North Anderson Baptist Church
Follow the Spirit of God’s Leadership
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    domingo 10:30 AM
From Chapter 6 of the book of Acts we see the church electing seven men who were guided by the Holy Spirit to be chosen to become deacons of the First Church of Jerusalem. Two of those men we know much about but the other five we do not. They were all to be filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom and were selected to serve the church and her needs. But with two of these men, God had a different plan for their lives. Stephen was given the privilege by God to preach the Word of God and the story of Christ to the Jewish leadership who became so angry and almost mob-like to such an extent that they killed him. When that happened the persecution of the church was on. God’s precious Spirit, through the persecution, caused Christ followers to be scattered everywhere and one was Philip, another deacon, who went to the area of Samaria to preach the Gospel and witness to Christ. Our message today is about this deacon, Philip, and how the leadership of the Holy Spirit came about in his life and ministry.

As we look at this subject, “Follow the Spirit of God’s Leadership,” we can divide the study up into three thoughts:
1. Persecution and scattering of the church
2. Powerful preaching in Samaria
3. Personal witness to the Ethiopian
1. Persecution and Scattering of the Church - v. 1-3

Why was there persecution of the church in Jerusalem? From the very beginning the Jewish leadership was opposed to Christ and His followers. They did all they could to stop their message. In Chapter 7 of Acts, we see that because of the preaching and the accusations of Stephen against the Jews for killing Jesus, everyone seemed to go after the followers of Christ and seek to do them harm. Because of the man named Saul, who participated in the death of Stephen and his wild rage against the followers of Christ, all those who claim the name of Jesus, except the apostles, left the city in fear of their lives.

The Bible Exposition Commentary talks about the persecution that came to the church and that persecution was to the church what wind does to seed: it scatters it and only produces a greater harvest. The word translated "scattered" (diaspeiro, Acts 8:1,4) means "to scatter seed." The believers in Jerusalem were God's seed and the persecution was used of God to plant them in new soil so they could bear fruit (Matt. 13:37-38). Some went throughout Judea and Samaria (see Acts 1:8), and others went to more distant fields (Acts 11:19ff). Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1.

In reading about the church in China today, we see that the persecution is so great and destructive, much like the first century persecution, the government thinks this is the best way to control Christianity but God’s work is growing in great numbers in spite of the harm the government of China seems to inflict. Someone recently said to me that the Chinese Christians don’t want the Western Christians to pray for the end of persecution but to ask for God’s great hand of power to be used to grow the church more, reaching more people for Jesus. They basically said they didn’t want to be like the American church, which is weak and less effective in reaching people for Christ.

We see God’s leadership in the persecution and the scattering of the church recorded in Acts 8 so the seeds of the Gospel can be sown as Jesus called for when He told the disciple,
2. Powerful Preaching in Samaria - v. 4-8

The Spirit of God once again took hold of one of His servants, this time the other deacon listed in Acts 6. Though the scattering people went everywhere, Philip was led to go to Samaria. Remember the Samaritans were hated by the Jews, but God loved them and wanted them to come to believe and follow Jesus; so God’s Spirit led Philip there to share the Gospel story to all who would listen. Samaria was one of those areas that Jesus said the disciples would go to share the Good News of Christ. (Acts 1:8) Philip needed to go where the Spirit’s guiding him so he would fulfill the plan that Jesus gave His disciples right before He ascended to heaven.

What we read about the work of Philip is astounding. He freely preached and taught about Jesus. The Bible says that Philip preached Christ. Preached that the Messiah had come, and made known His doctrines. The same truths had been before stated in Samaria by the Saviour Himself, John 4 and this was doubtless one of the reasons why they so gladly now received the word of God. The field had been prepared by the Lord Jesus; and He had said that it was white for the harvest, John 4:35 and into that field Philip now entered, and was signally blessed. His coming was attended with a remarkable revival of religion.

Philip was given the ability to heal many people, all who were diseased and filled with evil spirits. The Bible says that because so many people were healed physically the city displayed great joy. They were not only being touched physically by God’s healing hand but spiritually they were being changed by the message of Christ. Evidently the preaching and healing really stirred up the people of Samaria and God began to have many followers there.

Wherever the Gospel is proclaimed in faith by His servants God will bring forth fruit. The harvest might not come immediately like it did for Philip but it will come because God’s Word says in Isaiah 55:11,
From all perspectives it looks like there was a great revival taking place in Samaria and Philip was right in the middle of it. But God…
3. Personal Witness to the Ethiopian - 26-40

But God, through the Spirit of the Lord, sent an angel to Philip and told him to leave where he was in Samaria, even though he was involved in a great revival with many souls being saved, and to go down from Samaria to the desert road between Jerusalem and Gaza. That could have been a journey of between 30 to 40 miles and that was walking. Why would God take a man who was preaching the Gospel very successfully and send him somewhere out in the desert? Philip didn’t need to know why God wanted him to go somewhere else. If the Lord tells us to go somewhere, we ought to go whether we understand or not. And, Philip did go and was obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. One of our problems today is that we think God owes us an explanation of everything He does for us or asks us to do for Him. We have to ask God “why” all the time. One of the great characteristics of faith and followship of a Christian is to trust in the Lord and His Word.
Philip seemed to be a man like that. It is not every day an angel appears to you; so I guess Philip knew without a shadow of doubt that God’s leadership was real and there was a purpose for going. Has God tried to get your attention, maybe not by sending an angel, but none-the-less He did something to let you know to do this or that? Most of the time for me God speaks to my heart by the Spirit and tells me I need to go to see someone to talk to them or to comfort them. Whatever the reason, He does let me know. I will tell you I have had times that I have refused because it would cause me to have to go out of my way or take up too much time and I found out later the reason why God’s Spirit spoke to my heart but it was too late to do anything about it. If fact, there have been times that God's Spirit urged me to go see someone and I refused and the person died right after that before I could see them.

