Not A Chance – Ps Kerrin Wallis [24/11/2019 AM]

Episode Notes

After our baptism this morning, Kerrin read another story of a man who was baptised, but this one happened in the Bible in the book of Acts.

Acts 8:26-40 (NLT)

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. 32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 33 He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. 36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.

What Kerrin loves about this story is that there is not a chance this was by accident – God intended to show Himself to someone who needed Him.

In fact God was so intent that He sent someone to tell the message personally.

The first thing we notice in the story is that God sets up this man to discover who God is.

Acts 8:26-28 (NLT)

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

This guy had gone to worship. The problem was that it was just a religious experience for him and God wants so much more for us than that.

He was going to worship a God and sit through a religious activity, but did not really know who God was or certainly didn’t personally know God.

So many people are the same with God:

  • They know ‘all about Him’
  • Have opinions on Him and what He should be like
  • Have been around Him
  • Even on occasions gone to ‘watch Him in a service or two’. It is not the same as meeting God.

But God’s Plan is that we know him personally!

However you came here this morning, Christianity is not something we watch, attend or speculate about.

It is a relationship with God where we understand we need Him and His forgiveness and so come to know Him as our Lord and Saviour.

In the midst of life which would have been complicated for this man as a eunuch:

  • He was probably castrated before puberty usually not by choice
  • His health would have suffered from less testosterone in his developing years which would have affected his health and his bones
  • He was rich and probably admired for his wealth, power and status, but judged as being less than a man by many
  • In a patriarchal and family society, he could not have a family or kids – he didn’t really fit anywhere
  • And likely this was all forced upon him and would have caused him to live in a state of personal turmoil.

Maybe this was what made the passage he read stand out to him so much.

Acts 8:32-33 (NLT)

32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 33 He was humiliated and received no justice.

Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

It was not by chance that he stumbled on this passage. It was what God intended for him to read.

Maybe today we can identify with some of this and like this man we are confused by life, God and reality.

  • Perhaps it has all left us looking in empty spaces
  • Substance abuse
  • Other’s acceptance
  • Maybe even religion.

But maybe he was wondering ‘Is there something more?’ Maybe he was confused by life’s reality.

Well the good news is that Philip was able to point to a man called Jesus who takes all that we know about God, and sometimes what we think we know about God, and flips it on its head!

  • Jesus is a radical character
  • Jesus loved when others hated
  • He forgave when others judged
  • He demanded surrender and relationship, rather than mindless ritual of religion
  • He attracted sinners, prostitutes, the outcasts and offended the religious and self righteous
  • He claimed we all fall far short of God’s intention and best and all require forgiveness and mercy from God
  • Instead of simply condemning us He came to save and rescue us
  • Instead of an earthly kingdom He came to claim an eternal kingdom
  • He doesn’t fit the boxes that we want to put Him in.

Jesus was a man like no other, because He was a man who faced all that we face, yet He was God and chose to give up all the glory of Heaven to come and walk among us. To experience all the things we experience and to show God is not distant and unconcerned with humanity, but loving and longing for us to return to the God who created us and loves us.

There was not a chance that Philip would have met this man, but God intended to show Himself to someone in need.

It is not a chance that today we have heard the stories of the changed lives of those who have been baptised and heard of God’s incredible love for us.

It is instead God’s divine plan.

God set us up to show and explain His love for us in the midst of whatever our world looks like.

And the bit I love is that after hearing about who Jesus really was and having the Gospel explained – it led him to rejoice! Peace and joy come into your life when you know Him.

The person of Jesus, who He is, His love for mankind and willingness to give His own life for our sin, means the only appropriate response is joy and rejoicing!

  • People who meet religion are tight, bound, restricted, rule focused, often talking about what they cannot do and must do
  • People that meet simply this world soon wonder if this is all there is and sadly we see much brokenness and hurt in the pursuit of making sense of it all.

But people who meet Jesus can rejoice and be glad!

  • Glad that God loves them
  • Glad He forgives us our mistakes
  • Glad He gives us a future and hope not only in this life, but for eternity. It doesn’t depend on circumstances
  • Glad that they live free from the sin and death that so plagues this world.

I am so glad Philip was willing to go out of his way to walk alongside a stranger.

  • All of us are called to walk alongside of somebody. When we do, we are to point them to Jesus so that He can change their lives and lead them to eternity
  • We do not go to work by accident, God said ‘walk next to these people’ and our role is to make sure they see Jesus
  • We are not in our family by accident
  • We should be intentional about finding the stranger and person seeking God, so that we can show them the love of their Saviour they just haven’t met yet.

It is a privilege to lead people to meet Jesus. They are waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus.

Have you met Jesus today? Are you willing to meet with Him today?

Have you realised that today He is calling you home to Himself because He loves you?

It is not by chance that you are here today. Today is the day to meet with Jesus.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. How often have you known that there is not a chance things happened by accident, but know without a doubt that God intended to show Himself to someone who needed Him?
  2. What do you think the eunuch had gone through in his life? How did that affect him?
  3. Discuss the difference between people who meet religion and people who meet Jesus.