There are not many stories in scripture that compel me to deliver the hope of the Gospel then the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. In Acts 8 we find the beautiful drama of how God meets a humble servant of the Lord with a powerful and distinguished man with many questions. I believe it testifies of God’s value on one eternal soul and proclaims to the world that He is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
An in-depth look at this short story, provides us with a blueprint on how to effectively share our faith with others. It is practical, punctual and powerful! Notice these truths:
The Place where he was called (v.26)
This doesn’t seem like much of command if you pluck the story out of context. Remember where Phillip was serving? He was in Samaria under a thriving ministry. God was doing a wonderful work through Phillip and many were coming to Christ! Why would the Spirit of God take Phillip from a thriving ministry into the desert of Gaza? Gaza had nothing to offer other then desolation and dryness. It was literally a place where there was no life.
I have learned that this is often the kind of places God calls us to. Places where there is a great need for spiritual life and hope. Its through the places of weakness and toil that we find renewed strength for the Gospel’s sake.
Notice what David Brainard, the famous missionary to the North American Indians, had to say about his Gospel efforts on the field, “It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope, and to my apprehension the least rational prospect of success.”
God will call you to a place where there is a great need—where there is no spiritual life. The question is; are you willing to go?
The Person he was to reach (v.27)
Who was this mysterious man travelling through the desert of Gaza? The Ethiopian eunuch was a court official who was from ancient Nubia, located south of Egypt. He had just travelled over 200 miles to worship God in Jerusalem. This was most likely where he received his copy of the scroll of Isaiah. But perhaps the sacrifices in Jerusalem were not clear to him, as we see him still searching through the scriptures bearing many questions in his mind.
I believe this eunuch is like many people we encounter every day. They are searching for truth and will go through great lengths to find it. Who in your community are searching for the right answers? Who are the ones who bear the mark of a life spent searching for truth and satisfaction?
Phillip did not see this man as inconvenient or annoying. He saw him as one soul that needed direction. If we see others as inconvenient, we shouldn’t be surprised when they treat the Gospel the same way.
The Prompting of the Holy Spirit (v.29)
Listen to the words of the Holy Spirit “Go near and join…” God spoke to the heart of Phillip and prompted him to join himself with the man on the chariot. Phillip could have easily said no or given a thousand excuses as to why he cold speak to the man, but he obeyed the prompting of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our eyes and ears when it comes to evangelism. He sees the need and prompts us to “Go.” Have you ever felt that tug of the Spirit to witness to your coworker or fiend? Its amazing how many excuses fill our mind as to why we cannot obey his voice. But this is the vitality of our responsibility. It is the essence of our discipleship to Jesus. How can we not obey the voice that prompts us to “Go ye into all the world?”
The Preparation of the Divine Appointment (v.30)
It is amazing to think about how God was working in the Ethiopians heart well before he ever met Phillip. And I believe it is noteworthy to see that the scriptures were the primary tool that was used to lead this nobleman to Christ. This is why it is so important to get the Word of God into people’s hands. Many times, when I visit homes in our community, I will do everything i can to get the Word of God in their hands. They may not want what I have to say but they may just take something that is free. And then, when you are gone, God’s Word is there to preach truth to them.
You never know how God has been preparing someone to receive His Word. The next door you knock on could be of a family that just lost a close loved one or a widow who recently received bad news about her health. You never know. That is why it is always best to go!
The Pivotal Questions
There are many people in our world that are very sincere about their desire for truth. But sincerity does not permit someone into heaven. They must have an understanding of the Gospel. Notice the question the eunuch asked,
“How can I except some man should guide me?” (v.31).
This is the cry of the world. They are desperate for someone to come along side them, where they are, and show them how to be saved. The devil uses all kinds of false gospels to expel people from coming to Jesus Christ:
Just commit your life to Christ today! (Easy-believism)
If you do these seven things everyday, then you are sure to go to heaven. (Works-based salvation)
Just ask Jesus into your heart. (Lacks context)
Repent and be baptized.
God may or may not have chosen you to be saved (Hyper-Calvinsim)
Just commit this dollar amount to our network and see the favor of God in your life! (Prosperity Gospel)
There are many false teachers out there! Jesus reminds us, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Salvation is by grace through faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Many false religions and teachings hinge on one foundational question. In fact, it was a question that the Ethiopian asked Phillip in verse thirty-four, “…of whom…” If you want to truly know what someone believes about the Gospel, ask them this question; Who is Jesus?
There are many who say that He was the Son of God, but not God the Son. Some say he was a prophet and even a good man. Some are foolish enough to recount the fact that He ever existed despite the eye numerous witness accounts of life and an astronomical amount of evidence in ancient secular texts. Why do almost all false religions, deny the deity of Christ? Because our salvation is not in a process, but instituted in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ!
The Plea of Jesus (v.35)
If Jesus is the very essence of our message, then we cannot lead someone astray! Many people wonder where they should start.
Should I memorize the Roman's Road?
Should I teach the ABC’s of salvation? (Admit, Believe, Call)
Can I challenge you to start with Jesus. Start talking about how good God has been to you and what Jesus is doing in your life right now. One of the most powerful tools in your toolbelt, is not just a past testimony of salvation, but a present testimony of what God is doing in your life! Think about it. Someone asks you, “Hi! How are you today?” You can respond with, “I’m great! God has been so good to me! Let me tell you about it!”
Right there with a simple response, you have just opened the door to the Gospel to a stranger. “And he preached unto him Jesus.”
The Pursuit of Discipleship (v.38)
Not only do we see a pursuit of the man’s soul, but we see a pursuit of the man’s service. Phillip did not just stop with sharing his faith to the eunuch. He prompted him to the next step of discipleship.
I believe this is one of the most neglected responsibilities of Christianity today. We have failed a new believer if we do not follow up with them about discipleship. Salvation is only the beginning! They are now “in Christ” and a part of the family of God. They have a function in the Church and are vital to the work of God. It is a shame if we lead someone to the Lord and leave them to question their life’s course afterwards. Timothys need Pauls. New believer’s need mentors. And who better to invest the Word of God into them then the person who led them to Christ!
And yes, I understand. It is not everyone’s gift to disciple and teach one on one. If your church has an awesome discipleship program, get them plugged into it. Don’t leave them hanging! Because chances are, if you leave them alone after conversion, they could continue in their sinful habits. And then you would have a sinful believer instead of a fervent disciple of Christ.
Acts chapter eight is chalked full of valuable truths on how to share your faith with others. It is challenging and encouraging in so many ways. But remember knowledge is no good without obedience. It is time to take what you have learned and apply it to your life.