CASE-02 - Ethiopian Eunuch
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CASES OF CONVERSION
“As they went down the road, they came to a certain water and the eunuch said, ‘See here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?’ and Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may,’ ” Acts 8:35-37.
Welcome to our study of cases of conversion in the New Testament.
We’re specifically looking in the book of Acts, which is the book that
answers the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ We encourage you to
stay tuned, as we think today, as we open our hearts and minds to the
word of God on this very important subject.
As we think about the Eunuch's salvation, and as he's in the chariot
traveling down the road with Philip, we have to think about all of those who
played a very important part in this man salvation. For example, God
Himself plays a part in the Ethiopian eunuch hearing the gospel. Notice
Acts 8, and notice what the Scripture says in verse 26. The Bible records,
“Now the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Arise and go toward the
south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, this is
desert.” Did God play a part in this man having the opportunity to hear the
gospel? You bet he did! God initiated the Angel to speak to Philip. Philip
went and taught him the gospel.
God is the architect behind this salvation that occurs. Now are we
saying God's going to come down and speak specifically to us today? No,
but in a time when we've got the Bible, is God still behind and is He the one
who has a big part in salvation? You bet! It's God Himself who made
salvation possible. John 3:16 the Bible so beautifully says, “God so loved
the world He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.” God made salvation possible,
and He's the one who makes that a privilege and a reality for every person.
Another individual that had a part in this man’s salvation was the
angel, that Angel whom God sent. He says, ‘go and overtake the chariot.’
Philip runs to him, and teaches him the gospel. God used that means, at
that time, during the age of the miraculous. Now friend, are we saying that
an Angel's going to come and speak to you and tell you what to do to be
saved? That didn't happen then. God still used this messenger. Today
we’re not saying that's how Angels are going to work. But, we do need to
be warned, God today doesn't speak through Angels, He speaks through
His son. Hebrews 1:1 following says, “God, who at various times and
various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in
these last days spoken to us by His son.” Paul warned in Galatians 1:6-9,
“even if we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than
that what which we preached let him be accursed.”
So, while God had a part and God still does today in sending His son,
while God chose to use Angels to get the message to Philip and to the
eunuch, God has used Angels throughout the Bible, but today God speaks
to us through His son.
Who else had a part in this man’s salvation? As we turn our attention
to the Scripture, we know that Philip had a big part in teaching this man the
gospel. Notice Acts 8:27, ‘So he, Philip, arose and went and behold a man
of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the Queen of the
Ethiopians who had charge of all her treasury, had come to Jerusalem to
worship God,’ said to Philip through the angel, ‘go over to the chariot.’
Philip arose and ran to the chariot ready to teach him the gospel. Philip,
God's servant, had a responsibility.
Friend, it's that same responsibility that Christians and gospel
teachers today have. Jesus said it best. Matthew 28:18, “All authority has
been given to me in heaven and on earth.” And then Jesus said, “Go and
make disciples,” that's the responsibility that Christians have. “We’re to go
into all the world and teach the gospel,” Mark 16:15.
As it relates to this man’s salvation, the Ethiopian himself played the
major part in deciding to be saved. Acts 8:27, “He was a man of authority.”
He was a man who is heading back home, probably ready to see his family.
He was a man who took care of up a lot of business. A very important man,
we might say. Yet, this man knew there was something more important,
something more than handling the Queen's money every day, something
more than being in the position he was in, and there was more to life than
that. The Ethiopian surely knew he needed to obey the gospel.
As we study about salvation, is it the case that God makes it
available? Absolutely! Could someone come and teach the gospel? Do
people do that today? Sure, but it comes down to the person deciding for
themselves what they're going to do. Romans 14:12 says this, “So then
each of us will give an account of himself to God.” I have to decide, you
have to decide, many have to decide based on their response to the word
of God. Are they going to obey the gospel and become a Christian?
And of course, the Holy Spirit played a part in this man’s salvation as
well. The Holy Spirit brought the word, Acts 8:29. The spirit worked through
the angel, and the spirit worked through Philip, and in preaching the
message. He had a part in that. As we think about the Holy Spirit, and as
we think about His part in salvation today, let's realize the Holy Spirit is the
one who inspired the word that we speak and we preach to people today.
John 16:13 Jesus said, “When He, the spirit of truth, has come He'll guide
you into all truth. He'll not speak on His own authority, whatever He hears
that will He speak.” Jesus was speaking to His first century disciples, and
He said, “When He comes He will guide you into all truth.” You remember
the spirit came in Acts 2, ‘they were guided into all truth.’ By the close of
the New Testament, Jude 3 says, ‘We have the once for all faith that's
Has the Holy Spirit played a part in salvation today? You bet! His
word, the inspired word of God, given by the Holy Spirit is that which we
teach and preach to those who hear the message of God.
