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A Conversation in the Desert | Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2021 2:00 am

A Conversation in the Desert | Sunday Message with Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 7, 2021 2:00 am

Opportunities to share the gospel aren’t limited to the walls of the church. In this podcast episode, speaking guest Pastor Jonathan Laurie, Greg Laurie’s son, shares how you can be bolder in your faith by following the leading of the Holy Spirit! Listen in for a compelling message from Acts 8. 

Notes

Stronger

Harder

Increased fatigue resistance

Integrity retention

How can I understand unless someone guides me?

About whom is the prophet speaking?

What prevents me from being baptized?

Scripture Referenced

Acts 1:8

James 1:2–4

Romans 10:15

Jeremiah 29:13

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie podcast, a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. To learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org everybody on Jonathan Lori for those of you that are just coming in and joining us. Maybe for the first or second time for the last few weeks we have been going through a brand-new series that my dad has been teaching through with us and I got to teach a couple of them as well, but the series title is the upside down life and it's going to the book of acts and no one of my favorite things about the book of acts in the Gospels as well is how we just see all kinds of people being used by God to do extraordinary things. But I gotta say, I especially love the fact that God uses ordinary people, so common, normal people every day, ordinary, average Joe's blue-collar workers. He was Carpenters he used, of course, Jesus himself as a carpenter he was fishermen. He was Shepherd. She seemed to really like shepherds. Moses send and King David. But I just love to know the God uses normal people and aren't you glad to know that God wants you to be on his team.

That's right, he literally wants you to be on his team. He wants to pick you. We see this throughout Scripture. The Bible is filled with average people being used by God. Again, to do those ordinary and amazing things by got imperfect characters. God uses to carry out his will. You're looking at one right now and I'll be honest, our church is filled with everyday, ordinary people, and I love that I'm reminded of the Scripture in first Corinthians 127 this as God's chosen the foolish things of the world. Another translation says the average things of this world. Ordinary things of this world to put to shame the wise I gotta chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. This quote been attributed few if to a few different people.

Some say Abraham Lincoln said there is no definitive source but it's a good quote.

Nonetheless, it's been said that God must love common ordinary people because he made so many of them is not true.

Our world is filled with average ordinary people. Now if you're on social media and going through your highlight feed is filled with people that are celebrities and athletes and actors and and political people.

And hey that's that's great but I'm so thankful that God uses normal people when I was in school I was always the last to get picked for everything everything I was just not an athletic guy. I mean I was athletic I was you had tons of energy and I was really mobile and I you note was very hyper as a kid, but I was not picked very often to play any of the sports at school is usually the last to get picked remember one time in particular in sixth grade.

It's still a pretty vivid memory I got picked for one of the teams were playing kickball out in six grade out during our little recess time and I remember I was chosen to go and play in the outfield right like send Lori out there like nothing will come to him like to just put him he could be first base right literally, he will be first base. No, but they sent me out into the outfield to go and hang out and I remember this so vividly because I remember one of the snacks that we ate. It was so popular. For some reason I don't know why people still do this today kids it's so popular with we would take a real bag of top Ramen not like the cup noodles like top Ramen in the bag like that. The 30 sent bags regulate three of them for a dollar and we would take these bags and gently crush them up so we didn't puncture the plastic bag that came in and then we open up the other seasoning and we dump it in and shake up and we would eat it and it was amazing and I was like the most popular snack everybody a I have no idea why I still eat it once in a while.

To be honest, get some nostalgia but is so funny because I was holding this bag and I'm playing in the outfield just come to mind my own business and nothing really coming my way. So I'm not really paying attention. All of the sudden that everybody goes crazy because the guy that just kicked the ball it went superhighway out into the outfield way in the air and I look in this things, straight forming like okay here's my opportunity. I'm walking backwards and I'm tractor with this thing just run. I've got my little bag a top Ramen in my head and I reach out to catch the ball and the ball goes right through my fingertips into my bag of top Ramen in the bag explodes everywhere little crushed white noodles go all over the ground. It was a pretty dramatic scene.

Everybody erupts in laughter and I'm there empty-handed.

No ball my snack spilled all over the ground and in the recess bell rings break was over. This is kind of a summation of what my adolescence was like it's altogether working to be looking at a story about a guy much like myself who is in need of some coaching. He needed some TLC.

