How God Used the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and an Evangelist, to Reveal Himself

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In Acts, Chapter 8, we read:


25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

26 And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Our text here that we are reading is about two people. This first person we are introduced to here is named Philip.

=> And this Philip is referred to in the Bible as: “Philip the evangelist”.

Now an evangelist is different from a pastor. In that an evangelist is someone who preaches, and communicates, the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who are outside the church. To people who have not been saved, who do not know God, nor have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

=> In modern times, we have people like Billy Graham, who called himself an evangelist.

Billy Graham would go to different parts of the world. And he would spend several days, or several weeks, sharing with people the basic message of the gospel.

Many people would gather together to listen to his message. And Billy Graham would communicate the gospel in a simple way so that the basic message of the Bible could be easily understood.

And as a result, some of the people listening to him would become convicted of their sin. And being moved by the Holy Spirit, they would give their lives to Christ.

And we read in the Bible that the role of evangelism in the church is directed by God, for the reason being, so that people who do not know God, can have a chance to hear about God.

=> And in our text, we read about Philip, that he too was also an evangelist.

Our text here also says that he was “one of the seven”.

=> So “Philip the evangelist” is a different person from “Philip the Apostle”.

Philip the evangelist was “one of the seven”, referring to the account in Acts, Chapter 6, when the twelve Apostles instructed the early church to pick out seven faithful men to handle various church duties.

And their instructions were:


3 …pick out from among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint…

And the Bible says that:


5 …they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus (Prock-ur-us), and Nicanor (Ny-cay-nor), and Timon (Tie-men), and Parmenas (Par-men-as), and Nicolaus (Nick-o-lus)…


Now this Philip, also called “the evangelist”, was a simple and humble servant of God. And we read about in Acts, Chapter 8, how God gave Philip great success when preaching to the crowds in the city of Samaria.


The Bible says that Philip preached Christ unto them:

6 And the people with one accord (these people being in agreement and having one mind), [they] gave heed (they took notice) to those things which Philip spoke…

And then in verse 12 we read:


12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

So in this account in Acts, Chapter 8, Philip preaches, the people hear, and the result is that people are saved.

In the eyes of the church, in the eyes of Christians, and most importantly, in the eyes of God, this is considered success. This is considered fruit.

What concerns God the most, and what the Bible says gives the angels of God great joy, is when one sinner repents, and turns to God.

The saving of a human soul, and restoring a right relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, is God’s primary business right now.

And because the salvation of the human soul is God’s primary interest, it is not surprising that we see God intervening in the affairs of man, and directing his church, and his servants, to carry out His will.

And we will be reading of one such intervention by God involving Philip the evangelist.

Now Philip, later joined by the Apostles, were having great success in Samaria, preaching the gospel, and baptizing many people.

And we read in our text:


25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

26 And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

So we have God here, directing one of his angels to deliver a message to Philip. Now the Bible refers to angels as God’s ministering spirits. Angels role in God’s created world is to serve humans.

And in the Bible, we never read of angels preaching the gospel to people. Instead, God equips humans, his servants, with the ability to preach the gospel.

But this angel of the Lord, serves Philip, by passing on to him specific instructions from God.

=> And the instructions are, that Philip needs to travel toward the south, to the way down from Jerusalem, into Gaza.

=> Into a desert area.

Philip was having great success, and seeing people be baptized into Christ. And he was busy preaching the gospel to many people in the city of the Samaria, and in the villages of the Samaritans.

But God called Philip to go into a desert place.

You can imagine for a normal, modern Christian, being asked to leave a thriving and successful ministry would be a hard thing to do. We humans get so caught up in numbers. But we are going to see how God is concerned with each individual person, regardless of location.

And when God call you to do something, even if that calling doesn’t make sense at that time, or it seems difficult, the best way to respond to God is always through obedience.

In the book of Samuel, the prophet Samuel tells us, that the LORD delights when a person obeys the voice of the LORD.


22 That it is better to obey, than to give sacrifice.

And so that is what Philip the evangelist did. And we read:


27 …he arose and went: …

There is no indication that he asked why, or questioned the instructions given to him. He simply knew that the instructions were from the LORD, and that he was going to obey.


So Philip travelled the way down south from Jerusalem, to Gaza. If he was walking, it could have been a three day journey. And during that time, he was probably wondering why he was being sent to such a remote area. To a desert area, where there were not many people.

