Summary: To establish that the Ethiopian’s conversion follows the New Testament’s “pattern of conversions” outlined in the Book of Acts. This lesson speaks to the divine hand of God in conversion; and illustrates the two components of the “new birth” in real time.
1. The Ethiopian’s Authority
2. The Ethiopian’s Ambassador
3. The Ethiopian’s Announcement
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “the Ethiopian’s Conversion.” We will focus on the man’s character, his willingness to receive guidance, and then finally, his conversion as a result of Philip’s preaching of Christ to him in his chariot, on the road to Gaza. Let’s be clear here, the man of God who is “filled with the Holy Spirit, wisdom and faith” can speak to multitudes and to one single person as well. Philip will be commissioned by God to go down to Gaza and meet a man; and preach Christ unto him. And, this he will do with great success. This lesson will speak to the divine hand of God in conversion; and illustrates the two components of the “new birth” in real time.
2. First, we will consider the Ethiopian’s authority; his position under Candace queen of the Ethiopians. Luke informs us: “that he was an eunuch of great authority, and had charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read(ing) Esaias the prophet,” Acts 8:27-28. Up until this point, the gospel was being preached to the poor and common people, just as Jesus had announced, both in Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria. Now, the Holy Spirit is reaching out to this man (probable a proselyte), one of great authority, through Philip the evangelist, in order to proclaim the gospel of Christ unto him, and eventually unto Africa.
3. Second, we will notice the Ethiopian’s ambassador, as it is seen through the life of Philip the evangelist. Paul called himself, and those that preach Christ, “ambassadors for Christ,” 1 Corinthians 5:20. Ambassadors are men sent to “preach a message of reconciliation; a message of peace and glad tidings of good things,” Romans 10:13. They are men carrying the terms of pardon and the conditions of peace with God. However, Jesus described the Pharisees and Scribes as “blind guides.” He said: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch,” Matthew 15:14. Philip was sent to “guide” this treasurer into an understanding of Isaiah’s messiah in order to convert him to Christ.
4. Finally, we will address the Ethiopian’s announcement, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” Acts 8:37. This Ethiopian treasurer arrived at this conclusion as a result of Philip’s preaching to him from the Prophet Esaias. We will be careful to note all that leads up to his announcement or confession of faith in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God. Philip will preach Christ from Isaiah the prophet. He will cut Jesus out of the book. We won’t spend a lot of time dealing with his sermon, seeing we have discussed it in another lesson, which we called: “In Search of a Man.” Sufficient for us today, is Philip’s preaching from the book of Isaiah, which leads to the Ethiopian’s conversion to Christ. With this short introduction, let’s notice our first point, the Ethiopian’s authority.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE ETHIOPIAN’S AUTHORITY
A. Angel of the Lord. Our lesson begins with the angel of the Lord speaking to Philip. Notice: “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert,” Acts 8:26. Let’s notice the setting.
1. Peter and John just left Samaria, returning to Jerusalem.
2. Philip is fully engaged in a “gospel meeting” in Samaria. These new converts had just received the “Holy Ghost” or “spiritual gifts” from the apostles’ Peter and John, Acts 8:14-17.
3. Now the “angel of the Lord” instructs Philip to leave Samaria and “go south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” We hear no reply or debate from Philip. Clearly, the angel of the Lord was speaking to, and directing the preacher in this conversion experience. Unlike many today which allege: that the “angel of the Lord” spake unto them during their conversion experience. This is the beginning of God’s answer to this man’s search for Jesus. This is the divine hand of God in conversion. Notice some other events where God has placed a call for action.
a. Illustrate: Who will go for me? Lord, I will go. Too often we give God parameters, before we can go.
b. Notice Isaiah: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me,” Isaiah 6:8.
c. In Ezekiel's time, “God sought for a man.” Notice: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none,” Ezekiel 22:30. Among all these people, God could not find one man to “stand in the gap for Him.” Illustrate: Few Good Men, All God Needs Is One.