Summary: Philip the deacon has now become Philip the preacher. This message shows us the importance of making friends with those who do not know Christ. We must be available to the lost when they have questions.
The Power of a Changed Life
“Follow that Chariot!”
Philip is now entering a new phase of his ministry. Thousands have now come to Christ and you have to stop and ask the question ... why would God move him from an area where he is touching so many lives in Jerusalem to a place like Gaza. The place and the timing both seem odd. Gaza was about 50 miles SW of Jerusalem and to get there Luke tells us he must go down this desert road. Now for a moment contrast Philip here in the NT with Jonah in the OT. God spoke to Jonah and said clearly I want you to go to Ninevah and preach the gospel. The Bible says that Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Joppa. God said you go one way and he went in the opposite direction.
Now again compare Jonah to Philip. God tells Philip to go to this desert place and the scripture tells us what he did. Get this .. When God calls us to do something, go somewhere, or speak to someone, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time we must act in faith. Over and over we see in the scripture that God called out his people but many times he chose not to give them all of the details.
God spoke to Abraham in the book of Genesis and said leave your country, leave your people, leave your Father’s house and I want you to go to a land I will show to you. If someone came to you and said, drop everything, pack your bags i want you to go somewhere else, what would your first question be? Where? This takes faith.
God spoke to Moses and said i want you to got to Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses says suppose I go and I say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you and they ask me what your name is, what do I say ... God says tell them “I am who I am.” There is story after story in the scripture, where God asks His people to do something but He doesn’t give them all the details. There is a reason. It’s called faith. God does not do anything outside of the realm of faith.
In this passage today we encounter deacon Philip .. one of the 7 chosen to be a leader in Jerusalem .. last week we watched as he preached in Samaria to Simon the Wizard. The Bible describes him as a man who was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit and today we see Philip sharing his faith with a new believer.
For years I struggled with this thing called witnessing. Sharing my faith. Largely because I didn’t know what to say. I put a license plate on my car that said “Jesus”. I had a bumper sticker that said: warning, in case of rapture this car will be unmanned. My key chain was leather in the shape of a fish because I wanted to be a fisher of men. But I wasn’t leading my friends to Christ. Maybe you struggle with this also. Or maybe you are one of those who thinks it’s just the job of the pastor or other leaders in the church. But I want to tell you leading people to Christ is both the privilege and the responsibility of every believer.
So today I want to give you some help and encouragement in this area so you can get started if you have not already done so. First of all we must understand that you cannot separate the spiritual part of life and the physical side of life. Here is what I mean. If I ask you the question, how much time do you spend with the Lord each day most of us would add up how many minutes we spend in prayer and Bible study each day. So many would say less than 15 minutes a day. Then we go to work, we have appointments, we have places to go and people to see... we come home .... we eat, we spend time with our family or friends and that’s our day. Now listen God is interested in that 15 minutes but don’t you think that He is also interested in how we spend the other 1425 minutes each day?
Let me give you some principles we see in this passage to help you learn to share your faith effectively.
1. God will direct us to lost people. According to Barna Research the number of people in the U.S. Who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ is somewhere in the neighborhood of 180-190 million people. That is over ½ of the population in America. If that group of lost people were a nation by themselves, it would be the 5th, possibly the 4th largest nation in the world. Here’s the point. There are lost people everywhere. And if you will just ask God for direction, ask him for a sign if necessary and then when he places someone in your path don’t question whether or not it’s from the Lord. God will direct you to the right person.