< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Sharing God's Word - Part 2

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sharing God's Word - Part 2

This lesson covers Acts 8:26-40

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.

"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the 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."

The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they 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. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea."

Philip was on of the 7 deacons chosen in Acts 6:5. The 7 were Godly men. When he witnessed to Samaria he actually reaped a harvest previously sown by Jesus Himself. Remember Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well? How she ran to tell the other town people and they believed because her transformation was so amazing? From a disgraced woman to a radiant person with a powerful testimony? At that time Jesus told the disciples, that they would reap what others (including Himself) had sown and pointing to the Samaritan territory around them said, “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest.” About 5 years later this happened.

This is a story about Philip leading a person to Christ. This story teaches how important a single person, a single soul, is to God.

Philip was preaching to multitudes in Samaria and many people were being saved. Yet God called him away to a desert road in order to meet one man who needed Him.

How many people think the ministry God has them in is too small? “All I do is teach Sunday School and some Sundays there are only 9 or 10 people there.” “Surely if I do well God will move me up, to bigger groups, expand my territory.”

This story tells us He might have us where we are for just one person, or 1 group. Maybe that person will be the one used to go to the multitudes!

The Ethiopian was a Eunuch. He was castrated. These men were then considered safe to work for a queen, but it was unlawful under the law of Moses to have membership in any Jewish synagogue if you were a Eunuch. But, here he was, seeking God the best he could with the Old Testament, all by himself.

In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “If you seek me with all your heart, you will surely find me.”

And God sent Philip to the Eunuch.

Philip had learned from Peter, who learned from Christ that in the Old Testament was the meaning of the cross and of Christ’s mission to the world:

Luke 24:44-46Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day.”

So Philip was prepared. And we need to be prepared to explain to people too.

The Ethiopian was reading the scroll of Isaiah in his chariot. Normally men of his standing weren’t approached directly. But, the spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” And Philip ran right over. He asked the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading and the Ethiopian said no.

He was teachable, approachable; if he had pulled rank and snubbed Philip he would have missed the opportunity for eternal life. He was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8. This chapter is about Christ’s coming.

Philip didn’t need to research the answer. The events of Christ’s suffering and dying were recent. He was able to explain to the Ethiopian that Jesus Christ was the promised one. If Philip had strictly observed Moses law in Deuteronomy about Eunuchs, he wouldn’t have taught him. But, there’s another verse in Isaiah.

Isaiah 56:3-5 “Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD speak, saying, “ The LORD has utterly separated me from His people”; Nor let the eunuch say, “ Here I am, a dry tree.” For thus says the LORD: “ To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

The Good News is for all people!

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