Summary: Who does God position to serve in the kingdom? What qualification does a person need?
We have been talking about a vision for our church. I made some general suggestions about hot important it is to find what our earthly vision, That it should be found by looking at God’s vision as found in scripture.
Last week we looked at a parable of Jesus that indentified choices when determining who a neighbor is. The theme of the story….Love – Go and do it. A command that Nikie uses as a slogan.
It was based on the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” Where we noticed that some in the story made a choice to go on by. No excuses or motives were identified…jus the choice. Then there were a series of choices that the Samaritan man made in this complex situation which just cost him more and more even to the point that the cost had no financial limit.
Today we are thinking about possibilities and neighbors. Let’s read our scripture this morning: Acts 8:26-40
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.
"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth."
The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
We need to start with which Philip we are talking about here….This Philip is not on of the apostles. This Philip does not come on to the scene until Acts chapter 6 when 7 men are chosen ad Deacons. The requirements were to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. “They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and also Philip."
As this chapter opened – Stephen had been stoned - executed. And the Christians started getting out of town. Philip sparks Samaritan revival of sorts. He gets help form Peter and John. And then we pickup with our reading this morning….
So Philip is a lay person that is filled with the Spirit of God and Wisdom. What great qualifications. We don’t really know if he got any specific training. It may be that God prepared him by providing those two gifts.
The scripture indicates that he was told by an angel to take a certain road….A road that leads to the wilderness.
Go…. Go where? Why?
Philip responds and goes and runs across the Ethiopian eunuch , an important official in the government of Queen Candace. We also learn that he had been in Jerusalem to Worship…This made him a gentile proselyte. However, he was not really eligible because of alterations that had been made to his body. His inability to have children made him unacceptable for temple worship.
It seems that he was taken by the Jewish faith and went to the great expense of purchasing a copy of Isaiah. He is struggling with a passage.
It seems that this is a divine appointment, something supernatural. God is pitting the Ethiopian and Philip together. Philip gets one more word this time form the Spirit. Go over and stay close to that chariot….
Through the supernatural perpetration of God….a possibility appears…
What change does a on the run from persecution lay disciple have with a foreign official? I imagine that they have very little in common. One has a chariot and the other his own two feet and maybe sandals.