July 24, 2014
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “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. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
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?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
In case you are still wondering whether non-Apostles have apostolic authority, (i.e. you), keep your eye on the ball. In today’s text, Philip takes it from Samaria to the next level: “the ends of the earth,” also known as Ethiopia. Note though, that he did not go to Ethiopia, rather he was on a Holy Spirit errand. The Holy Spirit regularly if not constantly does Gospel Traffic Control. Some call them Divine Appointments. Divine appointments always lead to divine outcomes, whether we actually witness the fruit ourselves or not.
I see at least two major requirements to moving in apostolic authority: 1. Attentiveness to the Holy Spirit, and 2. Pre-emptive Obedience.
First, we need to perhaps demystify a bit what it means to be attentive to the Holy Spirit. Hearing from the Holy Spirit is not reserved for a special class of Christians. It really should be an every day experience for every follower of Jesus. We tend to set our expectations too high as to how this will happen. We expect an audible voice or an angelic visitation when the Holy Spirit works most commonly through Scripture, wise friends and quiet inward impressions. Moving in apostolic authority requires honing those Spirit empowered instincts and trusting them. One more thing of immense importance: purity of heart.
Second, pre-emptive obedience means asking the Holy Spirit to give you an assignment and saying yes before you get the it.
Summarizing the keys to apostolic authority:
- The Holy Spirit favors the attentive.
- The Holy Spirit favors those who live immersively in the story of the Scriptures.
- The Holy Spirit favors the pure hearted (and creates pure heartedness in the willing)
- The Holy Spirit favors those who open themselves up to Divine Assignments and Appointments.
- The Holy Spirit favors those predisposed to obey his promptings.
I see all of these at work in today’s text. Can you spot them.
And Philip, the widow-worker-non-Apostle-apostolic powerhouse, he’s headed to Caesarea.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
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