Sermon notes to come.
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. 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 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 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.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 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?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 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. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.—Acts 8:26–40
Sermon Discussion Questions
- What is your favorite aspect of the season change from Winter into Spring? Look back at Acts 1:8 and consider the following: What have been some of the highlights of Jesus’ ministry though his people by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem? What about in Judea and Samaria? The sermon mentioned that this account in Acts 8:26–40 was the first sign of the season changing—the gospel spreading “to the ends of the earth.” In this account, what fits that description?
- Why might it seem strange for Jesus to deploy Philip the evangelist to a “desert place”? How did Philip respond? While Philip heard these words from Jesus through his angelic messenger, we have the very words of the Triune God in the Bible. What specific words has the Spirit been drawing your attention to lately? How would you describe your obedience to that word? Would you describe it as “precise” or use a different adjective? Are there ways that others can pray for you and help you in this area?
- Where in this passage do we see that Jesus providentially rules all things on planet earth? Where have you seen this reality in your story of faith? Where have you seen Jesus’ providence at work helping you share the gospel with others?
- In this story, the eunuch was reading the prophet Isaiah in his chariot. This was not normal—in that day, most scrolls were kept in the places of worship. What does the fact that he had the scroll and was reading the scroll show us about his heart for the Lord? How would you describe the current state of your heart’s desire to meet with Jesus in his word? Can others help or pray for you in this?
- When Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading,” the eunuch gave a wonderful response: “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Have you ever had an opportunity like this to guide someone toward understanding? How would you describe it? Who are the people around you (new believers, seekers, people you are befriending) who need help being guided in God’s word? How could you, like Philip, offer to guide them? How can you and others pray for opportunities like these?
- The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colossae and asked them to pray for him. “Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). What aspects of this account (Acts 8:26–40) build your confidence that Jesus can answer this type of prayer? How can you use the Colossians passage with others to pray for opportunities to share the gospel?
- Do you ever feel like evangelism is all up to your efforts? How can this passage or other Scriptures strengthen your belief that as you carry out gospel work God is working through you?
- The eunuch’s words, “what prevents me from being baptized,” are full of meaning. What realities hindered his fellowship and worship of God? Philip with the Spirit’s help perceived these realities and shared the good news of Jesus with him—overcoming his barriers with truth (possibly using Isaiah 56:3–8). Who are the lost people in your life? What barriers might they have (e.g. religious, relational, intellectual, or emotional) that might hold them back from belief or deep fellowship with Jesus? How can you seek truth from God’s word to serve them in these areas? How might you engage them over these truths? How can others pray for you and help you in this?