Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.
Thank you team. Invite you to take your Bibles to acts chapter eight. If we continue in our series in the book of acts today with a story about a guy that got baptized acts chapter eight, verse 26 to 40, I’m gonna go ahead and read the passage, and then we’re gonna dive into some thoughts this morning in acts chapter eight, beginning of verse 26.
Now in angel, 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 and he rose and went and there was an Ethiopian, a Munich, a court official of Candace queen of the Ethiopians who, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning seated in his chariot and he was reading the prophet, Isaiah.
and the spirit said to Philip, go over and join the chariot. So Philip ran to him and heard him reading the prophet and asked, do you understand what you are reading? And he said, how can I, unless someone guides me, he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 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 it shears his silence. So he opened not his mouth in his humiliation. Justice was denied him who can discard describe his generation for his life as taken away from the earth. And the Euch said to Philip about whom I ask you, does the prophet say this about himself or about someone else?
And Philip opened his mouth and began with this scripture to, to tell him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road, they came to some water and the Unix said, see, here’s water. What prevents me from being baptized? and he commanded the chariot to stop. And they both went down into the water, Phillip and the Eich and he baptized him.
And when they came up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord carried Phillip away and the Euch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing, but Philip found himself at AAS. And as he passed through, he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. Let’s pray,
Lord, we’ve been reading about your work among the masses of the people in Jerusalem and, and now recently in this very chapter, the, the multitudes of the people up in Samaria, Lord, it’s thrilling to know your eye is so clearly directed to one man on a lonely road trade route, going.
Lord you are the pursuing God, God, I, I realize in our room this morning with those that are watching online, there’s such a variety of circumstances in life. I’m sure Lord, there are many that are here that are in pain. Maybe in confusion. Maybe there’s been news this week that has been overwhelming.
Maybe there’s just the stuff of life that are wearing people down. But Lord you’ve gathered us. Providence provide sovereignly. It is your purpose to have us here that we can hear this portion of scripture and God, I pray you would use your word to speak into our lives today to your glory in Jesus name.
Amen. Amen. DL moody was a famous evangelist about the turn of the century, the last century, early 19, early two thousands, excuse me, early 19 hundreds and DL moody was, uh, confronted. He was an evangelist. He had big meetings and a lady came to him once and she was remonstrating with him about his methodology.
She actually was there to critique his method. She had cons concerns with, and she mentioned a number of things about his evangelism method of, of how he shared the gospel and what he did in his crusades. And he responded very humbly and he, and he said to her, I honestly, uh, I struggle with the way I do it too sometimes.
And I, I can see some holes and, and it’s clear that you have brought out some things in, in the way I’m doing evangelism. How do you do evangelism? And she Hemed and hawed. And she finally acknowledged. that she didn’t really do evangelism to which moody famously replied. Well, I like my way doing it better than the way you are not doing it.
Philip. The focus of acts chapter eight would line up right along with moody. He loved sharing the story of Jesus. Now, even as I used the word evangelism, I just want a couple of say a couple of things at the beginning here. Maybe you are a person, uh, that is here today and church is not normally your thing, or maybe, uh, Christianity is not normally your thing.
And you’re seeing your thing at evangels. Oh great. There’s the whole problem I have with Christians. They’re always trying to evangelize. They’re always trying to, to, you know, to, to pull you into and to make you see it their way. And I hear you. I get it. I just wanna say this to me the best. Story definition of evangelism was done by a Puritan about four centuries ago.
And he said doing evangelism, sharing the gospel is simply one beggar talking to another beggar about where to buy bread. When we talk about the gospel of Christ, we’re talking about beggars that have found bread. We’re talking about people broken people who are recognizing that Jesus Christ has come for broken people like us has brought change is willing to bring change.
