Acts 16:14 – A woman named Lydia was listening; she was a seller of purple fabrics from the city of Thyatira, and a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
Acts 16:16,18 – It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave woman who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing great profit to her masters by fortune-telling….But Paul was greatly annoyed, and he turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
Philippi gives a glimpse of the power and diversity of the effect of the gospel. We have a wealthy merchant, a prison guard, and a young slave who are part of the initial harvest. As the old saying goes, it takes all kinds. Here is what Barclay said about two of those converts.
“The extraordinary thing about Paul’s work in Philippi is the amazing cross-section of the population that was won for Christ. Lydia came from the very top end of the social scale; she was a purple-merchant. The purple dye had to be gathered drop by drop from a certain shellfish and so was extremely costly. Lydia, wealthy woman that she was, was won for Christ. If Lydia came from the top end of the social scale, this slave girl came from the bottom. She was what was called a Pytho, that is, a person who could give oracles to guide people about the future. She was insane – and the ancient world had a strange respect for such people because, they said, the gods had taken away their wits in order to put the mind of the gods into them.”
The casting out of a demon is significant in reaching a community. I can remember one service in the 1990’s when a world renowned author famous for her writings on vampires came to one of our revival meetings. I had no idea she was there until after the service was over. She came forward for prayer asking for “these things to be driven out of her”. I prayed for her through the laying on of hands and commanded the demons to come out. She was out on the floor under the power of God. She was helped (or carried ) to her car by her attendants/body guards. The vampire books were no longer her topic but she actually began to write about the Lord. The Lord will reach all kinds of people with His love. He will reach the wealthy merchant, someone bound by demonic activity or addiction, or even the one keeping people in bondage. He wants all kinds in His family, the greater the diversity the better.