A Divine Appointment

Committed Christians can have some frustrating experiences in their witness for Jesus Christ. They want nothing more than to lead a relative or friend to faith in Christ, but nothing seems to work. They diligently read their Bibles and know it clearly tells them to “Be my witnesses.” The Sunday sermon often challenges them to be a witness to the faith. They even attend classes at church on being an effective witness. Yet, they cannot point to anyone who is a product of their witnessing.

Sometimes, they become over zealous in talking about Christ, and are offensive to some of their friends. One of their friends says, “We like Jean and Bob, but sometimes Bob’s zeal for the Lord becomes irritating, so we have not included them at some of our parties.

Jean understands why they are not invited and pleads with her husband to stop preaching. Yet he tells her that this is the persecution they must expect if they are to be obedient servants of the Lord.

Bill has gone to the other extreme and tried to be “one of the boys” by being profane and telling a dirty story or having one too many drinks.

If you can identify with something I have said in these opening remarks of this sermon, I believe our text today will be of help.

Philip was one of the seven deacons appointed to assist the twelve disciples in their ministry. On his way from Jerusalem to Gaza, Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. The Ethiopian was a seeking soul and had been in Jerusalem for spiritual help. On his return, the Ethiopian was reading from the prophet Isaiah.

Walking up to the chariot, Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to ask the Ethiopian, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

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

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

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

Soon they came to some water, and the eunuch asked, “What hinders me from being baptized?” Then he and Philip went into the water, and the Secretary of the Treasury was baptized. When he returned to his home, this new convert became a leader of the church in Ethiopia.

In this story we have two important helps in witnessing our faith in Christ:

First, you need to earn the right, or be asked, to share this Gospel. Second, tell the Gospel as clearly as possible and leave the Holy Spirit to work through your testimony to bring the person to Christ. We must remember that we cannot do the converting. This is God’s work. We simply deliver the Word.

We should also remember that God could have been working in this person’s life long before we were given the opportunity to share the message of Christ with him or her. However, we should be ready to speak when the door is opened by the Holy Spirit. This shows the importance of having a wellÐprepared faith story, which causes the recipient to want to hear more.

Read this beautiful text again. Then ask where you find yourself in the picture.

1. Are you the Ethiopian seeking to know more about Christ and the way of salvation? If so, seek out help from a friend who lives in a personal relationship with Christ and would love to help you.

2. Are you Philip? Then your place is to be a witness to the Savior by telling another person what Jesus has done for you. What was your life like before and after Christ became a part of it?

We have many important appointments in life. However, none is more important than a divine appointment, for the soul of a person is at stake Ð an abundant life on this earth and an eternal home in heaven. This is the primary work of the Church. It is an appointment we do not want to miss.