In our recent sermon series about the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the Believer’s life, we looked at some of the ways He moves with us and within us to empower us, reveal God’s things to us, to speak to us. He abides in us and becomes a part of us as we invite Him to do so. I came across an interesting and wonderful example of this as I was reading in the book of Acts this week, especially with regard to His speaking to us.
In Acts 8:26-40 we read of the disciple Philip who hears an angel of the Lord tell him to get up and go down to the road leading south from Jerusalem to Gaza in the desert. We don’t get a lot of details about this command to Philip, but one thing we can see right off the bat is just how very specific the instructions were. It doesn’t say Philip was given a milepost number, but the instructions were not far from being that clear! The next thing we notice is that Philip obeyed the instructions. He must have been that confident that the voice he heard was from the Lord. We don’t know exactly how the angel of the Lord communicated these words to Philip, but we can safely assume that Philip knew the voice of the Lord when he heard it. As with the other disciples at this time, his spiritual ears must have been extremely open and expectant, having received the in-filling of the Holy Spirit in the upper room at Pentecost not long before.
According to Luke’s account in Acts this was the only command given to Philip. He wasn’t told what he was to do or say, just to go. This took some faith that the Spirit would tell him what to do at the right time when he got to the right place. And sure enough, when Philip saw the Ethiopian eunuch reading in his chariot, the Spirit told him to go up to the chariot and stand near it. That’s all! Again, God is giving Philip step-by-step instructions, the bare minimum it seems. When Philip heard the eunuch reading from the book of Isaiah, he asked if the eunuch understood what he was reading and at that point an interchange began that led to sharing about Jesus, the Messiah, as prophesized in Isaiah, and in the acceptance of this truth, the salvation and baptism of the eunuch right then and there. Wow! What a series of events!
What can we take away from this story for our own lives? Well, for one, we see how the Holy Spirit can speak to us in very specific ways. He doesn’t only speak in spiritual generalities, but can direct us in our day-to-day comings and goings. We also see how He is looking for the seekers of truth and helps them in their search. Ask, seek, knock, and He will answer, He will show us what we’re looking for, He will open the right doors for us.
We see how, although He doesn’t need to (He could do it all Himself), He chooses to enlist other people to minister to people. He wants our partnership. And for that to happen we Believers must be open and expectant to hear His voice. And one last thing is that we see that the Holy Spirit wanted Philip to “go near and listen” in order to find out what he was being called to do. How much more we might be able to be the “salt of the earth” if we simply drew near and listened to the people around us. The ways God might ask us to minister to them could be wildly different from one person to the next, but God will show us what is needed as we listen to what our neighbors are concerned with and struggling with. Our job is to share our testimonies about Jesus after we listen. The Holy Spirit, in His amazing wisdom, will do the rest!
Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened."