What I continue to see, and it concerns me is this: As the world continues to change, more and more Christians are responding with fear.
So instead of going out and loving on the people of the world, Christians end up huddling together shaking in their boots, afraid of the way the worlds going. That's not God.
Go : Acts 8
A bit of context: This is where Phillip - preaching in Samaria - there's been signs and wonders and healing, spirits cast out.
Especially for people like many of us - grow up in the Pentecostal tradition. - We think this is the ultimate. The highest level of our existence.
Turns out - Not ultimate plan. - Sends him out.
But turns out - Not God's ultimate plan for Phillip. Or for any of us to camp out in the revival atmosphere. But instead God sends him out.
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26)
So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. (Acts 8:27)
The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” (Acts 8:29)
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. (Acts 8:30)
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. (Acts 8:31)
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” (Acts 8:36)
And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip & the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:38)
(Apostle Phillip) meets (Ethiopian Eunuch)
Phillip meets an Ethiopian Eunuch
DIFFERENT than Phillip.
So just to be clear, this man was, in every way imaginable, DIFFERENT than Phillip.
Ethiopian (Dark Skin) / Eunuch
Jewish Law - Deeply unclean.
For one thing, we was Ethiopian, so that meant he had very dark skin. But probably more troubling was he was a Eunuch and according to Jewish Law - Someone like this Ethiopian eunuch is considered so deeply unclean.
I don't want to be graphic. - The practice was: If someone was going to work for a queen, the requirement was that the man would be castrated, so no chance of him sleeping with the queen, or raping the queen, or anything like that.
That means that his reproductive organs would be removed.
Gave up - job…
So, if you think you gave up a lot for your job…
People would willingly do this because of the power that the job would give them.
So for one thing - It kinda makes you a sell out to your tribe. Because you're saying you're always going to work for these pegan rulers.
If you were a jew - you'd consider someone like this, unclean according to the purity codes in the bible.
“If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 23:1)
No eunuch is to enter the congregation of GOD. (Deuteronomy 23:1)
Deuteronomy is incredibly clear that Eunuch's are not allowed in the house of God.
CLEAR: Eunuch == OUTCAST
Phillip - Jew - Called OUT - Revival / Glamor.
Side by side - Eunuch.
God is calling us to leave the safety of our 4 walls and to enter into the wildness of peoples real lives.
And in order for that to happen, we have to stop being afraid of non-Christian people.
When you're afraid of non-Christian people, you lose your ability to influence.
Eunuch : “How - understand - someone explains?”
Time - Stop relying - pastors / tele-evangelists.
I love preachers. I really do. I AM one of them. But the time has come from the church to stop relying on pastors and tele-evangelists to be the only one reaching out into our city. That's over.
If the gospel will continue to spread in the world, and it will, it will be by the couragous Christians being the hands and feet of Jesus.
I look at the news. - Tragedies
Amazing: We can't get through a single week w/o somebody killing somebody who's different from them.
The world is so scared to death of people who think differently than they do.
Whereas I think Jesus is calling us to be willing to get in a chariot and listen to someone who might be very 'other' than us.
You know where Phillip did NOT meet the Eunuch? IN CHURCH!
And I just have the suspicion that fishing would be difficult if you're scared to death of fish.
So don't be afraid. God has called us to do something truly terrifying, and that's to reach the lost. But don't be afraid.
Good news: When we get rid of the fear, we open ourselves up to God moving in surprising and beautiful ways. Not just IN us, but THROUGH us to a dying world that so deperately needs a taste of something new.