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Sermon Notes

July 14, 2024

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Joining Jesus

How many people do you encounter in a single day?
Many you know by name
Some by sight
Some that you may only encounter one time and never see again
We are surrounded by neighbors
During Impact Week we train ourselves to pay attention to our neighbors
Engage in conversation
Ask Jesus if there is anything he would like for us to do

Jesus is always at work and he sometimes invites us to join him

Acts of the Apostles could be called Acts of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts we read of Jesus' Spirit (aka The Holy Spirit) always at work. We also read of people who joined his work.

There are lots of neighbors in your life:
People that live around our church building
People that live close to your house
People that bag your groceries, make your starbucks, wait on your table in a restaurant, deliver your mail, etc...
A most unusual and unique man visited the Temple in Jerusalem. He was a foreigner -- 1500 miles from his homeland. He came to worship God. He's either a Jew by birth or by conversion. He looks different than everyone else in Jerusalem. For one thing his skin was probably very black. He was from Ethiopia. He's an important official of the Queen so he probably has an entourage. We meet the man soon after he began the long journey home.
In our reading pay attention to what God does and how Philip responds.
The angel did not tell him WHY, he was just to go to a certain road. Philip does what he's told and keeps his eyes open.
Philip sees a man sitting in a chariot reading. He get's more instructions. He is told to get real close to the man.
Philip could hear the man reading from Isaiah. (The ancients always read aloud.) Philip asked a simple question. It was not, "If you died tonight where would you spend eternity?" That is an annoying question. He asked "Do you understand what you are reading?" That is an inviting question.
The man askes for Philip's help. God has already been at work on this man and now he is eager to know and obey the word of God. He is the definition of "low hanging fruit." Thankfully, Philip has trained himself to pay attention.
What a great question! Philip was able to tell him about how God sent Jesus to bear our sins so that we might have life. Philip told him the story of Jesus' life and ministry, his death and resurrection, his ascension and promise to return. He was able to tell the man that Jesus is Lord!
Where did he get the idea that he needed to be baptized? When Philip told him the Good News of Jesus he also told him how to respond to the Good News. If he believes in Jesus and is ready to repent (turn away from sin) then he needs to be baptized (immersed in water) to join Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection. As he rises from baptism he will begin his new life (See Romans 6:3-4).
As soon as he is baptized the Spirit shows up again. God's been working between Azotus and Caesarea so he takes Philip to meet the people he's been working on.
What is God doing in the lives of the people around you? Your neighbors? Train yourself to be on the lookout.