The Message (Acts 8:25, 31-36)
• What is the message here referred to?
Interestingly the passage that ET (Ethiopian Treasurer) was reading is a very special prophetic chapter clearly describing the purpose and horror of Christ’s death on the cross. ET shows us how important it is to read scripture with a view to understanding what it means. Cf. For a detailed study on Isaiah 53.
• Do we have the knowledge to speak God’s message?
• Do we have the boldness to speak God’s message?
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
The Person: Philip's Character
(Acts 6: 3-5; 8:4-5, 13, 26, 35, 39)
• What kind of person was Philip?
Philip was one of the seven ‘deacons’ that was scattered about because of the persecution (8:1-2). When he went forth, he faithfully preached the gospel where he went. Because of his faithfulness he was sensitive to the Lord’s special words to him. He was used to preaching in the cities with lots of people. Now God sent him on a mission to the desert!
Some people have concerns regarding ‘an angel of he Lord spoke to Philip,’ but in fact angels or special messages from God are very common in the scriptures. Perhaps what is uncommon is that God’s people try to limit God from so doing! Instead we should gather from this two important facts. The first is that God is not limited to simple or straightforward means. He can upon His will and purpose simply let people know by words what he wants us to do. We agree people can take this to an excess and ask for a ‘word’ for purchasing a table or a mate. This passage shows God speaking with regards to a place to speak the gospel. The other topic is discussed below: the urgency.
The Urgency (Acts 8:26-29, 39)
• Why the urgency? Is it not true that the Lord doesn’t do a miracle unless it is needed?
We see the urgency with which the Lord wants us to evangelize not only by instigating a persecution (if He didn’t instigate it, He sure did use it), but also by the special way He saved ET and Saul. These miracles clearly let us know that God is caring for His mission shared in Acts 1:8. Here the Lord is preparing messengers for the foreign fields. We can expect the Ethiopian Eunuch (ET) to bring the gospel to Ethiopia. It is interesting that Ethiopia has such a long history of Christianity there. We can guess that somehow this incident brought the gospel to North Africa (south and west). Saul on the other hand went to the Roman Empire (north and west).
• Does the same urgency exist today?
The urgency of making disciples still exists today. We should still sense the deliberateness of the Lord to save people from all the nations. We need to regularly make ourselves open to reaching out to whom the Lord would put us in contact with.
The Work (Acts 8:1-40)
• Notice how much evangelism was accomplished through Philip’s life in a relatively short amount of time. Trace his trip. How did it happen?
• If bringing the truths of the gospel to others is our main goal in life, then why are we so slothful?
• How can we strategically work towards completing the goal of mass discipling in our generation?
When God’s people do what is expected, Satan’s forces dwindle. We first of all note that the Lord can use a few people to bring the gospel to whole unreached areas. This is exciting. Churches are getting excited in being part of this process to be used to bring the gospel to the 1000+ unreached people groups. As we go we should expect big opponents of the gospel not only can be converted but will be used of the Lord to reach out to others.
God’s Spirit is very able to lead people to the Lord. Are we open to be used this way by the Lord? I would encourage you not to fear God’s assignment. Don’t be like Moses who in the end had Aaron speak for him. If God sends you, then go. If He wants you to speak, trust Him for the words. Some people can speak more quickly than others. God made you. He knows your limitations. Just speak what He wants in love and trust Him with it. Pray without ceasing.
What is the Lord’s goal? Is it not to save many people? Why then are we content with a few?
One of the problems with our churches is that we get into standstills. We accept the stage of ‘non-advance’ as normal. With an urgent mission we must focus the purpose of our churches, business and families to spread the gospel. If we can gain from God’s sense of urgency, then we will look for a special work and word from the Lord to go forward even into impossible situations. May more people cry out to have a spirit like Philip who went where the Lord said.