Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

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The Value of One - Part 3

It started with a preacher in Samaria. The evangelistic series was going well, really well. Acts 8:6-8 tells us:

And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.

You can see from these verses that the Spirit of God was moving mightily in Samaria. Multitudes were attending the nightly meetings. The message Philip was preaching was moving hearts into action. The healing service was setting hundreds free from Satan’s prison. And great joy abounded everywhere in the city. This was an evangelist’s dream come true!

Then one day – during the mighty movement of God in the city – Philip receives a heavenly visitor with a message from the Throne Room:

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. Acts 8:26

Go? Now? That’s an odd command from heaven. Didn’t God realize all the good that was happening in Samaria? Didn’t God see His own Spirit moving mightily amidst the people? Truly, this wasn’t a good time for the evangelist of the series to be leaving.

And where was Philip to go? To another bustling town? Another evangelistic series? No. He was to go to the desert. The New King James Version expands this to show that this wasn’t just a desert, this was a deserted place.

Wait a minute! Why would heaven move one of the top evangelists in the middle of an evangelistic series out to a deserted place where no one was? To the human mind, this made no sense whatsoever. So Philip had a choice to make. Would he look at the situation with his human eyes? Or would he see what God sees and go where God was sending him?

So he arose and went. Acts 8:27

Decision made. Philip obeyed God and went where God was sending him. And heaven rejoiced!

And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” Acts 8:27-29

God had a specific mission for Philip – to explain the gospel to one man who needed to know who Jesus is. This Ethiopian man – a powerful man reporting directly to the queen – was reading Scripture and couldn’t understand what he was reading. God knew where His seeking child was, and God knew just the man He wanted to work with this Ethiopian to bring him into relationship with His Son. God wanted the top evangelist to reach this precious seeking child.

Philip accomplished the mission God sent him to. The Ethiopian saw Jesus in the Scripture he had been reading, and he wanted to be joined to His Kingdom. A baptism occurred. The Ethiopian returned home a different man ready to spread the gospel further in his home country.

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:4-7

Think for a moment. What if Philip had refused to leave the evangelistic series right in the middle of it? What if he did go, but when he arrived at his destination he was too afraid to approach the royal caravan and – as a stranger – walk up to the chariot of the official. An action which could have gotten him killed.

Remember, God values the “one.” God may ask us to leave behind work that is obviously successful for the Kingdom and we don’t understand the timing. We need to do it anyway. God may send us out into a deserted place where it appears there will be no work to do. We need to do it anyway. God may ask us to approach people we think are unapproachable and engage with them. We need to do it anyway. God may ask us to inconvenience ourselves for one person, and we may feel that the inconvenience is not worth it. We need to do it anyway. That seemingly unapproachable single individual may be the very one to turn around his/her neighborhood, city, state, or country. We won’t know until heaven when we shall fully see the results of our labor.

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