He needed some really clear direction like very specific. Nothing left to chance.

Do this exactly at this time and will see how it goes.

Philip the evangelist. He had just preached in Samaria. He had just left Jerusalem and Ghana proclaim the gospel to the Samaritan people and literally a mini revival had just broken out.

People were coming to Christ. People were being baptized, being filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a big deal if you're with us last week. You remember hearing my dad talked about a man named Stephen, a man who was full of faith and, ultimately, he was martyred for his faith in Jesus.

Based on some false accusations. They said that he was speaking blasphemous words against God and against Moses, and so they executed Stephen stoning him to death. A horrible, barbaric and painful way to die, to say the least. Both Stephen and Philip the evangelist who were looking at today were part of the same group of seven men who were chosen by the apostles to go and serve the people there were wonderful men. They were held in high esteem and so that was really saying something about Philip that he was in common ranks with Stephen who we just read about, but something interesting happened that my dad pointed out to us after the killing of Stephen something very important happened. A man named Saul of Tarsus rose against the church. We are told in Jerusalem and began entering every home of the believers and carrying them off to jail putting them in prison for their faith in Jesus. Men, women do whatever he wanted to throw them all in jail and he wanted to stop Christianity and what happened as a result of that. This persecution, this very negative thing.

It's scattered the believers is called the dispersion of the dais Bora and what happened is because of that persecution the believers fled Jerusalem for their lives for their safety. They didn't want to be persecuted by Saul of Tarsus this this Christian terrorist and so they ran for their lives. They went into the surrounding areas. The one thing they say is that hindsight always is 2020 right so we can look back on history and see that this this act, though it was very negative for the believers in the time having to maybe leave their families in their homes and their internal professions to leave for their safety so they could have their faith in Jesus did something amazing.

It wouldn't have worked any other way you over the word Jesus told his followers before he ascended to heaven in acts 18 he said to them, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, and he told them to go and do it. They didn't listen very well up to this point. If you want anything for about one year. A little over a year after Jesus had ascended to heaven and there still in Jerusalem. They had not gone into the ancient world. They had not gone into the surrounding areas and preach the gospel, yet they were still in their little holy huddle hanging out in Jerusalem and my dad pointed out to us last week that God can use bad things to produce good results.

He can use bad things to produce good results. He can use that negative painful hard and difficult trial in your life that illness that hardship to produce something good. The good thing that happened because of this dispersion of the first century church was they went into the ancient world and what they did was they brought their message with them.

They brought the message of the gospel to anybody and everybody who would listen, and so on. The first part of acts eight we read about Philip going into Samaria and preaching in this again.

This revival broke out. It was amazing God was working in a powerful way and he didn't stop there because can do that. But God because can do that for God to bring something good out of something that is bad, he can use that negative painful hard and difficult trial in your life to produce something beautiful.

The persecution of the church because the believers introduce them to flee for their safety and on their way.

They preach the gospel to anyone who would listen, and fill it up to this point he wasn't observing the great commission.

All that well. He was listening to this call Jesus had given to go into the surrounding areas and preach the gospel, and it took this little bit of a wake-up call. This wake-up call in his life to go out there and obey the Lord charge.

It took the death of his friend and peer Stephen to go out and preach. Maybe the Lords sent a wake-up call in your life.

Recently maybe you got some bad news from the doctor. Baby got let go from your job.

Maybe you found out that your wife is leaving you your husband's been cheating on you.

A terrible terrible set of news in your processing and try to figure out.

Listen, I believe the God can use that thing in your life for something good. I know that it's hard and I will never ever tell you that it's a good thing that these things have happened to you will be the last one to tell you that. But God can use bad things to produce good results in us. Maybe God use that wake-up call and left to get your attention to bring you to himself that illness that hardship that job layoff that time in jail to get your attention. I don't believe the God causes these things to happen in a direct way always. Sometimes he does, but I believe the God again can use these things in our lives to produce wonderful results.

I used to work at a company that did electroplating work for, did aerospace parts we dealt with airplane parts very important internal components that you would never see with your eye unless you are a mechanic to work on planes and took them apart.

