Church Planting

“Church Planting, Church Growth, and Souls Converted”
Acts 8:1-3



  • We have just finished chapter 7 of the “Acts of the Apostles” with Stephen being stoned to death for the cause of Christ by his stand on his belief in Jesus Christ as being the Son of God in the flesh.
  • We also just witnessed in chapter 7 the continuation of the apostle’s spiritual and verbal attack on the church leaders of Jerusalem which led to the stoning of Stephen.
  • Here in chapter 8 we will continue to see churches being planted, churches growing, and souls being converted from Judaism to Christendom.

I. Saul Persecutes The Church

  A) Paul’s attitude towards Stephen

  • Acts 8:1…And Saul was consenting unto his death.
  • Adam Clark’s Commentary said this…So inveterate was the hatred that this man bore to Christ and his followers that he delighted in their destruction. So blind was his heart with superstitious zeal that he thought he did God service by offering him the blood of a fellow creature, whose creed he supposed to be erroneous. The word syneudokeō” signifies gladly consenting, or rather agreeing to his death and also being pleased with his murderous work!
  • Paul’s hatred for Stephen (or any follower of Christ) was so great that it consumed him in every way.
  • Paul openly admits his guilt of such a vile behavior in 1 Timothy 1:13…Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
  • Paul admits that he did blaspheme (spoke irreverently of God’s Son Jesus). However do not believe that Paul blasphemed God intentionally because He loved God, loved the church at Jerusalem and as faithful and dedicated to God. But like many others, Paul was blinded to the truth because he was so complacent in his worship, and stuck on tradition that he was spiritually blind.
  • Further into I Timothy 1:14) And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation (belief, or acceptance), that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
  • Paul in verse 15 acknowledges the fact that he was “chief” of sinners. Paul felt that he was worse than anybody when it comes to sins against the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Now look back to our text of Acts 1, and verse 1b…And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
  • The term “at that time” here in verse 1 means at the time of Stephen’s stoning. In that particular age of mankind.
  • If I may say without any derogatory mind set whatsoever, that this may be considered to be like the time when in America there was a racial war going on in the 30’s thru the 70’s. African Americans and white people all over were very edgy and jumpy over extreme prejudices going on. It wasn’t easy to forget. In fact it still continues.
  • Just like the Jews of that time who were dedicated to the Law of Moses and God’s dealings with Israel, they weren’t about to relent easily. So believers in Christ were persecuted in so many different ways.
  • Acts 1:2) And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
  • The devout men were no doubt pious Jews who really loved Stephen and figured him to be a credit to their cause for Christ.
  • Their love for Stephen is further explained when it says that they “…made great lamentation” meaning that they mourned much. The behavior of “mourners,” or people in mourning differ greatly. Some may mourn by crying while others may mourn by not eating (fasting) or dedicating a big feast in their honor. Some may even get together and remember in sadness of their lost loved one.

B) Saul made havock

  • 3) As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
  • The word here in the KJV and Greek interpretation havockis probably rendered better as insult.
  • In Webster’s Dictionary it is spelled “havoc” and defined… 1. To seize with great destruction and devastation (such as a hurricane.) Destroy or ruin.
  • However, the term “made havock” was used in extrabiblical writings to refer to the destruction of a city or mangling of a wild animal.
  • What does word of a hurricane do to people? It causes them to run around in a panic. It causes confusion and despair. It causes many to be depressed wondering about their future. This is what Paul caused the early church of Jesus Christ.
  • Another point of interest concerning Paul’s zeal against the church and Stephen was the fact that Stephen was a former “Hellenist” while Paul was a “Pharisee.”
  • Then the book of Acts describes Paul’s actions as going around “haling men and women.” The word “haling” means… 1. To pull forcibly, drag, or haul. 2. To force to go.
  • So, basically Paul run around chasing Christians and forcing them by dragging, or pulling them to the Roman courts or the Jerusalem Temple in front of his Pharisee friends to later have them committed to prison time.


