I. THE CALL OF PHILIP.
A. Philip was one of the men chosen to wait on the tables in the church in Jerusalem. When the church was scattered because of the persecution, Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ unto them.
1. There was a great move of God and many were converted and baptized.
2. Upon hearing the news of so many new believers in Samaria, the church in Jerusalem sent Peter and John that they might lay hands on the new believers that they might receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
B. In the midst of this great move of God, Philip was called of God to go down to the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza which was desert.
1. There would be great natural cause to wonder if this really was the call of God.
a. Why would God call you to leave the midst of a glorious revival in which you were a key figure to go to a desert area.
b. It would be easy to challenge the wisdom of such a move.
2. Nevertheless Philip obeyed.
C. We then learn why the call of God on the heart of Philip. There was a man of great authority from Ethiopia who had come to Jerusalem to worship God and was returning.
1. I believe that he was returning as empty as he came.
2. The temple worship was so corrupted by this time that it would be hard to find God with their religion so commercialized.
3. God saw his thirsty soul, he had traveled all the way from Ethiopia to find God and was returning empty, and God wanted to reveal His truth to this searching heart, so God sent Philip to share the truth of Jesus with him.
4. I believe that God will reveal Himself to every searching heart.
II. THE QUESTION OF PHILIP, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE READING?"
A. The man confessed his difficulty. "How can I without someone guiding me?"
1. The Bible tells us that the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.
2. The Bible speaks of Lydia whose heart the Lord had opened that she attended the things that were spoken by Paul.
3. Many people are in the same condition as this man. They are curious and hungry to know God.
a. Many have searched through the religions and are still empty.
b. Many have gone to the liberal, formal ritualistic churches and have concluded that Christianity doesn't have the answers they are seeking.
c. They have come searching for God and return empty but still searching.
d. Some have even tried reading the Bible but find that they do not understand it.
e. Jesus is the key to the understanding of the Bible.
B. The man was reading from the prophecies of Isaiah. "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and as a lamb is dumb before his shearers, He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation, His judgment was taken away, and who shall declare His generation? For His life was taken from the earth."
1. The Ethiopian asked Philip, "Who was the prophet speaking about, himself or someone else?"
2. And Philip began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus.
a. Philip gave to him the key to the understanding of all scripture.
b. The Bible says that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.
C. It really did not matter where the man may have been reading the scriptures, you can begin at any part and preach Jesus.
1. Jesus said to the Pharisees and Scribes, "You do search the scriptures for in them you think that you have life, but they are they that testify of Me, and you will not come to Me that you might have life."
a. Jesus acknowledged that they read the scriptures.
b. But they did not have the key, they would not come to Him, thus they did not have the life that the scriptures are intended to give.
2. We read that Jesus with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, began at Moses and went through all the prophets the things that the scriptures had said about Him.
3. He said to His disciples "These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me."
4. Philip said to Nathanael," We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
5. Of Jesus it was written, "I have come. The volume of the book it is written of Me."
III. THE EXPLANATION BY PHILIP. HE PREACHED JESUS.
A. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.
1. Even as a lamb was used by the people as a sin offering, so Jesus, as the lamb of God, was offered for our sins.
2. Peter would later write, "For we are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver or gold from our vain manner of living, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb, without spot or blemish."
3. "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth."
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.
B. "In His humiliation His judgment was taken away."
1. Jesus was the only begotten Son of God. He was very God, yet He humbled Himself and came to this earth as a man, even as a servant to do the will of His Father.
2. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.
3. In His death, there was no justice. His judgment was taken away.
a. Judas brought the money back to the priests that he was given to him for betraying Jesus with the words, "I have betrayed innocent blood."
b. Pilate said, "I have examined Him, and I find no fault in Him."
c. Pilate's wife sent him a message saying, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man."
d. Even the dying thief on the cross next to Him declared "This man has done nothing amiss."
C. "His life was taken from the earth."
1. The wages of sin is death.
2. Jesus did no sin, yet He died.
3. He died not for His own sin, but for the sins of the world.
4. Paul wrote the Galatians, "Christ died for our sins."
5. Jesus said that He had come to give His life as a ransom for many.
IV. THE GLORIOUS RESULTS OF PREACHING JESUS.
A. When they came to a body of water the Ethiopian said to Philip, "Here is some water, what hinders me from being baptized?"
1. Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."
2. He responded, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
3. It is interesting to me that Philip did not say, "Well it is necessary that you attend the instructional classes before I can baptize you." The only requirement was believing with all his heart.
4. Paul told the Romans that faith came by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
5. If the word of God is rightly preached, it will bring men into a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
B. Paul said to the Corinthians, "We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord, and ourselves your servants for His sake."
C. Many people use the Bible to preach many things, but the main topic of the Bible is Jesus. We do well to follow the example of Philip and any time we open the scripture, begin at that verse and preach Jesus.