And a lot of times these parts. Obviously, you want them to last for tens of thousands of hours because if a no landing gear goes out on an airplane. It's not like your third gear in your transmission going out all sure he got a pull over the side of the road call a tow truck at the landing gear brakes on the airplane that's a bad thing. You don't want that to happen and so these parts were treated very carefully and they were processed very meticulously in one of the processes that we did when I worked at this company as we would bring these internal components from the airplanes and we would put them on oven rack and would put them into these ovens that were very very hot up to a thousand degrees is something really interesting happened. When we took these raw metal parts and put them into the oven. Now when we think of something going into an oven.

You know that's kind of a good Christian analogy. The Bible uses of going through adversity going through a trial going to something that is keeping you up. It's breaking you down. It's changing you it's really hard on you. Often times, but one of the things that happen will be put these airplane parts into the oven. Is it actually enhanced components durability and Exley made them better and actually made them stronger and made them harder and increase their resistance to fatiguing and it also helped to keep their integrity when they're under load and pressure on those tens of thousands of hours on the airplane that help them from being brittle and breaking apart into pieces that you gotta tell me that this is not a great example of James 12 to forward James says counted all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Listen God can bring you through that trial, we might say oh it's so hot it's so hard them under pressure take us away take this pain away. Take this thorn in the flesh away from you, Lord, help me through this. Just take it out, but we also know that God can use those things in our lives to produce wonderful results. What if you wanted to get in shape, but you said all I never want to experience pain, I never want to go through anything difficult. You know no one I'm lifting those weights. My muscles are tearing and it's hurting and it's painful.

You have a what happens. It breaks down and it makes them stronger they get bigger and harder and better. Some of you need to chill on the gym time a little bit. Let's be honest, and scrolled through Instagram's are some intense people out there but that's okay. I think that in general, we understand that God can sometimes put something into our life that we don't want to have their and we don't understand it. Listen.

Listen to what the Lord says to his people and Isaiah 43. When you pass through the rivers, I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you when you walk to the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

What a wonderful promise from our Lord knowing that when we go through these times he is not can allow them to overtake as he is not can allow us to be consumed or overwhelmed. We will not be burned, God will allow suffering into our lives. But when you know that your heavenly father is could and you can trust him.

You know that there will be a purpose for your pain. You can trust God, he will be with you. He tells us, you will not be overwhelmed.

He tells us, you shall not be burned in the flame shall not consume you.

That's a promise from the Lord. We can thank him for that I will not ever say in my own life that the death of my brother who was killed in a car accident 13 years ago was a good thing I'll never say that because it wasn't Pat.

Things are bad, right and God is not saying I'm to take something bad interning. Then he'll turn it into something good.

I'll never say that I miss my brother. I love my brother.

I think about him. I talk about him. I share stories with my children about him. I still cry for him and miss him terribly and I look so forward to seeing him again in heaven someday and seen Jesus face-to-face and spending eternity together and catching up right where we left off and so thankful for that soul never save my brothers death was a good thing, but I can see that God did something through it he did something in my life there.

We had a conversation shortly before Christopher went to be with Lorber. He asked me a very poignant question. He said Jonathan what's gonna take for you to give your life to Christ and then when I heard that news a Christopher had gone to be with the Lord. The only question that I could get in my head. I couldn't stop thinking about it was him asking me once again it take for you to give your life to Christ. I knew that was the moment that I needed to receive Jesus in turn for my sin and make him the Lord of my life and because of that, because of the death of my brother. He saved my life. He saved me I was going down such a negative terrible path filling my life with drugs anything I could find in this world to know me, make me feel better. I was absolutely miserable. I was addicted I was lonely. I was a liar. I was isolated, but because the Lord got my attention to the death of my brother. He made me into the man I am today and I'm to tell you right now I am far from perfect. You can ask my wife that I am far from perfect.

But I know that the Lord has brought me out of the pit of hell.

He is brought me out of addiction out of destruction, and he's given me a new name, and he's given me a new identity, and he's given me a new character. He's blessed me with a family with children and restore my relationship with my parents with my family and so many friends listen.

Only God can do that.

He was a wake-up call in my life and I believe that the Lord wants to get your attention to, and he loves you so much. He will send a wake-up call your way to get your attention.

God can use bad things in our lives to produce good results. I've seen God use tragedies I've seen God use hardships I've seen God used cancer and death and suffering and pain, and termination from jobs and even more to bring our focus onto the things that matter. I've seen them use those things enough to know that my opinion on the matter isn't always the most relevant no Lord. This is bad. Don't use that. That's not good that's not what I would do God's like interesting. Thanks, moving on. Your opinion is irrelevant.