II. Christ Jesus is Preached in Samaria

  A) “They” went everywhere

  • Look at Acts 8:4…Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
  • Who were “they” that were “scattered abroad?”
  • The Bible is not clear on who “they” were. We can only assume that it meant the apostles and anyone listening to the words of the apostles and convictions of the Holy Spirit through which they preached.
  • It is also unclear that quite possibly many of those who evangelized the world (at this point anyway) were ordained of God to preach or teach. This also may include “the seed that fell by the wayside.”
  • Whoever it was that was spreading “the word” went everywhere. It seems to be that there were no limitations placed on their borders.

B) Phillip preaches

  • Note now in Acts 8, verse 5) Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
  • Now remember that Phillip was one of the seven deacons mentioned in Acts 6:5.
  • Phillip is later called the evangelist in Acts 21:8.
  • Also know that Samaria was not a city at this time. It was a region (certain area.)
  • It is very critical that we note exactly what Phillip preached… Christ.
  • Phillip had preached that the Messiah had come, and made known Jesus’ doctrines.
  • The Saviour himself had preached these truths in John 4. This may be why they gladly received the word of Jesus Christ mentioned in Acts 8:6) And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
  • The Lord Jesus had prepared the way for Phillip to come back later and teach His doctrines.
  • Remember that Jesus said of Samaria in John 4:35…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
  • Note further the results of Phillips preaching in Acts 8, and verse 7) For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
  • Please note the “unclean spirits” are demons who frequently live inside the unbelievers and particularly those who demonstrate their wicked behavior openly without guilt, remorse or reason.
  • “Palsies” are many people stricken with what is called “ This is paralysis of any voluntary muscle as a result of some disorder in the nervous system, sometimes accompanied with involuntary tremors.

C) Great joy in the city

  • But now, let us look back at our text of Acts 8:8…And there was great joy in that city.
  • This sort of reminds me of the city of Nineveh that Jonah preached in which caused a city wide repentance.
  • However, it is somewhat different in that the city of Nineveh was scared into repentance and restoration in fear that God would destroy their city.
  • Here in Acts the area of Samaria was much bigger and the “joy in that city” was of revival and jubilee for those who willingly realized their condition and recognized the power of Jesus Christ, and felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  • These people saw people change right before their eyes. They watched the demons being thrown out of wicked bodies and Christ move into renovate a ruined body and turn it into a holy temple where the Holy Spirit of God could dwell.

D) A sorcerer’s profession of faith

  • Acts 8:9…But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
  • We understand that this man named Simon was a sorcerer. What is a sorcerer?
  • A sorcerer of this time was a magician who practiced magic mostly in Persia. A sorcerer is a mixture of science, superstition, astrology, divination (fortune telling), and the occult (mysterious happenings).
  • By the Acts writer, it describes this man Simon as thinking that he was very good at what he did.
  • Read now in Acts 8 and verse 10) To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11) And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
  • The Acts writer now writes of the people’s view or perspective concerning this man named Simon as being one whom they all admired and believed and thought he had the great power of God.
  • But note that they had believed this man Simon for a very long time and were fooled by his magic.
  • Even Simon himself knew that his magic was fake, but that he was only a pretender of a great power.
  • Simon was good at fooling people. Look at all the great magicians today that fool people and cause people to believe in their powers of darkness.
  • Simon claimed to be united with God.
  • Look at Acts 8, now down into verse 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.
  • The difference between the believers of Simon and Phillip are very different.
  • Simon’s believers were tricked into belief while Phillip’s believers were submersed in their belief of Jesus Christ.
  • I personally believe that the proper translation of meaning here “…they were baptized, both men and women.” Means that they were physically and spiritually submersed in Christ Jesus.
  • Now look at Acts 8:13)  Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
  • Here in verse 13, we can see the conversion of a magician. This was a man who would tell people fortune, read their palms, give them his false predictions of their future which lay in the stars, and worst of all gave them a false hope.
  • But now we see what the other believers saw in that this man was completely changed when He was “baptized.” Submersed in the water to make a profession of faith in Him, and a spiritual submersion to believe (or so it seemed) that he what? “…continued with Philip.”
  • Believers will continue and never quit. It seemed to be right now that this Simon guy was a believer.
  • Note also that it says that Simon … “wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” This means that he was in awe of what he was seeing. Simon realized that what Phillip had was not false or fake in any way shape or form. It was the real deal.
  • This story is a good one that helps us t understand that a person never knows of the heart a person has at the moment of salvation. There are many great “pretenders” and few “contenders” of the faith.