And it has been so startlingly amazing that we feel compelled to wanna let others know about it. We don’t always do it in the best way we do it. Confrontationally we do it, uh, sometimes arrogant. But sharing the gospel is simply beggars wanting to tell people where we found Brett. The other thing I wanna say for those of you that are, are believers in Christ.
When you hear me say sharing the gospel, oh no guilt ridden message. That’s gonna be a tough one. Maybe I need to check the phone a little bit or, you know, sort of zone out of it. I hope I hope that’s not, what’s gonna happen in this message. I love this story of acts chapter eight. I love what we see in Philip because you see Philip presents to us, a legacy that shows us there are different methods of sharing the gospel while at the same time, maintaining the same message.
Phillip was one of the seven, actually that designation will be used later on in the book of acts referring to the seven guys that were point in acts chapter six, to care for the, the Greek speaking widows in the church. In the previous section, we looked at last time in acts chapter eight, verse five to 25.
We saw him taking the gospel of Jesus Christ outside of Jerusalem, even outside of Judea to the Northern area of Samaria. It was a shockingly bold thing that he did, and he saw a tremendous fruit. As we saw last time, people were embracing Jesus as their own savior among the Samaritans who were people that were basically sort of half Jew, half Gentile in their, in their beliefs.
They had all mixed up stuff together and. , it was so prominent that what happened, that the apostles down in Jerusalem sent their two top guns to check on it, Peter and John and they go up and, and there’s basically what happens is they see the reality of Christ being embraced by these people and they lay their hands on them.
And basically there’s like a Samaritan Pentecost where again, they received the holy spirit in the same way that Jewish believers did in acts chapter two. In these verses before us, we see a secondary passage about Philip. He’s done the mass evangelism stuff, but now he is in a God appointed encounter with one solitary man.
The encounter in chapter eight, with the background of the earlier part of this chapter shows the diversity of methods in sharing the gospel with people. I’d like to look at that. First of all, we’re gonna look at the diversity of the, of the, of the gospel sharing. And secondly, the consistency of the message, the diverse methods of gospel sharing.
There’s two things that highlight this year, the diversity of the people that are reached with the gospel in chapter eight, the first part we see he’s talking to the Samaritans and what we see in the comparison of what happens in the first half of chapter eight. And then the second half of chapter eight shows this, this tremendous variety of how the gospel is shared and it’s we see it in four different avenues.
Number one, there’s a difference in race. The Samaritans were a mixed race, half Jew, half Gentile, Asiatic in background, the Ethiopian is a black African, a Jew, apparently by birth or a Prosi you who is, who is. Become a, a Jew somewhere in his life. That’s why he’s up here. He’s here to, to worship at the temple to celebrate his Jewish faith.
And he’s on the way back. And he’s all here’s Jerusalem. He’s way down here almost about ready to go over and start crossing into Northern Africa. And this, this lowest city, the old Gaza, which was, uh, one of the city, five cities of the Philistines is there. And somewhere along that trade road, Philip finds this guy sitting in his chair at reading a passage from the old Testament.
There’s a difference in race. Secondly, there’s a difference in rank the Samaritans, all we read in the early part of chapter eight, these are ordinary folks. Um, ordinary citizens. The Ethiopian is a distinguished public servant in charge of the finances of the crown. , this was the, the CF all of the country.
I mean, this is the, the, the, the secretary of the treasury. This is a big guy in terms of affluent and influence. There’s a difference in rank. There’s a difference in religion, the Samaritans revered Moses. But as I mentioned last time, they only held to the first five books of the old Testament. The books that are called the books of the law, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy, and the rest they didn’t buy into.
The interesting thing is we find here, this Ethiopian has strong attachment to Judaism, and it has led him to go on this pilgrimage. And he is reading from one of the very prophets that the Samaritans reject. Also, the Samaritans have been swept up in this, this a cult teaching by this guy named Simon, the sourcer Simon, the magician, their religious backgrounds are, are very different.
there’s difference in temperament. The Samaritans are portrayed as, as volatile. Uh, non-reflective it’s, it’s active, there’s joy. There’s there’s enthusiasm there. They’ve given themselves to the cult, a large section of them. And then there’s this studious, uh, thoughtful, reflective reader sitting in a chariot all by himself.
