Acts 8:26-40 Encouraged by the Gospel’s Power

Acts 8:26-40

Encouraged by the Gospel’s Power

The church has been empowered and assaulted so far in Acts. Jesus said it would be this way.

Jesus is building his church, and it’s powerful and sometimes bloody. But Jesus is building his people and he will not fail.

As we move along in the historical narrative of the church, it’s as if the Lord knew we’d need a break in the difficulty to remind us of the power of his rule.

So, he gives us Acts 8:26-40 to encourage our souls as we engage in the work of the kingdom.

Observations: What do we see/What does it mean?

1. The gospel transformed Philip and turned a normal guy into a house built on the rock v. 26, 27, 29, 30, 35

Philip was full of the Spirit (Acts 6:1-7; Galatians 5:22-23)

Philip was aware of the voice of the Holy Spirit v. 29

The Holy Spirit spoke to Philip!

Philip was aware of and sensitive to the angelic ministry of the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 1:14) v. 26

Philip was prepared to go wherever he was led to go in obedience v. 26-27a

Philip was prepared to help someone understand the gospel v. 30, 35

Please understand that Philip is not left alone here in this work. He’s been led to this place and therefore he is simply reaping the fruit of the work of the Lord. Philip is prepared, but he’s not the effective component. Philip is the obedience messenger.

2. The gospel prepared the Ethiopian v. 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 

1 Kings 10:1 The queen of Sheba comes to hear of the Lord and the wisdom he had given Solomon (Matthew 12:42). The queen of Sheba is believed to be the queen of the people that will become known as Ethiopia.

Remember Solomon’s prayer of dedication (2 Chronicles 6:32-33)?

“Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for the sake of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, hear from heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.”

The powerful good news brought life to a people from Solomon’s witness in such a way they were going to Jerusalem to worship and were being prepared to receive the gospel.

The gospel had put the Scriptures into the hands of one who needed to be led into understanding it. 

The gospel is all over the bible (Isaiah 53 is the passage being read). 

3. The gospel provides providential leading and Holy Spirit power v. 27, 28, 31, 32, 34, 36-38, 39

As Philip obeyed (he had to leave Samaria and go to Jerusalem and get on the road that led to Gaza, which is one of the major routes that go through Jerusalem {Kings Highway and Intercostal Highway}), people were in the right places at the right times and they happened upon the resources they needed to obey Jesus’ command to baptize at just the right time. Oh yeah, and the Spirit carried Philip away to a new place (from south of Jerusalem to the coast). Maybe Philip made it all the way to Gaza before the Spirit carried him away to Azotus, which is up the coast, but either way, that’s quite a little trip that the Spirit did for Philip after the mission was accomplished. Then, Philip goes on back north to Caesarea preaching as he goes to all the places the Lord provides.

There just happened to be a gospel prepared man who was returning from Jerusalem after worshiping. v. 27

The Ethiopian just happened to be stopped and reading Isaiah 53. v. 28

Philip just happened up as he was reading Isaiah 53:7, 8. v. 30, 32-33

The Ethiopian just happened to need help understanding the passage. v. 34

The evangelist and the new Jesus follower (see footnote on verse 37) just happen to be coming by a body of water in the desert (see v. 26) in order that the new Jesus follower can follow Jesus in obedience in baptism. v. 36-38

Philip gets a Holy Spirit rush to a new city. v. 39

The language of the text leaves open the possibility that this was a supernatural transfer to Azotus or that the Spirit hurried his movement along at “super speed” to get him where he needed to be next. Either way, this is “empowered” work for the kingdom.

What do we do with this?

1. If you have been transformed by the gospel, be continually transformed as you walk with the Spirit in his fullness. 

Romans 12:1-2

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Ephesians 1:18-21

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

2. Grow in your ability to hear the voice of the Spirit.

There is no instruction on how to hear the voice of the Spirit in Scripture other than read your bible, pray and listen.

Listening is more than sound waves entering into the ears. Listening is a soul issue.

We can listen when we stop talking.

We can listen when we get still.

We can listen when we get alone.

We can listen when we prioritize the voices coming at us.

Spirit will speak to you consistent with Scripture and unique to your situation and always in the will of the Father.

Listening to the Spirit is a disciplined gained through the discipline of following Jesus. 

3. Become aware of the ministry of angels not so you get distracted by them and be tempted to worship them (as John was in Revelation) but so that you may be aware of the times they are sent by the Lord to help you along, bring comfort or protection. 

Hebrews 1:14

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

Illustration: 2 Kings 6:15 “…those with us are more than those who are with them.” -There was a time we were in a hard part of the world with one of our partners and we were praying for the purpose of overcoming fear. The Lord gave this passage of Scripture to comfort us that his hosts were greater than any force the enemies of the gospel could muster.

4. Live 1 Peter 3:15

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…”

5. Generously go through bibles as you give them away. Get the Scriptures into people’s hands.

6. Live in the expectation of the supernatural work of the Spirit. 

Expectancy is a result of trust in something.

If our parents did their job well, we expected good things and timely things.

Expectancy is a result of depending on one and finding them faithful.

If you have walked with Jesus your expectancy of his work should increase and your faith in him increase as you walk with him.

Experiencing the Lord being faithful will increase your tolerance for following his leading into more challenges.

Expect the Lord to be faithful and do faithful things in the kingdom. He won’t fail you.

7. Believe the gospel is so powerful we can plant it and expect fruit in the fullness of time (see #2).

The gospel takes root in good soil. It’s not up to us to make the soil good. That’s God’s job. Our job is to sow the seed of the gospel and trust the Spirit to bring it to fruitful maturity.

Worship!

Acts 8:39

“And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.”

The gospel is powerful and brings us strong encouragement to get after obeying Jesus. So, let’s worship the King for his encouraging us!

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