Play Video

A Tale of Two Seekers

Ryan Joy


December 10, 2023

Play Video

The Big Idea

God brings the soul seeker together with the truth seeker.

— Watch the Full Sermon —

What Do We Seek?

Acts 8:26–40 tells a story about how God brings the truth to those who seek it. It is a lesson for two groups: 1) truth seekers and 2) soul seekers. The challenge for a truth seeker is that you’re lost and know you’re missing something, but you don’t know what. You’re missing the joy of salvation. The challenge for a soul seeker is that you want others to find the joy you’ve found in Christ, but you may not be sure how to reach them. The answer for both is the gospel. For the truth seeker, the gospel will show you what you’re looking for. For the soul seeker, the gospel will work for you if you bring it wherever you go.

Part 1: The Matchmaker (8:26-29)

As the eunuch heads back from worship in Jerusalem, he reads Isaiah in his chariot and wonders about this passage. He is the Secretary of the Treasury for Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. He couldn’t become a full proselyte to Judaism as a eunuch (Deut. 23:1) but was a God Fearer – someone who believes in God and practices much of the Old Law. Good things happen when you study your Bible, as the eunuch discovers. What’s the difference between reading and studying? “Study” means “hard work” (2 Tim. 2:15). Meanwhile, Philip is spreading the gospel, bringing joy to Samaria when an angel tells him where to go. Philip was one of the seven deacons appointed to look after the Grecian widows in the Jerusalem church.

Good things happen when you study your Bible, as the eunuch discovers.

Interestingly, an angel told Philip to make the trip to Gaza Road. The angel could have appeared to the eunuch and told him how to be saved, but the commission to spread the gospel wasn’t given to angels. God gave it to us. The hymn The World’s Bible says, “God has no hands but our hands to do his will today…He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how he died; He has no help but our help to bring them to his side.” It’s hard not to notice the lengths that God went to so Philip could bring one man the gospel. Businesses always ask the value question: is the return on investment there to make it worthwhile? God has made it clear that a chance to save one soul is worth a significant investment of his personnel resources – an angel, a preacher, and a trip across the desert.

The theme of Part 1 is God’s providence. Truth seekers need to trust God’s promise that if you seek, you’ll find (Matt. 7:7). Soul seekers need to trust God’s leadership in the soul-winning business. We must plant and water, and God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). I can’t make a lemon tree out of a seed, but God can. Look at all the work God does in this story: 1) He finds the prospect, 2) He finds a good teacher for him, 3) He sends the teacher, 4) He prepares the man’s heart, as he reads from Isaiah 53, and then 5) the dynamic power of the gospel does its mighty work of winning the Eunuch to Christ and motivating him to obey. We all have different abilities (Rom. 12:3–8) and approaches to speaking the gospel. Still, God uses each one according to the abilities he gives. He is the Heavenly Matchmaker – not bringing couples together — but getting the seeker together with the messenger.

Besides his confession, the eunuch’s only recorded words are the questions he asks.

Part 2: The Bible Study (8:30-36)

The eunuch asks questions and invites a stranger into his chariot. It’s okay to ask questions! Besides his confession, the eunuch’s only recorded words are the questions he asks. Listen to the answers with the Bible open, just like the eunuch did. Keep an open mind, but only believe what you see in the Book. It’s probably not a coincidence that he was reading one of the Old Testament’s most straightforward explanations of how Jesus would save us, the Song of the Suffering Servant (Isa. 53). Philip opens his mouth and preaches Jesus. Often, the best we can do is make sure our heart is right and open our mouth and speak, praying that the right words will come. We can get paralyzed by wanting to be perfectly prepared. If Philip tried to formulate the perfect words to get a Bible study started, the chariot probably would have left him in the dust.

Jesus was the focus of this gospel lesson (Acts 8:35). At some point, he taught about baptism, so teaching all about Jesus includes teaching baptism.

The theme of Part 2 is the gospel of Christ. For truth seekers, the gospel changes everything when understood, believed, and obeyed. It’s not enough to want to do God’s will or to hear God’s will. The eunuch needed to UNDERSTAND. For soul seekers, the gospel does the soul-winning if we are willing to speak it. Jesus has no plan B. No one will know about his suffering, sacrifice, and salvation unless we tell them.

Part 3: The Baptism (8:37-40)

The eunuch initiates the baptism. I love the question, “What hinders me?” (Acts 8:36). “Water’s right there; what keeps me from baptism?” Philip could’ve said, “You don’t know enough.” Instead, the eunuch orders the chariot to stop, and Philip baptizes him. In the conversions we read of in Acts, baptism is always urgent because it’s the moment of salvation. In Acts 22:16, Ananias asks Saul, “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” In Acts 16:33, in the middle of the night, “Immediately [the Philippian jailer] and all his family were baptized.” It wouldn’t make much sense to wait since “baptism now saves us” (1 Pet. 3:21).

To be saved, there are things we must believe — but also things we must do.

The theme of Part 3 is the joy of salvation — the result of receiving the gospel. If you don’t go “on your way rejoicing” (8:39), maybe you’ve forgotten what you’ve found. When you discover the pearl of great price, you happily sell everything to keep it (Matt. 13:45-46). It’s “Eureka! I’ve found what I was missing!” Joy filled the whole city of Samaria when Philip shared the good news (Acts 8:8). When Philip dramatically disappeared (Acts 8:39), the eunuch climbed out of the water smiling. He didn’t even know what he was looking for in Jerusalem, but in the scroll of Isaiah, he found it on that happy day. Like many sincere, religious people, he had read his Bible but hadn’t obeyed the gospel. To be saved, there are things we must believe — but also things we must do. When we stop to confess Christ and go into the water in baptism, we can find the same joy as the eunuch.

More Ways to Connect With Us:

How to Install Directory App

Before attempting to sign in, please ensure that Phil has added you to the directory and your email address is listed correctly.
  1. Download the iPhone App or Android App
  2. Open the app after it downloads.
  3. Select “Sign in” and provide the email address you have listed in the directory and the password you previously setup.

(If this is your first time signing into the directory – Select “Create Login” and follow the instructions on screen.)