Sunday, March 10, 2019
Unstoppable: The Revolutionary Gospel
Part 9: Going Where the Spirit Leads
ILL: There is a story about Walter P. Chrysler. At the time he was a master mechanic on a railroad. He was 35 years old and he bought his first automobile with borrowed money. It was a $5,000.00, four-door Locomobile. The car was delivered to his hometown in Iowa and then towed to a barn at the Chrysler home.
The story said that Mr. Chrysler studied that car for three months before he ever attempted to drive it. Using the instruction manual, he took the vehicle apart, spread the pieces on newspapers and made sketches; then he put it back together.
His theory was, he had to understand it before he could drive it. (Sermon Central Illustrations)
Like Mr. Chrysler many people do not understand the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And like Mr. Chrysler, they will never understand until they sit down with God’s manual, the Bible, and have it reassemble their own lives.
Today, we are looking at a man named Philip who allowed God to reassemble his life and be used by Him for the advancement of the Gospel.
In Acts 8:9-25, we discovered a man named Simon who was a sorcerer in Samaria. What is interesting in this text is that Simon convinced the Samaritans that he was a great power, and some of them considered him to have the great power of God.
But Philip who was one of those that left Jerusalem because of the mayhem that Saul was starting, went down to Samaria to preach Christ. There he presented Jesus who is the Christ, and the people of Samaria believed and were baptized. It was Simon who witnessed this and realized that his lucrative hustle was coming to an end, so he to, with a different motive declared belief and was baptized. But we found out that what is in the heart would soon be revealed by the Spirit. And Simon would be revealed as an imposter.
The apostles in Jerusalem heard that the good news was being preached and accepted in Samaria and they sent Peter and John down to Samaria to pray and to lay their hands upon those who were there, that they may receive the Holy Spirit. Simon seeing this, instead of him asking them to lay their hands on him, so that he too could receive, instead offered them money, so he could lay his hand on people as well. Thus, revealing his motive to entice the people once more into thinking that he is great.
In today’s text, Acts 8:26-40, our focus is again on the Holy Spirits’ use of Philip. We all have witnessed what can happen when a man of God is influenced by the Spirit of the God. We must understand that the Lord not only uses those He chooses to perform miracles of the physical kind, but He also use them to perform miracles of the spiritual kind.
Philip is now seen on a desert road just south of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit had given him instructions to go there. He didn’t go there for rest and relaxation. The Spirit sent him there by reason of another person needing what he had to offer.
So, come with me now as we see how Philip’ life is led by the Spirit. READ TEXT
1. Going Where the Spirit Leads Means Going into Strange Places (Vs. 26-28)
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.”
Many times, you or someone you know will ask the question, “How do you know when the Spirit is actually speaking to you?” And the answer to that question is simple, but yet it will take a sincere child of God to apply.
You see when the Spirit is speaking to you, you can rest assured that He is telling you something that you might think is unreasonable, or He is telling us something that we would not like to consider. For example. It didn’t make sense to us, that the Spirit was telling us to move here 13 years ago. It made no sense to us to leave a growing, viable ministry in Vancouver, WA to return to Utah, specifically here in Roy. To conventional thinking that just didn’t make good sense. But we had to come to grip with the fact that (1) It was not my ministry that He wanted moved, but it was the His, and (2) the Spirit was moving the Lord’ ministry to Roy to provide a need, both immediately, and in the future. I hope you all can understand how the Spirit works.
The text is showing us Philip being led by the Spirit. He had been in Samaria preaching and teaching and now the angel of the Lord is speaking to him and instructing him to go towards the south just below Jerusalem and towards Gaza.
Now we should note that the Spirit did not give him a reason for the trip, He just told him to go, and Philip went. Now the text said that the place in which he was going was a dusty road in the desert. And verse 27 said that he arose and went. That verse should make us aware of Philip’s obedience to the Spirit. He could’ve argued the point that it was desert land, but he didn’t, he just went.
