Satisfying a Searching Man
April 24, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. We are in chapter 8 of the Book of Acts
B. Chapter 7 was about a young man named Stephen
1. He boldly spoke of Jesus being alive, after being cruelly crucified by the religious of that day!
2. The chapter ended with the religious LEADERS dragging Stephen outside of Jerusalem and stoning him, even as he smiled and asked God to forgive them for what they were doing!
C. Chapter 8 tells us about another young man named Philip
1. He finds his way north of Jerusalem into the area known as Samaria and watches as thousands of Samaritans repent and believe on Jesus Christ, and revival breaks out!
2. The Christian Life couldn’t have been better for Philip – he was in a good place!
D. But in this chapter we will also learn about powerful Ethiopian man who had converted to Judaism and travelled from Ethiopia, in search of God, but still did not know Him
E. And it will take God pushing Philip out into a desert, to find this man, so that he can hear about Jesus
A. Sensitive to God (Acts 8:26,27)
1. Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
2. God spoke to Philip through an angel
a. This angel was a messenger – a postman delivering the will of God to Philip
b. In Old Testament times, and even during the time of the Acts, angels spoke to people, and prophets spoke, and Jesus audibly spoke (like He does to Paul on the Road to Damascus)
c. But since that time, visions and voices have ceased – God has spoken and it has been written down in the pages of the Bible, and it is enough! There are no new “voices” from heaven!
3. The point is that Philip was open and able to hear God’s instructions - sensitive
4. Not everyone has this ability – nor wants it
a. Jesus spoke directly to loads of people, and many did not want to hear Him
b. I pour my heart out, as do countless other preachers of the Gospel, and few want to hear
c. Matthew 13:15,16 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them... But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
d. Zechariah 7:11,12 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
e. 2Timothy 4:3,4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5. Where did God want Philip? A desert area
a. He is in the middle of a revival in Samaria – the people are welcoming Philip and the Gospel. NOT like down in Jerusalem where they were persecuting and beating them!
b. But Samaria was not where God needed Philip to be
c. God wanted Philip to walk 120 km (a 4 day journey) south into a hot, empty, vast desert
d. Into an area called Gaza (well-known area now) – but back then, an empty desert
e. Where there were NO cities, no villages, no food, and no water
f. Nobody goes into the desert without a plan, or food, or water, or without a destination
g. Yet here is God directing Philip into a desert just like God had directed the steps of Abraham many years earlier
6. And do you know what Philip did?
7. He went! Oh if only God’s people were always this obedient to the Holy Spirit!
a. Acts 8:27 And he arose and went …
b. Philip obeyed the leading/guidance/direction of the Spirit of God
c. He got moving, walking south, all by himself
d. Not knowing why he was walking, nor who he would meet
e. Just going by faith in obedience to the will of God
B. Behold, an Ethiopian! (Acts 8:27,28)
1. Acts 8:27,28 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
2. Philip notices a caravan of people way off in the distance
3. And the central figure was a black man – an Ethiopian – everyone was serving him!
4. Luke tells us a little more about this man
a. He was a very important person in the Ethiopian government
b. A Eunuch – which means, he worked very close to the Queen, so he was castrated
c. The treasurer over all of the Queen’s wealth – pretty important job
d. A very powerful man – great authority – people nearly worshipped him, and obeyed him
e. And he is travelling back to Ethiopia after being in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost
f. Quite a long journey – 3,900 km (30 days travel)
g. Why had this Ethiopian eunuch been in Jerusalem?
h. Because he was compelled to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
i. He evidently was a convert from paganism, to Judaism – had become follower of Moses
C. Further Instructions (Acts 8:29,30)
1. Acts 8:29,30 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him…
2. Okay, so now these two men (Philip and the Eunuch) have crossed paths
3. What is he supposed to do now?
4. God had more instructions for Philip – always has more instructions after we have obeyed what He asks of us first
a. Get close to the chariot – it was slow moving through desert sand
b. Join the eunuch on his journey – keep heading southward
c. Just talk to him – God promises to guide the conversion if you and I will just start it!
5. So Philip RAN to the chariot – excited! What is God going to do?
6. As Philip got close, he could hear that eunuch reading the Hebrews Scriptures out loud!
7. The very Book by Isaiah the prophet!
a. This eunuch has read 52 chapters of the Book of Isaiah in just under 6 hours since leaving Jerusalem, and is devouring it! Not understanding it, but devouring it!!! Thrilled with what he was reading! Wishing someone would connect the dots so to speak for him and answer some questions so he could grasp what Isaiah was prophesying about!
b. And we are about to find out that he has just started reading chapter 53…
8. Wow! What an opportunity – to find someone reading the Bible, out loud even!
D. “Do You Understand What You Are Reading?” (Acts 8:30,31)
1. Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
2. A great question
3. Honest men will answer, No
4. Acts 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
5. The eunuch invites this Jewish man named Philip to sit with him in his chariot and explain some things about the Scripture…
a. Bible believing Jews are pretty good with the Scriptures
b. It is THEIR Book by the way – written by Jews, mainly for the Jewish people
c. When a Jewish man gets born again, he instantly knows more than 99.9% of all us gentile preachers and teachers
d. The eunuch was a proselyte, and not familiar with much of the scriptures – he just knew he loved them!