The diversity of the people that are reached with the gospel is highlighted in this passage. Also the diversity of ways people are reached with the gospel, the Samaritans God led Philip in the first part of chapter eight to use the same method that the apostles had used around Jerusalem. They were doing signs and wonders, miraculous signs, healings, exorcisms that were authenticating the messengers of the early church.
They was, he was doing public preaching. now all of a sudden, he swept away by the spirit of God and he’s down speaking, not to a mass crowd, but an individual doing what we call is historically called personal evangelism or personal witnessing. He let the conversation go where it would. And the spirit said to Philip were told in this passage go over and join this chariot.
So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah, the prophet and asked, do you understand what you are reading? It’s interesting. The normal practice in that day for reading the scriptures was to read it out loud. And this guy is actually reading by himself out loud, Philip hears it. And he recognizes the passage that the guy is reading.
And he said, how can and, and he responds, how can I know what it’s about? Unless somebody guides me and invited Philip to come up and sit with him in the. Now there’s no evidence to this time that anybody was expecting a Messiah that would be a suffering Messiah. Their idea of the Messiah was a triumphant king that would come.
The only one that had really made any announcements of a Messiah that would be broken, that would be suffering. Was Jesus himself. He said in mark chapter 10 in one of his pass, one of his teachings, he said, even the son, a man and the son, a man was a reference to the Messiah was Jesus’ favorite referenced about himself from the book of Daniel.
He said, even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many in Luke 22 in the upper room. It’s the first time Jesus applies Isaiah 53, which is this passage. The guy is reading. to himself. He says this in the, in the upper room and the Lord supper. This is the night before he’s crucified, Luke 2237.
For, I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me. And he was numbered with the transgressors. That’s a Isaiah 53 12. And then he says this for what is written about me has its fulfillment up until this time, Isaiah 53 was this mystery passage about a, a, a about the, the stricken shepherd about all of the things that would, who would be despised and rejected of men, all these things wounded for our transgressions, all these things that are in Isaiah 53, this guy’s reading about.
And he’s saying, who is this? I mean, is he talking about himself, Isaiah? Is he talking about somebody else? Well, Philip know, because Philip has, has been learning from the apostles and the teaching and the message of Christ that it’s talking about, Christ him. Okay. And so when he hears this guy reading this out loud, I mean, it’s like saying Sycom, do you know who this is talking about?
He says, no, how can I, how can I know mass evangelism was, was the style up north in Samaria, personally coming alongside of this guy is how he shares. There’s all different ways that we’re involved in talking to people about Jesus. But it’s easy to think that talking to people about Jesus is, is, you know, is for the evangelist.
I mean, okay, mark. Yeah, it’s great. Philip is good at private conversations as well as the public stuff, but he’s an evangelist. I mean, I’m not an evangelist, I’m not one of those kind of people. I mean, I, I know, uh, a woman, Julie, and she is. Uh, she’s the kind of person that anything she has come in contact with that she likes, she wants everybody else know.
If she gets a new hairdresser, a new lawn service, a new ju juicer. She wants everybody to experience it. So we would expect that when Julie has really embraced Jesus Christ as the center of her life, that she would want everybody to know about. And that’s exactly how Julie is. She’s a great evangelist. I mean, she just, she does this with her hairdresser.
She does this with her juicer. She does this with her lawn service and she does it with Jesus. But my guess is there’s a lot of you that aren’t, Julie’s, you’d say I just, I don’t do that. I mean, I get a new hairdresser, but I don’t tell everybody, I don’t try to get every, you gonna go. Now. Matter of fact, I don’t want them to go there cause I don’t have time.