Now as we think about this case of conversion, and as we think about
what did the Ethiopian eunuch do to be saved, this man first had to hear
the word of God. Look in the Bible in Acts 8, and I want you to notice what
the Scripture says about this man in verse 28. The Bible records that, ‘This
man was returning from worship, and sitting in the chariot,’ watch this, ‘he
was reading Isaiah the prophet.’ What was this man doing that contributed
and led to his obedience to the gospel? His ears and his heart were
attentive to the word of God. He's what wouldn't you like to find a host of
prospects like this? There's a man reading his Bible, let's go talk to him!
That's the kind of person you want to talk to. He's already giving the word
of God attention in his heart. Friend, this is something that each person
must do if they're going to be saved. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, ‘Study to show
yourself approved unto God a workman who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.’ Is this man studying? You bet he is! Acts
17:11, “Search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so.” Where's
this man studying? Isaiah 53, we learned that's exactly. He’s studying the
Scriptures. He's hearing about this suffering servant. He wants to know, ‘is
this man talking himself or someone else?’ Philip's opportunity to preach
Christ comes, and he does that. A man whose heart is already in tune with
the will of God is a man who is well on his way in obeying the gospel.
Jeremiah 37:17, the great question is asked, “Is there any word from the
Lord?” And of course Paul asked a similar question in Romans 4:3, “What
does the Scripture say?” That’s what this man wanted to know, ‘what is the
word of the Lord saying here?’ he says. That Philip in essence says, ‘do
you understand what you're reading?’ ‘How can I unless someone teach
me?’ ‘Come on up here and let's talk about it, let's study the word of God
together,’ and so he was reading Scripture and his heart was already in
tune with the will of God.
As we think about this man's willingness to hear the word of God, this
man has a respect, not only is he reading the Scripture, he has a respect
for the Scripture as the very word of God. How do we know that? He's been
to worship in Jerusalem. He knows who the God of the Old Testament is.
He's reading about that God. He's reading about His Scripture. And he
happens to be in the point where he's reading about the suffering Messiah.
This man respects the word of God. Friend, if we’re going to be saved,
we've got to respect the Bible as the very word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
says it this way, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped
for every good work.”
Do we really recognize that God spoke, and not only did the world
come into existence, but this book is the very word of God? If I want to
know, what does God want me to do? This book is the answer of what God
expects me and expects you to do.
Now another great thing about this man is in his willingness to hear
the word of God. Here's a man who wasn't easily offended. Now notice
again Acts 8. I want you to especially notice verses 30 and 31. Philip ran to
him, heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and said, ‘Do you understand
what you're reading?’ and he said, ‘How can I unless someone guides me?’
and he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. He wasn't easily offended.
You know, the question Philip asked might offend a lot of folks. He's
reading here's a man reading the Bible, you go up to him and say, ‘do you
understand what you're reading?’ What do you mean, do I understand?
You're not going to teach me are you? You think you know it better than
me? A lot of people might respond with the wrong attitude. Philip, all he
wants to do is help this man. All he wants to do is point this man toward
Jesus. The man is reading about something which indeed is a mystery to
this man. ‘Come up here, let's talk about it. You can you help me see what
this is about. If you can prove it from the Scripture,’ I know he respects the
word of God so, if he could speak about this from the Scripture, he's ready
to obey it.
We need people today who don't wear their feelings on their sleeves,
who aren't as easily offended as it comes to learning the gospel. Jesus said
in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and that truth will make you free.”
“Buy the truth and sell it not,” the proverb writer said in Proverbs 23:23. As
Paul said to the church in Galatia, “Have I become your enemy because I
tell you the truth?”
All of us need to be open-minded enough that we can learn if
someone's willing to teach us the Scriptures. I'm not talking about teach
man's doctrine. We’re not talking about, teach what's popular or teach what
somebody else believes. If somebody can help me to learn what God
wants me to do better, am I willing to sit down and listen? Am I willing to
grow? Am I willing to study? And that's a key attribute in hearing the voice
You know, as we think about this eunuch and his hearing the word of
God, this man wasn't above being taught the Scripture. Verse 31, “How can
I, unless someone teach me?” He invites him up into the chariot. They
study the word of God together. He wasn't above being taught the word of
God. The right heart and hearing the word of God the way God wants us to,
means that were not above being taught. I love the words of Luke 11:1.
They said, “Lord teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples.” That
statement and I hope you listen carefully to it, ought to be on every one of
our hearts. “Lord teach us.” Are we really willing to study and to be taught
and to learn? 2 Timothy 4:2, “When the word is preached, preach the
word.” Are we willing to let that word instruct us? If any man speaks as the
oracles of God are we willing to listen to those oracles? Are we willing to be
taught by God's word and be teachable? That's such an important aspect
about hearing God's word.
