The Unexpected Leading of the Spirit

Acts 8:26-40

As you read Acts 8:26-40, you may think to yourself, “What are the chances?”

Think about it: Phillip shows up on a back road out of Jerusalem, encountering an Ethiopian dignitary at exactly the moment he was wondering about a passage he was reading in Isaiah 53. What are the chances? What are the chances that Phillip would leave an exciting ministry to go to this less-traveled desert road, not even knowing why? What are the chances that a well-educated, powerful African would decide to make a months-long, arduous trek to Jerusalem looking for answers? And, how did he come to own a scroll of Isaiah? And, why was he reading Isaiah 53 at exactly the moment Phillip jogged over to the chariot? I mean, what are the chances?

If you read Acts 8:26-40, you may first think the main character of this true story is Phillip, or maybe even the Ethiopian. But really, the main character is the Holy Spirit. He’s directing this whole story for the glory of God and for the proclamation of the gospel to this man from “the ends of the earth” (echos of Acts 1:8!).

So, how does this story impact your life and mine? Do we believe in a sovereign Spirit who prepares people to hear the gospel? Do we believe in a sovereign Spirit who prompts people to share the gospel with those people? Is the Holy Spirit currently, specifically, personally directing us for the cause of the gospel? Yes, we do believe. Lord, help our unbelief. Help us live like we really believe that.

Application Questions
1. Think of a time when you were clearly a recipient or a messenger at the Spirit’s directing. Maybe someone came to you just when you needed to hear the gospel, or the Spirit sent you to talk to someone at just the right time.

2. Consider times when we DON’T hear the Spirit’s prompting. What might have been distracting or hindering us from hearing and obeying his leading?

3. Do you really believe the Holy Spirit is currently, specifically, actively involved in preparing people to hear the gospel? In prompting people to share the gospel? If you really do believe that, how then, should you live?