Philip and the Eunuch | George Methodist Family Church

Philip and the Eunuch | George Methodist Family Church

The Holy Spirit at work in our daily lives.

Acts 8: 26-40

George methodist church

2nd May 2021

Philip is a male given name, derived from the Greek Φίλιππος (Philippos, lit. “horse-loving” or “fond of horses”), from a compound of φίλος (phílos, “dear”, “loved”, “loving”) and ἵππος (hippos, “horse”).

“Who was Philip in the Bible?”

The disciple named Philip was, along with Peter and Andrew, from Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44; 12:21). Jesus called Philip, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist’s (John 1:43), and then Philip went and found Nathanael and told him about Jesus. Nathanael also became Jesus’ disciple. The Bible does not contain much biographical detail about Philip or any of the other disciples, but John records several times when Philip spoke to Jesus.

Philip’s first recorded act as a disciple of Jesus was to go and tell his friend Nathanael. Later, Philip was approached by some Gentiles, more specifically, Greeks from Bethsaida who asked Philip to introduce them to Jesus (John 12:20–22). Philip was the disciple who calculated the amount of money it would take to feed the 5,000 (John 6:7). After the Last Supper, Philip requested that Jesus show them the Father, leading to Jesus’ statement, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9). The last time the Bible mentions the disciple Philip is as one of those gathered in Jerusalem to pray after the Lord’s ascension (Acts 1:13). Tradition states that Philip went to Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey) as a missionary and was martyred there in Hierapolis.

Philip was used by the Holy Spirit to bring the gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch, a member of the court of Candace, the Ethiopian queen. Philip found the eunuch sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah and trying to make sense of the prophet’s words. Philip offered to explain, and the eunuch invited him to come up and sit with him. In the end, the eunuch was saved and baptized (Acts 8:26–39). Immediately following the baptism, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away to Azotus, where he continued to preach the gospel in the towns from there to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

Twenty years later, Philip is mentioned again, still in Caesarea (Acts 21:8–9). Paul and Luke and others were traveling to Jerusalem, and they stopped at Philip’s home in Caesarea. They stayed with Philip for several days. Philip had four unmarried daughters at that time, all of whom had the gift of prophecy. That is the last time the Bible mentions the evangelist Philip.

The story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 is a marvelous depiction of God’s role in evangelism. The story starts with Philip, one of the seven original deacons, who had just preached the gospel in Samaria (Acts 8:4–8). Philip was visited by an angel who told him to go south to a road that ran from Jerusalem to Gaza, in the desert (Acts 8:26). Philip didn’t ask why he was being sent to the middle of nowhere; he just went (verse 27). On the road, in a chariot, was the Ethiopian eunuch, who was just returning from Jerusalem. The eunuch was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah. The Spirit of the Lord told Philip to go over and join the chariot, and when Philip drew close he overheard the eunuch reading from Isaiah out loud. Philip asked the Ethiopian whether or not he understood what he was reading. The eunuch replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” He then invited Philip to come sit with him in the chariot (verse 31). The passage the Ethiopian eunuch was reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, / and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, / so he did not open his mouth. / In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. / Who can speak of his descendants? / For his life was taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32–33; cf. Isaiah 53:7–8). The eunuch was wondering whom the prophet was talking about, “himself or someone else?” (Acts 8:34). Philip used this opportunity to explain the passage: this was a prophecy about Jesus Christ, who meekly gave His life to save the world. As Philip explained the gospel, the Ethiopian eunuch believed. When they came to some water by the side of the road, the eunuch asked to be baptized (Acts 8:36).

Philip agreed to baptize him, and the Ethiopian eunuch “gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him” (Acts 8:38). As soon as the Ethiopian eunuch came up out of the water, “the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing” (verse 39). Tradition says that the eunuch carried the gospel back home to Ethiopia and founded the church there. Philip found himself at Azotus, and he carried on preaching the gospel on his way to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

There are many elements of God’s providence and intervention in the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. The account reveals the importance of these three things: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit’s leading, and a human evangelist. In order for a person to accept the truth, he must first hear the truth preached (Romans 10:14). It is God’s desire that the truth be preached everywhere (Acts 1:8). The Spirit of the Lord had been preparing the eunuch’s heart to receive the gospel. As the eunuch read Isaiah, he began to ask questions, and at just the right moment the Lord brought Philip across his path. The field was “ripe for harvest” (John 4:35), and Philip was God’s laborer in the field. This was no coincidence. It was God’s plan from the very beginning, and Philip was obedient to that plan.

Four powerful lessons we can learn from Philip as we allow The Holy Spirit to work in our daily lives :

  • The Holy Spirit ignights in us a the call to serve. It’s not always easy to be chosen for the lesser things like waiting on tables but it’s where most of the work gets done and the transformations happen.

2.  The Holy Spirit in our daily lives often calls us to change direction!!! From Samaria and the limelight to the desert. We all love attention but what if the Lord shifts you to the desert. The Ethiopian eunuch is transformed by intentional loving good news.Ephesians 4 worthy of your calling is humility gentleness patience bearing with one another. 

3. Evangelism then and now. Has it changed? It’s still the same message but technology is awesome for the new day we are living in.

Philip’s 4 prophetic daughters.

Phillip approaches the Ethiopian in a very profound way and gives us some guidelines and step as to how we should be with others :

  • With love and not in a judgmental manner.
  • He asks more questions and is not pushy.
  • He responds to the Eunuchs questions.
  • Cross cultural 
  • He responds immediately to his request to be baptised.

4. Follow me . When are called to serve is our heart ignighted by the Holy Spirit – the Emmaus road and their hearts burning within them.

 When we are called to change direction how do we respond? It’s been a crazy shift over the last 12 months !!! How do we respond to those different to ourselves?What is the Holy Spirit calling us to do as we approach people in our daily lives ?

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