Revival Reschmival

This was the title of a message I preached last Sunday.  After sharing about the awe inspiring works God is doing around the world, I moved on to the passage of Scripture on Philip the Evangelist in Acts 8.

Persecution had led the early Christians to scatter and bring the seed of the Gospel with them.  Philip the Evangelist went to Samaria and revival broke out in the city - cripples and paralytics were being healed left and right, and many were being freed from demonic oppression.  The whole city was filled with joy!  This is a true picture of revival.  But then, something strange happens - God sends an angel to tell Philip to leave the revival!  An angel was needed here, because Philip would have a hard time leaving unless God was clear.  God tells him to go down a desert road that leads to Gaza.

As he goes, a chariot is passing, and the Holy Spirit directs him to run alongside the chariot and witness to the Ethiopian man in the back!  Philip witnesses while running alongside a chariot!  The man is a high-up Ethiopian official in the Queen's court, and ripe for the Gospel.  Philip takes him from one passage of Scripture and points him to Jesus.  The man asks to be baptized along the side of the road, Philip baptizes him and is suddenly supernaturally tranported (yes, Star Trek style) 20 miles to Azotus where he begins preaching again.  This is the only New Testament passage that shares about someone being transported - there are several miracles like this mentioned in the Old Testament.

This passage is not only incredible, but also shows us a bit about the priorities of God.  God is really moving in Samaria, great things are happening, but he calls Philip to leave the revival.  Revival is not the main thing we should be after.  Instead, we should be after obedience to Christ.  Our greatest passion in life should be to fulfill our assignment from God - going where we sense He places us and doing what we sense He wants us to do.

Second, do we have a passion to run after those who don't know Christ?  I'm not encouraging you to literally run alongside cars (or chariots, if you ever see them), but in the small works of your life, are you praying, giving and going with the message of the cross to your neighborhood, city and nation?  One commentary shared a great thought - this passage of Scripture contains the essentials of true evangelism:
-The man of God - are we walking closely with the Lord and being obedient to the Scriptures?
-The Spirit of God - are we allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our words and our witness?
The Word of God - do we know the Scriptures, can we show people the way to Christ by the Word?
A powerful combination.

May God give us the burden and passion that Philip the Evangelist had to fulfill our assignment and run after lost souls!