I know what I'm doing. You can trust the Lord.

He's a good father and he knows what's best for you. CS Lewis said God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but he shouts to us in our pain.

Pain is God's megaphone. Lewis says to rouse a deaf world. Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Nothing gets our attention quite like pain does does it and so we see God using pain we see God using the death of Stephen as a megaphone to move the church towards its mission of preaching the gospel and making disciples and baptizing them and we see them doing that here in our text today.

That brings us to acts chapter 8 really reading verses 25 to 40. Yes, that was the intro.

Okay were to be reading verses 25 to 40.

Would you join with me says this and now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, speaking of the apostles and preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans known angel of the Lord said to Philip, rise, go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza some very specific instructions for Philip and he rose and went in there is Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure.

He had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning, seated in his chariot and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. In the spirit said to Philip go over and join his chariot and so Philip ran over to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and he asked do you understand what you are reading in the Ethiopian eunuch said back to him. How can I unless someone guides me he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Another passage of Scripture that he was reading was like this. It says like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb before it sure is silent, so he opens not his mouth.

In his humiliation.

Justice was denied him who can describe his generation for his life is taken away from the earth and the eunuch said to Philip, about whom I ask you, does the prophet say this about himself or about someone else. Then Philip opened his mouth and beginning with the Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, see, here is water. What prevents me from being baptized. Verse 38 and he commanded the chariot to stop and they both went down into the water. Philip and the eunuch and he baptized him and when they came up out of the water. The spirit of the Lord carry Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself out as Otis and as he passed through. He preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea lesson there.

Lord we ask now that as we just read this amazing passage you would speak to us through it. Lord, we pray that we too might be sensitive to your prompt injustice. Philip was that we would recognize your voice that we would not have to be roused from our sleep to obey your commissions to us 2000 years later Lord you would bring these appointments to us, just like you did to Philip or the you would use us as imperfect as we are to accomplish your will use us, Lord, thank you Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

What an amazing story.

This is isn't it. I just love it I love how specific the angel of the Lord was to Philip. I love the image of him just kinda standing out there in the desert, I love that the picture of justice Ethiopian eunuch riding along in his chariot and and coming along and here's Philip we don't know exactly what he looked like, but probably a pretty humbly dressed guy just standing out there waiting for his divine appointment. And here comes just such a fun story in such an amazing principle for us to follow today. The angel appears to Philip and tells him to rise and go toward the south to go on the road.

The goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza like very very specific. I mentioned how I needed a coach when I was younger like Philip how specific did this angel of the Lord need to be with Philip. Philip, you need to go toward the south case and start heading south now you need to get on the road. The goes from Jerusalem to Gaza and just keep walking. You'll know when to stop right and he throws in this detail.

This is a desert place yet you don't say thanks thanks for that little insight there. Dr. Luke and so Philip is now left Samaria again. He's got a pretty excited about what just happened there. This little mini revival that broke out got to preach the gospel see people get saved, demons were cast out healings took place and now he shows up to a very dry, dusty wilderness. You can imagine Philip being just a little confused rightly. Is this the place. I just came from like a metropolis, I just came from a big city and now I'm sending out here literally in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere, Lord, what you want me to do here my hair like preached to the lizards doing to preach to these lizards over here like lizards are called the bugs and stuff and they can change colors, kind of tales come off when there you know, being chased by predators. That's kinda cool and you can just imagine Philip like trying to figure out how to communicate to lizards.

Maybe this is my own internal dialogue trying to imagine what's happening here but Philip is he trying to figure this out. You try to figure how to like break the language barrier between him and like a Jackson 300 million. Along comes this chariot. The Holy Spirit taps him on the shoulder pay Philip actually this is the guy want you to talk to supplicant of the lizards.

And here comes this Ethiopian eunuch cruising up in his chariot, a man of authority, amount of success amount of affluence and status for sure. He is a court official of Candace, which is a title for the queen of Ethiopia and the new living translation says that he was a treasurer he was feeling. He was the treasurer of Ethiopia. Okay so this guy's got somebody's got some status right he is part of the royal the royalty there in Ethiopia. He's an important guys.well he's got money and we see that he's riding along in his chariot. But we also see something very interesting and unusual this Ethiopian man is reading aloud from a scroll of Isaiah you know who had scrolls back then, like nobody, nobody had reading material. Maybe they would jot something down on no piece of parchment or something. They'd have that but very few people would have as scroll of Isaiah and be able to read from it.