And then we read in verse 27:

27 …and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet.

So a certain man was sitting in his chariot, reading the Old Testament Scriptures. Specifically, he was reading the book of Isaiah.

Now before, we have “Philip the evangelist” preaching to large numbers of people in Samaria. And having great success.

But notice how God was interested in having “Philip the evangelist” travel a long distance to preach the gospel to a single individual.

We read in verse 29:


29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.

God is very much interested in every individual person. And God is right now examining your heart and your mind. And God is deciding, God is weighing, is this a good time to reaveal Myself. Is their heart, and mind, ready to receive my gospel.

God examined the heart of this Ehtiopian man, and God had decided that he was ready to hear the gospel.

And so God, through the Spirit, said to Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.

Now observe here: Before, God communicated to Philip instructions using an angel. This time, God communicates to Philip using the Holy Spirit inside of Philip.

And This seems to be God’s preferred way of communicating with his believers.


God created our bodies, which have inside of it, a soul and a spirit. And God has made us in such a way that we can also be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit of the living God living inside a person.

And the Holy Spirit, can interact with your spirit, helping you to have the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit can also give you wisdom and understanding. The Holy Spirit can also teach you, and bring all things to your remembrance.

The Apostle Paul writes, speaking about God’s Spirit:


7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew…

10 But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.

So God, through the Holy Spirit living inside of you, can reveal to you the hidden wisdom of God.


In 1st Kings, the prophet Elijah finally heard God’s voice in “a still small voice”.

Jesus himself said:


27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak in light: and what you hear in the ear, that preach upon the housetops.

Again we read in Job:


8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding.

And so in our text, we read:


29 …the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot.

God communicated to Philip, through the Holy Spirit, to his spirit.

Verse 30


30 And Philip ran to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, Do you understand what you read?

31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

Now, there are many things here to observe.

First, Philip, being an evangelist, was going around preaching the gospel. And he didn’t have much time to work, and earn money. He was preaching the gospel for free. So he was not rich. I imagine maybe his clothes were old and worn out. And from the world’s perspective, he was not a man of any great reputation or honor.

And this Ethiopian Eunuch was a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He had the charge of all the Queen’s treasure. And this man of Ethiopia was returning home to Ethiopia after having been in Jerusalem worshiping.

So he was a highly respected individual. He was very wealthy, and he was probably very well educated.

Now a person like this can easily become prideful. When we have our health, and riches, and honor, it is easy for us to think we have life figured out. That we are now in a position where we can instruct and teach others.

But look at the humility of this Ethiopian Eunuch.

While reading the book of the Isaiah in the Old Testament, Philip approaches him, and asked him if he understood what he was reading.

And Philip, being on a journey through the desert, not expecting to meet any high ranking government official, probably looked somewhat poor and dirty. He probably didn’t look like a person who could provide much understanding, or answer difficult questions.

Yet we see the meekness, and the humility, that this man of Ethiopia had, in that he responded to Philip’s question, saying, “How can I understand, except that some man should guide me?” And then he desired that Philip would come up and sit with him.

And so we read in Proverbs 9:9 says:


9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

No one in our world has answered all the hard questions we humans have. No one in this world has a perfect understanding of the deep things of God, and of life.

Therefore, we, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, should always carry ourselves with meekness, and with humility.


Meekness, in that we have a teachable spirit. That at any moment, we are open, and ready to be corrected for any misunderstandings we have. And humility, that we are free from pride and arrogance. That we never think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

When a person has this type of disposition, this type of character, that is both teachable, and humble, God will send you your very own Philip. A type of Philip, whom God will use to reveal Himself to you. To make known to you the mysterious of God.

Because ultimately, that is what God is interested in doing.

=> He desires all people to worship Him in spirit, and in truth. And to worship in truth, you need to have understanding, you need to have knowledge, of the truth.

And so we read that God made Himself known to this man of Ethiopia.


The Ethiopian Eunuch had been worshiping the God of Israel in Jerusalem. He was sitting in his chariot, reading the book of Isaiah, trying his best to understand God’s words. And God could foresee all of this. He anticipated this. And so God planned ahead. He decided that he was going to send one of his servants to preach the gospel to this man of Ethiopia.

And out all the believers during that New Testament time, God in his providence decided that Philip was the right man for the job.

