Joy in the city
When we, as ordinary Christians, go out full of the Spirit, there is much joy in the city! People get saved, they get healed and they get delivered of unclean spirits. The Spirit is the counsellor and as we ask Him to do His thing in us, we get set free. When we ask him for others, they get set free.
In v.17 we find the Spirit comes upon people when we lay hands on them – have you had that experience? Are you daily asking Him to fill you again. Grab someone on Sunday or at group if you haven’t. It’s a game changer. Actually a life changer! It was so amazing, that Simon the magician wanted to pay for the ability – but it’s a free gift.
As we get to Philip in v.26 – we find this soup-kitchen table servant is also demonstrating he is full of the Spirit and wisdom. An angel tells him to go to a certain place. I’ve had God whisper to do that twice – once to someone sat on a swing, (when I got to him I found I knew him) to tell him that the Lord does indeed want him to go into full time ministry. The next time was to answer the phone at the church office and talk someone out of suicide (before the days of mobiles in our pockets!). Learn to listen to the whisper of the Spirit and obey.
When Philip finds the Ethiopian eunuch, the man is reading the Scriptures. Isaiah 53 in particular. That’s a power packed passage full of the message of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. But Philip doesn’t start there. He listens to what the man is reading and the question he has – who is Isaiah talking about? He began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Listen to people, start with where they are and take them to Jesus. It’s a common pattern in Acts – As Phil Moore writes “Peter and the other apostles go from people’s starting points – confusion over tongues speaking, surprise over supernatural healing, indignation over claims to spiritual authority and accusations over blasphemy.” Start where people are, and take them to Jesus.
Last week we were having breakfast in an Israeli vegetarian café. (Weird huh! Especially as we then had lunch at a Palestinian street-food stall!). The young server was telling us that she was catering a party the next day. ‘How can you be doing that on the Shabbat’, I asked. She then told us that she wasn’t Jewish, she was actually Romanian. I told her I only knew 5 words of Romanian “Buna Ziua, Isus te iubeste” – Hello, Jesus love you! She said that was all you need! I started from where she was at and begun to take her to Jesus. I need more practice as I wasn’t sure how to take it further. At lunch we blessed the Palestinian guy who happened to be a Muslim. He told us he was fasting for Ramadan. I’ve just learnt that we could have told him that Jesus fasted forty days and nights to beat sin for him and then died as Abraham’s sheep sacrifice to reconcile him to God. Next time!
When people come to Jesus they need to be baptised just like the eunuch in v.37.
i) They went down into the water – it’s not a sprinkling, it’s a dunking
ii) Baptism follows repenting – so it’s for believers, not babies. Repentance and faith is what saves us. Baptism is the pledge of a good conscience, Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21 – it’s a first sign of obedient faith
iii) It was straight away – Philip had just had some flack for baptising Simon the Magician who subsequently floundered. It wasn’t once bitten twice shy. He baptised the eunuch immediately on profession, to seal the deal. Paul was similar in Acts 16:15 where Lydia expressed doubt as to whether or not he considered her a true believer!
- Come to Christ if you haven’t already – see here
- Ask the Spirit to fill you again and again and give Him an opportunity today
- Be baptised if you haven’t already – get in touch