Day Five

Week Ten - Day Five
It’s Jesus’ story...Don’t mess with it!

LISTEN

Acts 8:34-38 - And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 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.” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

LEARN

When we consider Jesus’ instructions, that we “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15), we might have a deer-in-the-headlights reaction to his command. We may want to sincerely obey this call to “go,” but are not clear how to preach the gospel. Or, it may feel more comfortable talking about our church or other religious activities that we do, instead of sharing the gospel.

In this story about Philip and the Ethiopian, Philip started where the Ethiopian was and began to preach to him Jesus. In a similar way, while traveling the road to Emmaus, Jesus told the disciples all that Moses and the prophets said of the things concerning himself, how he must su er and die and rise again (Luke 24:25-27).

To tell someone “the good news about Jesus” is to tell them the gospel. The word gospel is an Old English word that literally means “good news.” There are many ways to use Scripture to explain the good news. John 3:16-19 or Romans 10:9-10 are wonderful examples of Scripture that concisely explain the gospel. If you take time to study these passages, you will be able to describe the foundational principles that make up the good news. The gospel declares that Jesus, who is God, came in fulfillment of the Scriptures to be the King and Savior of the world. Jesus lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and rose from the grave on the third day, revealing the power of God and conquering Satan, sin and death. It is through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that we are forgiven of our sins, given salvation, reconciled to God, and rewarded with eternal life.

We can’t improve on the message of the gospel, but we must be faithful to share all of it. No one can be coerced into becoming a Christian. This is only done by the Holy Spirit. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11). Our responsibility is to share the gospel story with others.

LIVE

If you haven't already, share who your One Life(s) is/are to someone in your family or Discipleship Group. Find out who their One Life is and be praying for each other. Discuss with each other your progress, trials and celebrations during your Discipleship Group break. 

Day Four

Week Ten - Day Four
Understand the simple message of the Gospel

LISTEN

Acts 8:26-38 - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court o cial of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this char- iot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and begin- ning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 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.” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

LEARN

“So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet.” Unbeknownst to Philip, God had arranged this meeting between Philip and the Ethiopian. Philip was an e ective evangelist because he listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit’s call.

The Isaiah passage began, “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter.” In God’s per- fect plan, the Ethiopian was reading Isaiah 53 which described the sacrificial, sin- bearing work of the Jewish Messiah. Beginning with this Scripture, Philip explained how those passages were talking about Jesus.

Philip was familiar with these passages and was able to explain to the Ethiopian how they were fulfilled by Jesus. But, it took time and commitment by Philip to become familiar with them. Today, we can grow stronger in our faith if we also spend time becoming familiar with God’s word. As we become familiar with the many prophecies in the Old Testament specifically concerning the coming Messiah, and discover that only Jesus could have fulfilled them completely, we are encouraged in our faith.

Verse 35 says, “he told him the good news about Jesus.” Explaining who Jesus is and what he has done is the essence of the gospel. Philip’s role in the salvation of the Ethiopian was to trust God’s work in the heart of the Ethiopian and to share the gospel message.

LIVE

  • Would you say you understand the gospel? Try writing out the gospel in your own words. Use scripture to help you. For example, Isaiah 53:5-6. 
     
  • Now imagine your One Life is with you. How would you share it with them?

Day Three

Week Ten - Day Three
Respond to the Call of the Lord

LISTEN

Acts 8:26-27 - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went.

Acts 8:29-30 - And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet...

LEARN

Notice the promptness with which Philip responds. Why is this? What does he have that allows him to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit so faithfully? Philip had been a part of the church for years. He was one of the 7 deacons elected to serve the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). He may have been one of the 72 disciples that Je- sus sent out in Luke 10. God had worked through Philip days before this in bringing salvation to many Samaritans. Philip had clearly seen the Lord work; his faith in God was solid. Philip’s confidence in the Lord’s work allowed him to serve eagerly.

Others in Scripture demonstrate this quick response to God’s call. The apostle Paul once had a vision to change his direction of travel and “immediately” he and his companions changed direction to preach in Macedonia instead of Bithynia (Acts 16:9-10). This resulted in us having the letter to the Philippians!

Philip seems to have the same heart as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6 when he was in the throne room of God: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me’ (Isaiah 6:8).

