July 22, 2024
- By Ed Powell
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"And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went." Acts 8:26-27
Philip had been preaching the gospel in Jerusalem, and many were being saved, healed, and delivered from all kinds of evil. God was working mightily through him. Suddenly, "the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip and said, Arise and go toward the south unto Gaza, which is desert." If you had been Philip, what would you have done? Philip's response was immediate, complete, and in full obedience.
The Lord's standard of discipleship is very simple and very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will respond without hesitation. Obedience takes precedence over everything else, because our obedience is backed by the reality of the love of God. Whenever we obey God, His seal is always that of peace, an unfathomable peace that is not natural, a peace only He can give. Philip left his preaching in the midst of a wonderful outpouring of the power of God, but God had a purpose in sending Philip into the desert on the way to Gaza. God had an appointment with an Ethiopian. He needed Philip.
When an Ethiopian eunuch needed the gospel, Philip was God's messenger to reveal the Scriptures to him. How marvelous are the ways of God when we follow with unwavering obedience in childlike faith. The eunuch was reading in Isaiah 52 and 53. He had difficulty understanding the passage and asked Philip "of whom the prophet spoke; of himself or some other person?" Then Philip "began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus!" As the Holy Spirit revealed to him the Scriptures, his eyes were opened, and Philip led him to saving faith in Christ. When they came to a place where there was water, the eunuch asked if he could be baptized. Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Philip baptized the eunuch and was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.
How important was it for Philip to respond in obedience to the Lord? It has been said that God used the Ethiopian eunuch to open up the whole country of Ethiopia and the surrounding countries to the gospel. This laid the foundation for the spread of the gospel to the western world. Little did Philip know the eternal impact of his simple obedience, ministering to one whom God placed in the way. Many today are living in desert places, longing for the water of life, thirsty for answers to the discord of their lives. May we respond as Philip, when God puts in our way a "eunuch" to be ministered to. God used Philip to touch one man's life, but the results spread throughout the entire western world. Every circumstance is an occasion God has provided for us to be led by the Holy Spirit and for Him to manifest His power. Be sensitive to His leading and buy up every opportunity to witness and be a testimony wherever God leads. Only eternity will tell the results of a life you may touch by obedience to His leading.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2024-07-22
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