Summary: This sermon looks at the ministry of Philip and shows how God has strategically placed us to be witnesses for Him
Acts 8:26-39 – Just a Layman
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.”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. 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.
I’ve entitled our time in God’s Word – “Just a Layman”
God uses people – to reach people. Average… everyday folks - God uses to make a difference.
Case in point: A man on a business trip was assigned a middle seat on an airplane. Tired and wanting sleep, he was irritated when the young girl with Down Syndrome seated next to him kept asking questions: “Mister, do you brush your teeth?” “Yes,” he replied. “That’s good,” she said, “People who don’t - LOSE their teeth.”
Then she asked, “Mister, do you smoke?” “No,” he answered. “Good, because people who DO get sick,” she said.
After a brief silence, she turned to him again, “Mister, do you love Jesus?” “Yes I DO,” he answered. “That’s good,” she added. “People who DO, go to heaven.”
Though deeply touched, he settled back, hoping there would be no more questions.
Just then she asked, “Mister…will you ask the man next to you if HE brushes HIS teeth?”
Well, you know what happened next. When she came to the question about Jesus, the second man answered, “I’m afraid I don’t understand.” And for the remainder of the flight, the first man got to share his faith with the second man – all because of a little girl with unusual persistence.
God – makes Himself known – He reaches people – through average, everyday folks like us.
Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I was a layman, just like you. I heard the weekly challenges from the pulpit. Sometimes I was moved, other times - not so much.
But I remember ONE particular challenge very clearly – the Pastor preached on how WE are to be WITNESSES for the Lord – sharing our faith with those who are lost.
It never really occurred to me before that it was MY responsibility to do that. I thought it was HIS job. “Who was I? What difference could I possibly make in someone’s life?” But I soon learned that God uses regular people like US to reach those who do not know Him.
We see it in our text. Phillip was NOT one of the Apostles, like Peter, James, and John. He was not a missionary like Paul or even a pastor like Timothy. He was a deacon. One of the seven men appointed by the apostles to care for the widows in the early church.
This is not to suggest he was a “nobody” – not at all – for he WAS filled with the Spirit of God, known as a man of integrity and a model of the Christian faith. And besides… there are NO nobody's in Christ!
He was ALSO known as a man with an unusual burden – every time we see him in the Bible, he’s sharing his faith. Right before our text, we find him leading scores of souls to Christ in Samaria.