They won’t, she won’t have time for me. You say I’m not wired that way. I’m, I’m not, I’m not an evangelist. So what do you do if you’re a private, gentle, more reflective, not telling everyone about your discoveries in new services and juicers person than your way of sharing your faith will probably be different, but it will still happen.
It will be done out of the way you do life with people. The beautiful reality of doing life with God is he doesn’t ask you to be somebody. He didn’t make you to be. He designed you as you. And he did a perfect job in his explanation and in his expectation and his evaluation, you may not feel that way, but he does.
He designed you exactly how he wanted you to be
as you dev life with people. It’s out of who he’s designed you to be, that you do faith sharing with people. Some people there are some of you wired that everything you do, every conversation you’re in, you’re sort of in sales mode. You just, I mean, your opinion’s on sports. You can’t wait to tell everybody.
So everybody will agree, even though most of them don’t, but you are excited to others. You are exactly the opposite. My guess is you may be a spouse. That’s the exact opposite of who you are, but you’re both called to be gospel shares years ago when Marian and I were in church planning here, we were building the church.
And of course I was a go go boy of, you know, we gotta do this. Everything’s gotta be, you know, evaluated for our, our time. We only have so much time. We only have so much energy and we’re trying to start Bible studies. We had all kinds of things we did at our house. Um, having groups over, we had Affy poles.
We had a, we had a Jewish violinist do at dinner party. We, we had a tent meeting in our backyard. I’m not even sure it’s legal. We did all these things.
We had a lady that was a coup a street over from us. And she came over to our house not long after we had moved in and she had seen Marion and she’d seen our, our kids near about the same age of hers. And she incredibly generously came by. She brought a bottle of wine and she got talking to Marion and she liked Marion and she invited Mar the next day to go to a dinner that a luncheon she was going to that had a mail stripper
Now, now Marion, first of all, Marion was the ultimate teetotal. And to my knowledge has not done male stripping exper . And, but I did watch her for a while. Um, so, so here’s this, this flamboyant lovely neighbor that came in and did this, and they became friends. Now, Marion did not go to the event. Um, but they became friends and spending lots of time.
And, and of course the, the, the wooden hard nose is trying to evaluate where our time is going. And, and, and, and after a number of months, I said, Mary, I just, I, I, you know, you’re spending so much time, I’m gonna call her Susan. It was Susan. And, and I just, I think we gotta, you know, we’re the team here, you and I are the gospel team.
And. We gotta evaluate, you know, I just don’t doesn’t seem like it’s really moving Susan towards Jesus. And so maybe we need to not spend it was we, you know, of course we, we need to spend a little less time and, and cuz I have some other people, I think it’d be wonderful for you to spill your life. And I, she just smoked me.
she just said, mark. Susan is my friend and I’m doing life with her because I care about her and I love her and yes, I want more than anything else. See her embrace Jesus. But she’s not basically shouldn’t say this, but she’s just not a, you know, a box for me to check. Well, Susan did embrace, sorry, Christ or savior.
So the three kids who are now well into adulthood today.
You are who you are. You be who you are. You have friends, you be a friend in the way. You’re a friend. You, you, you just, you don’t have to be Philip. The evangelist who’s able to do the Samaritans and that qualifies you to be able to be with this one lone man who God has unbelievably prepared. I mean, he just happens to be reading Isaiah 53.
He just happens to be sitting in a chariot that God has direct you from 80 miles away to go to. I mean, Philip didn’t strategize him plan. He just did life with this guy. And it wasn’t because Phillip was a flaming mass evangelist. that he was qualified to be able to come alongside of another person, I believe.
And I’ve really, I always try to look at the book of acts cause there’s so many stories of people I’m always asking myself, why did God lead Luke to include this here? I think God, in led Luke to include this story to say they’re all different ways that the people of God, when they were spread out by the spirit of God, came alongside of others and loved others toward Christ and, and, and, and did life with them.
