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Are You a Member of God's AARP?

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2021 1:00 am

Are You a Member of God's AARP?

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 25, 2021 1:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns speaks from the book of Acts in this Sunday evening service.

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I want to read from acts chapter 8, acts chapter 8 I want to begin to read it versus that verse one read through acts chapter 8, we begin to read verse one just follow me as I direct you know Saul was consenting to his death.

That is Stephen's death at that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles and devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women committing them to prison. Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them in the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip hearing and seeing the miracles which he did for unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed and many were paralyzed and lame were healed in the and there was great joy in that city and then for versus getting it. Verse 14 through verse 17 now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit for as yet he had fallen upon none of them they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit and then verse 26 to the end of the chapter now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, arise, and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert, so he arose and went, and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a unique of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury and it come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning and sitting in his chariot he was reading Isaiah the prophet than the spirit said to Philip, go near and overtake this chariot, so Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said do you understand what you are reading, and he said how can I unless someone guides me and he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this, he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before it's years sheer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation, his justice was taken away. And who will declare his generation for his life is taken from the earth, so the eunuch answered Philip and said I ask you of home does the prophet say this of himself or of some other man then Philip opened his mouth and beginning at this Scripture preached Jesus to him now as they went down the road, they came to some water in the eunuch said, see, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized. Then Philip said, if you believe with all your heart, you may need answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, so he commanded the chariot to stand still in both Philip and the unique went down into the water and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water. The spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at as it does in passing through he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea tonight as we consider this portion of God's word in acts chapter 8 I want to ask you, are you a member of a a RP are you a member of AARP, so that's a strange question. AARP stands for the American Association of retired persons I get solicitations in the mail I get phone calls and as I draw closer and closer to retirement age. It seems their interest in me increases I think there are 45 to 50 members 50 million members of AARP, but what I'm asking you tonight has nothing to do with your eight. I'm asking you if you are a member of AA RP in acts chapter 8 sense of the word. That'll make sentences. We proceed, Philip, who is he who was he was not to be confused with Philip, one of the apostles.

One of the disciples that Jesus shows these Philip from acts chapter 6.

One of the devout God-fearing man that was chosen to minister to the needs of the widows there and in acts chapter 21 verse eight we have that identification plus some other something else here about him.

Acts 21 eight it says on the next day we who were Paul's companions departed and came to Caesarea and entered the house of Philip the evangelist who was one of the seven and stayed with him two things about Philip there. According to acts 21 eight. He was Philip, one of the seven that's again takes us there to acts chapter 6 Philip one of the seven and this designation, Philip the evangelist, what is going on here and ask chapter 8, two things the church is undergoing persecution. Persecution has intensified, and because of the persecution that is come upon the church.

The church is scattered near remember the last words that Jesus spoke while he was on this earth before his ascension recorded in acts chapter 1 and verse eight he said this, you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me where in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth that provides I think very good outline to follow the activities of the church, the early church. You can follow the growth of the church in Jerusalem and then into these geographical areas that are mentioned here.

Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. That's what were drawn to here in acts chapter 8 the beginning again.

Notice what's going on two things. Persecution and the scattering of the church. Now Paul was consenting to Stephen's death at that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. The apostles were still in Jerusalem, but the church apart from the apostles has been scattered scattered where throughout the regions of where Judea and Samaria, where Jesus and said you will be my witnesses in these areas. Philip notice what were told about him.

Verse four. Therefore, those who were scattered scattered because of persecution. Work went everywhere preaching the word.

Those who were scattered not just Philip went preaching the word. But what's it say those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. So many people went preaching the word. But then the text singles out Philip, then Philip verse five went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them again. I'm asking the question, are you a member of God's AARP not that organization for retired people, but the AARP of acts chapter 8 in let me give you the first identification first identifying marker of an AARP member will see it in Philip and then I'll ask you if this is true of you Philip number one was accountable. He was accountable or he was under authority, we could say what I mean by that. Well, two things. He was a gifted man. He had the gift of evangelism. He was Philip the evangelist, but he was under God's authority. He was gifted by God to be used where God wanted them to be used, how God wanted them to be used, and where God wanted them to be used in God directed him. Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and he preached Christ to them. Philip was accountable while he was there.

