Acts 8

Acts 8 begins with these chilling words: “And Saul approved of his execution” referring to the stoning of Stephen.  What a legacy that created.  Saul was all about destroying the church and the Christ Followers.  “A great persecution against the church…..they were all scattered”.  Saul led the charge that caused people to flee for their lives.  Look at what he does:

–       “Ravaging the church

–       Entering house after house

–       Dragged off men and women

–       Committed them to prison

Saul was focused on one thing – destroying the church.  So how do the Christ Followers respond?  Check out what scripture tells us; “those who were scattered went about preaching the word”.  Did you catch that?  They may have been forced from their homes but they were not forced from their calling – they remained faithful.  They stayed on task and went all over Judea and Samaria and preached Jesus Christ crucified.  They continued to live out their faith as God had commanded them to do.  How do you respond when things get tough around living as a Christ Follower?  Do you just give up and stop walking with Him?  We are called with a mission to be faithful and to walk with Him making disciples of all people in our patch.  We are charged with that task.  Just like the early followers – we need to persist and keep on.

Philip has moved on to Samaria and is having much success in leading people to Jesus.  But as he ministered there – he received a call from God to move on.  We need to learn from this story.  It would have been easy for Philip to justify staying put.  Things were going well in the ministry.  He was having great success.  Why pick up and move now?  Because God called him to do so: “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and go toward the south”. So Philip did as God asked and he runs into an Ethiopian eunuch who was a court official riding in his chariot.  Philip gets his marching orders again from God: “And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot”.  Philip could have resisted or ignored the Spirit’s direction.  We get led to do things over and over each day and often ignore the whisper of God through the Spirit don’t we.  Obedience is a choice.  And obedience when we are out of our comfort zone is a big choice.  Philip listened and obeyed and is invited to climb up beside the eunuch and teach him the scriptures.  “Philip opened his mouth….told him the good news about Jesus”.  No big presentation. No PowerPoint or prepared material.  Philip just obeyed God’s direction and shared life with this guy.  The result was powerful and “he baptized him”.  Why?  Because Philip listened to the voice of the Spirit leading him to leave his comfort zone and go where he was called.  The Spirit gave him the appointment, the words to say, and the results.  All Philip had to do was be willing and obedient.  God took care of the rest.  He will do the same for us as well.  Are you listening?  Are you obeying His call?  He wants to use each of us just like He did Philip to change the world!

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