6. We all need what Philip is about to give this eunuch – keys to understanding the Scriptures
a. A literal approach to reading it – reading it as literal and true, not fiction
b. A questioning mind – searching for answers
c. A guide, a teacher, a helper who will take time to explain things
e. And finally, the new birth – the Spirit of God in the reader – letting the Author of Scripture explain what He meant when he wrote it!
1) There is enough of the Bible anyone can understand…
a) There is none righteous, no not one
b) All of us have sinned
c) The wages of sin is death
d) It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment
e) God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…
2) But without a new heart, and a renewed mind, you will hit a dead end – you will never understand the mercies and wonders of God’s wisdom and counsel in this Book
3) When a person gets born again, they get the holy Spirit of God
4) And when you get the Spirit of God in you, He will teach you everything that is in this Book!
5) John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
E. The Main Key to Understanding All Scripture is Seeing Jesus Everywhere
1. Most churches spend all their time talking now about the climate, and social injustices, and inequalities, and poverty, and politics, and make little of Jesus
2. Jesus says in John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me
3. All men need to learn about HIS life, His righteousness, His sacrifice. We talk too much about OUR-selves
a. David wrote about the PERFECT Man
b. David and Moses wrote about the righteous Man
c. Isaiah wrote about the Sovereign Man who died in the place of every sinful man
4. He is the Righteous Man mentioned throughout Scripture
5. He is perfect Israel, that God sought to honour and make head of all nations
6. He is the Lamb of God from the garden of Eden all the way into eternity
7. He is the Creative Word of God at the beginning
8. And He is the final judge of all the earth at its end
9. He is the brass serpent on Moses’ pole in Numbers chapter 21
10. He is the fourth Man in the fiery furnace in Daniel chapter 3
11. Do you know every chapter of every Book in your Bible describes something about JESUS?
12. Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
F. Who Is This Man? (Acts 8:32-35)
1. Acts 8:32,33 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
2. Acts 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
3. What a great question!
4. 7 times ‘HE’ is referred to just in this portion of Scripture
a. He is like a lamb, a sheep – no aggression, no fight in Him
b. He is led to a slaughter – to a butcher, a murder
c. He spoke not a word of self-defence
d. He was humiliated – publicly mocked and beaten
e. His judgment/defence was refused – guilty no matter what
f. No one stood up for him
g. And His life was stolen from Him – murdered
5. Who is this MAN?
6. The entire chapter is describing Someone Special… (Isaiah 53)
a. 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
b. 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
c. 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
d. 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
e. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
f. 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
g. 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
h. 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
i. 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
j. 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
k. 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
7. 42 times ‘HE’, the Messiah, is referred to (6x7)
G. The Man of Isaiah 53 is JESUS (Acts 8:35)
1. Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
2. Philip pointed out that Isaiah was describing what had happened to Jesus in Jerusalem
a. He is not the nation of Israel like modern day Jews say
b. He is not the prophet Isaiah
3. Philip then went back through Isaiah 53 and described JESUS!
a. That man that Isaiah prophesied about is Jesus – no other Man has experienced and accomplished all that in His death!
b. And… you just missed Him
c. It all just happened, just as Isaiah prophesied, just 3 months ago
4. Jesus is (not WAS, but IS)…
a. The perfect, sinless Son of God, born by a virgin birth just as prophesied
b. The Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of all the world; including Ethiopians
c. The only Saviour of men’s sinful souls
d. And He is the only Man who ever got back up from the dead by Himself and is now very much ALIVE
e. This is GOOD news!
f. And Philip explained that he was now baptized, and following Jesus instead of Moses
H. The Eunuch Gets Excited (Acts 8:36)
1. Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
2. As they are travelling, speaking and discussing what the Scriptures said and meant…
3. They pass by a pool of water! Rare in a desert
4. The eunuch asks to be baptized
a. This was a good desire
b. Evidently Philip has told the eunuch about getting baptized to start living the Christian life – not keeping it secret
c. And the eunuch wants to get started NOW!
d. In front of his guards, and in front of this Jewish believer
e. It is saying to the world, I want to follow Jesus now!
f. “Here is some water” (remember… it’s a rare thing in a desert)
g. “Let’s make it public! That I, the treasurer of the great Queen Candace, am a follower of Jesus the great King of all kings!”
