Summary: Philip and the Ethiopian (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: chapter 8 verses 26-40.
(A). The 2 characters
(1). An evangelist called Philip (vs 26)
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza”.
Philip is first introduced in Acts chapter 6;
• And he was one of the seven deacons who served in the Church at Jerusalem,
• That means his gifts to the Church were at first mainly practical rather than spiritual.
• e.g. You would have probably asked him to fix a broken table,
• Than to preach a sermon.
But by the time you read chapter 8:
• We discover Philip also had other spiritual gifts.
• He could preach (ch 8 vs 5) and in this story he was a personal worker (vs 35).
As a Christian whether you consider your gifts practical or spiritual:
• Every Christian is called to be a personal worker;
• To share Christ with those we come into contact with.
• On January 21, 1930, King George V
• Was scheduled to give the opening address at the London Arms Conference.
• The king’s message was to be sent by radio all around the world.
• A few minutes before the king was to speak,
• A member of the CBS staff tripped over an electrical wire and broke it,
• Cutting off the whole American audience.
With no hesitation, chief control operator Harold Vidian;
• Grasped one end of the broken wire in his right hand and the other in his left,
• Thus restoring the circuit.
• Electricity surged through his body.
• Ignoring the pain, Vidian held on until the king had finished his address.
• The point of the story:
• The message of the King of kings must go to the whole world.
• But it will only be broadcast as Christians allow;
• God’s power and God’s message to pass through us;
Quote: Edward Everett Hale, the poet & former Chaplain of the U.S. Senate:
“I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, that I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I shall do.”
(2). A eunuch from Ethiopia (vs 27)
“So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians”.
• In the middle of nowhere is this political leader,
• The chancellor of the exchequer of Candace.
• Candace is a title not a place name,
• All the queens of Ethiopia bore it.
This court official did not come from Ethiopia, as we know it today:
• But rather his home was ancient Nubia,
• Which is a large part of Africa located south of Egypt.
• It was the area that the Queen of Sheba came from in the days of Solomon;
• In other words there had already been a strong link between that area and Judaism.
It’s worth pondering:
• Here is an Ethiopian who had got the idea that Jerusalem,
• 1000’s of miles away;
• Contained a religion that he should investigate if he was serious in finding God.
• Question: Was that the result of some tradition passed down to him?
When the famous missionary, Dr. David Livingstone,
• Started his trek across Africa he had 73 books in 3 packs, weighing 180 pounds.
• After the party had gone 300 miles,
• Livingstone was obliged to throw away some of the books;
• Because of the fatigue of those carrying his baggage.
• As he continued on his journey his library grew less and less,
• Until he had but one book left—his Bible.
• He knew the importance of this one book!
• Quote: “While some books inform & some books……….transforms”
(B). The Situation.
(1). The servant of the Lord (vs 27).
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip”,
• Verses 4-8 tells that Philip was leading a successful mission in Samaria:
• Where people were being converted and things couldn't have been going better,
• Peter and John came for a short time to preach but had now gone back to Jerusalem.
• Philip was the front line-man, he would appear to be indispensable,
• Yet God suddenly steps in with some unexpected new directions.
• “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
• In contrast to Samaria which was full of people,
• Philip was sent to a desert road;
• That goes down about 60 miles from Jerusalem to Gaza,
• And beyond Gaza was the entrance to Egypt, and the African continent.
Note: Three times in this passage God speaks to him: