05/15/16 He Said Arise and GO!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, May 16, 2016 Under: Sermon

Acting Like Jesus Series – Acts 8:26-40

Intro: Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, famous evangelist, said that the New Testament records tell of forty people, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of this number, thirty-four were either brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to them. In only six cases out of forty did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance. Of the vast number of people who find their way to Jesus today, most of them reach Him because the friends of Jesus are concerned about the welfare of their souls. So the simple question I ask of the church: are you a friend of Jesus? We will all say quickly we are a friend of Jesus however, It has been estimated that probably 95% of all church members have never led anyone to Christ.

In our Acting like Jesus series today God is seen leading Philip to a single person who needed to know Christ, and in the interview between the two we have a strong study on witnessing. We see just what is involved in witnessing to an individual. The example here with Philip has not changed for us today, we too are asked to arise and Go!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 Text: Acts 8:26-40 (NKJV)

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." 34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”

Application: A friend of Jesus’ acts like Jesus and witnesses.

In our lesson today Philip is the disciple God uses to speak to all of us today:

1. What Philip Found: Vs. 26-28

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

The first thing Philip found was that he was led by an angel a (ministering spirit), a messenger of God. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 There is no doubt that God still send’s messengers in our life for an assignment.

There was a particular individual that God wished to reach with the gospel and save, so God sent an angel to instruct Philip where to go. Philip had no way of knowing God's will in this particular case, not apart from a personal confrontation from God. So God confronted and instructed Philip in such a way that Philip knew exactly what God's will was. The angel instructed Philip to arise, to go—to go south to a certain road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza. The road was a desert road. So by faith Philip went.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

The cry of the hour is for believers to arise, to go out into the roads of the world to trust God to lead to those who are seeking Him. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

“Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.” Matthew 22:9-10

What Philip found, what Philip saw was a man riding in a chariot returning from Jerusalem. Philip found a foreigner, a man from Ethiopia. Ethiopia was hundreds of miles from Jerusalem. The eunuch had been to Jerusalem to attend a religious feast. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING I AM NOT GOING TO WITNESS TO THAT FOREIGNER! Too often believers shy away from foreigners, shy away from anyone who differs from them. God wants us to reach everyone, no matter what nationality they are. Everyone is a foreigner to some people of the world. Everyone differs from someone else. We cannot let differences keep us from witnessing and sharing Christ.

Philip found a high ranking government official who served under the Queen of Ethiopia. The upper levels of society and government must be reached for Christ as well as other citizens Philip found a eunuch. Being a eunuch shows that he was a man of extreme commitment and dedication, a man who was probably seeking after truth. It takes a person of commitment and dedication to be saved. The lazy, complacent, unproductive, and comfortable do not have enough interest and concern for life to be genuinely saved. Philip found a worshipper a man who was reading the scriptures. The man was experiencing a deep hunger and thirst for God.

2. What Philip Did: Vs. 29-34

Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." 34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?"

Before we talk about what Philip did we must first see that he sensed the impulse, the tug, the direction of the Holy Spirit to approach this particular man. And he sensed the man needed Christ. Have you had that feeling? There is great need to be led by the Spirit in our witnessing. But this necessitates being surrendered and controlled by the Spirit. The great need of the hour is for believers to be controlled by the Spirit of God. Then and only then can we expect to be led by the Spirit. The Spirit of God will guide and direct us. The problem is not the Spirit's willingness to guide and direct us. The problem is our not being surrendered and controlled enough by the Spirit to sense and know His direction. The Spirit of God has been trying to gain control of people's lives ever since Christ walked upon the earth. He has needed lives to reach the world, but so few have been willing to put their lives under His control, so few have been willing to "arise and go."

So let’s look at what Philip did; Philip obeyed the Spirit of God. He ran up to the man. When he did what the Spirit instructed, Philip found out that the man had been prepared to receive the witness of the Lord. He heard the man reading the Scripture out loud. Philip initiated a conversation with the man, he took the lead; he spoke first. Philip joined the man. The man invited Philip and welcomed him. The man was one to whom the believer was to go, one who welcomed the witness. Believers are not to go to those who do not welcome the message.

The man was extremely faithful in worshipping God. He had travelled hundreds of miles to worship in the temple at Jerusalem. But the man had a problem. He did not understand the most basic truth—the truth that Christ had died for him. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” Isaiah 53:7-8

The man just did not understand the Scripture. He did not understand that Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled the prophecy that the Savior had already come and died for the sins of men. Many do not know Christ today. Why? For the same reason the eunuch did not know: they have never heard. No believer has gone to tell them.

3. What Philip Experienced: Vs. 35-40

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”

What Philip experienced came after he said and proclaimed the Gospel, he preached Jesus. He took the prophecy in Isaiah and answered the very question of the man. Philip showed how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. He preached the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus. In his experience what Philip saw happen. He saw the man desired baptism. The man (eunuch) believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

What Philip experienced was the continued leadership of the Holy Spirit. His task was done with the Ethiopian, It was time for him to move on, and so the Spirit of God took him away. Conclusion: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

God’s Hand on Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash! Known internationally as the great country folk singer of all time, he broke all attendance records at the London Palladium. Cash found that his rise to stardom brought more than fame and fortune. It brought problems. While he was rising professionally and more and more Gold Records were added to his collection, in his personal life, things became worse.

Show business pressures soon drove him to take “pep pills,” and soon he became addicted to Amphetamine. His first arrest came in 1965, when he was caught with more than 1,000 pills in his pockets. From 200 lbs. he went down to 140 lbs. in weight. Side effects from drugs caused him a severe car accident—he broke his nose and knocked out four teeth. He was going steadily downhill.

Then on May 9, 1971, Johnny Cash sat in a pew of a small church in his home town. The pastor finished his sermon and appealed to the congregation to come to the front to “make things right” with God. Johnny Cash stood up and walked a few steps to the wooden altar. God put his hand on Johnny Cash … Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t bring in other Johnny’s, or Jimmy’s or Suzy’s and allow God to put His hand on them?

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