 III. Peter and John Enlarge the Church

  A) Reinforcements arrives

  • Read Acts 8:14…Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
  • This verse tells us clearly that not all the apostles were with Phillip. Many stayed back at Jerusalem to help with the work there.
  • Do you think that it is quite possible that Phillip needed help? Yes! Because up in Acts 8 and verses 10-13 we seen the big transformation of sorcerers and such coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as the messiah, the Savior of the world, the way the truth and the life.
  • Note the first thing that Peter and John did as called missionary’s assistants. Look at John 8, verses 15) Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16) (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
  • Did you get that? When Peter and John arrived it must have been quite obvious to them that the Holy Spirit was not there.
  • Have you ever been in a church where you felt the absence of the Holy Spirit? They are cold, Amenless, or have a palsy-like handshake. You know it.
  • I believe that this next part of the verse is the very “key” that unlocks a truth about salvation… Look at verse 16.
  • Acts 8: 16…(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
  • “For as yet” means that as of this very minute, it hasn’t happened yet. Meaning that the Holy Spirit had not come into these spiritually dead bodies.
  • You see… they believed on the Son of God Jesus Christ, they came to church regularly to hear Philip preach and they were “baptized” in the water, but lacked the filling of the Holy Spirit of God in their lives to lead them and teach them and convict them of wrong doing.
  • Note that it says that the only thing they had done to help people to realize that they had professed publically their belief in Jesus Christ is baptism (In the water).

B) The reception of the Holy Ghost

  • Note now Acts 8:17) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
  • Notice that they laid their hands “on them.” It does not say “all of them.”
  • They had certainly not laid their hands on Simon.
  • Who was it that they laid hands on? It is believed by many commentators that those who expressed or showed by their behavior of a genuine transformation, those received the Holy Spirit.
  • A true child of God can know another genuine believer. False believers are soon found out.

C) The sorcerer’s sin

  • Acts 8:18…And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19) Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
  • When a person is converted, evil thoughts and intensions disappear. It is quite obvious that his lifetime of extorting money from people had caught up with him and the truth comes out.
  • His whole life of magic was consumed with the making of money. He lived off of other people’s money. It was his ambition, his livelihood. Simon cared not for people and their condition or their future.
  • He thought only of power and money. Both may have the same meaning to Simon.
  • What was Simon’s (the sorcerer’s) sin? He thought he could purchase the Holy Spirit’s knowledge, power and influence on people.
  • Salvation cannot be bought. Power cannot be bought. God’s people cannot be bought.
  • It is truly amazing to me to see rich people who think they can buy their way into stardom, and buy their way out of jail or prison, and buy their way into politics.
  • There is no amount of money that you can spend to earn your way into heaven.
  • Jesus said in John 14:6…Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  • If you want to pray to God…Jesus is the way. You want to go t heaven…Jesus is the way. You want to have your sins removed…Jesus is the way.
  • We are no holy enough to talk to God. Jesus is our mediator/lawyer to mediate our prayers and holiness to the one and only God/judge.
  • Now back to our story in Acts 8, now look at verse 20) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
  • Peter is telling the sorcerer (practices witchcraft) that his money will be of no value, it will be gone and your life will also end.
  • This was the sorcerer’s sin. He thought he could purchase his salvation like he purchased anything else.
  • This is the same as the Catholic Church (or any church for that matter) that teaches giving to buy your way into purgatory. There is no such place and people who spend their money trying to get there are the same as this sorcerer.
  • Giving of our tithes and offerings to the church is a commandment of God. Doing it (with the right heart) is proof that you are His child and desire to do that which is right in God’s eyes.
  • Peter basically told Simon (the sorcerer) that you are going to die and your money will be just as dead as you are.
  • Look at verse 21) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
  • Peter is showing Simon the condition of his heart. “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter:” meaning… you will receive no grace from God, nor the rewards of His grace.
  • The “matter” for which Peter is talking about is the religion of Christ Jesus. In other words… Simon was not saved. He was in a lost condition.

