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acts8Can I get a witness

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Title: Can I get a witness?

Text: Acts 8:26-40

Introduction: I am here to tell you one person can help change your life.  I was very fortunate to have good people in my life around me who wanted me to do right.  Among the many, other than my parents one person stands out, my high school basketball coach, Mel Henderson.  He never told me anything that I haven’t heard from my parents. But it was thru him I gained more understanding about what life was about.  My coach knew my dad well enough to know his expectations of me.  In a sense, Mel Henderson was a witness to what my father was trying to show me. My coach knew my desires and dreams and took time to guide me to achieve them.  My beloved, people have been placed in your life for one reason that is to guide you in what your heavenly father has been telling you.  As a believer, God has positioned you in people’s lives so you can guide them to encounter the joy that is only found in Jesus.  Like my coach was for my father, you are that witness for Jesus.  The Lord is challenging us today by asking us a question, “Can I get a witness?” That is what the story is about witnessing in a personal way to someone who needs Jesus.  But in order to do this our first is…

I.               Don’t be complacent v.26 

After Phillip has preached to the Samarians, the angel of the Lord tells him to arise and go down on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza.  In order for you to be an effective witness you can’t stay where you are being complacent.  This is the problem. God wants more from us but we get comfortable.  As effective as Phillip was by bring souls to the Lord in Samaria, God had more in store for him. But he could not stay in Samaria.  God is telling us today to arise and go!  There is a new work for you to do.  Get to moving!  God needs you somewhere else to help build his kingdom.  Not only does Phillip have to get up and go but he also has to go down to Gaza.  If we look at going down to Gaza metaphorically, this tells us that we may have come down off our high horse and go down to places that we might not normally be to encounter people we would not normally encounter.   Not only that the text says go down to the desert.  When God tells you to move out of complacency to a place where he needs you, it’s not always going to be comfortable.  Phillip is being sent to the desert, a dry place.  But you remember there is thirst in the desert.  Somebody here feels that they are in a desert place right now but there will be someone who is thirsting for what you have to offer. The Lord will use you to refresh thirsty souls as we see in our text today.  But you can’t be complacent where you are. Next…

II.         Be obedient  vv. 27-29

Look at the text.  Phillip obeyed the command and went and he saw an Ethiopian man in his chariot.  He had status.  He had authority under the queen and he was in charge of all her money.  His chariot signifies that he had wealth also.  However, even though he had status he had an issue that affected his lifestyle. He was an eunuch which meant he was castrated and could not produce offspring. God will call you to minister to people with major lifestyle issues.  This is why you can’t judge a book by its cover.  People may look one way but live something else.  It don’t matter how rich, educated or important someone is, they got issues and need Jesus and God chose you to give Him to them.  Some of you are on jobs with mean bosses that God has positioned you for an appointed time to share the gospel.  Amen. This Ethiopian eunuch was in town to worship. On his way back home he was seen by Phillip reading the prophet Isaiah.  One thing to also note is that this man has a problem when it comes to worship. Even though he seems to be a God fearer, he was not allowed into the temple because of his issue.  There are people who have been kept out of churches because of their issues that God has assigned you to minister to them.  The text says that the Spirit told Phillip to go near and join himself or get beside his chariot. Go and get close.  Phillip was obedient ran up to the chariot and when he got close he heard some familiar words.  He heard the words from the prophet Isaiah.  (it was tradition that the Word of God was to be read out loud).  But what Phillip does next is vital for our understanding to be an effective witness for the Lord. Phillip asks the eunuch a question in v. 30, “do you understand what you are reading?”  In v. 31 the eunuch replies,” how can I? I have nobody to guide me (teach me).”  That was the opening that Phillip needed to minister.  When people are in need and you are available to help, the Lord will give you an opening.  But the key is obedience and the Lord will reveal it to you. When we think about witnessing for the Lord the first thing we do is ask God for boldness.  But we learn from Phillip the real key is to obey and will give you the boldness that you need.  Look what happens.  The eunuch asked Phillip to come up and sit with him in his chariot.  Remember Phillip was a total stranger but the eunuch must have saw that he cared enough to help him with his need and allow him to come close.  People are not going to open up to you unless they sense you care.  The text says that he desired…He wanted some help.  But there are some people my beloved who don’t want no help and they are going to stay that way.  So don’t waste your time because the harvest plentiful. Let them stay in hell! 