So what does that look like? Well, let me just say this. I think there are three characteristics of Philip that are highlighted as preparing him to be sharing the gospel with other people. He did spirit led evangelism. That’s exactly what God is asking you to do. He is not asking you to be a different person.
He is not asking you to be sales mode when you’ve never been sales mode in your whole life. He’s asking you to. You the version of you led by the spirit of God. There’s three things that are highlighted about Philip. Number one, he lived under the influence of the spirit in acts chapter six, verse three, when they were picking these seven guys to be a part of the seven to serve the widows.
It said we want men full of the holy spirit. I’ve mentioned to you before being full of the holy spirit is described in, in Ephesians chapter five. Verse 18 is the contrast. It says be filled with the spirit, not drunk by wine. In other words, there are characteristics that are similar. What happens when you are drunk with wine, you have been brought under the influence of alcohol.
He’s saying being under the spirit, being filled with the spirit is being under the Spirit’s influence. Philip did that. He did that by being in the word of God. He did that by walking with Jesus. You’re not going to be influencing a lot of people towards Jesus. without being under the influence of the spirit of God.
If you want to be influencing loved ones and others towards Christ, first step, you’ve gotta be under the influence yourself of the spirit of God. Secondly, Philip listened to the voice of the spirit. If you look at this passage here in verse 26 of chapter eight, it says this now an angel, the Lord said to Philip rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.
God used an angel there in verse 29. It’s the spirit. It says this, go over and join this chariot. It said the spirit spoke to him in verse 39. And when they came up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord carried Philip away. He was listening to the voice of the spirit. He was saying, Lord, I’m listening.
What do you want me to do? Who do you want me to go to? What do you want me? I’m sure. Philip didn’t expect to be taken outta Samaria. I mean, this was heady stuff that God was doing in Samaria, but his heart was quiet enough that he could feel and hear the prompting of God’s voice saying, Philip, I’m taking you outta here.
I’m taking you down to a loudly trade route because I got my guy there for you to share the gospel too. He lived under the influence of the spirit. He listened to the voice of the spirit. Third. He looked for opportunities from the spirit, been my experience that people who end up sharing their faith with others are expecting those opportunities.
Why do they expect them? They pray for them. They ask for them. When’s the last time speaking now to you that belong to Christ that have embraced Christ. When’s the last time you have been praying for God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with others. You say, wow. I think there was a time in college, you know?
Well, we expect what we ask for and our hearts are drawn towards those that we’re praying for. And the opportunities we prayed for there was diversity in the methodology of sharing the gospel, but there was singularity in the message in acts chapter eight, verse five. It says when Philip went to the city of Samaria, he proclaimed to them, the Christ in verse 12, he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
We come down to this passage and when Philip is talking to the Ethiopian, he says this, then Philip opened his mouth in verse 35 and began with the scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus. , there are two things that are involved in this good news message. First of all, the good news requires people.
First of all, being confronted about the bad news. You see this in the guy, in the book of acts all the time, of course, where in the, in the, in the messages that are shared, which are basically gospel messages, they start by saying, they start by talking about sin. They talk about the, the effect of sin. They talk about the, the nature of their sin.
They’re very personal, very specific about it. At times, people can’t really see any need of good news until they are experiencing the sense of bad news. Muhammad Ali was on a flight and this is famous anecdote. I have to believe it’s true because I read it 8 million times. He was on a flight and basically, and, and in the first class and the lady, the stewards comes up to him, notice he didn’t have his seatbelt on and said, Mr.
Ali, you need to put your, your seatbelt on. And he responded, Superman don’t need no seatbelt to which she replied Superman don’t need no airplane.
sometimes you gotta point out the reality of why there’s a need throughout the book of acts. People are challenged to look at their sin and realize that there is a disconnection in their relationship with God. The term spiritual death is used a lot in the new Testament. Death is simply death, anywhere in the scripture simply means separation.
