Curt Crist, pastor/teacher: http://www.welcometograce.com
Acts 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
What would be the Sabbath for the Jews? Friday evening to Saturday evening. Evidently a very religious place for the unbelieving, religious Jews. We have proselytes to Judaism, albeit they're women proselytes, which is evident in the very next verse:
Acts 16:14 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.
How did the Lord open her heart? Did he reach in and mystically magically play a string that had never been played before? Did he supernaturally push a button and cause Lydia to believe the message? He did it through the gospel that Paul was preaching to her.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Lydia believed Paul's gospel. It was the gospel message itself that had intrigued this lady named Lydia. Obviously envy and pride had not been an obstruction in her case, as it had been with the majority of the Jewish folks. Lydia had been a proselytes to Judaism, so we should expect to see something connected to Judaism come into the picture here, and that's precisely what we see:
Acts 16:15 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.
Was she a Gentile or a Jewish proselyte? A Jewish proselyte. What was told the Jews in Leviticus chapter 26:40?
Leviticus 26:40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;
If they confessed their sins, God would remember the covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That confession was called for, according to the layout and timing of Leviticus 26, when John came upon the scene; offering Israel the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. We know that wasn't necessary for sin remission. We saw that with Cornelius, but here she's baptized, you don't see him mention 'for the remission of sins' there do you? And you will not again in the book of acts.
Did Paul baptize Lydia and her household? No! If he had, would she not have been mentioned back when he told us who he did baptize?
1 Corinthians 1:14-17
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Someone else did the baptizing; he was with Paul. Luke? Timothy? Silas? We do know Silas was with him on this occasion. Why? Because we're going to see them cast into prison. So who would've done the baptizing? Silas? He was one of the Jewish elders present at the Jerusalem Council, according to acts 15:22:
Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Silas was either a Jew or a proselyte to Judaism, it really makes no difference.
There's no mention whatsoever for the remission of sins in connection with his baptism, but it would certainly have been the response of a clear conscience for a Jew, in the presence of Lydia, to baptize her. Was Silas present, and did Paul conduct the baptismal service according to his list of those he baptized? You don't see Lydia mentioned there at all. You don't see Paul conducting any baptism service, but Paul would later be able to stand in front of Kings and say 'I never taught contrary to the customs of the Jews or their fathers or the law of Moses for that matter'. So we can see something taking place here in relation to the body of Christ, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the remission of sins, as we saw in the case of Cornelius in acts 10. It was during the same time period, in Paul's second journey, that the assemblies in Philippi were established and we see their letters coming later on, at the time of Paul's imprisonment in Rome.
Always Jews or Jewish proselytes first, never going against their customs, and then gentiles. Both becoming members of the body of Christ; the new church Paul was establishing.