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Letting Go of Control

Letting Go of Control

Acts 8:26-40

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 the face of uncertainty, the Holy Spirit does not ask us to stop being who we are.

The environment may have changed but I have not. Your circumstances may have shifted, your confidence may be shaken— but I am the same yesterday, today and forever. In the midst of these persecuted times, the Holy Spirit has not taken a step back. God's plans have not shifted. He’s moving. He’s bringing his kingdom.

Philip is first mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the 7 deacons and he is described as “a man full of faith, and of the Holy Spirit”.

Philip is preaching, casting out demons, performing all kinds of miracles.

An angel of the Lord appeared and directs him.

Whatever form is chosen to communicate, Philip is directed to go somewhere.

UNEXPECTED

Unexpected Place

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” - verse 26

Desert, away from the action of the city.

Direction but no instructions.

Unknown, uncomfortable.

Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place with God?

God directs Philip to an unexpected place. Has God ever taken you to an unexpected place? A place you didn’t want to be? A quiet place; a difficult place? Have you ever found yourself hearing a word from God that’s not what you expected?

I found myself there this year. Stepping down as ED. But this is working, I still believe in the mission, it’s good work. And instead God positions us in the unknown where we will need to be led by the Spirit. I’m taking you out somewhere you have never been before. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You’re going to feel like you’re falling. But I will lead you to a place where you will need my spirit to guide. To strengthen you. You direct you.

Discomfort is the price of admission. - Nika

Sometimes God is moving us—deliberately—into a place that requires us to depend on the Holy Spirit.

God is sending Philip somewhere unexpected and unknown, and for him to follow God into all that is there for him, he’ll need to follow the Spirit.

Because when it’s my plan, I’m in charge. My plan. My ideas. My words. But when I’m out in nowhere - in the desert you could say - then I’m dependent on Him. I’m dependent on more than just my past experiences and even more than just His word - here I need a living, breathing, dynamic, personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

UNPREDICTABLE

So he started out - verse 27

A quick yes from Philip

No delay or procrastination, despite no specifics, despite zero plan laid out, Philip is obedient to the call of God, yes to God.

I don’t like God messing with my schedule.

I want him in my life for healing, for breakthrough, for provision, but deal with my control issues? Nah, I'm good.

One of our key issues with a life led by the Spirit; we don’t want to give up our control, our agenda, our plan, our life.

“The opposite of faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is control." - Richard Rohr

Unpredictable, out of the box... those things bother us, our sense of order, our sense of having things together; don’t mess with my reputation, don’t ask me to do something outside of my plan.

The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” - verse 29

UNIMAGINABLE

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ehesians 3:20-21

Philip and unimaginable transformation.

Set up by God.

How often do we miss out on more than we can ask or imagine, because we’re so committed to our plans and agenda?

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