Acts Chapter 8
TELL STORY OF THE DEAD WHALE ON THE BEACH.
(SCATTERED MEAT ALL OVER THE PLACE)
Acts 8:1-3 (NIV)
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. (Stephen)
The Church Persecuted and Scattered
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
JUST LIKE THAT WHALE,
THE CHURCH WAS SPREAD ALL OVER THE PLACE.
AND PHILIP WAS A BIG CHUNK OF GOSPEL PREACHIN' CHRISTIAN, PREACHING TO THE SAMARITANS.
Acts 8:4-6 (NIV)
Philip in Samaria
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
IN VERSE ONE WE CAN SEE THAT THIS PHILIP WASN’T THE APOSTLE PHILIP. (ALL EXCEPT THE APOSTLES WERE SCATTERED)
HE WAS ONE OF THE SEVEN LAYMAN WHO SERVED BY WAITING ON TABLES RIGHT ALONG SIDE OF STEPHEN
Acts 6:5 (NIV) WE READ THAT...
5 They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
THESE LAYMEN WERE DOING AN AMAZING WORK FOR GOD
I. PHILIP’S CALL.
IT HAPPENED WHILE PHILIP WAS INVOLVED IN A GREAT REVIVAL IN SAMARIA,
THINGS WERE GOING GREAT WHEN
GOD CALLED HIM TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.
WE DON 'T ALWAYS KNOW WHEN OR WHERE GOD'S GOING TO CALL US TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.
IT'S USUALLY THE ONES WHO'RE ALREADY DOING GOD'S WILL THAT CAN HEAR HIS VOICE THE BEST.
SAMUEL’S CALL IN THE NIGHT.
1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV)
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
THERE WAS A YOUNG MAN WHO HAD JUST LEFT A WEDNESDAY EVENING BIBLE STUDY.
AS HE SAT IN HIS CAR, HE PRAYED
"LORD WE STUDIED TONIGHT ABOUT YOUR SPEAKING TO SAMUEL. DO YOU STILL SPEAK TO PEOPLE TODAY?
IF YOU'LL SPEAK TO ME, I'LL TRY TO OBEY."
ON THE WAY HOME HE PASSED A CORNER GROCERY STORE WHEN HE HEARD A LOUD VOICE IN HIS HEAD SAYING,
BUY A GALLON OF MILK,"
HE SLAMMED ON THE BRAKES AND PULLED OVER TO THE EDGE OF THE ROAD.
"IS THAT YOU LORD?" HE ASKED?
BUY A GALLON OF MILK THE VOICE REPEATED.
THIS IS CRAZY HE THOUGHT, BUT IF IT IS THE LORD, I TOLD HIM I WOULD OBEY, SO HE BOUGHT THE MILK.
THEN AS HE WAS DRIVING HOME HE HEARD THE VOICE AGAIN. "TURN DOWN THIS STREET AND STOP"
HE RELUCTANTLY TURNED DOWN THE STREET AND STOPPED IN FRONT OF A SMALL ROW HOUSE THAT WAS ALL DARK. IT WAS LATE AND THE OCCUPANTS OF THE HOUS APPEARED TO BE ASLEEP.
THE VOICE PROMPTED HIM, "TAKE THE MILK TO THAT HOUSE.
SO SHEEPISHLY HE KNOCKED ON THE DOOR.
THEN A MAN OPENED THE DOOR AND STARRED AT HIM.
TREMBLING THE YOUNG MAN SAID, "I DON'T KNOW WHY, BUT I FELT LIKE SHOULD BRING YOU SOME MILK."
THE MAN AT THE DOOR GRABBED THE MILK AND RAN BACK DOWN THE HALL SHOUTING IN SPANISH.
A YOUNG WOMAN CARRYING A BABY CAME TO THE DOOR WITH TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER FACE.
SHE EXPLAINED IN BROKEN ENGLISH,
"WE HAD NO MONEY TO BUY MILK FOR OUR BABY, SO I PRAYED AND ASKED GOD TO SEND AN ANGEL WITH SOME MILK. ARE YOU AN ANGEL?
THE YOUNG MAN EXPLAINED HIS STRANGE URGE TO BRING MILK TO THEIR HOUSE.
THEN HE GAVE THEM ALL THE MONEY IN HIS WALLET AND LEFT PRAISING AND THANKING GOD THAT HE STILL SPEAKS TO US TODAY IF WE WILL ONLY LISTEN FOR HIS VOICE.
ACTS 8 TELLS OF ANOTHER MAN ALMOST 2000 YEARS AGO WHO OBEYED AN ANGEL AND SAW THE FRUIT OF HIS OBEDIENCE. IT WAS PHILIP, ONE OF THE 7 LAYMEN.
LETS GO TO VERSE 26
Acts 8:26 (NIV)
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.”
I’M CONVINCED THAT GOD HAS A CALL FOR EVERYONE.
BUT THE QUESTION IS, HOW DO WE GET TO THE PLACE WHERE WE CAN HEAR GOD'S CALL FOR US?
Philip sensed an impulse, a tug, a movement, a direction from the
Holy Spirit to approach the eunuch.
WE NEED A SENSITIVITY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
THE POSB SAYS;
If we wish to hear God speak to us through the Holy Spirit,
then we need to be plugged into the power source, which is God’s Word.
“Philip’s sensitivity to the leadership of the Holy Spirit enabled him to hear and respond to God . . .
We become more sensitive to God’s leading when we develop a close personal walk with him.
It is through personal Bible study and prayer that we come to know God and his ways.”
If we are in touch with God by spending time in his Word, then the Spirit will definitely speak to us.
