Have you ever had the joy of leading someone to Christ? Remember the joy as you prayed for and with someone who was calling out on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness, salvation, and a new life? Then the joy of watching that new believer grow up in the things of our Lord into maturity. I tell you there is nothing like it.
We are still setting the introduction of the Book of Philippians before diving into chapter one. I wanted us to see how Paul came about being there are starting the new church and the joy Paul had in seeing that young church mature in the Lord. The group of believers in Philippi may have been Paul’s first converted group in Europe which is recorded in Acts 16:6-40. He had the joy of seeing them come to Christ and then he watched as they grew up in the things of God.
Acts 16:12-13 ESV and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. (13) And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
It would seem that the woman Lydia was his first convert, who continued to play an important role in the church after Paul left Philippi.
Acts 16:14-15 ESV One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (15) And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
However, many times the joy of seeing someone come to Christ is followed by persecution for preaching the Gospel of Christ. Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi for casting out demons from the fortune-telling woman who practiced divination. The imprisoned two were supernaturally delivered and they ended up speaking the gospel message to everyone in the prison including the jailer.
Acts 16:22-23 ESV The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. (23) And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.
Acts 16:29-32 ESV And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. (30) Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (31) And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." (32) And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
This proves that if we rejoice even in our darkest hour, God will turn our mourning into dancing and joy.
Psalms 30:11-12 ESV You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, (12) that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Jeremiah 31:13 ESV Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.