There was a wonderful spirit brought response to his preaching men and women heard the word of Peter as he preached Christ and they responded favorably to his preaching word got back to Jerusalem concerning this and the church in Jerusalem dispatched Peter and John to go to Samaria.

That's why read there in verse 14. Notice again. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them so God is working through Philip's preaching people are hearing of Jesus Christ and our being converted. Word gets back to the church in Jerusalem and they sent Peter and John to go check up on this.

We don't we don't have a lot of detail here, but it seems let's go down there and make sure that things are being done and carried out in an orderly way. Let's be sure that what Peter's preaching is indeed the true gospel on I'm reading between the lines here, but I think there's something implied here.

Philip was under the authority of the apostles and of the church in Jerusalem and God is sent him. He is been sent to this place in Samaria to preach but he wasn't alone Ranger. He was a man under authority.

He was accountable accountable number one. The God accountable number 22.

The church in Jerusalem and its leadership. So Philip was accountable number two Philip was available fail.

Philip was available if you see what I'm doing I'm following that acrostic AA RP not the American Association of Retired Persons but the AARP of acts chapter 8. Philip was number one accountable.

He was number two available.

What I mean by that will notice what it says there in verse 26 now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, arise, and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert, so he arose and went, and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians who would charge of all or treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship with returning and sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah the prophet Philip was available. I think with me about the situation. Here's Philip and he's carrying on an evangelistic ministry and he's being very effective.

People are being converted. Think about the possible objections one might have in such a situation, word comes by the spirit that he's the leaf. This place of blessing this place with the spirit of God is being poured out, and go to a desert, an angel the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, arise, and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert. Think of the possible objections one might have in such a scenario. Okay, I hear that I'll do that, but not now were in the middle of a revival and I'm the one who's been sent here and humbly might say and it's through me that this blessing is being poured out on the one sent here on the one with the gift of evangelism.

God is using me so I hear that I should go but not now sit or he could have said okay but not me, Lord, my only Christian around it said they where they were scattered and they went everywhere preaching the word. So wasn't just Philip preaching the word were many people out preaching the word.

He could've said, not me, Lord. I'm am I the only Christian around. And what about Peter and John made the trip from Jerusalem couldn't you use them, or about the other apostles who were still in Jerusalem or he could've questioned the place a desert you want me to leave this metropolis. You want me to leave this bustling city where people are going to a desert.

No one lives there.

Everyone knows you go to the city. That's where people are now I'm just raising these as possible objections. There is no hint there's no record that Philip voiced any of these objections, or that he entertain any of these objections in his mind where my Sam saying I'm asking are you a member of God's AARP number one are you accountable are you under authority number two. Are you available Philip was available.

Notice what it says again. Verse 26 now an angel the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, arise, and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert and I injected all those objections, but there's no hint that Philip had any objections spoke any objections entertain any objections because the next verse says so he arose and he went he arose and he went. Philip went because he knew something that we need to know that a be very helpful in our Christian lives. What is that God's ways are not our ways that his thoughts are not our thoughts and how do we know this because God has told us that in Isaiah chapter 55 in verse eight. When we are engaged in spiritual work. There always going to be areas. We will not fully understand find ourselves asking why does God do this, why does he do that rather than something else. Have you asked that question.

Have you entertain questions like that if you wondered about God's ways course you have. I have take the case of someone who is extremely effective in some particular area of Christian work in its him.

He's the one who gets sick and dies and you find yourself asking why him Lord will him there all again speaking from our perspective, there are all sorts of Christians that you could dispense with why take this valuable unique person out of the equation. They seem to be so valuable. They seem to be so indispensable.

Well, because God's ways are not our ways. The real answer from our side of things is that really there is often no answer that satisfies our curiosity were left to wonder why I was preparing this message. I was thinking of Stewart's situation. Why now, after he's had the transplant and after he said half a dozen additional surgeries after the transplant want one.

