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Philip and the Ethiopian


Sermon shared by Gordon Curley

February 2009
Summary: Philip and the Ethiopian (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)
Denomination: Brethren
Audience: General adults
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the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

• Prompted by the Holy Spirit;
• Philip approaches this high ranking official.

Philip took the initiative and he took it humbly:

• He wasn't out to impress him with his knowledge,
• He was not out to win an argument.

• He didn't even charge up to the chariot wielding answers,
• Or declaring he had the truth and the Ethiopian had better listen.

Quote: Margaret Millar who said:

“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness”.

• Door to door visitation in Coventry & a man said to me:
• “I know you are not a Jehovah Witness because you listen!”

• Philip knew how to communicate;
• How to have a conversation with someone.

• Philip graciously asks a simple question,
• "Do you understand what you are reading?"

• He starts by asking a simple inoffensive question - and he shut up!
• He waited for an invitation, to come and share what he knew about the scriptures,

(2). The questioning enquirer (vs 31-34)

Verse 31:

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?”
So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Now notice how Philip responds:

• He doesn’t give him a list of does and don’ts,
• He does not dump a load of religious theology on him.

• Verse 35:
• Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture & told him the good news about Jesus.

• Two drunks who were sitting against a wall slowly getting drunk;
• Sadly one of the drunks died and his friend had not realised this.

• When it was time to move on;
• He picked up the dead man, and tried to make him stand and sit upright.

• Finding his effort without avail, he was saying to himself,
• "He needs something inside him."


• Philip did not try to prop this Ethiopian eunuch up with religious scaffolding,
• He did not try to prop him up with theological posts.

• The man was spiritually dead (dead in his trespasses and sins),
• So Philip gave him LIFE! He gave him Jesus the life giver.

• “I am the way, the truth and the life”
• Way: know God, Truth: about God, Life: of god!

The Conclusion

(1). The convert was baptised (vs 36-39a):

“As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”
Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The official answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”.
And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”

The message of the New Testament is ‘Believe and be baptised’.

• Jesus instituted it in the great commission.
• The apostles and first Christians practiced it e.g. another example.


• Now you can become a Christian and not be baptised;
• Because becoming a Christian is inward, it is a commitment you make with the Lord.
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