The Holy Spirit And Divine Appointments
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 13 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
One of the most wonderful things about walking in the Spirit is that He makes appointments for us in a miraculous way so that the Spirit-filled Christian will cross the paths of those who need help and salvation. I am sure that in Acts 8 Philip had some doubts when the Holy Spirit told him to leave the great meetings that he was having in Samaria when he was preaching to great crowds and go the desert. However, Philip being sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, obeyed and there God had made a prior appointment for him to talk to an Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:29, "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot." The word "join" in this verse implies "glue" or "cement". God had previously appointed that Philip be "glued" to this man who needed the Saviour. Wonderful and many are such appointments when a person walks in the Spirit!
Recently in a sermon that I was preaching at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, I stopped and made the statement with a loud voice, "Suicide is not the answer!" Later, in another state a man was in the act of committing suicide when he heard that statement from that sermon on a tape recorder. His life was spared! God planned it so!
Years ago a man in Ft. Worth, Texas, was driving to work. While on the freeway that morning this unsaved man turned on his radio and heard me preaching. The man in his natural state was offended by my preaching and turned off the radio. The next morning he was curious to know what I was preaching about, so again he turned on his radio to the station on which I was preaching. Again he was offended. He cursed and turned off his radio. The third morning he went through the same procedure, but as he reached to turn off the radio, I said, "Hold it, fellow driving down the freeway, don't touch that radio!" He was so startled that he pulled his hand away from the dial. Then I said, "Now pull the car over beside the freeway and park." He did. Then I said, "Get out of the car." He did. I then said, "Now get on your knees and ask Christ to come into your heart." He did. I knew nothing about the story, but the last Sunday that I was pastoring in Garland, Texas, this man made a special trip to the Miller Road Baptist Church to tell me this amazing story and to thank me for being faithful to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Several years later I was in Fort Worth, Texas, preaching. This same man came up to me and told me that he was now pastoring a Baptist Church. Wonderful are the appointments that the Holy Spirit makes for the one who walks in the Spirit.
Recently on an airplane, I won a 90 year old lady to Jesus. When we arrived at our destination she looked at me through tears and said, "God put you in that seat." Yes, God did, and God put her in that seat, for I had asked the Holy Spirit to lead me. He had made a divine appointment for me with the lady who needed Jesus.
Many such appointments are recorded in Scriptures. In Acts 10, Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius. In John 4, Jesus met the woman at Sychar's well. These are beautiful illustrations of the appointments that God makes for the Christian who walks in the Spirit.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead us positively. At other times, He will lead us negatively. Acts 16:6, 7, "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygisa and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden to preach the Word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not." In theses two verses we find two occasions where the Holy Spirit forbade His people to go to a certain place because He had other plans and appointments for them.
One day I was out soul winning. I was to visit Mrs. Turner on Michigan Street. However, the next street from Michigan was Truman, and I got the words "Truman" and "Turner" mixed up, so I went to Truman Street to the same house number that I was supposed to visit on Michigan Street. A lady came to the door. I said, "Mrs. Turner?" She said, "No, sir." I said, "Is this a certain house number on Michigan Street?" She said, "No, sir. This is Truman." I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I made a mistake. I was going to visit Mrs. Turner at this number on Michigan Street, and because her name and your street are similar, I got on the wrong street." I started to leave, and then I realized I should witness to this lady, I turned and said, "Ma'am, I'm Brother Hyles, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond." The moment I said that, she burst into tears.
She said, "You won't believe this, mister, but just when you knocked on the door, I was on my knees asking God to send me a preacher to help me." Praised the Lord! In just a few moments God had given her the help she needed and she trusted the Saviour.
One day I was out soul winning on the north side of Hammond. All of a sudden I felt impressed to go see a man on the south side of Hammond. However, he worked days, and I knew he would be at work. The Holy Spirit kept burning in my heart, "Go see him, Go see him." I said to the Holy Spirit, "He works the day shift at the steel mill." I still felt impressed of the Spirit to go to the man's house. This I did. I walked up, knocked on the door, and would you believe it, he came to the door! I called his name and said, "I've come to talk to you about Jesus." He said, "I don't have time. I'm not supposed to be here, but I forgot something this morning and had to come back to get it so I came home to eat a bit of lunch." I said, "Friend, let me tell you about Jesus." He was a harsh man and not in the least interested in the Gospel. He told me to leave and this I did. As I got into the car, I became overcome with emotion. I was crying uncontrollably. I went back to the man's door and knocked again. He opened the door and stared at me angrily! I fell to his feet and hugged his ankles and called him by name and said, "You've got to get saved." He looked down at me as I was hugging his feet and said, "Reverend, you really care, don't you?" I said, "Sir, I'd rather see you saved today than anyone in the entire world." He said, "I can do it when you cry." In a few moments he received Christ. That event took place about 15 years ago. Not many months ago that man went to Heaven. Thank God for divine appointments, and thank God that there is a Person Who knows all, Who is able to make those appointments for us.
The question comes, how does a Christian have the Holy Spirit make such appointments for him? The answer is one word-YIELD! Every morning when I get up I bow beside my bed and yield myself to the Holy Spirit. After breakfast I do the same thing. At mid-morning, I do the same thing; after lunch, the same thing; mid-afternoon, the same thing; after the evening meal, the same thing; and then again before I go to bed, again I yield myself to the Holy Spirit. I do it seven times a day!
Oh, how many opportunities He has for us if we would only be available to Him and present ourselves for His use! Notice the sensitivity of deacon Philip to this leadership in Acts 8:29, "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot." Notice, the Holy Spirit led him specifically to the eunuch's chariot! Then when the eunuch was won to Christ, Philip was caught away by the Spirit to another place. Verse 39, "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
Years ago, when I was a lad, there was one baseball player who was my hero. Even after I became an adult and even a pastor, I continued following him with rabid enthusiasm. He is now in the Hall of Fame. Recently I was in Florida and looked up, and there he was! I had never met him. What an exciting time it was for me to shake his hand! Then the excitement intensified and increased when I told him the story of Jesus. With many people looking on, he bowed his head, prayed the sinner's prayer and trusted Christ as his personal Saviour.
Hallelujah for the Holy Spirit and the divine appointments He makes for those who will yield to Him and with Him.
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"I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years." —Billy SUNDAY