Why not spared them all this and again I don't have the answers to that in what we do when we are asking these questions in our human's what we do we bow, we submit, we say God you are all Y's where my God ordains is right we trust God when Philip was given this call. He did not know what God was going to do with him. I'm sure did not make a lot of sense to him to leave what he was doing in the midst of a revival in the midst of spiritual blessing in the midst of being used of God through his gifts to see people being converted to leave that place and go to a desert.

But that's exactly what he did I think is a good lesson here and that is whenever it comes to a choice between our way of thinking and what God is said and revealed in his word. We know what to do. What is that we must submit to God. We must yield our way. We must trust him and will have all eternity to ask our questions and perhaps get some answers to the perplexities of this life. There's no promise that that God will answer those things forests but perhaps he will will have a long long long time to ask our questions and maybe when we get there. It won't matter all these questions perhaps will fade away. I don't know again were talking from this this side of the veil of tears but Philip was number one. He was a man under authority. He was accountable was accountable to God. He was accountable to the church in Jerusalem into its leadership and number two he was available. God said I want you to go leave where you're at and go down south to the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert so without hesitation, without argument. He arose and went, and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a unit of great authority under Candace the Queen of Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship was returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Well isn't that interesting coincidence. It just happened know it didn't just happen God ordained that Philip in route would intercept this man in his chariot got at an appointment for Philip got at an appointment for this Ethiopian eunuch got is a way of bringing people together for his wise and gracious purposes.

This was just not any man. This was were told a man of Ethiopia, a unique of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians to a charge of all her treasury to come to Jerusalem. He'd come to Jerusalem to worship Ethiopia along long ways away. Fact place where the Queen of Sheba had come to inquire of King Solomon and one would have to think that Solomon would have spoken to the Queen of Sheba about the Scriptures of the Jews who is to say what may have happened in that encounter thousand years earlier. Over all those years who knows what remained of true religion. What may have been carried by this, the Queen of Sheba back to Ethiopia. But here's a man we do not know how he came to know of God. He was a God-fearing man he'd come to Jerusalem to worship. He was in search of the true God, and when he came to Jerusalem, you say will why didn't God direct. One of the apostles to to intercept this chariot while I was in Jerusalem that was a bunch of apostles. There is only one Philip the evangelist and Samaria again were back to the question. This is God's way. This is what God ordained.

God was going to use Philip the evangelist and nobody else in the life of this Ethiopian eunuch. So this man.

It made the long trip to Jerusalem, another man would not of been able to do this was hard to travel in those days and it was a very long and costly journey were told that this man was a very important man. He was the keeper of the treasury of what was acknowledged by all to be a very rich country. Therefore, he was free to go about because of the position that he held so here he is in Jerusalem. Notice what it says in verse 28. He was returning from Jerusalem, sitting in his chariot and he was reading Isaiah the prophet than the spirit said to Philip, go near and overtake this chariot go near and overtake this chariot, so Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said do you understand what you are reading Philip was not only a man under authority. He was accountable.

He was not only that he was available to God.

Number three is were thinking of the AR AARP of acts chapter 8 he was ready.

He was ready, the Bible commands us to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts and be ready to give an answer to any man who asks us for the reason of the hope that's within us.

Philip was a man who was ready.

Philip knew the Scriptures here. The man is not just reading anywhere in the Old Testament Scriptures is reading the Jewish scriptures. The Old Testament Scriptures and is reading in the book of Isaiah again.

The timing of this is amazing. Philip was ready. Philip was ready to engage this man.

Philip was ready to ask a an engaging question. Do you understand what you're reading to people who are prepared here. The Ethiopian eunuch is a man who was being prepared by the spirit of God and Philip the evangelist is a man is being prepared by God for this moment he's ready. I wonder how many of us leave our homes wake up in the morning, perhaps, were confined to her home, but we are we.

We have a mindset of readiness. We are ready to speak of Christ, we are ready to engage whomever God brings across our pathway for the purpose of evangelism.

Where were ready to talk to them about Jesus and folks in this day of confusion. In this day of bewilderment that his envelop so many people more and more people are open to hear of the hope that's within us.

