“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” Acts 8:35 NKJV
In the beginning, God created everything, and you and me. He visited us in the garden and had a personal relationship with us, a friendship with mankind. The curse of sin, which has a price tag of death, came upon the earth thanks to the devil’s trickery and changed everything. Although nothing can separate man from the love of God, sin does physically separate us from God. God created us to commune with Him and the enemy knew sin would destroy that bond. So, God created hell to punish the devil and his demons. The enemy knows it is his punishment, but he plans to take as many humans with him as possible to continue to hurt God. Because God created heaven where he can be reunited with people. Well, people needed help to overcome the enemy so God sent laws and formulas for worship and sacrifice that should point people into a position of acting in love. And the enemy attacked it over time and twisted it until it became punitive. But God so loved us that He then sent His only son, Jesus, to break the curse of sin over mankind by bringing it down into the grave, paying the required price for it, and then conquering it by rising again! Jesus ascended to heaven after 40 days. So that we know through Him we can access a relationship with The Father. God made a way to reconcile with mankind and commune and have fellowship with them again! This is GOOD NEWS.
God also created us with free will. Just as we do not want to be married or in a relationship with someone who is forced and manipulated to be in the relationship (we do not want a partner who is chained and a prisoner to us), God also wants us to freely choose Him. Or we can choose to believe the devil’s lies and go to the devil’s punishment – hell. It is our choice.
I know this sounds like a children’s story. It is simple, moral, and almost imaginative. God made it simple so that even children can believe and be saved from the wrath to come. God wishes that no one parishes. He wants us to at least give a relationship with Him an honest try – and see that He is good. He says that if you repent and seek Him, you will find Him!
Now imagine if you will what it could be like to have your best friend be the creator of the universe, all-knowing, all-powerful, having all wealth, and super generous – not like a genie in a bottle granting wishes, but a friend with mutual respect and trust and love, who is willing to use His resources to help you. He is willing to talk to you can since he can see ahead, he can prepare you, position you, and protect you from all the craziness in this world. Oh, and all that crazy? It is the enemy knowing his time is short and working very hard to destroy people and distract them from being reunited with God.
It feels like just yesterday, I was crying laying on my floor, exhausted from trying to fix the mess I made. My sin and poor choices caused broken hearts and broken friendships and broken families and despair and death… yes, I made a huge mess of my life. As I lay there with no way I could fix anything, nor could I go on like that – God reached out to me and made me feel like He still loved me and was ready to help me through it. I had tried God before and it did not seem to work out the way I expected, how could He help me this time? As I thought I realized the last time I treated Him like a genie in a lamp and not as a loving and kind Father and Friend. So I looked up and shook my fists and said – fine! Ok! I surrender! I give up and will do things your way! Things can’t get any worse. BUT!! You MUST be a real God. You MUST be who the Bible says you are! You must be an ever-present help! You MUST be the: I AM! You MUST be the God of fire shut up in my bones! I expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, demons cast out, and addiction destroyed in people’s lives starting with mine!!! I expect life and relationship!
It is now years later and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! I have seen miracles. I have heard His voice. I have experienced Him personally. Oh, and I have to also put in the work because relationships go both ways. Not works like doing good things to earn heaven – that is NOT how this works. I have to put the work into the relationship, you know like talking to Him (because He talks back), spending time with Him (because we both enjoy being in each other’s presence), reading His word (I love learning about his stories and getting to know Him, He already knows me and this is how I can learn of Him), and worshiping Him (because He is faithful and just and worthy!) You know putting the work in as in keeping up on my side of the relationship.
In this world of lies – this simple truth is hard to understand. We can have a relationship with the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit.
Do you want to know the truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was a whirlwind of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. I was lost and I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choices. Then I found Jesus, and truth while lying on my floor crying that day. He challenged me to accept Him, trust Him and follow Him and I challenged Him to be who He says He is – I found peace and deliverance from sin.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and a relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you. It becomes the two-way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me, through a real personal relationship, to grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus, I pray ~ Amen
If you have said this life-changing prayer and really want a relationship with God, please reach out to me. You can reach me in the comment section here (comments need approvals so you can use it as an email to me and I will not publish / approve it), or you can PM me on Facebook or DM me on Instagram. I do not always have instant access to my accounts, but I will respond when I check them. I would like to follow up and let you know the next steps to forming a healthy relationship.
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your Word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your Word and our sound mind. And please keep us, bless us, shine your face upon us, pour your grace over us, and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is found in the Book of Acts, chapter 8, at verse 26 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is [e]desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
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. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
37 [f]Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at [g]Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Acts 8:26-40 NKJV
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
“But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:55-56 KJV
I named yesterday after Simon the Sorcerer – but really it’s a testimony of Philip’s first successful missionary trip and the church’s first missionary trip!
