Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 1

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1 Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 1 PHILIP AND THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH Acts 8:26-40 Can you remember some time when the Lord brought you and someone else, or two people you know, together to accomplish some part of God s will? Let me give you two examples from my life. When I was still in high school, a young man who had been in prison, was driving past our church. His car stopped right beside the walk leading to the pastor s study. He went into the church and asked the pastor if he could use the phone to call his sister. His sister wasn t home. He started pouring out his heart to the pastor. The pastor talked to him about Jesus Christ. Finally, the two of them knelt in the pastor s office and prayed. The young man accepted Christ as Savior. When he went outside his car started right away. A couple years later I was driving home. It was bitter cold. On the opposite side of the street on which I was driving was a man just in a suit and a boy wearing short pants and long stockings. The street was deserted so I made a U turn. I asked the man if he was waiting for someone. In a broad English accent he said that he was waiting for the bus. I laughed and said no buses came down that street. The bus he had taken uses a different street to return. I offered to take him to the bus stop but then I suggested that I just drive him to his house. That is how I met Dr. Verna Wright, a rheumatologist studying and teaching at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was a really keen Christian. The Lord used Dr. Wright to mentor me as a Christian. He taught me how to preach and many other practical skills for a Christian. Years later the Army stationed me in England fifty miles from where he lived.

2 Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 2 1.) 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. 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, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:26-31 NKJV) An angel of the Lord came to Philip and told him to go south along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip may have wondered why he should leave a ministry where he was reaching many people. Philip walked as far as from here to Little Rock before he met the eunuch. You might think that anyone would obey what an angel told them to do. That isn t the case. Abraham said that the rich man s brothers wouldn t believe even if someone came to them from the dead. They had Moses and the prophets. We have more of God s Word than they did. If we don t obey what is in the Bible we wouldn t obey an angel either. Philip obeyed. On the road he met up with a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all her treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and now he was returning. He was reading from the prophecy of Isaiah. The Spirit directed Philip to go near and overtake the chariot. Philip heard him reading from Isaiah and asked him, Do you understand what you are reading? The eunuch replied, How can I, unless someone guides me? He invited Philip up into the chariot to sit with him. The eunuch was seeking God. God sent Philip to help him. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8a NKJV) And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV)

3 Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 3 2.) 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. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:32-35 NKJV) One of the reasons that the apostles were so important in the early church is that they had been with Jesus and remembered what He taught. The Gospels were not yet written and circulated to the churches. The apostles taught the words of Jesus to others like Philip. The only Scriptures were the Old Testament Scriptures. The Holy Spirit opens the words of Old Testament Scriptures to reveal what they teach about Jesus Christ. Martin Luther said that he found Christ written on every page of Scripture. Before Jesus ascended to heaven He said- Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27 NKJV) The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah 53 "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." When a born again follower of Christ reads the words of that chapter, they are a description of the sufferings and death of Jesus upon the cross. When the eunuch asks Philip of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?", Philip responded by preaching Christ to him. He began with the very words the man was reading. Jesus told about the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep to seek the one sheep who was lost. God called Philip away from preaching to crowds in Samaria to walk for over a week on desert road for the soul of one man.

4 Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 4 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?" 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." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 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. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:36-40 NKJV) The Ethiopian, whether from Philip s teaching or from what he already knew about Christians, knew that to be a follower of Jesus Christ he had to be baptized. He asks what he must do to be baptized. Philip tells him that if he believes with all his heart, he may be baptized. The man replies, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." John says in his epistle- Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15 NKJV) Since he had made a credible confession of faith, the chariot was stopped, both men went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. The fact that they were no longer in desert, but a place where there were pools of water, means they had come into the vicinity of Gaza. It was noted for its many pools of clean water. As soon as they came up out of the water, the Spirit caught Philip away and carried him to Ashdod, the ancient fortress city of the Philistines. Beginning there Philip preached in all the cities along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea until he arrived back in Caesarea. Nearly all those cities were Gentile cities. He originally had but one man to whom he preached Christ. On the return trip he had the opportunity to preach to hundreds who had never heard of Jesus Christ. As for the Ethiopian, he went on his way rejoicing. An interesting fact Ethiopians are the blackest people in Africa and they are Caucasians!

5 Rev. Troy Lynn Pritt August 8, 2010 Page 5

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