Also, this man was educated he was able to read. He was intelligent he was again part of this elite class of people nobody would read in those days and if you could read. It's almost a guarantee that you would not personally own your own reading material is not like when I take my kids to the store and they asked me for a new book and it's like okay cool by you new $14 book and they read it in a day is like okay this is not working on. This is not financially responsible for me to every time I buy you a book you finish it in a day. $15. This is not a good investment. We found some other alternatives.

Now if we go to the library okay so much better, much cheaper and effective way to get my kids reading and so it's not like back then we could just go to the library and check out a book or go down to the store and buy a book in and read it.

No, to have a scroll of Isaiah. This was copied by hand Word for Word letter by letter. They painstakingly and accurately would carry over from one scroll to another and so this man, this Ethiopian eunuch had his own scroll of Isaiah 53 is pretty amazing and 11 verse 29 that the Holy Spirit again prompts Philip and tells him some very specific instructions yet, just a note, Philip. This is the guy go on over to his chariot right the Holy Spirit says go over and join his chariot and Philip. Here's what he's reading Isaiah 50 through one of the most obvious prophetic passages in the Bible about Jesus and Philip asked Sam this question that brings us to our our first question that we see this first part of the dialogue we see Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch having the first question he asked him do you understand what you're reading in the Ethiopian eunuch replies to Philip how can I unless someone guides me. How can I unless someone guides me. Romans 1015 tells us, 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. Philip now understood his mission okay I see what I'm here to do. I'm not here to get a suntan. I'm not here to break the language barrier between me and that you know the reptiles note, I'm here to preach to this guy. Basically this man was asking Philip, can you help me make sense of this. Can you help me make sense of what I am reading and so Philip climbs into the chariot at his invitation, a blue-collar Jew and a member of Ethiopian royalty and then the next question that we see happen is in verses 34 to 35 number two Ethiopian eunuch says to Philip, about whom I ask you, does the prophet say this about himself or about someone else and then Philip. He opened his mouth, beginning with this Scripture and he told him the good news about Jesus. I love that I love that Philip saw his opportunity and he took it.

Philip masterfully guided the Ethiopian eunuch through Isaiah 53 and he arrives at this question he asked them who is this all about who is this talking about is that the prophet Isaiah speaking about himself or is he speaking about somebody to come. I can't help but think that he was probably referencing verse five which says, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and by his wounds we are healed.

That was written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. Does not sound exactly like what Jesus did for us, he was crushed for our iniquities. He was pierced for our transgressions in this unit. This Ethiopian man asked Philip, who is this who is this all about, and Philip starting with this Scripture use it as a launchpad and he told him the good news about Jesus and he shared the gospel with them.

This man from Africa he was searching, he was a seeker he was looking to define spiritual truth. He was looking for answers. He was open to God and I love the God met him right where he was at the Lord says in Jeremiah 2913 you will seek me and find me when you look for me with your whole heart.

This man was in earnest seeker.

He was diligently see us seeking the Lord. He traveled hundreds of miles from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to go and worship at the temple of the Lord and the Lord met him not in the temple, but in the wilderness coming back on his journey back home. Lord met him right where he was at no truly interesting when you look at Scripture all the different places. The God went and met really interesting people right where they were met them on their level. This Ethiopian man. He was very different culturally from the people in Jerusalem. He was not a Jew. He was not practicing. He probably had all kinds of other dogs that his country worshiped, but he was seeking the Lord and the Lord met him, he sent him a messenger is very own evangelist into the middle of the desert to go and witness to him. I also think of the Magi. The magi who are looking in the stars for a sign about, you know, the Messiah, something that was gonna happen there looking in God met them with what a star these men were astrologers they were astronomers. They believe that there was signs in the skies, and so forth. And God met them right where they were at. He sent them a sign in the sky to bring them to the newborn baby Jesus, that we read about in the Gospels. It's amazing God met them right where they were.

I also think about the Ninevites's are some the most wicked horrible terrible people in all of history how brutal they were there a war country and they were known just for being scary and you didn't want to mess with them. Could a godsend to the Ninevites. Jonah he sent them a profit. He sent them an evangelist to go and preach them because they clearly were ready to turn from their wicked ways and turn back to God. Jonah went and preached what is known as the shortest and worst gospel presentation of all time.

