2Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch Acts: The Unfinished Story of the Church Series Acts 8:26-40July 15, 2012Pastor Paul K. Kim2
3WHAT IS THIS STORY ABOUT? This story is about the continuation of spreading the gospel beyond Jews—(1) from Hebraic Jews, (2) to Hellenistic Jews, (3) to Half Jews [Samaritans], and (4) to Gentile “God-fearers” [an Ethiopian eunuch].This story is about the first personal evangelism recorded in the Book of Acts as opposed to the mass evangelism of Philip as well as of Peter thus far.This story is about the timeless principles of evangelism—how we too can become an effective witness for Christ.
4WHAT KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PHILIP? 1) Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit: Philip was sensitively dependent on the leading of the Spirit—at times counter-intuitively.26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go towardthe 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 ofthe Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. (vs.26-27a)In light of the Samaritan vibrant revival, this prompting was counter-intuitive (personally & strategically).It was just for one person: the traveling Ethiopian eunuch.Our sensitivity must include both ways: (1) ordinary way of leading (objective/Scripture) and (2) extraordinary way of leading (subjective/circumstantial).
5WHAT KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PHILIP? 2) Immediate Obedience: Philip submitted to the leading of the Spirit immediately and unreservedly. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seatedin his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit saidto Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heardhim reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what youare reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (vs.27b-31)Philip unhesitatingly obeyed the prompting of the Spirit—he “ran” to the chariot.The Ethiopian eunuch was a “God-fearing” seeker who was spiritually ready for the gospel.Evangelism is our participation in God’s sovereign work.
6WHAT KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PHILIP? 3) Readiness to Share the Gospel: Philip was ready in terms of how to share the gospel of Christ from Scripture.32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughterand 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.” (vs.32-33)The passage was Isaiah’s prophecy about the suffering Messiah—Jesus’ atoning suffering and death (Isaiah 53:7-8).
74 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken,smitten by God, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;he was crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and with his wounds we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray;we have turned—every one—to his own way;and the Lord has laid on himthe iniquity of us all.Isaiah 53:4-6
8WHAT KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PHILIP? 3) Readiness to Share the Gospel: Philip was ready in terms of how to share the gospel of Christ from Scripture.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. (vs.34-35)The passage was Isaiah’s prophecy about the suffering Messiah—Jesus’ atoning suffering and death (Isaiah 53:7-8).Philip was ready to explain the good news of Jesus—his substitutionary suffering and death to atone for our sins starting with this passage.Our readiness to share the gospel actually prepares us to be more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in evangelism.
9WHAT KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM CAN WE LEARN FROM PHILIP? 4) Calling for Confession of Faith in Christ: Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to baptism as his confession of faith in Jesus.36 And as they were going along the road they came tosome water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commandedthe chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water,Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. (vs. 36,38)The Ethiopian’s eagerness to be baptized tells us that Philip must have explained about repentance and baptism.Philip saw his sincere faith and gladly baptized him.We must also call for repentance and baptism as a biblical way of becoming a Christ-follower.Result: Joy and continuation of being led by the Spirit!
1039 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 gospelto all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (vs.39-40)On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea,and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist,who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.Acts 21:8
11FOUR KEY PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELISM FROM PHILIP Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit: Be sensitively dependent on the leading of the Spirit—at times counter-intuitively.Immediate Obedience: Submit to the leading and prompting of the Spirit immediately and unreservedly.Readiness to Share the Gospel: Be ready in terms of how to share the gospel of Jesus from Scripture.Calling for Confession of Faith in Christ: Invite the person to confess his own repentance and faith in Jesus through baptism.“Successful witnessing is simply taking the initiativeto share Christ in the power of the Holy Spiritand leaving the results to God.’’Bill Bright
12Single out and Pray for Individuals So you have no burden for the lost? Stop, and observe those around you! Then pray. Ask God to do something about what you see. Volunteer your services to [God] and see what happens! First he will probably call certain individuals to your attention. He means for you to pray for them. Be faithful. Pray your way through every step of the process, from establishing the first rapport, to opening the door to the message, to the Holy Spirit’s convicting them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Persist in prayer. George Mueller wrote, “The great point is to never give up until that answer comes. I have been praying every day for 52 years for two men, sons of a friend of my youth. They are not converted yet, but they will be! The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer—they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it.” One of these men became a Christian at George Mueller’s funeral, the other some years later.- Jim Petersen
13THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE How can I become more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit for spreading the gospel? Who can I begin to pray for?What prompting has the Spirit given me lately to share the gospel? What would it mean for me to unhesitatingly obey the leading of the Spirit?How can I improve my readiness to share the gospel clearly? To call for a focused commitment to Christ, leaving the results to God?