The Spirit-Led Expanse of the Gospel
"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 ... Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” - Acts 8:26,29
The Lord moved first...and then Philip moved in obedient and responsive worship. This is the way of the New Covenant and a beautiful example for all of us to follow. May we simply trust and follow the Leader. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). May we note those who so walk as a pattern and learn to do likewise.
There are many great examples of faithfulness in the Scriptures but when it comes to being obedient in the small things and being ready to preach the gospel on a moment's notice, Philip serves as a great example for us all. He faithfully served as a deacon in Jerusalem to help the practical needs in the church family there and then he shows his faithfulness when scattering with the other disciples during persecution as he seizes the opportunity to preach the gospel as Christ's witness in Samaria.
At his obedience, Spiritual revival breaks out. Multitudes begin turning to Jesus by the power of God and the obedience of one. Don't miss that dear saint!
We are told that "the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did" and that those who were bound up with unclean spirits or paralyzed were healed. We learn that great joy came to the entire city, which reveals the presence of God...BUT then, out of nowhere, the Lord led Philip to leave.
Leave? ...Why now? ...God is moving and ministry if fruitful! Why would the Lord take one of his faithful servants away when there is so much fruitful ministry going on where he already is?
The Lord reveals to us a very important principle: namely that, obedience to His will is more important than the visible fruit that we see. His ways are not our ways and He sees the unique needs of all of His children and knows who to send and how to orchestrate every divine encounter that will eventually lead to more people being saved, sanctified, and set free. The obedience of one eventually leads to the influence of one leading to many.
The Spirit leads us in many different ways. Sometimes, the Spirit leads us to certain people in a certain place. Other times, He leads some people who are unhelpful away from us. And then there there are times when He leads people to come to us.
In this case, Philip was led by the Spirit on a road to a desert place in Gaza where there was a soul was who sincerely seeking God. Philip responded, not with bitterness, but with eagerness to do the next thing His Lord was giving him to do. So after being told to go after the chariot that he saw in the distance, he eagerly caught up to it only to hear the Scriptures being read from the scroll of Isaiah in a prophetic section concerning the Messiah. Philip conversed with this man beginning with a simple question and then preached Christ to him.
We learn these Three Evangelistic Tips from this encounter:
1. Be willing to seize an opportunity whenever it opens up.
2. Discern what is the best way to build a bridge with the person you are speaking with.
3. Ask good questions and aim to move them as close to Christ as the Lord leads.
Philip now knew why the Spirit of God led him to this very place and he took advantage of his opportunity and preached Christ to him. All Scripture points to Jesus and our lives should do the same as living epistles for the world to read.
Are you ready to respond in obedience today to however the Lord should lead? Are you willing to preach the Gospel to whoever comes into your sphere of influence? Praise the Lord that through the obedience of Christ, we have all been saved. Now let us respond with a readiness to make Him known!
The Apostle Paul would later pray these words, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak" (Col. 4:2-4)
ACTS IN ACTION Challenge Point:
- Pray for open doors to share whatever truth you can.
- Be willing to follow the Lord wherever He leads.
- Always turn the focus on Christ whenever possible.