Do not play games with God! He has a reason for the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

God had planned a divine appointment for Philip with an Ethiopian official who was travelling on that same desert road. Whoa! You mean God took Philip away from that great revival in Samaria where many were being saved to talk to just one person? Yes! God cares for the ONE! And we should too!
God wanted this one man, a Nubian from the continent of Africa, probably right south of the land of Egypt. He was a Jewish proselyte to the faith who had been in Jerusalem to worship God. Maybe he was on business too for his Queen Candace, but the Scripture tells us that he was coming back riding in a chariot. More than likely, he was in some sort of carriage that provided for the official to be seated for the long journey. While riding back from Jerusalem, he was reading, out loud, from the prophet Isaiah. I have wondered if this passage had been talked about while he was in the great city? Remember the time in which this is set. We don’t know how long he was there in the great city, but we know that having been in Jerusalem he had to have heard the stories of this Messiah that was crucified and of His followers preaching about Him being resurrected. The time had to have been sometime after the ascension of Jesus.

So, while he was reading from the prophet Isaiah, Philip happened by. Knowing this is why he was there, Philip asked the question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian’s replied to Philip, how could he understand what he was reading since he had no one to explain what he was reading. The official then asked Philip to join him in the chariot to explain the passage he was reading.

This Ethiopian represents many people today who are religious, read the Scriptures, and seek the truth, yet do not have saving faith in Jesus Christ. They are sincere, but they are lost! They need someone to show them the way. Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1.

That passage he was reading was in Isaiah 53:7-8,
What a divine appointment for Philip. God set this up and was giving him a chance to talk to an official of a country where the Gospel had yet to reach. Verses 34-35 the Bible says,
You would think that the Ethiopian had not only read these two verses but the whole chapter. Why would this have been important? Turn quickly to the passage of Isaiah 53. This is the great Old Testament prophecy of Jesus’ death.
Was this about the prophet of someone else? Philip made it very clear that this passage and the whole chapter was about the God-man, Jesus, and then he explained the Good News about Jesus Christ to the official. How long did it take? How could we know? What we do know is after Philip shared with the official everything he felt was necessary, the official responded, verses 36-38,
Here we see an obvious response to what Philip had shared with him, the act of obedience to the command of Christ to be baptized.

"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The Ethiopian believed in Jesus Christ and was born again! So real was his experience that he insisted on stopping the caravan and being baptized immediately! He was no "closet Christian"; he wanted everybody to know what the Lord had done for him.In verse 37 Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

This probably represents the earliest form of the baptismal creed; and it is noticeable that it is an expansion, not of the trinitarian formula, but of the primitive formula "in the name of Jesus Christ." Interpreter's Bible, The - Exegesis - The Interpreter's Bible – Volume 9.
God had finished with His servant there on the desert road and when he came up out of the water the Spirit of God carried him away.

Philip is snatched off the page of Scripture. He is not needed here anymore. The Ethiopian rides off the pages of Scripture in his chariot. He went on his way, rejoicing. Now what about this man? The first great church was not in the United States, nor was it in Europe, nor was it in Jerusalem, nor was it in Asia Minor. The first great church was in northern Africa. The Ethiopian evidently went back and through his witness and his influence, a church was begun there. You would find it very profitable to read about the early church in North Africa. Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.

So what have we really learned about the leadership of the Spirit of God? One of the things we need to keep in mind is that every believer has the Spirit of God within us and He desires to lead us every day to do what God wants for us to do in our lives. What we need to do is listen to His voice and respond positively to what we are listening to. God’s will is done when we obey His leadership.
Late one afternoon, a pastor shared, I was completing my pastoral calling and I felt impressed to make one more visit to see a woman who was faithfully attending church but was not a professed Christian. At first, I told myself that it was foolish to visit her that late in the day, since she was probably preparing a meal for her family. But I went anyway and discovered that she had been burdened about her sins all that day! Within minutes, she opened her heart to Christ and was born again. Believe me, I was glad I obeyed the leading of the Spirit! Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1.
In October 1857, J. Hudson Taylor began to minister in Ningpo, China, and he led a Mr. Nyi to Christ. The man was overjoyed and wanted to share his faith with others."How long have you had the good tidings in England?" Mr. Nyi asked Hudson Taylor one day. Taylor acknowledged that England had known the Gospel for many centuries."
My father died seeking the truth," said Mr. Nyi. "Why didn't you come sooner?"
Taylor had no answer to that penetrating question.
How long have you known the Gospel?
How far have you shared it personally?
Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - New Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1.
How long will it take for you and me to respond to the leadership of God’s Spirit when He tells us to go? Have you been listening to what God’s Spirit has told you about your ONE? Has He told you to go? Are you listening?

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com