Faith on Fire – Week 11
“The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” Acts 8:29-31
SPIRIT LED PEOPLE
In this weeks verses we got to see this in action through Phillip and his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. The Spirit tells Philip to go to a chariot and stay near it. Without hesitation Phillip does exactly what he has been told. I don’t know about you but I would have been full of questions, like what do I do/say when I get there? Won’t I look a bit weird just walking beside the chariot?
When Philip got there however it all became clear. He heard the Ethiopian eunuch reading and began talking to him about what he was reading. Through their conversation he was able to share the gospel with him and lead him to Christ.
The work of preparing the Ethiopians heart to receive what Philip would tell him had already been done by the Spirit. He was reading a passage from the old testament and had lots of questions about he was reading. At that point Phillip turns up, led by the spirit, and he is able to answer his questions and ultimately lead him to Christ.
This account is a powerful reminder to me of how we need to be ready to be led and used by the Spirit. To get to the place where Phillip was in being able to go without hesitation, he must have been walking closely with God so he knew his voice when he spoke to him. It’s amazing to think that the same Spirit that led Phillip is with every Christian and is with you and me. He can and will use each of us in different ways, we just need to be willing and ready.
THE PROCESS OF CONVERSION
This passage reminded me a lot of the process of someone coming to know Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It isn’t one of us ramming scripture down people’s throats, and although there is a place for preaching the gospel in large groups and many people hearing, I love this picture of a gentle one on one conversation.
In my Facebook Live I spoke about the stages we see there and the work that God has already done in the background. God had done all the hard stuff!! Putting the idea out there – God has done. Softening this person’s heart – God has already done. Making them interested in the gospel – God has done! So when Philip arrives on the scene, all he has to do is to come alongside this person, listen and pay attention to the cues he is already giving and then ask permission to help him. The really important step is that the eunuch invites Philip openly to talk to him about this. He lets him in. We will never help people see the amazing loving God that we know if we barge in uninvited. It has to be the other person’s decision.
Yes there are many things we can do to help lead to this point – our actions, our love, our words or comments on things might help us get to the point where if we ask “can I share my faith with you” people will say yes and give us permission. But ultimately it is their choice, and we need to respect that. We need to trust that God is doing the work that we cannot. We need to trust that God will lead us to those who are ready and will allow the answer to be yes when we ask them. We need to let God be God, and we be his workmen.
Well a few weeks back we saw the moment where Saul was there approving the death of Stephen. But this week we see the moment that his life changes for ever. This is the verse we will be meditating on together:
“The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Acts 9:7-9