An audio file of the sermon from January 22 is available at this link.
“When Paul crossed over from Asia Minor into Europe, the first place he came to was Philippi, and soon he met Lydia, who was a successful business woman, “a dealer in purple cloth.” Wealthy, urban women like Lydia were at the heart of the success of the early, apostolic church. They provided a financial base, of course, but as an even more practical matter they had large houses, big enough to host worship services. Wealthy men were slower to respond to the gospel, because in Roman culture they had more to lose socially.
“As soon as she’s baptized with her household, Lydia wants to be part of what Paul and his colleagues are doing. She invites them to stay at her house. If the familiar pattern across the Roman world holds, her house from that moment would have been the meeting place for First Church, Philippi. This is what he calls “partnership in the gospel” in his letter. The Philippians were partners in the gospel “from the first day,” he says. And indeed, the way Acts tells the story, it does sound as though Lydia and her household were baptized on the first day Paul and his colleagues were in town.
“In the Roman world, those who taught and lived the gospel needed each other. They had to stick together, because nothing about that culture supported them.”