Having seen God work, these men responded quickly to serve the Lord. Where have you seen the Lord work? Will he be as faithful in the future as he has been in the past? Will he be faithful to do even greater things through you for his kingdom?

LIVE

  • How does your responsiveness to God's call reflect your trust of his character?
  • Recall 3 times in your life when God has been faithful to you.
  • How will God be faithful to others (like your One Life) through you?

Day Two

Week Ten - Day Two
Trust that he is working in their hearts

LISTEN

Acts 8:29-35 - And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you under- stand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

LEARN

This Ethiopian man had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was returning. He was sitting in his chariot and reading from the prophet Isaiah. It seems this man was a sincere seeker after God. He had been worshiping in Israel, yet because he was a eunuch he would have been prevented from entering the Temple (Deut 23:1). He was still yearning to understand God’s promises.

So, God stirred the heart of Philip in the midst of the revival in Samaria and said, “Go down to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, that desert place.” When he got there, he saw the chariot and the man sitting in the chariot, and the Lord said to him, “Go over and join this chariot” (v. 29). What did Philip do? He “ran” to the man and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch then invited Philip to explain the Scripture to him.

We sometimes assume others will not be receptive to conversations about their spiritual life. But, we don’t really know what may be taking place in the heart of an- other person. Philip responded to God’s call in that precise moment to move toward the eunuch. God is moving to soften and open the hearts of people he has placed in our lives. God does the same work in the lives of those you know as he did in the life of the Ethiopian eunuch.

LIVE

  • God is working to open the heart of your One Life(s). Do you think they won't be interested?
     
  • What is a single way you can move toward your One Life(s) like Philip did with the Ethiopian eunuch?

Day One

Week Ten - Day One
Taking the First Step

LISTEN

Acts 8:26-38 - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court o cial of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this char- iot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and begin- ning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 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.” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

LEARN

Philip, also known as Philip the Evangelist (di erent than the apostle Philip), was a deacon in the early church and after Stephen’s murder (see Acts 7) the church was dispersed from Jerusalem. Philip left Jerusalem and went to Samaria where he began to preach about Jesus as the Messiah. Many Samaritans received the word of God and came to faith that Jesus was the Messiah. It’s in this context that Philip receives a call from God to leave toward Gaza. Those are all the details that Philip is given.

Philip may have been wondering, “I’ve already come down to Samaria and things are going well. Why should I leave now? This doesn’t make sense. Lord, why do you want me to go to Gaza? There won’t be anybody down in that desert area.” But, Philip responded faithfully. He obeyed the first move. He likely had many questions in his mind when he left, but God had significant plans for this encounter. The Ethiopian eunuch became a follower of Jesus and tradition holds that he was the first mission- ary to Africa.1 God’s will for your life, in this very moment, is to take the first step and follow him wherever he calls.

LIVE

  • What has God been impressing on you in regards to sharing your faith?
  • What first step does God want you to take to share the gospel? If the answer to this question isn't clear immediately, stop and pray this prayer for clarity: "Lord, I feel that you want me to grow in this area of sharing your message with others, Will you give me some clear direction this week where I should begin in this growth?"

Discussion Questions

  • Who is your One Life? (you can have more than one!)
  • How does God empower us for his mission?
  • Spend 5 minutes in prayer for one another's One Life. 
 

Apprenticeship Module

You're going to create an immersion plan.

CONVICTIONS

Recognize the convictions that God has given you and write them down.
Having gone through these last 10 weeks, you’ve probably already done this; just review your workbook Debrief pages. In what ways has God been moving in your life over the past 10 weeks?

 

GOALS

Identify goals related to those convictions. (ie. tangible outflow of those convictions). 
Remember that practicing spiritual disciplines cultivates the heart's desires. 

 

Filter those into the areas of time, talent, treasure and testimony table.

  • Time is the number of hours in a day. You have to make choices to use your time in a way that reflects Jesus' heart of love. 
     
  • Your Talent is the giftedness you've been given. This includes spiritual gifts that we mentioned in Week 3 but also skills you have obtained in life. 
     
  • Treasure is the possessions we have. We are blessed by God to bless others. How will you respond to your convictions using your treasure. 
     
  • Your Testimony is the story of God in your life. You can use stories of God's transforming work in your life to respond to the convictions God has given you.
     
  • Spend the remaining time sharing what you've written with your discussion group.