Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch 1

Big 'in-word' in teaching at present: Threshold.

Def:

A strip of stone forming the bottom of a doorway, and crossed in entering a house or room

A point of entry or beginning.

In teaching it is used in terms of pay related to performance; It's a fast track! to move education on. A point of entry into a new system. It's all to do with money and reward.

Well there is certainly a fast track mentioned in today's reading, and a performance and a reward. But it has nothing to do with money!

Philip meets the Ethiopian: Acts 8 26-40. expound…

Philip in Samaria,

Why?

There because disciples driven out by first official persecution in Jerusalem, following the martyrdom of Stephen.

(Sometimes God directs us by driving us out!)

What is he doing there?

Thriving evangelistic work. Great results vv7

He leaves that all behind.

Why? How hard must that have been.

1) leaving those who need more teaching,

2) work unfinished

3) still much that could be done

4) It was working there why go elsewhere

Because an angel of God has spoken to him

(God calls him out.)

Finds himself on the threshold, on a fast track desert road to Gaza.

Must have had some misgivings, perhaps not? Most of us would wonder

1) Our imagination?

2) No clear route ahead?

3) Will it work?

4) Will this really help God's cause?

5) What will be expected of me?

But he kept on moving. He was willing to cross the threshold. Make a new point of entry trusting in God for the people he was to meet, and the words he was to say.

God in fact wanted him to speak to ONE MAN. In speaking to this one man, who knows which thresholds he then crossed for God.

Philip merely a runner running on to pass an Olympic flame to the next man, that the whole world might be lit up.

He was but a servant, a messenger.

He didn't dive straight in and frighten the Ethiopian Eunuch away. He walked with him, observed and listened.

1) Saw him reading scripture(one we've just sung about. Is 53vv7-8, one of the most beautiful readings in the bible.

2) Was at his side as he read

3) Was ready with the right opening question? 'Do you understand what you are reading

4) Available to listen and answer.

Just as God journeyed with Philip, so was he willing to journey alongside the Eunuch.

Individuals are important to God. Let us never forget that. The one person you or I reach as precious as the many thousands preached to by evangelists.

How many of us today are just as sure that God is leading and directing their lives?

How willing are we to go for God, somewhere that seems like a desert road to us.

How much time do we spend in listening to God?

Are we distracted by other things?

Story of pig and hen passing by a notice outside a church, which said:-

‘Free egg and bacon breakfast’

How about it? said the hen.

‘No way,’ said the pig, ‘For you that would be a kind offering, for me it would mean full commitment!’

What if Philip had been distracted by the important things he had yet to do for God in Samaria, what if he had said "No" because he was enjoying himself too much, or felt he knew better? What if he just wasn't listening to God at all, and didn't even pick up any instructions in the first place?

What if we're guilty today of those same things?

How do we know we're not on a wrong route today?

Need to repent. To about turn and admit our mistakes, and to take stock of what we are about, and where we are going.

Before we look at direction, let's look at a drama. It shows one person stuck in a rut, so busy, so full of self, with no time for God really, and the other moving on through repentance.(Luke 18vv9-14)

Luke 18 vv9-14

Two people once went into church to pray, and this is how they prayed:-

Lady Bountiful:

I'm good , I'm great, there's no-one quite like me!

Look at all the others and you'll see.

They're lazy, they're selfish, they gossip all day long,

And I cannot be faulted for I never go far wrong.

In fact… I'm perfect, so cheerful,

A pleasure to have around,

I do just as God bids me, and my doctrine very sound.

She's loopy, O.T.T and always in a state.

And me I never stop, there's always something on my plate.

I give my money to the poor, I give them what I can,

I go to church each Sunday, and I'm your biggest fan God,

But I'm pleased that I'm not like her…

She hardly ever prays…..

And I am always at it, for days and days and days.

I know I'm in your good book, I know that I am saved,

I don't live the ugly life, of those who are depraved,

But I'm pleased I'm not like her, always in a mess,

And what I AM about to say, you'll never ever guess!

My record is quite spotless,

And all admire me,

So am I getting through to you God,

Aren't you pleased, you've got a child, like me?

The other woman on the other hand, would not even raise her eyes to heaven, but prayed thus:-

'Oh God I can't help myself at times, I'm so sorry'

As they leave church, judge for yourselves, which of these two found forgiveness in the eyes of God?

When will we get to the point at which we say to ourselves. Wrong route about turn?

Which of these roads are we on at present? Which have we chosen?

Or are we at present on the roundabout trying to make our choice?

Have we already overlooked that seemingly insignificant little road, narrow though it is, which points to the cross?

It is the road of humility, of counting others better than oneself,

It is the road of effacing self, and coming to see that others matter in this world. People not possessions.

It is the road which speaks of forgiveness and reconciliation. After Pentecost, all of these qualities were so much in evidence in the lives of the followers of Jesus.

And our objections to taking such a route stand out like barriers keeping us out. One reason why we keep on going round and round in circles, is because of these barriers we ourselves have erected. And it's time for them to come down.

It's time now to listen to God, and be willing to break down every barrier, in order to go His way. And in order to do that we must listen to Him.

Only then will we know peace on our journey.

This up-to-date manual for teachers has this to say:-

'If you are one of the teachers eligible for crossing the threshold, the decision about whether to apply or not is for you, and you alone.(ATL Understanding the Threshold P2)

Brothers and Sisters, we are ALL ELIGIBLE for God's threshold, and the way ahead.