The Savior went up. The Spirit came down. The Saints went out.
Evangelism: The whole work of the whole church the whole of the age.
The book of Acts is full of divine encounters.
Illustration: Dr. Vines met a young man on the train in Texas. The man was headed to Houston to talk to a preacher about getting saved. His fiancée refused to marry him until he was saved. Dr. Vines led him to Christ. That is a divine encounter, to meet someone traveling just to get to know Christ.
The story of the Ethiopian Eunuch was a divine encounter.
Point One: A Prompt Soul-Winner
Phillip, the Spirit-filled Baptist deacon (Amen from Bro. Bart). "Normally we do not think of Baptist deacons and angels at the same time." :-) The angel conveyed with a sense of urgency the need for Phillip to go and be a witness. "Arise and be going." Phillip arose and went—no hesitation, complaint, or disagreement.
He could have said "not me...I'm busy...let's appoint a committee...let's vote on it" But the Bible is very clear about evangelism. "You do not vote on the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ." [Even this congregationalist agrees] A liberal referring to evangelism in Dr. Gray Allison's evangelism class said, "I just can't get that out of the New Testament." Dr. Allison said, "Of course you can't; it's in there to stay!"
Instead of saying "not me" he could have said "not now." Phillip was in the middle of a "big meeting"—an exciting revival. But Phillip left it to go to the middle of nowhere in response to the Holy Spirit. "If you are not willing to tell one person about the Lord Jesus, then you are not worthy to tell multitudes about the Lord Jesus." [WOW! Great quote.]
He could have said, "not there." It was a desert road where one could expect nothing. "God puts us in strange places for His providential purposes." [Amen, from an Arkansan in Texas ;-) ]
But he said none of those things...he went.
God uses a prompt soul-winner: someone who is obedient and observant.
A Prepared Sinner
A man prepared by the Spirit of God to hear the message of soul-winning.
He was an important man. He is a minister of finance for the Candacy—a man of influence and power. None of the things that made this man a great man made this man a saved man. He was a lost man in need of Jesus. There is a growing Universalism in our country in many places.
He's a religious man. He had been to Jerusalem to worship. He was probably a God-fearer (potential Jewish proselyte).
[sorry...Dr. Vines...I stopped paying attention...Dwight McKissic just walked up. Please, nobody smear his reputation simply for his sitting here. He's just a kind and generous man.] Churches are either fry or freeze. The service is either "religious smackdown" or a dry, dull, dead service. People need to hear Spirit-filled worship, Spirit-directed preaching, and a Spirit-inspired invitation.
He's a responsive man. The Spirit called Phillip to make contact with the chariot and Phillip ran to him. There are people out there who can be won to Christ if we are willing to attach ourselves to the lost people around us. The Spirit will direct us to people who are responsive.
"The church will do the most for the world when the church is the less like the world but the church is called to go into the world to make contact."
A Powerful Scripture
The place where he was reading was about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. "Of whom is the prophet speaking?" Talk about a lead-in to a soul winner! All of the Bible points to our Savior.
Phillip opened his mouth and began at the same scriptures and preached (evangelized) Jesus to him. When you're preaching Jesus, that's good preaching. When you are not preaching Jesus, you are not preaching.
A Personal Salvation
Jesus walked over 70 miles one-way to be baptized—don't tell me it's not important. If you want to have a rapture before the rapture, you get involved in telling somebody about Jesus and see them come to salvation. [The word that speaks of Phillip being caught away is the word from which we get the word "rapture."]
Irenaeus said that the Eunuch became an evangelist and led the Queen Mother to Christ. The chariot is now a gospel buggy with a bumper sticker that said "Honk if you love Jesus."
But the chariots are changing.
Illustration: Sitting by a young man on a plane—a computer scientist with two degrees from Harvard. Tatoos and rings in his ears. The chariots are changing racially. We must strip away every vestige of prejudice to catch those racial chariots for Christ. The chariots are changing religiously. Your next-door neighbors may be Hindu and Buddhist rather than Methodist and Presbyterian. Teens are learning to witness by text-messaging.
One blog a second is popping up on the Internet. We can use those blogs as places to be evangelists [Does he see me back here?]
Amidst those changing chariots, there are two unchanging constants. We have the same gospel of Jesus Christ that is meeting the same people in need of Christ.