Chapter Eight — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 09/19/2021Foundation Scriptures:
1. Philip Sent to Gaza.
a. Acts 8:26 NKJV — 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.
b. This is an instance of the ministry of angels, a ministering spirit, sent to help (Hebrews 1:14).
c. The angel did not preach the Gospel, but he instructed Philip where to go to preach the Gospel.
d. Acts 8:27a NKJV — So he arose and went.
e. Notice that Philip immediately obeyed.
f. If you would like to know why the Lord uses certain people more than others—this is the reason why.
g. He did not even know why he was going down to Gaza, or for whom, but he immediately, and willingly, explicitly obeyed.
h. Gaza was not nearby—it was about 100 miles (southwest) of Jerusalem—and if Philip was in Samaria, he was a further 64 miles north of Jerusalem!
i. Gaza was located as at the entrance of the wilderness, about 3 miles from the sea, and the last town on the road into Egypt.
j. It would have taken him many days to get there—and if Philip had not left immediately, how would he have met the Ethiopian, sitting on his chariot on the side of the road, at the exact, right moment!
2. The Ethiopian.
a. Acts 8:27b-28 NKJV — 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.
b. The Ethiopian eunuch was a man of great authority (and, doubtless, also great responsibility and influence).
c. Greek dynastēs — a ruler, or officer, or royal minister of great authority; mighty; a prince; a potentate; a courtier; high officer.
d. Apparently, since the time of the Queen of Sheba, Ethiopia had been worshippers of the Lord God in the Jewish tradition.
e. The eunuch had come to Jerusalem to worship God, and was sitting reading a passage in Isaiah, which he was trying to understand.
f. The angel had directed Philip to the area of Gaza; and now the Holy Spirit directed him to the specific person—the eunuch on the chariot.
g. Acts 8:29 NKJV — Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
h. Notice, that we do not need to have specific details before we step out and obey.
i. As we obey the first directive from Heaven, the rest will be revealed to us as we go.
j. It is a walk of faith and trust and obedience.
3. The Gospel According to Isaiah.
a. Acts 8:30-31 NKJV — 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.
b. Acts 8:32-33 NKJV — 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.
c. Acts 8:33a NKJV — In His humiliation His justice was taken away…
d. It was customary, when a criminal was being taken from judgment to execution, for the Jews to call out asking for anyone who was willing to speak on his behalf or say anything positive concerning him.
e. Jesus’ justice was “taken away,” because this was not done for Him.
f. Acts 8:33b NKJV — …And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
g. Isaiah asks: Who will tell His story? Who will tell what He has done and what happened to Him? For His life was taken from the earth and He was left no (physical) descendants.
h. This made the eunuch greatly wonder.
i. Acts 8:34 NKJV — So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
j. Acts 8:35 NKJV — Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
k. Philip preached the whole plan of redemption, salvation through Jesus Christ, and water baptism that is available to anyone who believes.
4. Saved and Baptized.
a. Acts 8:36 NKJV — 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?”
b. Acts 8:37 NKJV — 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.”
c. Acts 8:38 NKJV — So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
d. The eunuch was wonderfully, joyfully, saved—born again and baptized (by full immersion) in the river.
e. Acts 8:39 NKJV — 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.
f. He went his way rejoicing and, no doubt, continued to share this wonderful Gospel back home.
g. A prophecy in Psalm 68:31 (KJV) declares: Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.
h. Acts 10:35 NKJV — But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
i. Philip went over land to Gaza, but after fulfilling his commission, was caught away suddenly by the Holy Spirit.
j. Acts 8:40 NKJV — But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
k. Philip most likely could not tell how, but he found himself at Azotus—many miles away!
l. This physical translation was miraculous and is something only the Holy Spirit—not man—could initiate and accomplish.
m. When you walk obediently with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you live a supernatural life!