40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. That was all they had to hear and they turn to God and mass the entire nation the king down to every last person put on sackcloth and ashes. God loves it. He loves in earnest seeker.

When you seek God with your whole heart. We read in Jeremiah you will find me when you seek and look for me with your whole heart. You will find me. That's God's promise to us. Notice how much the Ethiopian eunuch also was willing to admit that he didn't have all the answers, not to know about you but I don't like to ask for directions.

I don't like to read the directions. I don't like to have to look online. I want to try and figure it out myself and and be independent and be able to get it handled on my own, but here we have this Ethiopian eunuch being honest enough to say I don't know who this is about. I don't know what this is all about. Can you help me understand what this is saying that's vulnerability. He admits his ignorance and he asks Philip for help and he brings them into his chariot and now what you have you got a little small group happen right there you a little sermon discussion right little opportunity to talk about what the Scripture is saying how cool is that they got a little community taking place right there and I want to let you know that we have an amazing online church. We have an amazing online ministry that we call Harvest at Home and we also have some local campuses. We have one in orange county California one in Riverside California and also one on the island of Maui. So if you're ever in the area. Make sure you come by and say hello and visit us and let us know that you're one of our our family.

The watches online, but you know, watching online, let's be honest, it's pretty easy to remain anonymous is pretty easy to watch online and just tune in at your leisure. This is same thing is true with large churches. You can come in and come out and people don't notice if you're there or not.

If you're searching you can come in.

You can get your inspiration and you can go home. Nobody S&L just you and God. And it sounds convenient. It sounds like a good idea at times right on just processing I'm I'm just thinking about what the preacher is saying you don't want to get involved. You don't want to participate you want to become a volunteer or join a small group or anything like that.

You don't want to find a new group of friends who are ahead of you spiritually and you can share your questions and doubts with its easy to be anonymous online.

It's easy to be anonymous. In a large church but can I let you in on a little secret. Nobody wants to admit how stupid they are in spiritual things nobody wants to admit that nobody's comfortable saying I don't know the answers like this Ethiopian man did.

Nobody wants to do that.

Nobody wants to expose themselves to being spiritually illiterate.

Hey especially me. I'm so thankful that I people in my life because of this church because of this ministry who speak into my life who help answer questions.

What I don't know the answer who help direct me when I'm asking what do I need to do next in my life.

This doesn't just pertain to spiritual matters and understanding theology and doctrine and so forth. This is like in my life hey man, I've I've got teenagers. I got a blended family like how I work this out. What a way to how I navigate through this help me. I'm so thankful that I have men and women of God who are ahead of me in life and also behind me so I can be poured into and then I can pour into them and we can continue this process of discipleship, I get it.

It's hard to be vulnerable. It's hard to come and make it known that you're struggling in an area or you need help. But here's the rub. If you don't if you don't do these things if you don't make yourself vulnerable. If you don't step into community and make yourself known in the church. You are not going to have your life changed by God in any real practical way say that again if you don't get into community. If you don't get really plugged into church.

You are not going to have your life changed by God in any practical way by because a change.

Life happens by the power of the Holy Spirit through community through community yeah that's exactly right.

This man from Ethiopia. We see him right here he was willing to invite someone who didn't look like him who wasn't raised like him.

He wasn't part of the same social class, that's for sure. He invites Philip into his little chariot to have a conversation about Jesus and what we see we see a changed life emergency that right now. The next section shows us just how much this Ethiopian man valued having someone like Philip in his life and it brings us to our third and final question from this man from Ethiopia.

We read it in acts 836 and is there going along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, see, look here some water. What prevents me from being baptized. I love how eager he was and he commanded the chariot to stop and they both went down into the water. Philip and the eunuch and he baptized him and when they came up out of the water.

The spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more but he went on his way rejoicing.

I love that he went on his way rejoicing. He had an encounter with the living God because of Philip because Philip came and explained to him the Scriptures. He pointed out to him that this was about Jesus. He told him the gospel. Jesus came he lived the perfect life. He died on the cross he rose again from the dead, and if we put our faith in him we can have the hope of heaven and have our sins forgiven. He tells in the gospel. It's amazing in this Ethiopian man is so blessed he wants to be baptized, and he walks away from it.

