Monday, July 10, 2017

Passionate Witnesses

Passion is compelling.  I can be interested in a subject because of the passion of the speaker.  I can be engaged in a discussion when the discussion is spirited.  I can be led to watch a sporting event when the players are excited about what they are doing.  Passion kicks up the level of interest in almost anything.

In Acts 8 Philip becomes part of the dispersion on the Church into the regions outside of Jerusalem.  Philip follows God's leading and goes to Samaria and men and women are healed and baptized.  The apostles John and Peter follow up with Philip and lay hands on the people and the Holy Spirit comes upon the people of Samaria.  Then Philip is told by the angel of the Lord to go to Gaza and Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch who is seeking to worship God.  The eunuch is reading Isaiah.  Philip asks the eunuch "Do you understand what you are reading?"  Then Philip does three things which are essential to our passionate witness of Jesus.

First, Philip listens to God's leading as he "Goes down to Gaza ..."  Many of us feel the call and tug of God's Spirit but we fail to respond.  "Someone might hear us .... " or "I don't want to look like a Jesus-freak."  We miss the chance to be where God wants us so we miss the blessing of being in God's will.

Second, Philip listens to the eunuch's answer to his question.  One of my pet peeves regarding our Christian witness is we fail to listen when others speak.  We cut off the conversation with cliche' answers that have been programmed in us over the years.  Acts * says Philip went up and sat with the eunuch.  He stepped into the environment of the other person.  Maybe if our witness expressed caring for the other person, it would be more powerful.

Finally, Philip shares the Gospel.  He doesn't share his own opinion about God.  He doesn't allow the culture to water-down his response.  Acts 8 (KJV) said, "Philip opened his mouth ... and preached unto him Jesus.  That is the only valid message we have ... to preach Jesus.  Paul said he preached Christ and Christ crucified.  To Paul this is all we have to offer.  But it is sufficient, wonderful and worthy of telling.  The eunuch is baptized and becomes a believer.  When the eunuch returns home to Ethiopia he becomes part of the dispersion of the Church and God's Word is spread.

Listen to God's calling, listen to the other person's needs and passionately tell them how Jesus is the only answer they need.  God will bless our witness!  Randy

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