In Acts 17:11-40, Luke records how three different people experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ. My belief is that Luke records them one after the other because he’s showing us how it is people come to saving faith. The bottom line: people get saved in different ways.

The first is Lydia. Paul wanders down to the river where some women were washing clothes. What we know of Lydia suggests she’s wealthy, perhaps well-educated, and professionally successful. Paul has a rational, calm, thought-provoking conversation with her. The text says, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (17:14).

The second is the female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She kept hovering over Paul and his team shouting “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” That statement is a true statement, but look at what happens next: “She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!'” This was a very different encounter than the one Paul had with Lydia. But the result was the same.

Last is the Philippian jailer. He’s a “man’s man.” A tough guy. Muscular. Calloused. Probably, if Paul uses the method he did with Lydia, he won’t be receptive. If Paul uses the method he did with the slave girl, he’ll just shout right back at Paul. God uses something different to save him – a traumatic experience. The earthquake hits. The chains fall of Paul and Silas. And this jailer is on the brink of executing for losing prisoners. All of this shakes this tough guy up to be receptive to Paul’s message.

Here’s the point: God uses different circumstances and methods to bring people to himself. Conversion is never a “one size fits all” proposition. For some a rational conversation over a cup of coffee. For others a confrontation with some “bite” to it. Still for others, it will take a traumatic life experience.

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