Summary: What happens when God deals what seems like a demotion, but ends up in the promotion of the Kingdom.
A Welcome Demotion
Pastor Leslie A. Rutland-Tipton
1. Allow God’s diversions and demotions
a. Philip had been in Jerusalem evangelizing with the apostles. They were seeing thousands upon thousands come to Christ each day, and God was doing great miracles among them. They were enjoying the favor of the Lord as the word of Christ spread so quickly through the city.
But now take a look with me and see what happens, in verse 26, "Now an angel of the Lord said to Phillip, 'Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
i. It is difficult for us to leave where we see God doing big things. We think we need to stay there until we see the move of God coming to an end
b. It was a desert road
i. would be easy to question the reason to go down a desert road (not many travelers, harsh conditions, in the “wrong” direction”
ii. desert road can also be translated “wilderness road”
Where have we heard that word WILDERNESS in Scripture before? Who has had a wilderness experience in the Bible/
Check out this quote from studylight.org:
"The prophets felt that most of Israel's religious troubles began with the settlement of Canaan and apostasy to Canaanite idolatry, but they also looked forward to a renewed pilgrimage in the wilderness (Hosea 2:14-15 ; Hosea 9:10 , compare Deuteronomy 32:10 ; Jeremiah 2:2-3 ; Jeremiah 31:2-3 ).
Jesus overcome the tempter in the wilderness, AND He also fed the four thousand in a desolate place east of Lake Galilee (Mark 8:1-9 )."
c. It was in the “wrong” direction
i. Philip could have said “But wait Mr. Angel sir, Jerusalem is right here, this is where it is happenin’....why would you want to move me away from here?
Instead, Philip obeyed and went south.
Which moves me to our next point, and that is when we DO allow God to demote or redirect us, we are able to:
2. Meet people where they are Verse 27...So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch...Verse 30... Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the Prophet.”
a. Ethiopian official (eunuch)
i. who happened to be all the way up in Jerusalem to worship
b. He was the court official in charge of “all her treasure” it says in verse 27
c. He had a different skin color and was from a completely different culture.
[Application question: who could this man represent to us today. A stranger, a family member with questions? Somebody from the WRONG neighborhood, etc. What do we do with that? Do we brush it off, or take the opportunity to bring the Word in a way that they can relate to, on their level and terms?]
Listen to 1 Corinthians 9:
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.(AF) To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law),(AG) so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law(AH) (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law),(AI)so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.(AJ) I have become all things to all people(AK) so that by all possible means I might save some.(AL)23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Emphasize again the way the "demotion" was used. Something seemingly negative became a positive.
3. Know and utilize the Word of God
a. Eunuch was reading Isaiah 53:7-8
i. Philip knew the Scripture [As should we]
ii. Philip rightly divided the Word of God - We are to be able to correctly handle the Word of God -
2 Timothy 2:15 says so. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. [Good use of this Scripture!]
Because Philip knew what the man was reading and understood what it was about, he was able to not only answer his question (Is the writer talking about himself or someone else?) he’s also able to tell him exactly who Isaiah was written about.
He preached Christ. He shared the Message. He watered a seed big time!