Summary: See the remarkable workings of God in reaching one lost man.
No one is beyond God’s reach, unless he chooses to walk away from Him.
• We are going to see today the extent to which the Holy Spirit works in order to reach someone and save him.
• You can never tell what the Spirit of God can do, because He can surprise you and save the most unlikely candidate in the remotest place.
We are going to look at one of the most unlikely candidate for conversion in the Book of Acts.
• He found Christ at an unlikely place, and not through any human planning but by the supernatural leading of Spirit himself.
• Yes, we must do our part. Philip has to make himself available to the prompting of God’s Spirit. But it is not all of man’s efforts.
• Without the Spirit, we cannot. Without us, God won’t. That’s why the Lord has not commissioned angels to do it, but people like you and me.
This whole enterprise is a joint-venture, between the Spirit and the evangelist.
• The highlight of this encounter is that this man did not get to know Christ through an evangelistic meeting, not through anything that is organised and planned by men.
• This same Spirit is working today, in the lives of many who are seeking Him. It’s not the efforts of man; there is nothing we can boast about.
• This also tells us no one is beyond redemption. If he seeks God, he can be saved.
This man was from Ethiopia in Africa had come all the way up to Jerusalem (800km) to worship God (v. 27). [Below Egypt is Sudan, and then Ethiopia]
• So out of all the tens of thousands of Jews and Gentiles and Samaritans that need Christ, the Lord sets His eyes on this man and sends an angel to Philip, the deacon-evangelist, and says in verse 26, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."
• Is there anyone you feel quite unlikely to know Christ? Let God surprise you.
• And it can take place in a way beyond our comprehension, through circumstances we cannot humanly plan for.
This man was a seeker. He wanted to worship God. He took a long journey to Jerusalem. He was reading the book of Isaiah.
• And the Lord met him. The Lord kind-of met him half-way, even before he reached Jerusalem.
THE PERFECT TIMING OF SPIRIT
• Philip goes, like Abraham probably, not knowing all that God has in mind.
• When he gets to the road, the Spirit tells him the next step to take. This supernatural guidance comes one step at a time.
• In verse 29 the Spirit says, "Go up and join this chariot." That’s all he says. Not what for. Nor who is in the chariot. Just go to the chariot.
That’s faith. We don’t like that. We want to know everything before we do something.
• But God does not work that way. Abraham moved out without knowing where. Moses out the people out and the next thing was the Red Sea.
• God wants to see faith. Faith in Him, faith in what He said.
The timing of the Spirit proves perfect.
• At that very moment Philip, no doubt wondering what he would do or say when he got to the chariot, hears the Ethiopian reading out loud the book of Isaiah (probably in the Greek version).
• Not only was Philip at the right place at the right time, but the man was reading the ‘right’ passage. The most appropriate passage – Isaiah 53:7-8, about the Messiah, about Jesus the Lamb who was sacrificed on our behalf.
Now Philip knows what the Lord has been doing.
• He has directing him to this desolate place where there is this one lone chariot and man from Ethiopia that he needs to meet.
• Why? Because the Lord is merciful. He wants to show mercy to man who is seeking Him.
• You seek Him, you will find Him. God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb 11:6).
The Lord orchestrated the salvation of this one man, and probably the evangelization of Ethiopia.
• We can’t know for sure, but a church father Irenaeus wrote in the 2nd Century that this Ethiopian man became a missionary among his people (‘Against Heresies’ iii.12.8; cf. Psalm 68:31).
• Philip proclaimed the good news of Jesus to him (v.35). The Ethiopian believed, was baptized (v.38) along the road, and went on his way rejoicing (v. 39).
• When he has done what he was called to do, God took Philip away to Azotus by the Spirit in a supernatural way.
It’s amazing. This incident tells us God works in more ways than one.