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February 25 2007 Isaiah 19:19-25 Acts 8:4-13
If someone were to ask you, “could you name me some prominent Africans in the bible”, how many could you name. Moses was an African. Aaron was an African. Marian was an African. The entire nation of the children of Israel were all Africans at one point. That means David was a descendant of Africans. Jesus was a descendant of Africans. All the disciples were descendants of Africans. Don’t forget according to the Bible, Jesus Mary and Joseph all called Africa home for a period in their lives. We forget this because we keep allowing others to take Egypt out of Africa and put it in the middle East.
God has never crossed Africa out of his plans for humanity. Scriptures tell us about Egypt, about Cush, about Ethiopia, and about Cyrene which are all located in Africa. In the Old Testament reading, God says in Isaiah. Isaiah 19:25 (NIV) 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance." Do you recognize, long before Africans became slaves and Africa became the dark continent, God has proclaimed Africans are His people. When we talk about our history, sometimes we do not look far enough back to understand where we have come from, and who our God truly is.
It is important for us to know who we are and where we came from, in order for us to know what is truly expected of us. Our history did not begin in slavery. Our history began in God when God said, “let us make man in our own image” and God created male and female to rule over this earth. But some how, through sin and selfishness we allowed racism, sexism, classism and greed to enter the world and we have been a pretty messed up bunch of humanity ever since.
As a church we proclaim “Our purpose is to enter into a right relationship with God and be equipped for the ministry of Jesus Christ to make a difference in the lives of others.” I want us to look at an African who took our purpose statement seriously long before we even came up with it. But first I have to set up the setting for what took place.
Our story involving the African had probably been about a year or two after Jesus’ resurrection and maybe not even that long. But persecution broke out against the church, and all the believers ran out of Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria. The saints were being arrested, dragged from their homes, and sent off to prison.
Philip was one of the original 7 deacons and he too fled to Samaria. But he started preaching, and God gave him the power to do all kinds of miracles. Because of the miracles he was doing, people started getting saved and giving their lives to Christ. This revival or crusade was so big, that word got back to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem church sent Peter and John to Samaria to find out what was going on. They were impressed with the mighty working of God in Samaria.
In the midst of this big revival taking place, an angel comes to Phillip and so says go south to the road, the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. Now God is interrupting this great revival that is going on and reassigning Phillip to what looks like a dead end job on a desert road. The city of Gaza had been destroyed over a 100 years ago.
If some of us had been Phillip, we would have told the
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