Rejoicing is less question I think is really interesting. He asks should I be baptized should I be baptized that we know this guy.

He was on a spiritual quest for sure yet. Everything that he could ever want in his life. Something was missing in his life, though he knew that there was something missing in his life is God shaped hole in his heart and now he was finding the answers he was looking for this man went from searching for God to hearing the gospel to believing to finding a believer who could help him and he could trust and be vulnerable with to take the next steps in his faith. Philip knew exactly what to do now maybe you ask yourself why didn't he just say Lord I want to believe in you come into my life and I give it to you.

Amen we do that every year and harms at home. Give people an opportunity to believe in and put their faith in Jesus and pray that prayer and that's nice. And that is absolutely great to pray that prayer but is between you and God is is between you and God and nobody else has to know, especially when you're watching online, nobody else has to know but notice that he doesn't turn to Philip and say hey I've had this religious experience, but I don't want anybody to know about it. It's between me and got a I believe you keep your faith private right, faith is a private thing it's it's between you and the Lord it's it's a personal thing to pray that prayer asking Jesus into your life is something you do as an individual, but to be baptized. That's inviting someone into your life and asking something to do it with you.

He's asking for an evaluation from Philip he says should I be baptized. Is this the appropriate thing for me to do. Is this the next step I should take him my faith is a logical next step for a follower of Jesus Christ to be baptized for sure.

And so what is he say Philip says yeah absolutely he is the that eunuch says, look here some water were passing by right now. He tells the chariot, you will slam the brakes on. I assume they got some kind of entourage some kind of group of people with them, put the whole brakes on the operation and he says, look here some water. What prevents me from being baptized, he doesn't say I know I'm right with God. That's between me and him so leave me alone know he looks to someone else to help him. He looks at someone else to evaluate him and bring him along in his faith in what we read. He was baptized.

Philip was sideways fractured over into that us as our thesaurus area and he goes his way rejoicing.

This man from Africa he goes his way rejoicing because he had a new lease on life.

He had a relationship with the living God, and that is why the church exists today.

That's right the church exists for that very purpose say really there's three reasons why the church exists 1. We believe that the church exists for the evangelization of the world. The evangelization of the world. We also believe it exists for the edification of the saints, and lastly for the glorification of God.

Evangelization is is just telling people that there is a God in heaven that loves you.

He sent his son Jesus to die on the cross on your behalf so you could have your sin forgiven because we've all sinned, we give people an opportunity to put their faith in Jesus and come into the family of God and be a part of the church. That's evangelization edification is helping people along in their faith. Just like Philip was doing with the man from Ethiopia talking to about the Scriptures helping them wrestle with these questions, figure out these different things and also answer the question hate. Should I be baptized if you know what you're in this right place your clearly on the right path with God. You should be baptized. This is in our profession showing people around you that you were dying to your old nature coming alive again the edification of the saints asked why the church exists and then lastly, the glorification of God. We do this by living out what we believe we do this by living out the first two things that edification the knowledge the understanding of who we need to become.

We do this we glorify God by living this out. Also I worshiping, we come to church.

We worship we lift our hands. We sing songs and and we give of our ties in our offering will be extended and show God. The generosity that he has shown to us. This is how we glorify God. So the evangelization of the world edification of the saints, and the glorification of God in closing today. I can't help but just think that your logical next step is a believer if you're watching online, wherever you might be might be watching this archive. Your logical next step. Yes, you believe you have faith that's beautiful your logical next step in your life should be for you to stop being anonymous and to join one of our harvest groups, whether it's in person.

If you're in the area or online. We have tons of harvest groups that meet online. There's one for you.

I guarantee it all over the country. They meet via zoom date. They obviously if you're in the local area. They meet in person as well, but if you go to our website.

There's a link on the screen. Now you can go to. You can find a group for you.

So if you been watching online for some time and you haven't found community and your relationship with the Lord just kind of this private thing.