If I drop dead this morning on this stage, what it simply means is my body. My material part has been separated from my I immaterial part. That’s why it talks about he gave up the ghost or the spirit. Well, the, the, the mark Willie really is gone. All it’s left is my earth suit. That’s physical death.
Spiritual death is our spirit is separated or disconnected from God. Eternal. Death is being in the eternal state of being separated from God in our spirits, but the vertical impacts the horizontal and just hang with me for a minute. We have two parts of our immaterial being. the immaterial part of us is described with two terms in the scripture.
One is the word new MOS, which is spirit. That’s the vertical. We have a vertical connection. Animals do not have a spirit. We also have a SoCo, which means soul. We have a soul, which is a horizontal, well, actually it, it, interestingly, the old Testament talks about animals with a soul. They ha they have a, they have a sense of being able to connect as we humans do on a horizontal level with ourselves and with others, there is a horizontal life to us and orientation to others.
But what the Bible constantly declares is when the vertical is disconnected, it has dramatic impact on the horizontal. Our spirit being rightly connected to God deeply impacts the ska. Soulish part of our lives. Some of you’re here today and you say my life.
it’s bad. I’m torn up inside. I’m broken. I feel like I’m breaking my relationships.
Maybe you’re here because God wanted to say to you, you know, therapy’s good therapy can clarify things. It, it, it can help you to understand stuff about yourself, stuff about your relationship, but ultimately you are wired with a vertical dimension and this vertical dimension with God, the, the sovereign master of the universe.
And he says, when you are disconnected from me, it’s going to affect every part of your being that God may be using the ska struggles of life to simply say, you need God, you need to. Connection that comes by relationship with God by being restored in that relationship. That’s why the Bible constantly says that Jesus Christ came to restore us to God.
The second thing the gospel says is there’s bad news. We’re broken people. We’re separated from God. It affects all parts of our lives, how we are feeling about ourselves, how we’re doing in other things and the relationships Jesus Christ came to reconnect us. First, Peter three 18 says he came to bring us to God.
He’s the bridge. He’s the, the, the restorer of the relationship. And he does it by the act of substitution, which is what this guy is reading about. That Isaiah 53 presents that Jesus Christ came. to provide a way that we could be forgiven for sins, which has caused the break in our relationship with God that we can be accepted to God through what Jesus has done in his life, living righteously.
Here’s how it goes. And with this, I’m gonna close. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to be the one that would, would suffer for our sins. Literally it’s as if Jesus became liable for our sins. It’s as if Jesus did your sins, oh, even the ones you haven’t done yet, he became liable for those. He bore the, the penalty, the separation for them, but it also says that Jesus Christ lived a righteous life and that.
His righteousness could be laid to your account, that you could become liable for the righteousness of Christ. In other words, you could stand accepted through the things that Jesus has done with God, eternally, that you could have a relationship that has been broken by your sin. That could be now restored.
He did that by being a substitute for you. It’s why Jesus said on the cross, why have you abandoned me? It was just an agonized emotional response. He felt the separation. What caused that separation? You did. I did our sin. He became liable for them by choice that we could be accepted to God. The good news.
It beggars you as bread. and love to be able to tell others about is that Jesus Christ came for broken people like us. We feel the brokenness in ourselves and our relationships, but ultimately it’s the vertical, it’s the foundation of hope for it. All. He came to rescue us from that state of separation this morning, just like the Ethiopian Munich.
He says, man, I get it. I buy, I realized this Jesus is my just can I, can I publicly testify to that by being baptized? That’s exactly what he did. And that’s exactly what these folks are doing the next few minutes together. Let’s pray, Lord.
I am sure there are a number of people here.
Who have not yet experienced the vertical being reconnected through what Jesus came to do. Lord, I pray for them. Lord, may your spirit overwhelm them this morning with the good news of the gospel? May they be drawn to Jesus
in Jesus name? Amen.