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Acts 8 - Philip's Evangelism to an Ethiopian

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Catch That Chariot!

Acts D. Contrast in Evangelism (vv. 26–29)

In God’s value system, it matters not whether one’s preaches to hundreds in a city or one in the desert. Faithfulness to call is the only issue.

Contrast Philip with Jonah
Acts 8:26 NKJV
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.
Luke simply adds this commentary on the Lord’s command, “This is a desert”.
Old Gaza was a deserted city,
Who was Philip going to preach to on a:
A little traveled road
That led to a deserted city?
After the mighty revival in Samaria, this command must have seemed absurd to him.
But God had often tested faith through such commands.
Moses:
Exodus 14:16 NKJV
16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
Elijah:
1 Kings 17:3–4 NKJV
3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”
Naaman:
2 Kings 5:10 NKJV
10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
Philip might never have preached in Samaria or on the road to Gaza if he had responded like most Christians today.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NKJV
4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
Acts 8:27–28 NKJV
27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.
New Testament 8:26–40—Conversion of an African Official

“Candace” (kan-dak˒a) seems to have been a dynastic title of the queen of Ethiopia

Eunuch = A Government official in this case the treasurer of Ethiopia.
but possibly an emasculated male.
Had come to Jerusalem to worship
An Ethiopian convert to Judaism
He’s sitting in what was most likely an Ox-drawn cart, slowly moving along and reading out loud and was customary in those days.
How easy it would be to picture Philip plodding southward on that desert road....
Mixed emotions
Regret?
I wonder who this man is and what’s he reading?
But Luke has no time for silent musings...
Action - It’s the book of ACTS!

2. Contact With the Target

Acts E. Contact with the Target (vv. 30–35)

SUPPORTING IDEA: When a willing Christian communicates the gospel to a prepared listener, spiritual miracles take place.

Acts 8:29 NKJV
29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
Catch that Chariot!
Acts 8:30 NKJV
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The Eunich was reading from Isaiah
Very likely had started reading from:L
Isaiah 56:1–8 NKJV
1 Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord Speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”; Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5 Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off. 6 “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant— 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” 8 The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him.”
Imagine the exhilaration in Philip’s heart as he realized why the Spirit had sent him to the desert.
What better Old Testament text from which to preach Jesus than Isaiah 53:7–8.
Acts 8:30 NKJV
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Acts 8:31–40 NKJV
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” 34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Acts Principles

PRINCIPLES

• God can do amazing things through an available layperson.

• Every believer should be ready to explain the gospel.

• The good news about Jesus is not limited to any ethnic or cultural group.

• All service for the Lord must be engendered and empowered by his Spirit.

APPLICATIONS

• Be ready to go any place for God at any time.

• Know your Bible well, and grow in your ability to use it.

• Don’t minimize the importance of the Old Testament. Instead, know how to find Christ there as often as possible.

• Be ready to catch your chariot whenever and wherever it comes along.

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