Acts 8:30-31, “30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him”
GO! “Philip ran to him”. There is a term that I heard in the past called INSTANT OBEDIENCE. Jesus commanded us to, “The angel of God told Philip “’Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert.”
There was a specific direction and place that Philip was commanded to go in. This is desert refers to a deserted place. Old Gaza was a deserted town whose ruins lay near the now culturally Greek cities of Askalon and New Gaza. Philip might have no one to preach to on a little-traveled road that would lead by a deserted city, and after the revival in Samaria this command must seem absurd to him; but God had often tested faith through such commands (e.g., Exodus 14:16; 1 Kings 17:3–4, 9–14; 2 Kings 5:10) (IVP Bible Background Commentary). This deserted town was going to be filled by an Ethiopian eunuch and his entourage, Philip, and the Holy Spirit. God would bring all these together so that one man may receive the Gospel. What a great and kind God He is!
Listen. Philip heard him. “Philip….heard him reading the prophet Isaiah” Do you listen to people? Philip had his ears open. Although taught along with reading aloud in modern times, the skill of reading silently was not developed in antiquity; those who could read nearly always read aloud. God used this reading style in the situation here to obviously divinely arrange this encounter (cf., e.g., Genesis 24:13–27). In John chapter 4, in His encounter with the women at the well, Jesus first asks the women for water thus relating to her. Then He explained to her that He offered living waters thus creating an opportunity to swing from natural water to spiritual water. As Philip was listening to this man, he heard this.
Initiate conversation. “Do you understand what you are reading?” We have been raised with the notion that says, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Some keep to that when they become Christians, but this is a horrible display of obedience to the Lord who commands us to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” many of whom will be strangers. The Gospel is simply not limited to those that we know. Philip didn’t know this eunuch yet he started the conversation with this man and rightfully so, otherwise his obeying God to run after the chariot would have been pointless. However if you run after someone, you better have something to say to them about God. When Philip asked the question he was insinuating that he could explain the passage of Scripture. That could have perhaps been taken as a very offensive question. This man was probably a high official of the Queen of Ethiopia at that time, and I would venture that he was a very intelligent man to be the treasurer for the queen. He could have responded that he could interpret this passage himself; after all he was a man that was a man of great status. How well would this go over in our relativistic culture, where is it acceptable that everyone can interpret the Bible in the manner they see it. This is called isegeses (bringing your own meaning to a text). However, the science of biblical interpretation is called exegeses, which means that the Bible speaks for itself, hence the preacher just echoes what the author wrote; what did the author mean (not what do you think he meant) when he wrote his passage? I recommend a great resource called Herman Who available at www.livingwaters.com to help you learn how to do this process for yourself.
Sit with them. Philip sat with him. Have you ever sat down to engage a complete stranger with the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel with him or her? It is an awesome thing no matter the result. For every person that has given me the courtesy of in witnessing to them one-to-one each one of them have been led to Christ. Perhaps you are thinking that is impossible! Not really because the path that I pointed to was that Christ was the ONLY way of salvation and since they are condemned already apart from Christ (John 3) I can’t possibly lead them away from Him. We are simply called to be faithful and point people to Jesus Christ to which some will respond in repentance and trust in the Savior, while others will pridefully reject the kindness of Christ and stay in their condemnation. Jesus was called a friends of sinners (Matthew 11:19), which is a title that no doubt the religious people gave to Him. However, how does one get such a name unless one is with sinners? However Jesus purpose of sitting with sinners, was because He shared in their common interest in sin, but to reach them with the Gospel, as the Gospel (Christ Himself) so they might be soundly saved in Christ! When is the last time you sat with an unsaved person to share the Gospel with them. To continue, Blessing Pastor Phil