5. THAT is the proper attitude of a sinner who has discovered Jesus!
I. The Eunuch Must Pass One Test (Acts 8:37)
1. Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
2. Do you know what saves a sinner?
3. Strong belief in Jesus! Solid faith! Not an opinion, or a feeling, or a hope, but a solid trust!
4. A sinner needs to believe with ALL his/her heart that Jesus…
a. Is the Son of Almighty God
b. That Jesus suffered for our sins and died in our place – unfairly
c. That He was completely buried
d. That He resurrected / came back to life three days later
e. That Jesus is alive now, and forever more
f. And that He will save anybody who just believes in Him!
5. The eunuch immediately stood and declared his faith and confidence in Jesus as the Messiah
a. In front of all those other men
b. He gladly declared, “I believe that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God” (not was)
J. No one should get baptized UNTIL they can stand up and say they believe with all their heart that Jesus has saved their soul from hell!
1. Your SOUL is first priority – must get born again by faith in what Jesus has done
2. Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
3. Baptism is only for AFTER salvation
a. only a symbol that tells the world you are saved
b. It is the first step that a new Christian takes in their new life
4. The desire to get baptized is a good thing, but is damning in the wrong hands!
a. So many people believe their baby baptism helps them get to heaven when they die
b. Others believe that it will help them
c. Wicked people have edited the holy Bible to make it read like baptism saves, when your KJV says there is an important step before hand!
d. Almost all the new translations of the Bible REMOVE this very verse of Scripture, making people think all you need to do it be baptized! People corrupting Scriptures (2Corinthians 2:17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God
e. And most denominations today teach baptism is part of salvation!!!
1) The Church of Christ – Disciples of Christ – teach heresy
2) Catholics push being baptized as a way to get saved
3) Protestants push getting baptized
4) Jehovah’s Witnesses push people to get baptized to become Christian
5. A Bible believer would rather die than tell a lost sinner to get baptized
a. Because people need to BELIEVE the Gospel, not be baptized!!!
b. 1Corinthians 1:17,18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
K. Philip Then Baptizes the Eunuch (Acts 8:38,39)
1. Acts 8:38,39 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
2. Baptism means IMMERSION, not sprinkling, pouring, etc.
3. Philip took the eunuch INTO the pool of water and immersed him putting under the water, in front of everyone there
4. And brought him back up out of the water
a. If you’ve been sprinkled, or poured upon, then you have not been Scripturally baptized
b. If you were baptized as a baby, then you only got wet and are still in your sins
5. This pictures and symbolises Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection
a. And the death and burial of this man’s old beliefs, and his conversion to a new life, eternal life as he follows Jesus!
6. It is only a PICTURE – a symbol – it does NOTHING to fix your heart and soul
a. Jesus never said you must be baptized – He said, you must be BORN AGAIN!
b. Baptism is a public commitment to Christ – not hiding, or secretly, but out in the open
c. Like a wedding is supposed to be – public, honourable, real
L. The Eunuch and Philip Split Up (Acts 8:39,40)
1. Act 8:39,40 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
2. The Gospel was spreading out, one by one, each one, reaching one
3. Philip headed back north, towards Samaria along the western coast of Israel
a. What a joy to be used by God to lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ
b. Kept telling the good news – the Gospel – to everyone along the way
4. While the eunuch went on his way to Ethiopia Rejoicing
a. The eunuch never saw Philip again
b. But he finally got what he had been searching for all his life – Jesus!
1) People search for happiness, for fulfilment, for peace
2) This man got it all when he got a Person named Jesus!
3) He got a whole new life! A relationship with God! Perfect salvation – forgiveness!
c. And he continued on to Ethiopia Preaching the Gospel
d. Ethiopia grew a great Christian nation over the next 400 years until the Catholic church took over and started the Dark Ages
III. Conclusion - What We Have Learned?
A. God always sends someone to the lost – he is send each of us every day!
B. Be yielded to God’s leading in your life – be open to what God is saying as we read the Bible and talk to God in prayer
C. Each person we meet is a soul!
1. All are in need of hearing about Jesus
a. EVERYONE has heard about GOD
b. Not everyone has heard about His Son, Jesus
2. Every soul is priceless – even if not valuable to you or me, they are valuable to God
3. And therefore worth an 80 mile trip into the desert
4. How far would YOU be willing to go for just one soul?
D. Lost people need to be reading and hearing the Bible – too few know what it actually says
1. Give away New Testaments, and Bibles, and get people to read them!
2. Talk about what God has written
3. They won’t understand it much
4. It will make people thirsty for God!
E. Always Preach Jesus, His life and Death and Resurrection in every encounter
F. Do YOU believe with all your heart that Jesus is alive?
G. Have you asked Him to save you?
H. If not, today is a good day to humble yourself and cry out to Jesus and trust Him
I. THEN get baptized, so that you can start living a Christ-like life!