Now here is the text that the Ethiopian man was having trouble understanding.

verse 32:


32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

33 In his humiliation his justice was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

Let me read it again, but with pictures this time:


32 …He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:


33 In his humiliation his justice was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

Now this text is easier for us to understand, because we have the advantage of having a compiled Bible, as well as having 2000 years of history that we can study.

But for the Ethiopian Eunuch living in the first century A.D., this text was much harder to understand. And so the Ethiopian man asked:

verse 34:


34 And the eunuch asked Philip, and said, I pray you (let me know), of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

And so Philip, reasoning from the scriptures, preached to the Ethiopian man, and preached to him Jesus Christ, and him crucified.


In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices to provide a temporary covering for sins.

And so if a person did something wrong, if they sinned against God, and if they wanted forgiveness of sins, they would have to follow God’s rule for receiving forgiveness.

and in Leviticus, Chapter 4, it says:


32 ‘But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect.

33 He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay it…


35 …and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement (or payment) for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

God commanded the nation of Israel to perform numerous sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by God.


First, the animal had to be spotless, without defect.

Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to identify their sins with the animal. That person would have to lay his hands on the animal, identifying his sins with the animal.

And third, the person offering the animal had to inflict death upon it. So that, when the animal was killed, it died for the sins of the person offering the sacrifice.


And the animals, they did nothing wrong. The animals were innocent. And that is exactly the point. They died in place of the person who sinned and who offered the sacrifice.

You can imagine, with rules like these, how a person would really think twice about their actions, knowing that sinful choices can have negative consequences, not just for the person, or for other people, but also for innocent animals.

And so animal sacrifices were commanded by God so that the individual could experience forgiveness of sin.

The animal served as a substitute—that is, the animal died in place of the sinner, but only temporarily, which is why the sacrifices in the Old Testament needed to be offered over and over again.


But now, in the New Testament, animal sacrifices have stopped with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrificial substitute, both once, and for all.

Jesus Christ did nothing wrong. He was innocent. He was without sin.

But He willingly gave Himself up to die for the sins of mankind. Like the innocent animals in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself and died in our place.

As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says:


21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

So the good news for you, and for me, and what Philip preached to the Ethiopian man, is that through faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, being the lamb of God, you can receive forgiveness of sins.

You can be saved from the consequences of your sins.

And the Bible very clearly teaches, that God has a place of punishment, for those people who die in their sins.

In Revelation 21:8, we read:


8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

So God has given to us a very clear warning about His judgement. But also, God has provided a way for us to escape His judgement.

Paul tells us, in Romans 10:9


9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

And the Ethiopian man was also concerned about this. And we read:


36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized?

37 And 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 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

And so the Ethiopian man was saved.

Jesus himself tells us:

3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

5 …Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


So if you want to enter the kingdom of God, if you want receive forgiveness of sins…Jesus says, you must be born again.

Just like this Ethiopian eunuch.

In the next verse, we read:


39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

40 But Philip was found at Azotus (Az-o-tus): and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

So, from this whole text that we just read, there are three main points that we can take away:


First. The importance of the Word of God. For a person to accept truth, that person must first hear the truth peached. And it is God’s desire that the truth be preached and published everywhere.


Second. The Holy Spirit is actively involved in drawing people to God. The growth of Christianity is not the result of men, but of God.

The Spirit of the Lord had been preparing the Ethiopian’s heart to receive the gospel. And God also sent an angel to Philip, with instructions on where to go preach.


And Third: God uses people to preach the gospel. He uses people as evangelists. And at just the right moment the Lord brought Philip to the Ethiopian man so he could answer his questions, and give him understanding.

And Philip gave the Ethiopian man enough understanding so that he could make an informed decision, and choose to be saved.

The field here was “ripe for harvest”. And Philip was God’s laborer in the field.

Philip was obedient to God’s plan.

But God gets the credit, because it was God’s plan.

That is why Paul writes:


I have planted, [another] watered; but God gave the increase.

God gave the increase.

And so God is interested in reaching out to every individual person. And God right now is reaching out to you. He wants to reveal Himself to you.

And if you humble yourself before God. If you repent of your old way of living. If you repent of your sins. And come to Jesus Christ in faith, believing that Jesus is, who He says He is, the Bible says, you will be saved. The Bible says, you can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You can begin, right now, to have a right relationship with God.





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