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10:00am

 
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Christ Church—Radford

6226 University Park Drive

Radford, VA 24141

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Evangelizing the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:25ff)

Evangelizing the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:25ff)
Sermon Link

Sovereign Appointment (verses 25-29)

Though Philip was in the midst of a successful work among the Samaritans, he was immediately obedient to the call to “get up and go” from there (v26). You could say that Philip was “on call” for the sharing of the gospel, ready and willing to serve wherever God determined for him. It’s clear that the salvation of the Ethiopian was not Philip’s plan, but God’s, who proved to be the great Seeker in this passage as He sought out the Ethiopian for salvation using Philip as the mouthpiece for gospel proclamation. The salvation of the Eunuch is even more striking when we realize that he was twice removed from the people of God: (1) as a non-Jew and (2) as a Eunuch who was not allowed to enter the assembly of the Lord (Deut 23:1). As Philip saw the Eunuch, he again obeyed without hesitation the call to “go up and join” this man in his chariot, despite the fact that it meant approaching a traveler of higher social rank than himself. He wasn’t hindered by self-consciousness, but was desirous to be involved in this man’s life.

- Does self-consciousness hinder your evangelism? What are some of the barriers that keep you from getting involved in other people’s lives for the sake of the gospel? What encouragement does this passage offer for us to lay aside our self-conscious hesitations?

Scripture Explained (verses 30-35)

The Old Testament is not self-explanatory. Rather, it requires a key, a Christological key. All of the Scriptures bear witness to Christ and are only intelligible when He is the starting point. Philip’s response to the Ethiopian highlights the major difference between Judaism and Christianity, namely, Jesus. God, by His Spirit, was not only guiding Philip to “get up and go south” and “go up and join this chariot,” but He was also divinely directing the Ethiopian, who had obtained a scroll in Jerusalem and was now reading a very Christological passage from it. 

It’s important to note that Philip’s response focuses only on Christ, avoiding getting sidetracked on other issues (v35). Though this man had some differences from the Samaritans evangelized earlier in the chapter, the similarities in the account are striking: Jesus is proclaimed (v12, 35), they believed and were baptized (v12, 26ff), and they rejoiced (v8, 39). Despite the different scenarios, Philip employed the same method by proclaiming the same message. Evangelism does not require answering each and every concern. Instead, the ingredients for being a better evangelist are simply to know the Bible better and to love people more. 

- What does it mean that the Old Testament is all about Christ? What are some examples of how the Old Testament points toward Jesus? What are the dangers of reading the Old Testament without a Christ-centered understanding?

Salvation’s Signs (verses 36-40)

It’s evident that Philip’s gospel proclamation included the expected obedience of those who have new life in Christ. He didn’t stop with the forgiveness offered, but also included the expectation of believer’s baptism (along with other Christian duties). Baptism is how one publicly identifies himself with Jesus and His people; it’s the visible sign that a person is united to Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The New Covenant does not operate by birth, like the Old Covenant, but by re-birth, and baptism is given to those who give evidence of being born again. Having experienced this salvation in Jesus through the proclamation of the gospel, the Eunuch continued homeward rejoicing, distancing himself from Jerusalem (even more so than before!), but now forever accompanied by the living Christ. His rejoicing verifies his reception of the Holy Spirit.

- What is the importance of baptism? How is it a representation of our union with Christ and His people? Are you living out the reality of all that is represented in baptism? In what ways is it evidenced in your life?

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