A Closer Look at Believing: Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Have you ever had something come naturally to you? For example, maybe you are a prodigy on the piano like Mozart or playing the guitar is like walking. Some of you might be expert bakers, writers, singers, artists, actors, or athletes. However, not everyone has something that comes so easily or naturally to them. Truthfully, most things people are good at take a lot of work, time, and effort.

Time Out #1:

1. Do you find that you pick up things more naturally, or do you have to work hard to master them? Why?

2. What is a specific example of something that has come naturally to you? What is an example of something you have had to work hard to do?

Evangelism and salvation are two things that can be pretty “daunting” tasks before us. Honestly, we will not reach “perfection” until those in Christ are glorified to be like Him at his return. The encouraging thing about evangelism and our salvation is that we do not have to do all the heavy lifting alone. Our salvation is the manifold wisdom of God, displayed in Christ, and is poured out for our response (Ephesians 1–2). Evangelism is something God uses to partner with His children to bring about growth (1 Corinthians 3:6–7).

As we continue to uncover how God expects individuals to respond to the good news of Jesus, I find the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch so fascinating. Evangelism has never seemed to come so naturally, and I believe this text will serve us well as we journey to learn what God expects of us in responding to the gospel.

Read:

Take time to read through Acts 8:26–40.

Remember in lesson two, we introduced a few important questions that will help guide our study: What did they do? What did they experience? How were they saved? In asking these questions, we will begin to see a consistent pattern God uses to bring people to salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. If we too want salvation, following this same pattern and example is very important.

Let’s look at what happens in the text of Acts 8:26–40.

  1. Phillip is instructed down the road from Jerusalem leading to Gaza (v.26).
  2. Phillip encounters a religious man who has been worshipping in Jerusalem (vv.27–28a). [I believe you and this religious man, the Ethiopian eunuch, have a lot in common. You desire to know God more and serve Him faithfully.]
  3. The eunuch is reading the Isaiah scroll (v.28b). [He is HEARING the word. We looked more closely at this in lesson 2.]
  4. Phillip opens the door for conversation and instruction about the good news of Jesus (vv.29–35).
  5. The eunuch believes what he has been taught about Jesus, and he responds by being baptized (vv.36–38).
  6. The eunuch experiences joy like never before! (v.39)

Time Out #2:

1. The eunuch is reading from Isaiah 53. Read Isaiah 53. How is this prophecy fulfilled in the life of Jesus? Consider John 18–20; Galatians 3:13.

2. Though Acts 8:26–40 does not explicitly state that Phillip taught the eunuch to believe, repent of sins, and be baptized, what can we infer from the eunuch’s statements in verse 36?

3. How does the gospel message impact you? We have examined two different salvation stories in the book of Acts, and in both stories, emotional, convicted responses resulted. What is stirred up inside of you when you hear that Jesus Christ bore your sin and shame in order that you might have life? What will you do?

A CLOSER LOOK

As we begin to wrap up this family devotional, I want to take a closer look at another fundamental response to God’s good news for salvation: believing the gospel message. Believing can be difficult, especially in a world where we are told, “seeing is believing.” While we cannot see God, we see Him through the life of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). We have faith, a firm solid conviction of His existence, because of the evidence around us (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 1:20). However, when we say we must believe the good news of Jesus, what does that mean?

There are seven foundational truths that we believe when we believe in the gospel and commit completely to it:

  1. Jesus the Christ is the Son of God (John 3:16).
  2. God is One: Father, Son, Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4–9; John 17).
  3. Jesus died, was buried, and raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
  4. The church is the bride and body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23; 5:25–32).
  5. All sin and fall short of the glory of God; all need a savior, and his name is Jesus (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
  6. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38).
  7. We have the hope of eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).

Believing is foundational. We cannot be Christians, we cannot seek God’s face, and we cannot be pleasing to God if we do not first believe that He exists and that He sent his son to die for us. Reflect on these seven and consider: do you believe in the gospel?

A Closer Look at Hearing: The Day of Pentecost

The Need for Salvation: What is the Gospel?

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