Thursday, August 21, 2014

Start Here

Friday, August 22, 2014
As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia.  The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning.  Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”  Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah.  Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?”  And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.  The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:  “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.  And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.  He was humiliated and received no justice.  Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.”  The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”  So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.     Acts 8:26-35 (NLT)
I cannot say how many times I’ve been asked how to go about sharing one’s faith.  And it’s a good question, a fair question. 

Pastors often preach on spreading the Gospel – how it is our responsibility to help proclaim the Kingdom of God; and the person in the pew shifts uncomfortably because he’s never been shown how to do that.

Well…Here’s how to do that:

Philip is a great model for sharing your faith.  He was prompted to move towards somebody who needed to know Jesus (first by an angel, then by the Spirit of God).  The key is Philip’s obedience; he was told to go and he went!

First objections:  I’ve never seen an angel, and how do you know it’s the Holy Spirit?  

Well, I’ve never seen an angel (that I know of) either, but the prompting of God’s Spirit is something you will begin to recognize if you live a life like Philip lived.

Philip spent three years hanging out with Jesus; in that time he was constantly observing and talking with Jesus, learning what moved the Lord and why.  This is requirement number one:  keep spending time with Jesus; prayer, reading His Word, serving people and fellowship with other believers is what develops sensitivity to the whispers of God’s Holy Breath.

Philip moved close to the Ethiopian’s chariot because he was accustomed to two things:
                      a.      He had grown accustomed to listening for the Spirit’s prompting
                      b.      He had committed himself to the mission of caring for his fellow man

When it comes to sharing your faith there are only those two requirements; God will prepare the other person’s heart to receive your witness, but He requires a humble servant who will love a neighbor and listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

When God provided this opportunity Philip simply asked a “conversation-opening question”.  God had already moved in the Ethiopian’s heart…he was reading Scripture and interested.  Philip was an answer to the man’s longing to know God.

Sharing your faith isn’t complicated; it is simply telling your story of how Jesus came into your life.  With most folks who have never done that, the scary part is getting started. 

There are techniques you can learn to “break the ice” and get started.  But no technique will ever replace your heartfelt concern for your lost neighbor or a heart committed to serving God’s kingdom by sharing that heart.

For You, Today

Do you hear the Spirit leading today? 
Are you quiet enough to listen?

Do you care enough to speak?

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