Are You Telling HIS Story? – Michael Kisner
Acts 8:30-31a, 35- So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.”
Suppose someone came up to you and told you their life was a mess, changes needed to be made, and they realized that they needed a deeper relationship with Christ in order for those changes to take place. What are you going to do now? What’s your next step? Unfortunately, the answer for most Christians today is to invite them to Church with the goal of introducing them to their Pastor. Don’t get me wrong, inviting them to Church and introducing them to the Pastor are good and necessary things to do, but is that what they are asking for? What do they need right now? In Acts 8, Philip was guided by the spirit to come along side the Ethiopian, but Philip’s response to the Ethiopian’s request for guidance was not “meet me at Church and I will introduce you to one of the Apostles.” In verse 35 we read, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.”
The “conventional wisdom” in the Christian community today seems to be geared toward putting everything off on the Church in general or to the Pastors in particular. Is this the model presented to us in the Scriptures? Sure, the Church and Pastors play a vital role in individual and corporate growth within a congregation, but what is the individual Christian’s responsibility in fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples?
With Philip and the Ethiopian we have a clear example of our responsibilities as a Christian. We must realize that when we are confronted with someone asking for guidance in spiritual matters, they are not there by accident. It is God himself, acting through the Holy Spirit, that has arranged the meeting.
And if God is the all knowing and all powerful God we profess Him to be, then we also have to understand that the person God has brought us together with is not beyond the help we are able to give. We all have a unique and individual relationship with Jesus Christ, based on the events and circumstances that not only led us to recognize Him as our Savior, but which also sustains us in that relationship as we are yet sinners. This is our testimony, our witness, of the Jesus others are seeking.
So why are most of us reluctant to engage in this personal discipleship? It seems we have somehow convinced ourselves that it takes an advanced education in Theology in order to encourage and guide someone in the ins and outs of a Christian life. But in reality, all it takes is an intimate knowledge of God’s word and our personal experience in applying that knowledge in our everyday lives. This is not to downplay the role of Pastor’s and Teachers in the Church.
Their role is to equip the saints for “the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12), building on a foundation laid by our personal time in God’s word and prayer. It is when both of these elements are working together that we are equipped and able to disciple. Unfortunately, we have become a society of Christians content to sit in Church and listen, forsaking our personal time in the Word and our individual growth in grace. This may simplify our Christian life to some degree, but it leaves those who are seeking and placed in our lives by God on the outside looking in, wondering where the Love of Christ really is.
My challenge to each of you is to take a good look at your spiritual foundation. Could you sit down with someone and explain the Ten Commandments and how they apply to everyday life? If not, what is your Christian life based on? If you can, then don’t hold back what the Lord has given you.
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