Summary: A positive response to truth results in rejoicing.
REJOICING IN THE TRUTH
By Cleavon Matthews
It was a time of persecution against the church at Jerusalem. Stephen was stoned. The saints were scattered abroad. Saul was making havoc of the church. Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Philip a man of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom went down to Samaria and preached Christ.
There was great joy in Samaria because the people gave heed to the word and they heard and saw the miracles done by Philip. Philip had a great ministry in Samaria. Numerous men and women were baptized when they believed Philip preaching those precious things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
But the focus shifts from the metropolitan of the masses to the significance of the singular. During the time when the angel of the Lord spoke directly to men, He said to Philip ‘Arise and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went…’ Why would the Lord call Philip from a successful mega ministry and have him go down to Gaza? The only spiritually intelligent answer is the Lord cares about every lost soul! Peter said, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). The Lord cares about every lost soul that is …
Burdened with battles
Loaded with loathsomeness
Overcome with obstacles
Crushed with calamities
Mutilated with miseries
Frustrated with failures
Drowning with difficulties
Disgusted with depravity
Disguised with defilement
Chained with corruption
Spoiled with sin
Saturated with shame
Worn with wretchedness
Tormented with temptation
Engulfed with emptiness
Infirmed with iniquity
I.THE PROBLEMS OF THE SINNER
Acts 8:27b-31 “…and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, and eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
The Lord arranged a meeting between Philip and a man of Ethiopia. This is not present day Ethiopia. This is the ancient area of Nubia. The Ethiopian was undoubtedly a black man from the continent of Africa. This region represented to both the Greeks and Romans ‘the uttermost parts of the earth.’
He was an eunuch of great authority under Candance queen of the Ethiopians who had the charge of all her treasure. Candance was not her name. Candance was her title. Just as Pharaoh was not his name but his title. There were many Pharaohs and Candances. Furthermore Herod was not a name but a title. Caesar was not a name it was a title. Mr. President is not his name it’s his title.
Candance was the title for the Queen mother who governed their nation. Her son was considered the royal son and he was worshipped by the people because they believed he was the offspring of the Sun. Therefore his time must not be wasted with such trivial things as governing a nation.
This Eunuch was a man with great authority. He was the minister of finance. He had great authority over all her treasure. He was somebody in Ethiopia. He had power, respect, prestige, and influence. He must have been thoroughly equipped, intellectually astute, morally accountable, and trustworthy.
When Philip meets him he is riding in his chariot on his way back home. He has been to Jerusalem to worship. He has traveled a great distance to worship the Lord. He respects the Lord. He values the word of the Lord. He is likely what they called at this time a ‘god-fearer.’ But he had two problems: he was cut off and confused!
He could not become a full Jewish proselyte because he had a problem. He is an eunuch. The Old Testament Law prevented him from gaining access to the Lord. He could worship but he could not come near. He could pray from afar. He could give his money but he must by all means remain on the outside. Deuteronomy 23:1, “He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” His physical condition prevented him from entering the congregation of the Lord. The eunuch had been to church but he was still cut off. He had a problem that he could not overcome. There was nothing he could do to change his condition! There are three categories of Eunuchs. “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matt 19;12). The Eunuch was cut off! “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12).