Acts: The Ethiopian and the Gospel

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the eleventh sermon in our series on the book of Acts on “The Ethiopian and the Gospel”. Preacher: The Rev’d Adam Lowe. Bible Reading: Acts 8:26-40

Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: Acts 8:26-40

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.

Who can speak of his descendants?

For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

Download in PDF format.

CONNECT: Tomorrow, how are you part of the Gospel going out to the ‘ends of the earth’?

WARM-UP Questions

  1. How have we witnessed the Gospel going to the ‘ends of the earth’ so far in Acts?

  2. What are the ‘Gospel Opportunities’ that you have had to proclaim Jesus recently?

READ Acts 8:26-29

  1. How is it evident that God is the one taking the initiative in this encounter? How is it evident that God takes the ultimate initiative in the work of salvation?

  2. How have you witnessed God taking initiative in your life, drawing you to himself? 

  3. As you seek to share the Good News, can you think of an example in which you have sensed God really going ‘ahead of you’? What confidence in evangelism does this give you?

  4. Even though God ‘takes the initiative’, how we do we still have a role in being proactive in evangelism? What difference does it make to know that the ultimate work conversion is God’s?

  5. How is it evident that the Ethiopian was a person of great humility? How did his humility provide fertile soil to truly receive the Good News into his heart and life?

  6. How can we be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have? Share your answer if you can.

READ Acts 8:30-40

  1. In what way does the Gospel focus on Jesus? Why is there no Good News without Jesus?

  2. How does the reference from Isaiah 53 point to the saving work of Jesus? If someone asked you to explain it, would you be confident to do so? How could you grow in this confidence?

  3. How did the Ethiopian just about have everything but was fundamentally dissatisfied? How might that also be true today? What is the ultimate way to satisfaction?

  4. What were all the barriers the Ethiopian recognised as having being overcome by the Gospel? What barriers has the Gospel overcome in your life? How about for the world?

  5. Why is it essential that the Gospel invites a response?

  6. Why do you think our hearts can so often be the stumbling block to responding to the Gospel?

APPLY This Week: What ‘Gospel Opportunities’ has God placed before you this week?

PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for the eternity changing news of the Gospel. Thank you that you have taken the initiative to save us, and that you take the initiative as we seek to proclaim you. Please help us to respond to the Gospel opportunities that you have placed before us. Please help us to focus on Jesus and always respond to your invitations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

GOING DEEPER

On Your Frontline This Week: Have you ever thought about how God sees your colleagues who are hard to love? Have a listen to Sharon’s talk on Working in Two Kingdoms from our Re/Quip conference.

FOCUS Weekend Away

  • As we seek to grow as Disciple Makers, we’re going away for a weekend (May 31 - June 2) to Coolum Beach. This is going to be a great time together, with people of all ages and from all three congregations. As you think about growing in your living out of the Gospel, please prayerfully consider coming along. For more info and to register: stbarts.com.au/focus 

Audio and Video 

WITH CHILDREN