Then of course in this man's hearing, he wants to learn specifically
about Christ. I want you to notice what he's reading. Look in Acts 8. I want
you notice beginning in verse 32. The Bible says, “The place in the
Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter
and as a lamb before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth in
His humiliation, His justice was taken away, and who will declare His
generation for His life is taken from the earth.” What did this man
specifically want to learn about? He wanted to learn about Christ. He's
reading Isaiah 53. You can see the providence of God at work here. Here's
a man reading about Christ. Christ has just been crucified on the cross, and
men and women obeyed the gospel. God now sends his servant to teach
him about Christ. What a marvelous unfolding of events that occurs!
For a person to be saved, you've got to be willing to hear about
Christ. That is, that He died for our sins. That's what Isaiah 53 is all about.
“He was led as a sheep before it shearers was silent, so He opened not His
mouth it His justice was taken away.” What is all that? Isaiah 53 is the
picture of Christ and His suffering and His sacrifice and His willingness to
die for mankind, because He loved us so much. 1 Peter 2:24 almost
verbatim quotes from Isaiah 53, “He was bruised for our iniquities, the
chastisement of our peace was upon Him, by His stripes we are healed.”
Are you willing to hear that all of us have to deal with the sin
problem? Are we willing to hear that we can't save ourselves? Are we
willing to recognize, I need to know about Jesus and His way of salvation to
be pleasing to the father?
You know, there's another thing though that I want to point out about
this man that makes it so unique in his hearing the word of God. This man
was asking the right questions. Look in Acts 8. I want you notice what he
says at the end of verse 34. Verse 34, “So the eunuch answered Philip and
said, ‘I ask you of whom does the prophet say this of himself or of some
other man?’” This man is such a good case of hearing the word of God,
because not only is he reading the Scripture, not only does he want to be
taught and learned about Jesus, he's already asking the right questions.
‘This one who just suffered is he talking about himself or somebody else?
Is this Isaiah talking or is Isaiah prophesying about somebody to come?’
You know what happens next? The Bible says, Philip started at that point
and preached Jesus to him! What a great question to ask.
There are so many wonderful questions asked pertaining to the
Gospel. Acts 9:6, Saul said, “Lord what would you have me to do?” There's
a man is ready to hear. Acts 2:37, “When they heard that they'd just
murdered their own Messiah they were cut to the heart and they cried out,
‘Men and brethren what shall we do?’” Then one of the most beautiful
questions ever asked, Acts 16:30-31, ‘Sirs what must I do to be saved?’
Like this man in Acts 8, I've got to be asking the right questions. ‘Lord what
you want me to do? What must I do to be saved?’ Who's this talking about?
How can I understand it better, and what's the application of it to my life?
Then of course as you think about Philip, who of course preached Jesus to
him that Christ was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. He talked about Jesus
suffering for all mankind. No doubt from the response the eunuch has, he
taught about the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died for sin.
He was buried in the grave, and He arose the third day. Romans 6:1,
“Therefore we died to sin were buried and baptism and we rise out of it to
walk in newness of life.”
There’s confidence in the fact that Philip taught that. For as he's
teaching about Christ, he comes to a certain water, ‘Look there's water
what hinders me?’ Hinders you from what? Obeying Christ who died and
was buried and resurrected? And in enacting that death, burial and
resurrection, ends one's life. So this man, he got the point about Jesus.
You know, as Philip preached to this man, not only did he have hear
the word of God; this man had to believe in Christ. Belief in Christ is
essential to salvation. Notice Acts chapter 8:36-37, “As they're traveling
down the road they come to a certain water and the eunuch said, ‘see here
is water what hinders me from being baptized?’" notice the hindrance then
Philip said, “if,” there is the condition, “if you believe with all your heart you
may.” And he goes on to answer and say, ‘I believe Jesus is the Christ the
Son of the living God.’ But friend, listen carefully to be saved it isn't enough.
Just to hear or be asking the right questions, I've got to commit to it. If this
is true, I am going to believe it. I am going to commit my life to it. That's
what Jesus said we've got to do. Luke 9:23 “If any man desires to come
after me Jesus said let him deny himself take up his cross daily and follow
me.” This is essential to being saved, is making a commitment to the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
Along with hearing and believing, this man is a powerful example of
making the good confession. You remember that confession, Matthew
10:32-33. Jesus said, “If you won't confess me before men neither will I
confess you before my father who is in heaven, but if you will confess me
before men I'll also confess you before the father who is in heaven.” If you
believe with all your heart, here's what Philip says to him, it ‘here's water
what hinders me?’ ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ ‘I believe
Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God,’ Acts 8:37.
Is it essential for a person to with the mouth make that statement?