We can learn something from Philip. We too need to go into desert places. We need to get away from comfortable settings like stained glass windows and cushy chairs and find our way down to some desert community. In fact, we would not have to go far because we could start right here in Roy, where the people are dying of thirst for the Word and the temperature is steaming hot with sin. If we are to be a church that is Spirit led, we must let the Spirit lead.
Philip, we find was doing the Lord’ work in Samaria, but a true child of God understands that, that will not be his/her only assignment. Sometimes the Lord stops us in the mist of what we are doing, and He would send us on another mission for the kingdom. That is what we call, letting His Will be done.
2. Going Where the Spirit Leads means Going with Purpose (v. 29-36)
“And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So, Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’ “And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ “Then Philip opened his mouth and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’”
Philip understood that the ministry that he was in really didn’t belong to him, it belonged to the Lord and was led by His Spirit. He had just got another assignment from the Lord and was headed towards the area in which he was told. He understood the move of the Spirit.
Philip was probably there on the Day of Pentecost when they all were filled with the Holy Spirit. He was possibly there when Peter corrected the devout men of Jerusalem by letting them know that they were not drunk with wine. He most likely heard the story about Peter and John healing the lame man begging at the gate, and the five thousand that was saved through the dynamic preaching of the Peter. So, Philip understood the move of the Spirit and how Spirit led men are used.
And here in the text we find Philip being obedient to what the Spirit had said. He is on his way somewhere on a desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. The Spirit didn’t tell him who he was going to meet, or what he was to do. He just told him to go. Much like the Lord God told Abraham to leave his homeland and kindred and to go where He instructed him.
Before the Lord can entrust you with His major assignments. He needs to know and [He does know] if you are faithful to His cause or not. He is looking for a few good people that is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and is not only interested in their own thing but is interested in kingdom building.
3. Going Where the Spirit Leads Means Accomplishing the Mission (v. 38- 40).
“And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through, he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.”
Note: Vs. 37 “And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may’, and he replied, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” is not found in many translations because it isnot found in the early manuscripts of Acts. It appears to be a later scribal addition. It is usually given in footnotes where is contains the profession of faith by the Eunuch – an early Christian baptismal confession.
Philip had gone where the Spirit had told him. He did not know what to expect, all he knew was that the Spirit was leading him into the desert. When he arrived on that desert road there, he saw his next assignment. It was an Ethiopian eunuch sitting on his chariot reading the book of Isaiah. It was at this point that the Spirit once again took control. It was this eunuch that wanted the understanding of the scriptures. And that was the mission the Spirit had for Philip.
You see he had read Isaiah 53:7,8 about Jesus being the sheep prepared for the slaughter, and how He never said a word. It was about this text that the eunuch wanted to know of whom the writer was talking about. And that is when the Spirit took control of the conversation and started to teach him about Jesus. Now because of Philip’ obedience, it resulted in another soul for the kingdom.
As they traveled, the eunuch saw some water and had a desire the be baptized. And that is when Philip asked him if he believed with all his heart. I hope you get this.
Too often we the church baptize people not because they believe but because they, like Simon, wish to be like the rest of us. They are not baptized because they believe with all their heart, they are baptized because that is something that they knew never happened in their lives. Now don’t get me wrong because I’m not talking about all who are baptized, but I am talking about those of us who were baptized, and nothing had come of their life.
But let me close with a question. Do you know the Lord well enough to allow Him to lead you with His Spirit?
I know that you know Him, but do you really know Him. Let me help you.
Many of us know the founder of Microsoft. He is Bill Gates. But in all reality, we know him as a computer genius, but we really don’t know him. Only a few can walk up to him and say, “Bill, how are you doing?”
And that is the way some people are with the Lord. They know Him as the babe in the manger, but they don’t know Him as the one who died for our sin.
But when you are Spirit led. Not only do you know Him, but you trust Him, and not only do you trust Him, but you love Him, and if you love Him, you will obey Him and share the good news of the Gospel with a world that needs His guidance.