Last night Norma Jean and I attended a meeting at the Eastside Church of Christ in Denton, Texas, and heard a wonderful lesson from Tim Jennings, who reguarly preaches for the Spring Creek Church in Plano.
Tim’s message was from Acts 8-10, entitled “The Redemption Triangle.” Our readers will profit from his insightful thoughts from these chapters.
The Seeking Soul
In each of these texts, we read about souls seeking God. In Acts 8 there is an Ethiopian government official who had been to Jerusalem to worship. Apparently, he was a man of means. He was able to take time to journey some 600 miles to engage in worship. He had a chariot and his own driver. And he was able to obtain a precious copy of the Isaiah scroll which he was reading on the way home.
In Acts 9 we read of a religious fanatic, Saul of Tarsus, who was in all good conscience persecuting Christians. He believed his religion was right and others were wrong. And he was enthusiastically using every resource within his power to hurt the cause of Christ.
In chapter 10 we meet Cornelius, a Roman soldier, who was from a pagan background that worshiped many gods. However, it seems he is influenced by the knowledge of Jehovah God. He is called a “good man.” He prayed. He was a charitable giver to help others.
The Gracious God
In each of these cases, we read how God intervened to provide these seekers an opportunity to obey the Truth. God cares about those who are not in a relationship with Him. He sent Jesus to die for the lost and to redeem us so we can be saved. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous,” proclaimed the Psalmist. “Yes, our God is merciful” (Ps. 116:15).
God is seeking those who are seeking Him. The prophet put it this way, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near” (Isa 55:6).
The Willing Worker
The conversion of each of these seekers was facilitated by men willing to be used by God–Philip, Ananias, and Peter.
Philip was a man of faith, and a servant of the Lord, who decided to go into Samaria and preach Christ. There were many conversions, but the Lord sent him to teach one man–The Ethiopian Treasurer. Tim made the point that he was a man willing to be interrupted, to serve God.
Ananias was told to go see Saul and share the gospel with Him. Knowing Saul was a persecutor of Christians, he was fearful. But, as Tim put it, Ananias was “willing to take a risk.”
Peter was sent to take the gospel message to the Gentile household of Cornelius, something that he was not naturally inclined to do. He had to “conqueror his prejudice.” With God’s help, he did.
Tim’s point in the sermon was powerful. Often we look at these chapters as conversion accounts. But a fresh look reminds us they are also evangelistic models.
If we are to accomplish God’s purpose today, we need to be open, aware and alert to those who are seekers. It may require that we’re interrupted from our comfortable routine. We may have to take a risk. Or we may be challenged to overcome prejudice.
Sadly, we may profile people who we think are prospects and miss those who are seekers. Like these three, there are people today who may be financially successful, religious bigots, or of a different race who are seekers of God.
Tim’s lesson hit home. May all of us who wear the name of Christ be willing to be used by Him. Be open to opportunities. And may we, like Isaiah of old sincerely pray, “Lord, send me.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman