Climb In The Chariot sermon notes. Notice that Philip started out with instructions from an angel. I promise you that if we will start out, the Spirit will help you every time. THEN the Spirit became involved – Go to that chariot and stay near it. Sometimes, we just need to simply stay near people and be accessible to them. If we will, they will invite you to CLIMB INTO THE CHARIOT.
HAVE YOU INVITED ANYONE?
by Delbert Young
Climb In The Chariot!
Scripture: Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 8:26-28, Revelation 19:10, Hebrews 13:1-2, Acts 8:29-40, Acts 1:8, Acts 8:30-32, Acts 8:36-38, Romans 6:3-5, Acts 8:39
The struggle for the church everywhere and in every generation is remembering why it exists. Reverend George Antonakos of Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, MD said, “You know this has always been a struggle for the people of God. God called on a community called Israel and they forgot why they existed. They were supposed to be a witness to the nations and through self-centeredness and idol worship and all kinds of other things they drifted from God and they went to the ineffectiveness of exile.”
Mark 16:15 He said to them, GO into all the WORLD and preach the good news to all creation.
The reason we exist is to GO INTO OUR WORLDS and tell people the good things about Jesus. Life Gate Church, as we know it today, actually began in 1986 when a group of believers from the Assembly of God and a small group of believers meeting on Chattanooga Street combined. The Assembly of God in LaFayette had been in existence since the early 60’s. When I came to town and became the pastor, there were about 30 people. They reached 30 people in 30 years. My point is they obviously got away from why they existed. The group on Chattanooga Street had been in existence for several years as well. I think about 8 years when the two groups came together. They grew to about 30 people. They too obviously got away from why they existed. In 1987, we purchased this facility and renovated it from a once Coca Cola, then car dealer, then hardware, then feed store building to what it is now. We have grown and reached people over the years, but not nearly as we should, nor as the Lord would like. Have we gotten away from why we exist? Why does the Assembly of God exist? Why did the Church at LaFayette exist? Why do we exist? Is it not to reach people and make them devoted followers of Jesus Christ? So, WHO HAVE YOU INVITED TO CHURCH this week? Many, maybe most, of us have failed because many/most of us must answer, “I have invited no one. I have talked about Jesus to no one.”
Matthew 28:19-20 GO YE therefore, and TEACH ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus said we are here to reach and teach people from all nationalities. That’s the sole reason we exist. So, WHO HAVE YOU INVITED TO CHURCH this week? Have you talked to anyone about the things Jesus commanded we talk to people about?
I want to talk today about allowing “spiritual help” to lead us to people. I want to talk about a man named Philip who was not an apostle, a pastor, or elder. He was a church member just like you and just like me, but he was sensitive to the Spirit.
Acts 8:26-28 Now an ANGEL OF THE LORD said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” SO HE STARTED OUT, and on his way he met an ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.
If you have been around my teaching much, you know that the term angel in the Bible does not necessarily mean a creature with wings, etc. The Greek word is aggelos (Strong’s #0032) and means (to bring tidings); a messenger; by impl. a pastor. A PASTOR? That’s weird! An angel is a messenger from God. For example, in the Book of Revelation, the letters to the churches were written To the angel of the church in Ephesus… Smyrna… Pergamum… Thyatira… Sardis… Philadelphia…Laodicea (Rev 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). At one point in the Revelation, John was so overwhelmed that he attempted to worship the angel.
Revelation 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I AM A FELLOW SERVANT WITH YOU AND WITH YOUR BROTHERS WHO HOLD TO THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have ENTERTAINED ANGELS UNAWARES.
An angel is simply a messenger from God. Most likely, you have encountered, maybe entertained, angels, but were unaware of it! The point is, sometimes God will use people to let you know that someone needs you to speak to them about Jesus. How many of us ever had someone to say something like, “I wish you would talk to …”? This angel said to Philip, “I wish you would go and talk to this Eunuch.” We must be sensitive and willing for God to use us. Sometimes someone telling you about a person’s situation and you giving them a phone call and invitation will bring them into the kingdom. Let’s read some more of the story.
Acts 8:29-40 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.
Notice that Philip started out with instructions from an angel. I promise you that if we will start out, the Spirit will help you every time. THEN the Spirit became involved – Go to that chariot and stay near it. Sometimes, we just need to simply stay near people and be accessible to them. If we will, they will invite you to CLIMB INTO THE CHARIOT.
The Spirit directed Philip to meet a person from a different race and culture. In Philip’s “religious world,” neither Ethiopians nor eunuchs were accepted. It was a person that, most likely, he would never approach. It was a man who had a sex change (as it were). Philip uniquely touched that man’s life because of his sensitivity to the Spirit. How many confused lives could we touch in our worlds if we would be sensitive to the Spirit? Philip simply allowed spiritual help to direct him.
Did you know that the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to give us the ability to witness to people about Jesus?
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the HOLY SPIRIT COMES ON YOU; and you will BE MY WITNESSES in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
How many of us believe we have the Holy Spirit in our lives – that he has come on YOU? Then, WHO HAVE YOU INVITED… The job of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to witness. The Spirit desires to lead and guide us to people from all over. He desires to help us witness just as he did Philip. True sensitivity to the Spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us to people far from God and witness to them about Jesus. What does a witness do? A witness is only to tell what he or she knows – what they have seen/heard. Anyone can do that. Anyone can tell someone what Jesus has done in his or her life. That is not frightening nor is it difficult.
