapable


1. With the conversion of "Two Households At Philippi", a wonderful 
   church was born...
   a. The church at Philippi, to which the epistle to the Philippians
      was written
   b. A congregation that supported the apostle Paul and the preaching
      of the gospel throughout Macedonia and into Achaia - Php 1:3-5;
   c. A congregation that was mindful of Paul even toward the end of
      his life, as he awaited trial in Rome - Php 4:10,14,17-18
   -- Never underestimate the effect of the gospel in the life of a 

2. The conversion of "Two Households At Philippi" are illustrative of
   what Jesus taught in two parables...
   a. "The Hidden Treasure" (Mt 13:44) depicts one who stumbles onto
       the truth; the Philippian jailer was such a person
   b. "The Pearl Of Great Price" (Mt 13:45-46) depicts one who is 
      searching for the truth; Lydia of Thyatira was certainly seeking
      to please God
   -- What is important to note is that the Lord knew such people 
      existed at Philippi (cf. the "Macedonian Call"), and saw to it 
      that they had an opportunity to hear the gospel

What kind of person are you?  Whether you are one who has been on a 
life-long search for truth, or have simply stumbled across the gospel,
are you willing to allow God to open your heart through the gospel and
heed the word of the Lord?

Only God knows, but perhaps you will save not only yourself, but your
whole family as well...
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