D) How can the sorcerer be redeemed?

  • Look now at Acts 8, and verse 22) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
  • The very first word is the key to salvation. Salvation does not even begin without repenting FIRST.
  • God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ cannot live within a dirty heart. It must be cleansed
  • Before any worship to God takes place, we must have a clean heart.
  • I wonder, should we be having two altar calls in our service? One at the beginning for those to prepare their hearts for worship, and one afterwards for any sins committed during the service.


  • Peter now in this next verse shows the signs of the Holy Spirit’s insight to Simons heart in verse 23) For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
  • Peter recognizes Simon’s condition because of his actions. You know a person’s heart by their actions. We must be careful not to misunderstand someone’s actions.
  • If our heart is not right, we will misunderstand someone else’s intentions.
  • Note two things here in verse 23…
  1. “…in the gall of bitterness” meaning… the gall is bile, yellowish green secretion of the liver. Meaning that the heart of Simon was very bitter causing the secretions of his negative actions.
  2. “…in the bond of iniquity” meaning, the word “bond” meaning that it has control over you. Simon’s money has control over his every action, his every thought, and led to the takeover of his heart. “Iniquity” is perverseness. Money is necessary for survival and not a sinful thing to have. However, money can become perverted in the use of it with the wrong heart.
  3. Simon doesn’t get it
  • Look at Acts 8 and verse 24) Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
  • This is the heart of people with money. They order people around and if a person acts neglectful of doing something for them, they offer their money.
  • Note Simon saying… “Pray ye to the Lord for me.” Simon wasn’t going to do it himself… “You do it for me.” Lazy stiff.
  • Matthew does not write anything more about what took place. Did Peter pray for the Lord to relent His judgment upon Simon? Did Peter just write the sorcerer off as a “lost cause.” This man wanted to escape the consequences of his sin.

E) Back to the business of the Lord

  • Acts 8:25) 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.
  • We can note here that when they had shared the testimonies of their ministry and preached the words of Jesus Christ, they went back to the city of Jerusalem.
  • Did you notice who they were preaching to? The Samaritans. These people may very well be those that Christ had witnessed to when He had visited the Samaritan woman.
  • Yes the apostles get sidetracked a lot. But then they get back on course to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Keep in mind also that the Romans under pressure of the church at Jerusalem were constantly searching for the apostles of Jesus Christ to get rid of His belief that was ever popular among those who despised the church’s strict orders.
  • These Samaritan villages may be the last place Rome would expect the apostles to be.

IV. An Angel of God Sends Phillip

  A) Exact directions

  • When God gives us direction it is not always exact in our minds. Many times we get distracted by our own desire or preference and it alters our direction.
  • God has a path for each of us to follow. He also equips us with the necessities for the task or ministry that He has for us.
  • Acts 8:26a…And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Jesus (the Lord) sends an angel to Philip and gives him exact directions…
  1. 26b…Arise, and go toward the south …When looking at the map it is actually toward the Southwest of Jerusalem on the coastline.
  2. 26c…unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 
  • Gaza is approximately
    60 miles SW of Jerusalem.
  • It was one of 5 main cities of the Philistines.
  • In Judges 16:2, 3 you would see where Gaza was the place where Samson simply removed the gates off the stone walls that secured them and carried them on his shoulders to the top of a hill that faced Hebron.

