Profile in Character: Philip, Acts 8:26-40

August 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Biblical Background:

Acts was probably written by Luke  61-64 AD.  During this time frame Acts 8:1-4 tells us that a great persecution had broke out against the church at Jerusalem and that all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  They all continued to preach the word wherever they went.  Philip was in a city in Samaria and was proclaiming Christ there.

How Philip Raised the Risk and How We Can Too

Philip’s account in the Bible opens with him sharing the gospel during an era when it could imprison him or cost his very life (8:1-3).  This is raising the risk in an ultimate fashion; however, regardless of your religious freedoms, God has chosen to bless the scriptures with a specific example of raising the risk evangelicaly.

In Acts 8:26 Philip is instructed by an angel of the Lord to, “Go south to the road the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”   Now, there is no denying the will of God when an angel delivers it in person! Philip demonstrates immediate obedience and goes just as the angel had instructed. Once he obeys, Philip sees a chariot and the Holy Spirit impresses upon Philip to, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” (Acts 8:29).  The occupant of the chariot was an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians returning from worship in Jerusalem.  He was reading aloud the book of Isaiah the prophet. Philip again demonstrates immediate obedience and even enthusiasm as he not walks, but runs to do that which the Holy Spirit had commanded.  Upon reaching the chariot, Philip assessed the situation and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” to which the Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” and then proceeded to invite Philip to come into the chariot and sit with him.  (Acts 8:30-31)

In this account,  Philip raised the risk by talking to someone he didn’t know and the Ethiopian official  has done likewise by humbling himself and asking for an explanation of the scriptures from a commoner traveling on foot! God added his blessing and Philip took the scriptures that he has studied and shares the gospel with the Ethiopian.  As a result of Philip’s pure obedience, knowledge of the scriptures from his studies, the eunuch’s searching, and God’s divine will all these events culminate in the Ethiopian proclaiming Jesus as the Christ (vs. 37) and being baptized (vs. 38). 

Have you, or I, faithfully asked God to lead us to people to share the gospel? Have you been obedient, or sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading to “go and stay near?”  Let’s Raise the Risk this week together and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. 

Raise the Risk Challenge from the account of Philip:

  1. Pray that God will direct you to share the gospel with someone this week and then faithfully look for opportunities.
  2. Seek guidance from a spiritual mentor, parent,  or pastor over some mater that you have questions about.
  3. Offer someone a ride to church.
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