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Notes on Acts 8 Sermon - 6/5/16

Sermon notes - Acts 8

In the middle of the movie Star Wars: Episode IV, Master Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi and two others infiltrate the Empire’s Death Star battleship to rescue warrior Princess Leia, a leader in the Rebel Alliance. As they’re fleeing to their escape ship, they see Obi Wan Kenobi fighting Darth Vader, the Enforcer of the Emperor. During the battle, Obi Wan says one of the more memorable lines of the entire saga, “Strike me down and I’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” And then what happens? He’s struck down. But it only leads to the eventual destruction of the Death Star and the beginning of the end of the evil empire. The effort to crush the rebellion only leads to its expansion.

In a way, this is what’s going on in Acts chapter 8. The early church is being persecuted and yet they keep growing in number and location. One of these early Christians is named Philip, whom we first meet in Acts 6. He’s one of the ‘chosen seven’ who take on a local deacon-like role of distributing food and caring for widows. But that does not mean he (nor we!) neglect our other duties (and delights!) of evangelism, discipleship, and missions. Philip is a wonderful role model in this regard, obeying God right away, all the away, wherever he’s at. He’s a faithful witness to God’s goodness and grace that is extended to everyone by the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. When an angel of the Lord tells Philip to leave Jerusalem and go to Gaza, he immediately goes (vv.26-27). When the Spirit tells Philip to speak to the eunuch in his chariot, Philip runs to the chariot (v.30). He overhears the eunuch reading from the prophet Isaiah (vv. 32-33). “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asks the eunuch. “How can I unless someone guides me?” (vv. 30-31) “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (vv. 34-35) Indeed, all of Scripture refers to Jesus in some way. It’s all about Jesus and for Jesus and by Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20).

Christian or not, in order to understand the Bible, people must understand its purpose, and that is to point us to Jesus, look at him on the cross, and see the invitation. Like Philip, are you ready to preach Christ from anywhere in Scripture? Are you ready to ask good, thoughtful, open-ended questions to your friends and neighbors to better their know their story? Are you ready go wherever God calls you, like Philip? Do you have an updated passport? Are you physically fit to travel? Do your children know you could be called to live somewhere else for the sake of the gospel? While Philip did go where he was called, he also stayed in one place for an extended time (Acts 21:8). Are you ready to grow where you’re planted? Do you have a plan to really engage with and get to know those around you? Those co-workers, soccer parents, and friends you see on a regular basis?

This summer is a great time for this! People are often more relaxed, less stressed, and more open to reflect on life and talk about meaningful things. Let’s be bold for Christ in these coming weeks, taking the initiative to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God.