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Experiencing the Living God:  What’s Real, April 28, 2024

Acts 8.26-40, Easter B5

Theme:  Conversion


Recorded in the Gospel of John 14:8-11 we find the Apostle Philip asking Jesus to show the Apostles “the Father.”  Here him searching for simple, straightforward evidence of God.  It’s not that he doubted it particularly, he just felt the need for verification.


He was searching for reality – in simple terms.


He asked all this before he witnessed Jesus’ trial and execution.  It was also before he experienced Jesus’ resurrection.


We live in times where substantive proof seems to be required of everything.  If it is business – it’s the bottom line.  In science – it’s verification by at least two other reputable labs.  In medicine – it’s a cure.  In success – it’s favorable results.


If it is someone significant, we want to see at least a photograph – even better we want to meet in person and shake hands.  We think the only thing real has some sort of substance.


In this way, we are no different than Philip.


But then…


After the resurrection of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit had descended on Jesus followers, Phillip was asked to join an Ethiopian official traveling back to his country.  He finds the man in his carriage, studying an Isaiah scroll.  The man was struggling to grasp the meaning of a specific passage.


Philip was compelled by God to witness his faith to a foreigner, perhaps a Jew returning home from a pilgrimage or from a State Visit.  If this man seemed strange to Philip, the text doesn’t mention it except that the individual was a eunuch, and a state official from a foreign land.


Was Philip still seeking verification of a real God?  The situation he found himself in was not in any way simplistic.


However, Philip simply did as God required of him.  A few things to point out.

1.    Philip did what God asked without question.

2.    He was prepared.  He had diligently studied the scripture texts and knew what he was reading.

3.    He was able to add his own experiences from his faith journey.  He had resolved the questions he had just a few months before asked Jesus to verify.


The result was the Ethiopian official’s conversion to embrace the Good News of Jesus. According to the traditions and teachings of the Ethiopian Coptic Church, this man with the help of God went on to convert an entire nation.


Philip’s witness transformed a nation.


Join us in our services this Sunday at First Christian Church in Warrensburg, Missouri as we contemplate our own experience of the living God.

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