We must not succumb to the same despair. That's all around us because we believe that this life is not the end, we have a hope that is beyond this were just pilgrims passing through.

We know of God whose ordering all things after the counsel of his own will. So were not wringing our hands were not frustrated we know God has purposes of what he's doing now. Can I explain it cannot connect dots know I can, but knowing the theology that I know not to affect my demeanor. It ought to affect my emotions are to be a hopeful person ought to be an engaging person ought to be an opportunistic person ready to speak and engage people to God brings across my pathway and I trust that you'll be challenged in that way. Philip was a man who was ready ready. He knew the Scriptures could could you do what Philip did. Could you engage somebody and it didn't doesn't matter whether you're in Genesis, or whether Revelation, whether it is easy to do that in the book of Isaiah Isaiah chapter 53. The man asked who is this about is us about the prophet or some other man will talk about an open door.

There is about the Lord Jesus Christ, God's appointed Messiah, but in Genesis chapter 11.

Can you get can you go from Genesis 11 to Jesus in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We better be able to because Jesus is God. Jesus is in Genesis 11 Hebrews tells us that he holds all things together by the word of his power. Who does Jesus does what Revelation we get to the end of the book of Revelation and says behold I'm coming quickly who's coming quickly. Jesus is coming quickly. We ought to be able to wherever we are in the Scriptures get to Jesus rather quickly.

Our ladies have been involved in Bible studies for years in a good mood.

Much of that Bible studies that they been doing been seeing Jesus in the Old Testament been a rich, rewarding study for them.

We need to grow in our ability to do that. So again Philip, a member of God's AARP was number one.

Accountable he was under authority under God's authority under the authority of the church in Jerusalem and underage leadership. He was number two.

He was available he was available for God to use them.

However, God wanted to use of wherever Oliver number three.

He was ready. He was a man ready and prepared himself number four Philip was prompt he was prompt, no hesitation.

The spirit said verse 29 to Philip, go near and overtake this chariot, so Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said do you understand what you are reading.

He was prompt, no hesitation. Quick to obey quick to be in the Lord service and I trusted you are, that kind of a person that there's no hesitation, you have to think about the command the commands and the precepts of God, your person under authority. If you know this is what God requires of you, you don't think about that on prompt diet. Yes, Lord Philip was a man who was prompt.

The Ethiopian said Phillips is do you understand what you are reading verse 31. He said how can I unless someone guides me and he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

The place in the Scripture which he read was this, there's a quotation from Isaiah. The three verse 34. So the eunuch answered Philip and said I ask you, does the prophet say this of himself or of some other man. Then Philip opened his mouth and beginning at this Scripture preached Jesus to him now as they went down the road, they came to some water and this man there's evidence that he was converted and he asked to be baptized, and he and Peter went down under the water.

He was baptized and they came up out of the water, hard for Pato Baptist to explain that passageway but that's not our point this evening. That's my challenge tonight to you. Are you a member of God's AA RP are you a person under authority submitted to the word of God submitted to the local church and its leadership. Are you available if you make yourself available to be used by God, how he wants to use you where he wants to use you when he wants to use you. Are you ready are you prepared. Are you ready to give an answer to any man who would ask you the reason for the hope and are you a person of prominence no hesitation, you know what God's will is for your life, your aunt prompt. I don't mean run yes I my son work for an organic farmer up the road from our house. He was in high school and he was eager to have this job in Gary Murray was the owner of the farm and we became friends and I was talking with Gary. One day since I was say say something to you but your voice for the first times he was up there I said to go up to the left of the barn and get some tomato states and he said he took off like a shot run into the barn and he said when he came back he said I said and Donna sits on the me say something when I asked you to do something. You don't have to run were farmers take our time discipline. We know we have to do and we get we get the job done. You don't have to run so what I'm saying is is is in a matter of running as a matter of prominence know what God wants us to do were not. We don't hesitate. We don't argue were ready to be what God wants us to be couple of other things I'd like to just a mention to you as we think about evangelism here. I want you to notice if want to be effective in the work of evangelism that something that can only be done up close is this is not something that we can do it distance, I'm convinced that the gospel crosses relational bridges that when were investing in our neighbors were investing in our coworkers were investing in our friends were building relationships with people and we have an end in mind what is that we are building a relationship to earn the right to earn their trust to talk to them about Jesus were told here, then the spirit said the Philip, go near and overtake the chariot go near we have to be intentional about how in home, with whom we have relationships. It's easy to have relationships with Christians. In fact, the longer your Christian most of your relationships are with Christians, unless perhaps you working in a place where there are a lot of non-Christians around you, but after a while we begin to look around us, we think you know everybody I know in my family and my workplace are Christians. I don't have any meaningful relationship loss. People think we need to rethink that. I think we need to have a strategy weight where we intentionally have relationships with lost people for the purpose of speaking to them about Jesus not I've awkwardly done that I've I'd I joined a bowling team a number of years ago is probably been eight or 10 years ago and I'm I'm not a great bowler, but I'm better-than-average bowler so I joined this rather high-end leg and their three men on a team and I was the low man on the team.