B) The Ethiopian Eunuch

  • Look now at Acts 8, and verse 27) And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
  • Ethiopia was a large Kingdom located south of Egypt.
  • This man was a eunuch. What is a eunuch?
  • Webster’s defines “eunuch” this way… 1. A castrated man. 2. Any man or boy lacking normal function of the testes, as through castration (testicle removal) or disease.
  • Matthew gives us three different ways that a man or boy become eunuchs …
  1. Matthew 19:12 (KJV)…For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: These were boys born with a deformity or disease in the testicles.
  2. 12b) …and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: These were men who desired employment in the apartments of the queens and princesses.
  3. 12c)…and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
    Adam Clarke’s Commentary gave us this comment… I believe our Lord here alludes to the case of the Essenes, one of the most holy and pure sects among the Jews. These abstained from all commerce with women, hoping thereby to acquire a greater degree of purity, and be better fitted for the kingdom of God: children they had none of their own, but constantly adopted those of poor people, and brought them up in their own way.
    – Another group of eunuchs are those who make themselves eunuchs, abstain from marriage, etc., that they may give themselves Up to the study of the Divine law.
  • Acts 8:27 (KJV)…And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
  • Some commentators believe this man to be a Jew, some say a native African.
  • Regardless of what nationality he was, this man was well trusted and considered to be a man of honor.
  • Verse 27 tells us that he was “…an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians” A queen will choose nothing but the best of the best.
  • Verse 27 also says that he “…had the charge of all her treasure,” He was in charge of all her finances and holding her money and items of great expense.
  • And in the last part of verse 27 “… and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,” This gives us the purpose of his trip.
  • Sometimes when we make plans, like take a trip or vacation to a specific location, God has something else in mind.
  • Look now at Acts 8:28 (KJV)… Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
  • Note that he was “returning (going back home from his journey).” Returning from worship to God at the Temple in Jerusalem. He believed in God. He was probably a very devout member of the church there.
  • I believe that it is important to realize that it doesn’t matter your status in life, your inabilities, your disease or infirmities…when it comes to being a child of God it requires a matter of the heart that seeks Him and obedience to His commandments old and new.
  • This man is like many of the Jews (God’s children), who believed in Him but rejected His Son or at least knew not of God’s son (the Messiah).
  • What was the eunuch reading? “…sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.” He was reading the book of Isaiah.
  • Remember the book of Isaiah is full of prophecy talking of the Lord’s coming to earth as a Messiah.
  • One commentator brought up a point that it is quite possible that the eunuch was still seeking God.
  • It is important for us to seek God and His truths to improve our spirituality. (See Luke 24:25-27, John 5:39, 46, and Romans 10:12, 15)
  • So, what passage in Isaiah do you think that the eunuch was reading while standing in his chariot?
  • It was that God and the Holy Spirit directed the eunuch’s reading preparing his heart to receive Christ in Isaiah 53:7…
  1. He (Jesus) was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: Jesus’ trial oppressed Him and He said not a word. The word “oppressed” means… 1. To weigh heavily on the mind, spirit, or senses of worry; trouble. 2. To keep down by cruel or unjust use of power or authority; rule harshly; tyrannize over.
  2. “… he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, (Jesus role was to be the sacrificial lamb for all mankind’s sin) and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
  3. Verse 8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (The servant was cut off/lost His life to be a substitute object of wrath in the place of the Jews. This substitution will allow the Jews to receive salvation and have the righteousness of God imputed (transferred) to them.)
  4. 9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; (Because of His disgraceful death, the Jews intended the Servant to have a disgraceful burial along with the thieves. Jesus was instead buried in a rich man’s grave (Joseph of Arimathea.)
  5. “…because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (This is Isaiah recognizing the fact that the Sacrificial lamb was innocent and His punishment was undeserved.) 
