Term 3 – Week 5

Big Idea – The eunuch believes when the Holy Spirit brings Philip to explain God’s word!

Acts 8:26-40

Outcomes

Implications 

Introduction 

Stephen is killed and Saul approves. The fledging church has its first martyr, but this event brought out a ‘great persecution’ (v1). The apostles remain but many were scattered throughout ‘Judea and Samaria,’ where they spread the news about Jesus. The devil’s attempts to crush the church led to the spread of the gospel message throughout the region. We meet Philip, another chosen to lead the practical ministry of the church, as was Stephen, yet who is noted in Acts for his teaching and signs. In the example of Philip we see the Acts 1:8 spread of the gospel, through two different evangelistic endeavours. One of these is public, one personal, and the gospel is believed in the hated region of Samaria and the far-flung region of Ethiopia (the southern Nile region). In this lesson we focus on the second event, as we see how the Spirit works through the reading of God’s word and the explanation of the good news.  

The angel of the Lord / the Spirit (see v29) directs Philip to the well worn road that leads from Jerusalem down into Egypt, into the heart of Africa. Here he meets the eunuch (a castrated male, as was custom in the royal courts of Africa). He is an important official in the service of the Queen. This condition barred them from the temple in Deut 23:1, yet in Isaiah 56:4 God promises salvation and honour for those who believe. His subsequent salvation here heralds the offer of the gospel to the ‘outsider’, those outside God’s chosen nation Israel.. This eunuch was potentially Jewish (by birth or conversion), considering (a) the heralding of the first Gentile convert later in Acts and (b) his pilgrimage and reading of Isaiah. He was on his way home from this journey and was reading aloud (as was normal). Philip is given this opportunity by the Spirit who prompts him to go near the chariot. He hears the reading so asks a simple question. Notice how the Spirit brings him to the place for Philip to take the opportunity. Philip boldly addresses this man of royal prestige and is invited to join the chariot.  

The eunuch is reading a passage of Scripture familiar to us, Isaiah 53. However, the Jewish community was not expecting a suffering Messiah, but a victorious one. The link with Jesus to this suffering King was made by Jesus (Luke 22:37) and then by the early church. The eunuch does not understand the reference in Isaiah 53, and has the humility to ask for help. He had read it carefully, but needs the help of someone to explain its meaning. Thus is God’s gift to us. We have his word for which we can carefully examine, but we must humbly recognise our need for explanation and guidance, through which God reveals his truth to us. Philip takes his question on this passage and begins there to explain the good news about Jesus. This personal explanation is done by the same believer who proclaimed the good news publicly to the crowds in 8:4-7; Philip sets up two different approaches with the same gospel as he inaugurates beyond-Jerusalem gospel proclamation.  

The eunuch wonderfully believes and is baptised, before Philip is taken away, miraculously or directionally (the Spirit may have just directed him away immediately from the eunuch). Philip kept going, preaching the gospel as he travelled to Caesarea. The eunuch, probably the first black convert in the early church, went on rejoicing. How wonderful to read here of someone who carefully reads God’s word, and with the help of God’s provision (an explanation from a believer), this seeker believes in the name of Jesus and is baptised, resulting in rejoicing. The big idea for us is how God saves the eunuch through his word and the explaining of the gospel! Philip sets up a pattern for us to follow in our personal evangelism, relying on the Scriptures and on Spirit-filled explanation. We can celebrate God’s hand at work in the all the events that led to this conversation and conversion, and also get excited about seeing the gospel spread to the edges of the known world in the joyful heart of this ‘outsider’!  

Memory Verse

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Songs

It’s a light and a hammer (Awesome Cutlery) – YouTube 

This is a song we have sung before that tells us all about God’s amazing word and what it tells us about! 

Leaders PDF

This has been put together using purchased external material and therefore this resource may only be used by Dundonald Church. For more information please contact kids@dundonald.org

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Dundonald Kids

Dundonald Kids is the team led by our Children's Minister Natasha Small that aims to partner with parents in growing young disciples of Christ.

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