“RISE & GO!” Acts 8:26-40
INTRO – I love Buck knives. Very high quality. Bought this one last week. But love something else about these knives & this company. Enclosed in every box is a small card that says this:
“A Message from the Buck Family: As my father Chuck Buck would say, if this is your first Buck knife, ‘Welcome aboard.’ You are now a part of a very large family. We think of each one of our users as a member of the Buck Knives family, & we take care of our own.
Now that you are family, you might want to know a little more about us. Dad said it best when he said, ‘The fantastic growth of Buck Knives, Inc., was no accident. From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, & He hasn’t failed to help us w/ the answer. Each knife must reflect the integrity of management. If sometimes we fail on our end, b/c we are human, we find it imperative to do our utmost to make it right. If any of you are troubled or perplexed & looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.’” – CJ Buck, CEO, Chairman of Buck Knives
Bottom of card: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son; so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
This past week, Super Bowl LII. Philadelphia Eagles beat New England Patriots. Great game. Lots of offense. Most yards in any game ever in NFL history. Lots of hype about the victory for the Eagles. But there was also a lot of hype about the Christian testimonies given by the coach & some of the players on the Eagles team.
What do the Christians on the Super Bowl champion Eagles football team & the Christians in the Buck family have in common? At some point in their lives, someone shared the Gospel with them & they responded & gave their lives to Christ.
- Someone shared the Gospel w/ CJ Buck & he gave his life to Christ, & now is using his platform as the CEO of a large company to share the Gospel w/ people all over the world.
- Someone shared the Gospel w/ Doug Pederson, Eagles’ coach, & he gave his life to Christ. His first words when interviewed after Super Bowl: “I can only give the praise to my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity…”
- Nick Folse – MVP QB of Super Bowl – “I wouldn’t be out here without Jesus in my life.” Taking seminary classes & wants to be a high school pastor.
- Zach Ertz – Eagles TE – “Our #1 goal on this earth to make disciples. That’s the only job that we want to do.”
God told Philip in Acts 8:26 to “Rise & go” b/c there was someone who needed to hear about Jesus Christ. And Philip went.
QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY: Are YOU going to “RISE & GO” when it’s time to tell someone about Jesus? Every Christ-follower in this room today has heard & will hear God say to you, “Rise & go.” It may not be those exact words & you probably won’t hear them audibly. But God IS going to tell you to “Rise & go!” He will put you in a situation where He wants to use YOU to tell someone about Jesus, & that will be YOUR “Rise & Go” moment. He will put someone in in your life who needs to hear the Gospel from YOU, & that will be YOUR “Rise & Go” moment.
Here are 4 “Rise & Go” certainties for us to consider today:
GOD ORDERS – v. 26-29 – The Bible makes it very clear that God’s commands – His orders for us are that we must share the Gospel w/ those who are lost. John R.W. Stott: “…we engage in evangelism today not b/c we want to, or b/c we choose to, or b/c we like to, but b/c we have been told to.”
Jesus said it:
- Matthew 28:19-20
- “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered, but a command to be obeyed.” (Hudson Taylor)
- Mark 16:15 – “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.” (TLB)
- Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)
Paul said it:
- Romans 10:14-15 – “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
- Ephesians 6:19 – “Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” (CSB)
- 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction.” (NET)
Peter said it:
- 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators organization, said, “If we’re not fishing, it means one thing: we’re not following.” I will get back to that later in the sermon.
WE OBEY – v. 27, 30 – I love Philip’s simple & immediate obedience here.
- v. 26 – God said, “Rise & go.” V. 27 says Philip “rose & went.”
- v. 29 – God said, “Go over & join this chariot.” V. 30 says, “So Philip ran to him.”
How amazing would it be in the Church if our obedience was that immediate! But, too often we try to negotiate w/ God. We try to bargain w/ Him. We come up w/ all sorts of excuses & reasons why we can’t obey Him right then. We try to delay our obedience. But delayed obedience is disobedience. The moment to obey God is the moment He speaks. When He says, “Rise & go,” it’s time to do just that. And if we will, we will experience His work in our lives in some unbelievable ways! D.L. Moody: “God wants to find people He can trust. Obedience is literal, prompt, cheerful, willing action. Do what God wants you to do w/out asking any questions. When God finds such people, I believe they become the mightiest power on this earth.”
GOD ORCHESTRATES – v. 27, 30-34 – God put all the parts of this amazing story in motion to ensure that this divine appointment was going to happen. This wasn’t a coincidental, chance meeting that happened on this desert road. This was a “GOD-THING,” just like EVERY witnessing opportunity is a “GOD-THING!”
- Last week, at the end of the service, I had everyone turn to someone & actually share the Gospel. Put the Roman Road up for all to see (PUT ROMAN ROAD BACK UP). During that time of sharing, Rachael Rice had the huge privilege of leading her 10 y/o daughter, Alyssa, to faith in Jesus Christ right here in this room during the worship service. Long before that worship service every happened, God orchestrated the parts of that divine appointment so that Alyssa would have the opportunity to hear the Gospel & accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord & Savior.
WE OPEN – v. 35 – IT’S TIME FOR CHRISTIANS TO OPEN THEIR MOUTHS & SHARE THE GOSPEL!
Jesus – “Come follow me & I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). He didn’t say, “I will make you more disciplined, or more spiritual, or a better church member, or more successful.” He said, “I will make you fishers of men.” Following Jesus means that we WILL open our mouths & share the Gospel as fishers of men.
Folks who like to fish:
- Fish in different places – may have favorite spot or fishing hole, but fish everywhere. You don’t stay at home if you’re going to fish. You’ve got to GO!
- Fish with lots different baits & lures – may have favorite lure, but also have a tackle box full of different lures. You don’t just sit on the bank holding a cane pole or a rod & reel when you’ve got a box full of crickets or a tackle box full of lures.
- Fish for different kinds of fish – may have a favorite (bass, white perch), but will fish for lots of different types of fish.
Jesus didn’t make disciples so He could just gather a big impressive group of men around Him. He made disciples to make them fishers of men. He didn’t bring them in – He sent them out to open their mouths & be fishers of men!
QUESTION: Are YOU going to “RISE & GO” when it’s time to tell someone about Jesus?