Listen, it's time for you to invite other people into your life that like I said can pour into you, so you can do what you can pour and other people you can use your experiences, your failures, your successes to pour into others, they can learn from your example. The apostle Paul says we should be able to say follow me as I follow Christ. We are going to be imitating the Lord and we need others to be able to imitate us imitate our conduct and so my encouragement to you join one of our troops. It is an absolute blessing is one of the best things that you could do. It's helped me along on my relationship with the Lord so much so much. I've sat in Sunday services and heard amazing teaching my entire life until I started studying and working on these small group studies and the lessons myself when I started when I was like 20 years old 22 years old when I started jumping into a small group. It changed my life so I want to encourage you to do that today. Right now even go on the website and do that.

We have a group for you. Whether it's a men's group, a women's group of couples group students group young adults, groups we have all kinds of groups one just right for you. In the context of community you are going to find. The Holy Spirit is going to move in your life like never before. But I also know the watching right now, there might be some here who have not yet put their faith in Jesus Christ at all you have and asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life and maybe your kind of like the Ethiopian eunuch you know there's something more to this life. Another something more to it. You know that is not just wealth and status in success and experiences and whatever else this world has to offer. There's something more or something more to it. The more you get.

I found and the more you succeed the emptier you feel. That's because you have something missing in your heart.

It's a relationship with God.

Sometimes the lowest moment in a person's life is when you just achieve what you thought was going to deliver the ultimate but just let you down. Yes.

Seriously, when you thought off. I get to this mountaintop.

I get this career if I get the status of I get this relationship I have this experience that can deliver the ultimate in you get there and he hit the pentacle and get to the mountaintop and what you find. You're just as empty as you were before, but now you're even more empty because now what your goal with this life all about.

You achieved your goal, you got your dream you made it happen.

You close the deal. Awesome co-job.

Now what so often those times can leave you lonely and feeling more empty than when you first started, I am telling you now that yes a relationship with God is the very thing you were created for is the reason why you exist why you were given life on this planet and you can have that relationship today, but there's a problem there's a problem.

Your sin is keeping you from God.

Isn't that like you have to be actively sinning, like right now I'm sitting up to him telling a lie right now that's what I'm separated God know it's like you send in your life. All it takes is one sin.

All it takes is one sin for you to be separated from God. Like it's a singular thing one sin is enough. And the reason for this is because God is perfect and in the presence of the Lord. Sin cannot be tolerated is just the nature of God. It's how he works.

Sin cannot be tolerated in his presence. If we were to all stand before God right now with our sin without the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. We would evaporate. We would be atomized, we wouldn't be able to be in his presence and be like letting a tissue paper on fire dropping at the bottom of the pool and then dumping 40,000 gallons of water on top of it will I want that fire to be of you know be able to stay lit underneath water by nature of the fact that that is fire and that is the harder I'm not a molecular biologist obviously but is that comes on I know well enough that is knocking a workout. It's impossible. You can't be in God's presence with your sin anymore. You can take a piece of paper underwater this on fire. You can't do it.

We are forever unable to reach God on our own good friend.

That is why Jesus came. That is why Jesus came.

He died on the cross for our sin, and he paid the price for us the ultimate price.

Second Corinthians 521 says, for our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him in Jesus we might become the righteousness of God. When God sees us.

We put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we make and the Lord of our life, he sees us with the righteousness of Christ. He sees us with like Jesus, vision, and he sees us as his own dear children and he allows us to come into his presence because of the debt. Jesus paid his Messiah, Jesus paid a debt he did not know because we owed a debt we could not pay. There's nothing that we could do to get to God, we can get there on our own.

That's why Jesus came to die for us it's a free gift that he extends to us and all we have to do is receive it in faith, allow the Lord to work in our lives and so in closing now would you like to be forgiven of your sin today would you like to know that when you die you will go to heaven.

Would you like to have that that burden of guilt have sin and shame removed, you can get right with God now and be forgiven of that sin and how those burdens taken away because Jesus died on the cross for you. He died on the cross for you and if you're watching this now you want to do that I would lead you in a prayer it's really simple. It's you calling upon the name of the Lord which Scripture says if anybody calls upon the name of the Lord. They shall be saved. So if you believe in your heart and you call on him. You recognize your sin, you recognize your need for saver and you want to turn from that sin now and turn to God, just pray this prayer.

It's really simple.

Pray this prayer now. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner but I know that Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and I turn from that sin. Now, from this moment forward and I turn to you and I make you the Lord of my life. I asked he would fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to walk with you and talk with you and be more like you.

In Jesus name I pray, amen, amen. Everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting that. Just go to harvest.org and the find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God


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