Let's listen to Romans 10:10, “With the heart the mind one believes unto
righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You
know, in this man learning about the death, the burial, and resurrection of
Jesus, there's no doubt he would've learned about repentance. Jesus died
to sin. We've got to die to sin. Jesus was buried. We've got to be buried in
water. He arose to walk in newness of life. No doubt that Philip taught this
man that a changed life is part of becoming a Christian. Romans 6:1-4
clearly teaches that idea. Luke 13:3, “Unless you repent, you will all
likewise perish.” Then to the idolatrous people in Acts 17, Paul said this,
“These times of ignorance God once winked at or overlooked but now
commands all men everywhere to repent.” Why? Because he's appointed a
day in which He'll judge the world and righteousness, through the man who
whom He's ordained, and He's given assurance of it all to the mall, by
raising him from the dead.
I must change my life. The Ethiopian eunuch understood changes
had to be made as well. But what else does this man realize was
important? What else was he taught in God's plan of salvation? It’s clear
this man was taught the importance of baptism. You can imagine sitting in
the chariot, Philip is talking to this man about Christ. ‘I've read about this
man. He's led to the slaughter. He opened not his mouth. Who is that?’ He
begins to tell him about Jesus. Jesus before Pilate, Jesus losing his life,
Jesus on the cross, and no doubt this man says ‘I want to be a part of that.
How do I become a part of that?’ Just as Jesus died, you've got to die to
sin. Just as Jesus was buried in the grave, and He come up out of that, so
you've got to be buried in water and you got to arise to walk in newness of
life. We know Philip told that and that he taught the importance of baptism.
For here's what the man said, ‘Look there's water! What hinders me from
being baptized?’ You've told me how to get in Christ. I want to become a
Christian. I appreciate what this man did for me. I've got sin, and I need it
addressed. Here's water, what's hindering me? He knew the importance of
baptism. Whatever was hindering him, he wanted to get it out of the way,
so that he could get right with God.
We learn two very important things about baptism in God's plan of
salvation from this man. We first learn that baptism is immersion. We also
learn that it's necessary to find the joy that can only be had in Christ. You
remember the story Acts 8:38. He confesses Christ. They stop the chariot.
They both get out of the chariot. They both go down into the water. Philip
baptizes him, and he comes up out of the water. Here's a man traveling
back to Ethiopia, why did they have to stop the chariot? Why did they both
have to get out? Why did they both have to go into the water and both
come up out of the water? Friend, that's a clear example of immersion.
John 3:23, ‘John was baptizing in Salim, in the area of Aenon, near Salim
because there was much water there.’ If baptism is a burial, Romans 6:1,
through four then a burial is a complete covering. That’s a picture of what
God wants us to do.
I also want you to notice this, in Acts 8, as this man is baptized, the
Bible says that man went on his way rejoicing. When he heard about
Christ, when he believed that Jesus was that suffering servant, when he
was willing to confess his faith in Christ, no doubt change the things in his
life that are wrong, and when that culminated in him being baptized into
Christ, that's when that man went on his way with true joy in Christ.
Baptism is what brings us that joy, because we know our sins been washed
away. Acts 2:38 tells us, ‘Repent and be baptized for the remission of your
sins.’ Saul was told in Acts 22:16, ‘Arise and be baptized and wash away
your sins.’ Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved,”
Mark 16:16. And Peter said, ‘Baptism does now also save us.’
If sin separates me from God and if baptism is the point in time when
sins are washed away, there's no wonder this man went on his way
rejoicing. He could rise up out of that watery grave of baptism with a clean
slate, with all his past sin washed away. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it so
beautifully. This is what brought the man joy. “If anyone is in Christ,” and he
just got in Christ, “if anyone's in Christ he's a new creation, old things are
passed away, behold all has become new.”
As we think of our own lives and as we think about the joy of
salvation, we ask you today consider your own salvation experience. Did
you obey the gospel as the Ethiopian eunuch did here? Did you hear just
the word of God? Did you believe Jesus is the son of God? Were you
willing to make that oral confession, Jesus is the Christ the son of God? Did
you repent, change your way thinking and change your way of acting? And
were you immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins?
Friend, if you've never done that, we encourage you, we beg you,
today become a Christian. Obey the gospel, submit to the will of God, and I
can assure you, you can have true joy that's only found in Jesus Christ.
Study Questions for: “Cases of Conversion: Lesson 2”
1. Who spoke to Philip in Acts 8:26?
2. How does God speak to us today according to Hebrews 1:1?
3. According to Matthew 28:18, who hold all authority?
4. Where are we to teach the Gospel according to Mark 16:15?
5. Who will give an account of their life to God according to Romans 14:12?
6. In Acts 8:29 who brought the word?
7. According to 2 Timothy 2:15, what must we do to show ourselves
approved unto God?
8. What important question did Paul ask in Romans 4:3?
9. Where does scripture come from according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17?
10. According to Luke 9:23, what must we do?