One day I was playing golf with a man far from God. As usual, when I am around people, something about church, scriptures, or the Lord comes up. When that happens, I know it is the Spirit working. His excuse and defense for not being a Christ follower was the authenticity of the scriptures. He had several thoughts about some debatable issues in the Bible. After some discussion, I looked at him and, without thinking, spontaneously said, “Allow me to tell you how I feel. If someone could prove to me right now that Jesus Christ never existed and the entire Christianity thing was fake, I still would not change how I live. My life works. This is how life should be. My life is great.” He looked at me with no response because his life was not great and he knew I was aware of that. Not long after that day, I prayed with him to receive Jesus and not long after that, I baptized him just as Philip did. “What creates a sense of impact in evangelism for a congregation is in those unrehearsed conversations, in those spontaneous moments in which the Spirit of God prompts us to speak to someone whose heart is prepared. And he just kept taking the next step, go south, okay. Go to this road, okay. Go to this chariot, okay.”
Acts 8:30-32 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. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth…”
The Holy Spirit did not tell Philip to ask that. It was spontaneous, but opened the door to the eunuch’s chariot. How many conversations have you had this week? I do not mean “spiritual” conversations. I mean normal, spontaneous, conversations with people. Maybe hundreds? How many of those conversations included something where a person did not understand something going on in his or her life? By their telling you, they were inviting you into their “chariot” in hopes you could help them understand. Let me tell you. If people know you are a Christian and go to church, they will invite you into their chariot. They expect you to have some understanding. Even if they do not simply begin telling you everything they are experiencing, you can stay close and with compassion ask, “How are you dealing with/understanding what you are experiencing right now?” “How are you doing?” No matter what they do not understand, Jesus is the answer. It is a perfect opportunity to invite them to church or life group or to pray. That’s all there is to it. You were given an opportunity and you took it. That’s what Philip did.
There must have been some extremely serious conversation taking place as Philip sat with the Ethiopian eunuch. I mean, you do not just look at a man and know he is a eunuch and we are not told that the Spirit told Philip that part. The man himself revealed that part of his life to Philip. Perhaps it went something like this: “Philip, I need to tell you something about myself because I don’t know that God would want me. You see, I am a eunuch. I had this operation and, well… I just don’t know if God loves me.” When you CLIMB INTO THE CHARIOT with people, you never know what you will hear. Did God love that eunuch? Of course he did. God specifically sent Philip to bring that person into the kingdom of God. Maybe the person the Spirit will lead you to will have experienced an abortion. Does God love her? OH YES! So much so, that he sent you to her. Maybe the person you are in the chariot with actually had a sex change operation. Does God love that person? OH YES! So much so, that he sent you to him or her. Maybe the person you are in the chariot with is a homosexual or lesbian. Does God love him and her? OH YES! That is why you are there. Now, he does not approve of that lifestyle, but he does love them and wants them to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior so they will overcome. Obviously, Philip did not condemn that man. He shared with the man the love of Jesus. Philip helped the man grasp understanding. Philip patiently sat in the chariot riding along.
Acts 8:36-38 AS THEY TRAVELED along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
Philip obviously instructed the man that water baptism is a part of the salvation experience. I do not make a big issue of it, but they did go down into the water and verse 39 says they came up out of the water. It is total emersion. It is a total death to the old life and resurrection into the new with Christ.
Romans 6:3-5 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
The reason I point this out is because we will have water baptism as soon as I finish this lesson. This is what happened to the eunuch. Through baptism, he died to his old life and experienced burial with Christ. Then, just as Christ raised from the dead, that eunuch too lived a new life and he will be in the resurrection. That is what will happen here in a few minutes to several.
Acts 8:39 When they came UP OUT OF THE WATER, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but WENT ON HIS WAY REJOICING.
I want to make one more observation of the passage before we end. The eunuch went on rejoicing in Jesus. Philip went on being sensitive to the Spirit to the next person needing Philip to ride in his chariot. A point I want to make is that we are not responsible to “disciple” every person we bring to Jesus. Sometimes, we need to move on, being sensitive to the Spirit taking us to the next person and there is always a next person.
I think that all of us were like that eunuch at some point in our lives. Maybe you didn’t have an identity and felt unlovable. You did not understand many things happening in your life, but God sent you a Philip to CLIMB INTO YOUR CHARIOT. The Spirit may have whisked away your Philip, or your Philip may still be close by you. The question I must pose to you though today is to whom are you a Philip? Into whose chariot have you climbed? Are you even close by someone’s chariot? The sole reason the church exists is to reach people and make them devoted followers of Jesus Christ. How is Life Gate doing? Do you listen to angels asking you to help? Are you sensitive to the Spirit? Can you have a spontaneous conversation with people about Jesus? If so, then you will reach people, even the outcasts. Very possibly, you are in someone’s chariot right now. Shouldn’t they be baptized? Doesn’t God love them?
Let’s stand and bow our heads. Maybe you are the eunuch today riding along trying to make sense of what you are experiencing. Your life is unproductive. You are confused. There is no understanding about what is going on in your life. It’s time to let Jesus climb into your chariot. If you do not, life will continue to be messed up. If it’s time, here is how you will know. Your hands are clinching, your heart is pounding, and your mind is dealing with what you should do. Don’t let the devil talk you out of this moment. Here is all you need to do. Simply ask Jesus to become your Lord and savior. If that is you, will you raise your hand where you stand and pray after me…..?
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