The High Ways of the Lord

The High Ways of the Lord

Passage: Acts 8:26-40
Service Type:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8

Adversity in the form of persecution drove the apostles out into the unknown which began the fulfillment of the Great Commission. 

Acts 8

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Movement. “…you can’t steer a ship sitting in the harbor.”

God told him to go somewhere but did something “on the way”.

In life, the journey, is the destination.

Application: We want to know the whole plan. 

1. God advances his Church by driving his people out into the unknown.

“Go unto all the world.”

The question is not, “should I go to the heathen?” But, “do I dare stay at home?” The command is so clear, “Go!”

“The idea that we could have avoided many of life’s difficulties if we had taken things more cautiously is to foolish to be entertained for a moment.” 

~ Bonhoeffer  

“We are never prepared for what we expect." 

~ Anonymous

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Why does God use his people to preach the good news?

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

Romans 10:14-15

Application: You and I are “SENT”.

FEET. “…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15b

We might go to unlikely places at God’s direction.

2. The gospel spreads when Christians simply obey God.  

No objection by Phillip, “Go south? But what will I do there? Why that place?”

Maybe you could send someone else.

Acts 8

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

    so he did not open his mouth.

33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.

    Who can speak of his descendants?

    For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

This was to fulfill this prophesy in Psalms:

Nobles shall come from Egypt;

    Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God. Psalm 68:31

Why did this particular passage have an impact on the eunuch?

3. God prepares the hearts of the lost for the right thing at the right time.

Philip began with that very passage of Scripture…”

God is already doing something. 

Application: Find out what it is and meet them there.

LISTEN and ask God what to say and how to say it.

Don’t underestimate God’s unseen work in people.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

What is the “good news” about Jesus to this Ethiopian?

In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.

    Who can speak of his descendants?

    For his life was taken from the earth.”

Acts 8:33

Maybe the eunuch was struggling with something similar… 

  1. Eunuchs are most probably without children. (without descendants) 
  2. He had just come from Jerusalem where he would have been unclean to enter the temple. (without rights)

God incarnate, all-powerful, without descendants, without rights.

Phillip helped bridge the gap between personal bankruptcy and Jesus.

4. Jesus went before his people in death and resurrection.

People are brought to a common denominator - CRISIS. 

In defeat, then victory.

He was despised and rejected by men,

    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 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. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Baptism - the outward symbol of inward change

Phillip’s movement again. 

5. The work is done when God says so.

Stick with it… until God moves us on.

Dear brethren, our real trouble is not doubt about the way upon which we have set out, but our failure to be patient, to keep quiet. We still cannot imagine that today God really doesn’t want anything new for us, but simply to prove us in the old way. That is too petty, too monotonous, too undemanding for us. And we simply cannot be constant with the fact that God’s cause is not always the successful one, that we really could be “unsuccessful”: and yet be on the right road. But this is where we find out whether we have begun in faith or in a burst of enthusiasm. 

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer


We don’t know the end game. 

Don’t overthink it or desire something ‘more noble’ for ourselves. 

The safest and best place to be is in the will of God.

Summary Slide

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