Phillip gets in the chariot and hears the eunuch read Is. 53:7-8 which points to how one man would suffer for the sins of Israel.  The eunuch then says to Phillip “tell me who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”  What Phillip does leads us to our next point…

III.                Open your mouth and tell them about Jesus  v.35

My beloved, when you open your mouth what is comes out?  Your witness depends on what comes out of your mouth.  You can tell a lot about a person from what comes out of their mouth.  What comes out is only what you put in. When Phillip opens his mouth in verse 35, he has something to say about Jesus.  My beloved, when somebody asks about Jesus you should have something to say! But you have to know him for yourself.  So put the Word in it and when you open your mouth, the Word will come out!  Next, the text says that Phillip began at the same scripture not a different verse, not a different chapter or book. Phillip did not tell the eunuch what He wanted to him.  Phillip started talking about Jesus at the same verse. This tells us something very important.  You have to meet people where they are and not where you want them to be.  Everybody may not know the sinners prayer.  They may not know psalm 23. They may not how to dress in church or protocol.  You have to meet them where they are not in judgment but with the compassion of Jesus.  Phillip met this man where he was. The text says that Phillip opened his mouth and preached Jesus to the eunuch.  The man needed to know that Jesus died for him.  Many of us when we witness to people think we have to come at them with fire and brim stone and preach the judgment of God, hell and damnation.  Just preach the love of Jesus!  Tell them how He died so they can live!  Most of the time people know they ain’t right and they are look for some hope. Give them that hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.  Give them Jesus and not your self righteous stuff that you don’t even live up too.

And as Phillip and the eunuch were cruising on their way in the chariot they came to some water.  Mind you, they were in the desert and they found some water.  This tells you that even in your desert place, the Lord will provide you a place of refreshing when you heart is for Him.  The eunuch saw the water and said “what is keeping me from being baptized?” In verse 37, Phillip comes back at him and says, “nothing hinders you from getting baptized if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”.  Then the eunuch commands the chariot to stop.  My beloved there comes a time in your life when you have to stop what you doing and get right with Jesus.  You have stop on that path you are going on. You have to stop hanging out with people who don’t mean you no good.  Stop and get right with God!  They stopped and both went down into the water and Phillip baptized the eunuch. This leads us to our last point. 

IV.       You have to be willing to participate in their transformation v. 38-40

Phillip goes into the water with him and baptizes him.  He supports the eunuch as he is submerged in the water as a sign of spiritual cleansing.  He supports him while he ascends up in the newness of life.  This is what the Lord wants us to do.  He wants us to walk with the people he has assigned us to disciple, support them in the process and support when they ascend up in the newness of life.  But you have to make sure the motives are pure, your and theirs.  They are some people who will leech on to you knowing they can depend on you. They are taking advantage of you. These people not only want to stay in bondage but want to keep you in bondage.  Also, some people who are so called helping you are doing it for their own benefit and will hold over your head how much they did for you while you were in need.  This is nothing but manipulation and God is not glorified!  But if the Lord has lead you to minister to someone, it is only for a season and the Lord will let you know when you job is done because the fruit will show.  Look at the text in verse 39.  When the eunuch was coming out of the water, the Spirit took Phillip away. His work was done. You would think that eunuch would be sad but the text says that he went on rejoicing.  He had the joy of Jesus. And the text shows us that the Lord had a new assignment for Phillip.  He went on to preach in other cities fulfilling the mandate in 1:8 “you shall be my witnesses in the entire world”. What Phillip did for the eunuch is our mandate today.  God is looking for us to reach the world one person at a time. 

In the black church, we hear can I get a witness every Sunday in response to the preached word. But God is asking us this question today to get out of these walls and be a witness His Good News. 

Celebration: Tried Stone, the Lord is asking you a question today, “can I get a witness” to tell the good news about me?  Can I get witness who I can use to heal in my name? Can I get witness who will cast demon out of the kingdom of God? Can I get witness who will love like I love? Can I get witness who will teach a dying world that you can live again? Can I get a witness who doesn’t mind lifting up my name?  We have to like Isaiah and say here am I send me! If you are obedient, He will give you power and wisdom to reach the world.  Bear fruit!

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