Neither one of the other two guys were Christians. I thought you know what I wanted him to do what I tell other people to do. I'd seen these guys I got had known them a little bit so they knew me and they needed somebody with a high handicap to help the team so wasn't.

They don't want me on the team because I was a great scratch bowler. They want to be on their team because every once in a while I would throw up a really good game in my handicap would really help the team. So anyway, I think the liquid lasted for 24 weeks or 26 weeks of every week. I would see these guys and they knew I was. They knew I was a pastor and we talked about this that and the other in as the weeks went by, they would they work. I started to wonder are they just thinking through the week.

What kind of a predicament they can put me in what kind of a hard question. They could ask but after while many of the questions they ask were legitimate questions. I think they were not playing games with me. They wanted to know so I was able to to have a relationship with on on purpose with these two guys who did not know the Lord.

Now I don't know what God may have done with that, but I need to do more of that. I think we need to do more of that on purpose because I really do believe that the gospel crosses relational bridges. We need to build relational bridges with people and then when God gives us the opportunity to speak to people we don't talk to them about religion. We don't talk to them about going to church. We do what Peter would what Philip did. He preached Jesus to them. Notice that over and over again right back to at acts chapter 8 verse three it says therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and did what he preached Christ to them. That's what he was doing, and Samaria. He was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. What happens when he meets this Ethiopian eunuch on his way away from Jerusalem. It says in verse 35 then Philip opened his mouth and beginning at the Scriptures preached Jesus tell him so when God gives us that opportunity.

Let's speak to people about Jesus.

Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus that God gave to redeem centers.

That's our whole that's the only hope we've got for this world.

That's our hope must not confuse and muddy the message by confusing it with all kinds of other things was talk to men and women as God gives us opportunity about Jesus when we conclude with this.

Charles Wesley him, Lord, grant my yearning heart's desire that I be filled with fervent zeal to save poor sinners from the fire to snatch them from the verge of hell and turn them to a pardoning God to cleanse their souls in Jesus blood I would. The precious time redeem and longer live for this alone to spend and to be spent for them who have not yet my save your known fully on these my mission prove and only brief to breathe.

Thy love, my talents and gifts and graces Lord, into thy blessed hands receive and let me live to preach thy word and only to thy glory, live by every sacred moment spend to publish fourth the sinners friend in the last stanza and large in flame and fill my heart with thine own boundless love divine, so shall I all my strength exert and love them with a zeal like thine, and lead them to thine open side.

The sheep for home.

The shepherd let us pray. Father, we marvel that you would purpose to use fallible men in the work of the gospel and yet that's what you have revealed here's an Ethiopian eunuch making a journey reading the Scriptures you could have regenerated him on the spot without the means of the human instrument and yet you called Philip away from a revival to go to a desert to intercept a man in a chariot Lord help us to find new joy and delight in your purposes that you want to use us in the work of evangelism or some have the spirit endowed gift of evangelism but only if you do we most of us do not. But that does not disqualify us so Lord help us to be ready to be available to be used of you in the reaching of our lost acquaintances and loved ones. Thank you for what we see in Philip the evangelist and now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. To him be the glory, the dominion, the power forever and ever.

Amen


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