One last thing about that sorcerer first. Thank you to the person who sent me the Joseph Z Ministries’ live broadcast from yesterday. I do not follow him on any social media platform so I would not have known if you did not send it to me. Yesterday, he also mentioned this same sorcerer! He really elaborated on some of the infiltration of witchcraft into the Christian world, because people are seeking a prophetic experience instead of digging into the word of God to see Him. It was good and I will recommend watching it. I cannot speak to all his teachings, but this one was good.
Today we are going to go with Philip on his second missionary trip.
“26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.”
As you all know I am super careful about prophets. I am not a prophet chaser nor do I look for a prophet message. I am all about the Word and if you are in the Word, it will give you a prophecy about the future, it will give you a word for yourself (you just need to apply it and search for yourself).
If someone told me, nowadays, that an angel told them I will quickly start asking God for discernment and I will probably not believe them. I have had angelic encounters so it is not that I do not believe angels can come to speak with you. It is just that the modern prophet movement has more false teachers causing the body to accept demons as angels and receive an evil prophecy into their lives.
And here we have Philip being told by an angel. Interacting with angels was common in the first century and if we are moving towards being like that first-century church, I am sure encounters will increase. This is why I am sure fake encounters are happening now – so we will not trust when the surge in real ones happens.
We must pray for, and we must learn discernment!
“27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,”
If you had an important position under the queen, they made you become a eunuch so you would not be distracted by women. What a horrible thing to endure for an honored position but it is not something you can even turn down. So this Jew from Ethiopia traveled to worship in Jerusalem as is required of Jewish men, but when he gets there he cannot go inside the temple because he is a eunuch. And he cannot go to Synagogue either. At least he is wealthy and was able to learn to read and owns scrolls of scripture. The Bible identifies him as a eunuch, by what the world did to him. So let’s call him the treasurer instead.
“28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
“Overtake” – The Spirit asked Philip to run as fast as pacing horses trotting down the bumpy Roman roads towards Africa. And this treasurer was sitting in the carriage trying to read. I have trouble reading in the car on our smooth roads. This is a difficult task.
Also, it is good to note that Jewish tradition was to ALWAYS read out loud. Never was the Holy Scriptures read silently in your head the way we read in our society.
“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.”
Being of royal appointment, the treasurer would be wearing garments and jewelry that showed his position and importance. So Philip would have recognized that the man was a eunuch and would not be able to go to Temple or Synagogue for guidance or instruction – yet he kept the commands of the Lord the best He could by at least traveling to the holy city. People are hungry for God.
Now, we do not need to wait for some prompting from the Holy Spirit. Philip had this for this guy – but back in Samaria, Philip spoke to anyone and everyone.
When we are out and about, God will lead us to people and we will be able to tell a lot about them from their looks and we will be able to find the appropriate icebreaker to say ‘Hi’. However, do not wait for some prompting when a stranger is standing next to you. Plant a seed. Do not let that soul go to hell when you are standing right there and can tell them Jesus loves them.
“32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
What a powerful scripture!! The foretelling of the story of the cross! The prophecy of the Messiah!
“34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
What if this treasurer asked this of a Pharisee? (If a Pharisee would even speak to him.) This man might have learned that they await a mighty Messiah and not that the Messiah came and forgave the sins of the world!
“35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Can this adventure be anymore God ordained?! Water in the desert? When you are in the perfect will of God and God has a plan, He works out all the details.
“37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
On the note of water baptism. It is ordained by God. If you are a professing, believing Christian and you have put this off – you are in willful disobedience. Repent. Find yourself a church that will baptize you.
In the later first and second centuries there was a massive drought. They used sand to symbolize the going under and they dripped a drop of water on them – water that was precious and needed. But they did not want to be disobedience to God and put it off until the drought was over. That is how important being baptized was. So, go get dunked in the water!
“38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”
The treasurer did not think anything of the fact that the man who told him about Jesus just disappeared. Not weird at all. He just rejoiced and went on his way.
Other documents in history tell us that this man told everyone about Jesus and many were saved! Later Marcus, who wrote the Gospel of Mark, headed down that way to help build churches and teach people. Between the Treasurer and Marcus, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia were all transformed! So much so, that at this same time in history the Egyptian empire fizzled out as the Egyptians traded their false gods for the REAL God!
And then we leave Philip starting out on his third missionary journey! Philip was the pioneer and a good example for the rest of the believers in Jerusalem!
Please join us tomorrow as we continue to “go” through the book of Acts.
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Thank you for reading in 2023 – a Year of Grace and Provision
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!