DO SOMETHING FOR GOD WHILE YOU’RE TRYING TO FIND YOUR CALL
PHILIP WAS ALREADY DOING GOD’S WORK WHEN HE GOT A MESSAGE FROM THE LORD.
Acts 8:29-31 (NIV)
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.
JUST LIKE THE YOUNG MAN WITH THE MILK,
THE SPIRIT SPOKE TO PHILIP.
HE SAID TO GET UP CLOSE TO THAT CHARIOT.
NOW THIS CHARIOT WAS NOT A RUN OF THE MILL ORDINARY CHARIOT.
IT WAS THE KIND THAT WAS USED BY ROYALTY.
THE GUY WHO WAS READING ISAIAH WASN'T DRIVING THE CHARIOT,
HE WAS BEING CHAUFFEURED,
HE WAS RIDING IN STYLE.
HE WAS A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON.
IT SAYS IN Acts 8:27-28 (NIV)
HE WAS ...
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.
NOTICE THAT PHILIP WASN'T INTIMIDATED BY THE "IMPORTANCE" OF THIS MAN.
PHILIP WAS FOLLOWING THE VOICE.
PHILIP GOT SO CLOSE TO THE CHARIOT,
THAT HE COULD HEAR WHAT THE EUNUCH WAS READING.
THE EUNUCH WAS READING ISAIAH 53:7 & 8
Acts 8:32-33 (NIV)
32 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.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
II. PHILIP WAS QUICK TO GO AND DO GOD’S BIDDING
PHILIP ASKED THE EUNUCH IF HE UNDERSTOOD WHAT HE WAS READING?
AND THE EUNUCH ADMITTED THAT HE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND AND THAT HE NEEDED SOMEONE TO EXPLAIN IT TO HIM.
HE SAID IN Acts 8:31
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
AND PHILIP DID.
HE STARTED FROM THAT VERY PASSAGE AND TOLD HIM THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST.
F. Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York.
It was Easter Sunday and he was so tired at the end of the day that he went over to the edge of the platform, loosened his tie and sat down with his feet draped over the edge of the platform.
It had been a wonderful service and many people came forward.
The counselors were still talking with these people.
As Jim was sitting there he looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, he was disheveled, and filthy.
He looked up at Jim rather sheepishly, as if to say, “Can I talk to you?”
THIS IS HOW JIM CYMBALA TELLS THE STORY.
We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever.
So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday.
I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for some more wine.”
He walked up. When he got within about five feet of me,
I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled before in my life.
It was so awful that when he got close, I could only inhale by looking away,
and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale again,
because I couldn’t inhale while facing him.
I asked him,
“What’s your name?” “David.”
“How long have you been on the street?” “Six years.”
“How old are you?” “Thirty-two.”
He looked fifty- with his hair all matted; his front teeth missing; and wino; eyes slightly glazed.
“Where did you sleep last night, David?” “Abandoned truck.”
I keep my money in my back pocket. It's in a clip that also holds some credit cards.
I fumbled to reach the money clip thinking; I’ll give him some money.
I won’t even get a volunteer, because they’re all busy talking with the others.
Usually we don’t give money to people. We take them to get something to eat.
I finally got the money out. But David pushed his finger in front of me.
He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it.
I’m going to die on the street.”
I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself.
I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me.
See how easy it is?
I could make the excuse I was tired but there’s no excuse.
I wasn’t seeing him the way God sees him.
I wasn’t feeling what God feels.
But oh, how that changed!
David just stood there. He didn’t know what was happening.
I pleaded with God, to forgive me. “Oh God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me.
I am so sorry to represent You this way. I’m so sorry.
Here I am with my message and my points,
and You send somebody and I am not ready for it. Oh, God!”
Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep deeper,
and David began to weep.
He fell against my chest as I was sitting there.
He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other.
The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma.
Here is what I thought the Lord said to me:
If you don’t love this smell, I can’t use you, because this is why I called you where you are.
This is what you are about. You are about this smell.
David’s life was changed that day.
He started memorizing portions of Scripture that were incredible.
We got him a place to live.
We hired him in the church to do maintenance work,
and we got his teeth fixed.
He was a handsome man when he came out of the hospital.
They detoxed him in 6 days.
He spent that Thanksgiving at my house. He also spent Christmas at my house.
When we were exchanging presents, he pulled out a little thing and he said, “This is for you.” It was a little white hanky.
It was the only thing he could afford.
A year later David got up and talked about his conversion to Christ.
The minute he took the mic and began to speak, I said, “This man is a preacher.”
This past Easter we ordained David.
Today he's an associate minister of a church in New Jersey.
And I was so close to saying, “Here, take this; I’m a busy preacher.” Oh, How we can get so full of ourselves.
III. PHILIP’S FRUIT
Acts 8:36 (NIV)
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?”
Acts 8:38-39 (NIV)
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.
Acts 8:40 (NIV)
40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
THE RESULTS OF PHILIP'S OBEDIENCE
Christian tradition tells us the eunuch's first convert was the
Queen Mother Candice, herself. Years later, when the first missionaries arrived in Ethiopia, they found a thriving church started
by this eunuch.
THERE ARE A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO DON'T KNOW CHRIST, TODAY.
AND IT'S BECAUSE THEY'VE NEVER HEARD.
NO ONE HAS TALKED TO THEM ABOUT GOD.
WE'VE GOT TO FIND A WAY TO BRING GOD INTO OUR CONVERSATION WITH THE PEOPLE WE MEET EVERY DAY.
WE'VE GOT TO FIND A WAY TO HEAR THE PROMPTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR DAILY LIVES.
Ezekiel 33:8-9 (The Message)
If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins
and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life.