By Tyson Thorne

January 30, 2014

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Before delving into today’s writing, read Acts 8.26-9.2

"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples!"

If Stephen is the heroic tragedy of chapter seven, Philip is most certainly the hero of chapter eight. After a successful ministry in Samaria, where he healed many, cast out demons, and even confronted a sorcerer, an angel of the Lord sent Philip to rendezvous with an Ethiopian eunuch.

Despite the fact that the Ethiopian had to read aloud, we know that he was an intelligent and wealthy man. We also know that he was not from Israel, and that this is the first time someone outside of the commonwealth received the gospel and baptism. Thanks be to God.

The Ethiopian also owed thanks to Philip for responding to God’s call. Examine verse 26: Philip receives instruction from God and obeys without receiving an explanation. Still not sure why the Lord sent him into the desert, Philip spotted a chariot across the hot sand. Philip ran alongside it, presumably to catch a lift, but instead of thumbing a ride he asked the man if he understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian's intrigue gave Philip an opportunity to testify about the risen Christ. While Philip is still ecstatic about converting the wealthy stranger, the Spirit whisked him away, for there was still much danger the church would have to battle.

Being a follower of Christ is still dangerous: In many countries, radical religious factions still execute believers; Satanism reigns just across our Southern boarder among drug traffickers. Despite the dangers, we are to echo the words of Martin Luther, "The Spirit and the gifts are ours Thru Him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also — the body they may kill, God's truth abideth still!"

"I have given them your word,

and the world has hated them,

because they do not belong to the world,

just as I do not belong to the world.

"I am not asking you to take them out of the world,

but that you keep them safe from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world.

Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.

"Just as you sent me into the world,

so I sent them into the world.

And I set myself apart on their behalf,

so that they too may be truly set apart."

— John 17.14-.19

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