< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Sharing God - Part 3

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sharing God - Part 3

After that the Eunuch asked to be baptized as an outward symbol of his inward belief and Philip did so. And right after that Philip was “snatched away” by the spirit. And he found himself 18 miles away on the coastal plain. From there he continued to work through towns until he reached Caesarea and raised a family of 4 daughters who are mentioned in Acts 21:8-9.

The Ethiopian went back to Ethiopia a new person in Christ. And according to the 4th century church historian Eusebius, he became an evangelist in his native land. (Biblical Ethiopia is the present day Sudan.)

John Wesley loved to read and he read everything: history, poetry, natural science, philosophy, but he described himself as a “man of one book, the Bible.” He believed that the Bible was the essential text for the people of God and that all Christians in the power of the Holy Spirit could read it and understand it.

Wesley offered some advice on spiritual reading, which could easily be applied to reading the Bible. He said he was giving the advice to those who know “they have not yet attained” and “despise no assistance which is offered to them.”

In other words like the Ethiopian on the road to Gaza.

1.Read at a regularly determined time each day.

2.Prepare for reading with fervent prayer to God and aiming for pure intentions and the good of your soul.

3.Do not read hastily, but leisurely, seriously and with great attention. Pause at intervals to allow the inspiration of divine grace. Consider how you can put it into practice. Read orderly. Have a plan, don’t just skip around.

4.Let your feeling be involved. Treasure sayings that may protect you against later temptations or inspire you to act with virtue, humility, patience and the love of God.

5.Conclude your time of reading with a short prayer to God that what you have read may be sown in your heart and bring forth fruit to life eternal. In other words take your time, meditate on it, take it seriously. The Bible is not just a source of comfort. It is the living voice of God calling us to action.

The story of Philip and the Eunuch, besides telling us how important every individual is to God and telling us that the Gospel is for everyone, tells us that the Bible is a gift from God. And God’s people can offer hope to the world.

Our faith must be more than a collection of lightly held traditions. It must show us an example of how a person trusts God and is obedient. Philip didn’t argue or pretend. He didn’t miss God’s calling. He went. Immediately.

Philip allowed God to reshape him, an ordinary person, into an extraordinarily obedient disciple. This didn’t happen overnight. Philip was likely one who for years had followed God to the best of his ability, even before he heard of Jesus. When that happened and he believed, the spirit filled him and equipped him for service.

We may be somewhere in that preparation story and God will do for us what He did for Philip. He wants us to be continually moving deeper into our relationship with Him so we can be ready when He chooses us to be His witness.

It takes more then Sunday morning in church and Sunday School to be ready. Bible study, Christian literature, Christian radio, service projects help. Prayer, open and continual communication with God is a biggy. And then doing the things that please God. Putting into practice what you learn.

This might be a good time for you to take inventory of how much time you give God. You won’t be an effective witness if you don’t love God and love His Word.

I hate to sell anything! Ask my daughter if I ever sold a box a Girl Scout cookies for her! But, I can sell $100 tickets to fundraisers for causes I believe in and that I knew the person would have a great time attending. I was doing someone a favor by sharing it with them! Before I started 7 years of Bible Study Fellowship, or went on the Walk to Emmaus I used to get nervous doing a 2 minute devotion in front of a group. But, then I started studying the Bible, really studying it and reading other things and listening to Christian radio programs and I wanted everyone to love it all as much as I do: sharing Jesus with people, sharing God, sharing the Bible…and I stopped being nervous.

Ask God to lead you to someone who needs to know Him today.

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