  • How do we know what He was reading in Isaiah?
  • Look to find out what the scripture sayeth in Acts 8:30…And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  • Now Philip was a what? Preacher. He was also an evangelist, a missionary, and a man of God whom Jesus chose to spread His gospel… right? Any preacher, evangelist, missionary or man of God who is called to preach the word has the solemn duty to make sure that the listeners understand God’s Word.
  • Even in the Old Testament times, God had always wanted man to understand His word, His ways, His thoughts, His love, His purpose, Man’s purpose, and all of that.
  • Remember Ezra…Nehemiah 8:1…And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. 2) And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
  • Nehemiah 8:4…And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose;
  • Nehemiah 8:5 (KJV)…And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
  • Nehemiah 8:8 (KJV) …So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
  • This reading of Ezra was from daybreak to noon. Approximately 6 hours.
  • This kind of reading was required every 7 years at the feast of Tabernacles (ref. Deut. 31:10-13), even though it had been neglected since the Babylonian captivity of Israel until now in these verses.
  • The term “gave the sense” means… to break down the words to where the people can understand it. It had been 900 years since a reading. Words change, sentence structure changes, meanings change.
  • Look at our own language of words that have changed in meaning…
  1. “gay” used to mean happy or excited. Now it means homosexual.
  2. “joint” was a bar, now it is a word for marijuana.
  3. “ass” was a descriptive word for donkey, now it is a bad word meaning your posterior/backside.
  • Philip was doing what all preachers do…make sure that the person reading the Bible understands what they are reading.
  • Today, there are many people who “think” they understand but fail miserably because they do not study in depth.
  • Now let us look back into our text of Acts 8, and see the response of the Eunuch towards Philip in verse 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 I personally take this eunuch as a wonderful spirited man. He was a man of great intellect and power because of his status with the queen and he does the very thing that most men of today would not do.
  • He recognized and admitted to another man that he didn’t understand what he was reading. He recognized and admitted to “not knowing” something, “…How can I, except some man should guide me?” What? How dare he ask someone to show him what to do!
  • This man truly has the heart it takes to be a Christian. Meekness, desire to seek righteousness.
  • Two more things that this eunuch desired… “And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” Fellowship and friendship of a fellow believer in God.
  • Now then Luke clarifies the place in the book of Isaiah that the Eunuch was reading in Acts 8:32…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 judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
  • His passage was Isaiah 53:7, 8.
  • The eunuch was inquisitive as to whom “he” was that was led to a slaughter and kept his mouth shut about his innocence, and humiliated before man, and finally killed. Who was this “he” that he was reading about in Isaiah 53?
  • The eunuch’s heart immediately was sorrowful for this person.
  • The religious leaders of this time were even confused as to who this was. Some thought the slaughtered sheep to be Israel, while others thought it to be Isaiah talking of himself and yes, there were those that were correct in knowing that Isaiah was talking of the Messiah.
  • And as you know, there were many false messiahs being presented during this period because Israel wanted God to relent from His judgment upon Israel for their idol worship.
  • So, you can understand why the confusion on the eunuch’s part.
  • This is like today’s diversity among believers who are always criticizing one another as to what scripture means. ““…How can I, except some man should guide me?” The eunuch was not confident in the church leader’s guidance.
  • Note Acts 8:34…And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
  • If I were to rephrase this in my own words I may say… “Who is this prophet talking about? Is it himself or some other person? I am an inquiring mind and I want to know!”
  • Doesn’t it bother you when you see or hear of someone being mistreated or abused, or spoken ill of? Of course it does. Christians or rather the eunuch here as being a Godly man, should have compassion towards others.
  • The eunuch’s knowledge of God was limited. God knew of his desire to find God so God sent Philip to the eunuch.

