When it comes to evangelizing; that is, sharing with others the good news about Christ, a feeling of inadequacy comes over so many of us. Isaiah the prophet experienced a similar thing when he “saw the Lord sitting on a throne.” (Isaiah 6:1) The sheer magnitude of it all caused him to say, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) The Lord knew he was unclean; and so, purged him of his sins. Then the Lord asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:7) Isaiah, newly cleansed could not help but say, ‘Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
Here am I! Send me. -Isaiah 6:8
For the proclamation of Christ to be effective, it must have at its core the realization of forgiveness supplied to us through the redemptive work of Christ. I am assuming that this is what we believe; and so, I want to focus on the idea of God sending us. Our text today is found in Acts 8:24-40. Most of us are familiar with the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. I want us to consider four basic principles that we can use to help us share Christ with others.
If we are willing to be sent, we must be ready. The Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26) While traveling along the road, the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” (Acts 8:29) I don’t want us to get caught up in the miraculous calling of Philip: Instead, I want us to see his willingness to do God’s bidding wherever God placed him. Are you ready? Next, we find Philip running up to the chariot where he “heard him;” that is, the eunuch, “reading the prophet Isaiah.” (Acts 8:30) The first thing Philip did when he came in contact with the eunuch was listening. When we intentionally listen to those around us, we can better understand where they’re at, and by virtue of that, understand where we might begin. When opportunity allows, it is better to start where people are, rather than where we want them to be. Now with some understanding, Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Asking questions, not many, can provide opportunity to understand more fully where someone is in there thinking and where you might begin to share with them the good news. This, of course brings us to our final principle: which is, start where people are at in their understanding. (At times, it is a lack of understanding.) Yes, our intention is to bring someone to where God wants them to be; that is, reconciled back to Him. But that journey always has a beginning.
So, who am I? Well, I am hopefully like Isaiah, being cleansed from my sin; I can’t help but say to the Lord, “Here am I! Send me.” May God empower us to speak openly about Jesus, with patience and conviction.