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Every Opportunity: Philip and the Ethiopian

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People often miss the blessings of being involved with God in His work because they fail to see the needs of others. God often places believers in situations that give them the opportunity to focus on others. The question is: Are we so focused on ourselves that we miss these opportunities—or are we attentive to God so that we see others through His eyes?

1. God will lead us to specific people if we are receptive to His call (Acts 8:26–29)

Acts 8:26–29 ESV
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
• The Lord led Philip to the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza (v. 26).
• Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot reading from the book of Isaiah (vv. 27–28).
• The Holy Spirit directed Philip’s actions (v. 29).
Illustration: In his blog entry titled “Lessons from Pete,” Walt Mueller tells the following story: On a late evening flight, Walt met Pete, a fellow traveler who was facing a difficult situation and had many questions to ask “a God-fearing man.” When Pete left the plane after their two-hour conversation, he said, “Usually Christians get mad at me when I ask my honest questions or share my honest confusion about Christianity.” Pete’s final comment was, “This has been the most significant conversation I’ve ever had in my life.” Walt’s talk with Pete, just when he was struggling with spiritual issues, was a divine appointment. (Source:

2. God will give us amazing opportunities to lead people to Christ (Acts 8:30–38)

Acts 8:30–38 ESV
30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” 34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
• The eunuch was reading a biblical passage that he did not understand (vv. 30–33).
• Philip used the verses to tell the eunuch about Jesus (vv. 34–35).
• Philip baptized the eunuch because he trusted in Christ (vv. 36–38).
Illustration: Opportunity may knock only once. With some people we may only have one chance to be a partner with God in changing their eternity.

3. If we are faithful to respond to our opportunities, the Holy Spirit will direct us to minister to others as well (Acts 8:39–40)

Acts 8:39–40 ESV
39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
• Philip was taken away immediately after the eunuch was baptized (v. 39).
• Philip then preached the gospel in another location (v. 40).
• Because The Holy Spirit is God and Empowerer, He frequently urges us to share the gospel with others. When we follow His leading, He will supply the words and the response that God expects.
Illustration: On page 95 of the Ekklesia journal, Gene Wilkes points out: “Our matrix of friendships connects us with the very people to whom God desires for us to be His witness.” He then challenges: “Write the names of family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors who, like the Ethiopian official, are seeking a relationship with God—knowingly or unknowingly. Pause and pray that God will give you an opportunity to tell them the story of Jesus.”
Gospel Application
Believers have the incredible opportunity to be part of God’s mission to reach the world. When we follow the leading of the Spirit, we will have opportunities to share the gospel with many people whom He places in our path. Like Philip, we will be able to move from place to place to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are ready to hear and respond.
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