C) Philip preaches Jesus to the eunuch

  • Look now into Acts 8:35…Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
  • Note that Philip preached from Isaiah 53: 7, 8. I am sure Philip explained it in detail as the Spirit of God gave him utterance.
  • I like Luke’s descriptive word “preached” here. Philip did not “talk” to the eunuch about Jesus… but rather he “preached.”
  • I like one of Webster’s definitions of the word preach… 1. To proclaim the gospel on religious matters in public; give a sermon 2. To give moral or religious advice, in a tiresome manner. 3. Urge strongly or persistently by preaching.
  • I believe that Philip may have preached for hours on the matter of Jesus Christ. He explained in exhaustive detail about who the Messiah is, His name is Jesus, His Kingdom is come, God’s will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.

D) The baptism of the eunuch

  • Now look at Acts 8:36…And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  • The term “…And as they went on their way,” means that they had started to make their journey towards each one’s destination. I believe that they traveled awhile and the eunuch continued to drill Philip with questions of Jesus Christ and His doctrines.
  • The reason I say that is because from the first meeting of these two men (Philip and the Eunuch) Philip preached Jesus to him. Preached the doctrines of Jesus Christ. The doctrines being the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ministry of Christ, the Baptism and transfiguration of Jesus Christ, the Beatitudes, and etc.
  • Nowhere in our scripture here does it really mention that he advised the eunuch to get baptized. So I believe that it very probable that they were discussing baptism right before verse 36b) “…and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
  • It is also quite possible that they had visited about it many hours or days before and the eunuch kept an eye out for water to be baptized in.
  • Whatever the case…the eunuch recognized that he needed to follow Jesus by being baptized as Jesus was.
  • Now look at Philip’s reply in Verse 37a)  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.
  • I’m sorry folks, but baptism does not save you! This verse is proof of that.
  • Why, or How? The eunuch asked what hindered (stands in the way) him from being baptized. Baptism is a statement of your faith.
  • Being baptized into the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church and etc. means that you are telling everyone I believe in their faith and their doctrines.
  • Do you remember Luke 7:29…And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
  • “Being baptized with the baptism of John” means that they were all believers in the doctrines of John the Baptist. In fact some of John’s believers left him to follow Jesus and two of which became apostles of Jesus.
  • In Matthew 3, John baptized Jesus. Jesus was directed by His father (God) to be baptized of John. And in reality, when Jesus allowed John to baptize Him gave validation to John’s doctrines and baptisms.
  • Philip was explaining in Acts 8:37, that the first requirement of salvation is to know what you believe in and then you must believe with all your heart.
  • Belief/faith is the first requirement.
  • Philip was filled with the Holy Spirit of God in teaching this eunuch of Christ and his doctrines because the eunuch believed.
  • If you have a good teacher or preacher that helps you to understand the doctrines of Jesus Christ, then you will readily accept Jesus as Lord of your life.
  • Now look at Acts 8 and Verse 37b)…And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  • Note what the eunuch believed… “that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 
  • Do you realize how many “did not believe” that Jesus was the Son of God?
  • Do you know how many did not know that Jesus was the promised Messiah?
  • Many do not believe because satan has influenced the church leaders and the leaders of nations to believe otherwise. Satan loves to appear as being an angel of light (God) and fools many people.
  • This is why we need to be as holy as possible to be able to detect the ploy and pretense of the devil.
  • Now let us continue in Acts 8:38) And he (The eunuch) commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
  • This was the baptism of Philip, under the doctrines of Christ practiced by Philip. The important doctrine of Christ was the two ordinances of the local church established by Christ being 1. Baptism 2. The Lord’s Supper (Communion).
  • Note the type of baptism this was. It was not sprinkling nor was it dipping your hands into “the holy water.” It was not a wet rag placed on your head.
  • These two did what? “…they went down both into the water,” This is obviously a submersion of the body into the water.
  • THE DIFFERENCE OF THIS BAPTISM is this… look at verse 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.
  • Just as soon as Philip had baptized the eunuch “…the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip,” This is the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • I believe that this is much like shopping with my wife. I will be walking beside her and meandering along and all of a sudden she teleports clear over to the other side of the store. How does she do that?
  • Can you imagine the look on the face of the eunuch. Do you think that maybe he was thinking… “Was that just a dream I had?”
  • I wish the Holy Spirit would take me away after a baptism and put me in my bed for a nap.
  • Where did the Spirit of the Lord take Philip? Read Acts 8:40…But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
  • “Azotus” is the Greek name for a Hebrew named town of “Ashdod.” The baptism took place outside of the city of Jerusalem quite possibly near or in one of the villages of the Samaritans mentioned in Acts 8:25.
  • The Spirit took Philip from around Jerusalem and put him in Ashdod some 45 miles S.W of Jerusalem.
  • Ashdod was 20-30 miles North of Gaza. Some commentators have varied on their mileage. Whatever it is, it’s not that important to argue.
  • Point is this… The Holy Spirit moved Philip rapidly form one place to another to fulfill the will of God for him to be at a certain place at a certain time.
  • Apparently, God had required Philip to be in Ashdod for some reason.
  • Did you notice in this verse the persistence of this preacher? He kept on preaching from city to city sharing his testimony and the testimony of Christ “…till he came to Caesarea.” Why did he stop there? His family was there. Even preachers need a vacation or break to be with their families.