Summary: Without the involvement of the ancient Africans, we would not have Christianity with us today, much less the nation of Israel. Without Africa - you and I, we would be toast.
Note to reader: I have hot-links to various subjects in this sermon. The document with the active links can be found in PDF form at this web address: http://www.firstpresanchorage.org/Sermons.htm (The sermon is retitled "The Road Less Traveled" on this page.) May our Lord Jesus empower you as you write your sermon for your congregation. -Peter
So, Philip meets the Ethiopian Eunuch on a road in the middles of nowhere - A chance meeting, hardly. God has planned this meeting of these two people, at this very place, at this very time, for generations - and He does the same for you. God’s plan for your life has been in the works for many years.
Back in chapter 4, we saw the Apostle Peter claim that it is through Jesus alone we gain forgiveness and redemption. We saw that we have to make a decision in our life, is what Peter says about Jesus true or not, is Jesus the only one who can offer true redemption or, can it be found elsewhere? Then in chapter 7 we saw Stephen claim that Jesus is greater than any Temple; Stephen essentially argued that Jesus is all we need, and since Jesus is all we need, all other religions are ineffective in their attempts at redemption.
This morning, we see this idea pushed further. See, so far the Gospel of Jesus Christ was at first only offered to those who were culturally and ethnically fully Jewish. Then, last week we saw that the Gospel was offered to the Samaritans, who where culturally Jewish, but ethically, they were only half Jewish. Today, we see the Gospel pushed a step further, Philip presents the Gospel to a man from Ethiopia.
Now, we look at this story of the Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip we see it as a great leap in presenting the Gospel to a people outside of Jewish origin - but that is simply not the case. This Ethiopian was in many respects, very Jewish, we will see how in a bit.
What we see in this story is the jubilant celebration of a people who sought the true God, and patiently waited for the true God, and what we see in this story today is the blessing of a patient faith falling abundantly upon one man who would in turn bring healing to his people.
This Ethiopian that Philip speaks with, he is African, just like many of the people we find in Scripture. See, Africa plays a very prominent role in the biblical story, both in the OT and in the NT. Without the involvement of the ancient Africans, I dare say, we would not have Christianity with us today, much less the nation of Israel.
Without Africa - you and I, we would be toast.
Modern Myth: Christianity first came to Africa in the seventeenth-century.
Reality: Christianity has existed in Africa for over 2000 years. Africa was the first place the Christian Church existed outside of Palestine.
Modern Myth: Christianity is culturally foreign to Africa. Therefore, Africans should reject the Gospel.
Reality: The oldest Christian denomination in existence in the world today, resides in Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Culturally, Christianity is more African than it is American.
Modern Myth: Africa is a spiritually dark continent, the United States is the center of Christian missions to the world.
Reality: Africans are sending missions to Europe and the United States to Christianize pagan Europeans and pagan Americans.
You and I, when we think of where the early Christian church first existed, we may think of the church in Jerusalem - the Middle East; We may think of the church in Antioch - Asia Minor; We may think of the church in Thessalonica or Rome - Europe, but we never think of the church in Africa. When we read our NT these are the locations we see the early church spreading the Middle East, Asia Minor, and Europe, and all that is very true, however, biblically, we see Africans as some of the most prominent people in the Bible.
Think I’m crazy?
All right, let’s name some famous Africans in Scripture:
Moses. Born in Africa, educated in Africa, led the people of God out of Africa.
Marian, Joshua, Caleb, African.
The Ethiopian Eunuch, African.
You know, with only a few exceptions, all those who crossed the Red Sea from Egypt to the Sinai Desert were African. All those Hebrews born in captivity were born in Egypt and Egypt, after all, is in Africa.
Africa plays an import role in the Scriptures. Jesus himself was taken to Egypt by Joseph and Mary after they fled from Bethlehem. Remember, when Moses remarried, he married an Ethiopian woman. For Philip to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch is absolutely no accident, for God had prepared the hearts of the Ethiopian people many years before. Yes, God has chosen the people of Israel as his people - but now, though the person of Jesus Christ, all people can be grafted into the people of God and the people of Ethiopia are the first.