Summary: Sharing the Good News with people who are searching for God involves hearing God, obeying His instructions, asking good questions and answering with the Truth, Philip shows us how in Acts 8
STOP THE CHARIOT ! Sharing your faith, part 2
January 16, 2011
It’s still pretty early in the new year, and I’m just wondering…how are you making out with any resolutions you made for 2011? Have we started eating better, getting more exercise, quitting any ‘bad habits’, spending more time with family than with TV, creating a budget and sticking to it, etc, etc, etc? Or have we left those resolutions in the dust of the first ½ of the first month which has come, and is now gone.
How about taking on new challenges, like the one I gave to us last week of writing down the names of 5 people we can pray for on a daily basis for their journey with the Lord to begin? How’s that going? Do you have 5 names, have you written them down? Are they in a prominent place where you’ll see them daily? Have we thought about changing our computer desktop to say, ‘have you prayed today?’
Today, as we continue in a group of messages about sharing our faith, I want us to consider how AVAILABLE we are to do just that…share the truth we believe. Because that’s what evangelism is, sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Shaper of the stars, the Prophesy of old, the Messiah, the Saviour of the World who is worthy of all our praise!
Have you ever thought of life as if it going by way too quickly? Does it sometimes or always feel as if you’re on the highway of life and there’s so much going on that you wish you could stop the car and just figure things out, pause and make some serious decisions, pull over and look at a map of where you life is headed? Does that possibly sound like someone you know?
Turn in your Bible to the book of Acts, chapter 8. We’re going to read about a man named Philip, who lived a long time ago, and who was ready, willing, and able to share about Jesus with anyone…and about a man who was headed through life with lots of questions as to what life was about. He was on a chariot trip of discovery that had gone many miles, and was in real need of pulling over. So I’ve titled this message ‘ stop the chariout!’
Acts 8:26-40 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)
Philip and the Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 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, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: (Isaiah 53)
“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.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 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?” 37 Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 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. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
1) Witnessing begins with listening for God’s voice
Philip was a busy guy. He was preaching the word to the people of a city in the area of Samaria. You may recall that the Samaritans were very much separate from the Jews of that day. They were seen as half-breeds, who mixed their marriages and religions with those who lived in the land given to the Jewish people by God. The Jews despised the Samaritans. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (the one who acted like a neighbour should), and Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. He reached out in love to those whom the rest of society looked down upon. That’s a lesson right there…And Philip was doing likewise in bringing the gospel to those who needed it, and who received it. And things were going great! Until…