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Joy in the Journey (8 of 14)
Maybe you've seen the acrostic J.O.Y. The J stands for Jesus, the O for others, and the Y for You. Joy in life is experienced when we follow that order, Jesus, Others, and You. This certainly was Philip's pattern of life as a follower of Jesus. His placing Jesus first caused him to love others beyond his borders. Everywhere that Philip went and shared the Gospel "great joy" soon followed! We see this first in Acts 8:8 where we are told that there was great joy ("mega joy") in the city of Samaria due to the fact that Philip was proclaiming the good news of Christ there. The people of Samaria heard and believed the things that Philip preached to them. That is the secret of joy! It is hearing the good news of Christ and believing it. It is embracing the word, acting upon it that brings joy, not just hearing it. But for people to hear the Gospel someone has to share the good news.
In our text today a man experienced great joy in part because of Philip's willingness to listen to God and his obedience to preach Christ. The story begins with an angel of the Lord speaking to Philip (v.26). How this happened we're not told. But the angel gave Philip specific directions to go south along the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. Luke reminds us that area is a desert. The way to Gaza has changed little in the last couple of millennia. It is still a desert, an inhospitable barren place. Why go to Gaza? The same reason that Philip had gone to Samaria. He would go to love those on the outside, to bring the light of the Gospel.
We Must Love People Enough to Go
Such is God's call to us. He calls us to go to the wastelands, the forgotten places, the unfamiliar. And there never far from us. The desert place is anywhere God is not reigning as Lord. Why go? Because there are people living loveless, joyless, and purposeless lives, there are people there in need of Jesus. As God called Philip to the wastel ...
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