Acts 8

Thursday Evening Bible Study

November 6, 2013


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

Need 4300 to 4700 words.

On the day of Pentecost, the church was born.  It began with the Holy Spirit filling the believers.  As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began to grow.

A few weeks ago we saw the church needing to make some changes because of the growing numbers.  They appointed “deacons” to help out the apostles with things like the food distribution to the widows.  But these deacons didn’t stop with that.  Stephen was a deacon, but he also preached and impacted many people.  At the end of chapter seven we see Stephen being the first to die for his faith as he was stoned for talking about Jesus.

8:1-3 Saul persecutes the church

:1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

:3 Saul …made havoc of the church

This is the man who would one day be known as the apostle Paul.

He used to be a really, really bad man.

This was not a period of life that Paul would just “forget” about. Paul often thought about what kind of life he came from when he met Jesus. I found at least five places where Paul refers back to these days when he persecuted the church. (Acts 22:19-20; 1Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6; 1Tim. 1:13)

(Ac 22:19–20 NKJV) —19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
(1 Co 15:9 NKJV) For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


Anyone can be saved

Be careful of thinking that anyone is beyond God’s help.
You may at times wonder if God could ever forgive you.
If Saul could get saved, then anyone can get saved.

8:4-8 The Gospel goes to Samaria

:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

:4 those who were scattered

They were scattered because of the persecution.

Play Scattered Believers map clip

Acts 11:19 tells us that those who were scattered went as far as Phoenicia (Tyre & Sidon), Cyprus, and Antioch.
(Ac 11:19 NKJV) Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

In a way, we could say that chapter 8 starts “Part Two” of the book of Acts. 

Jesus had told the disciples to “wait in Jerusalem” for the Holy Spirit, but He didn’t say they would never leave Jerusalem.  In fact He told them they would go out of Jerusalem. Jesus said,
(Ac 1:8 NKJV) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The first seven chapters of Acts focus on Jerusalem.

Now the gospel goes outside of Jerusalem.

Yet God used the persecution of the church to get them out of Jerusalem.


Painful motivation

Sometimes God uses difficult things in our lives to motivate us to change.
It might be a heart attack that motivates you to finally lose weight, start eating right, and start exercising.
Look at the life of Joseph – sold as a slave by his brothers, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, forgotten in prison for two more years, all to get him to the point where he could interpret Pharaoh’s dream and save the world.
God has used disappointments to get me going where I needed to be.
I came to know the Lord in a Baptist church.  When our longtime pastor left the church to be promoted in the denomination, it helped push me out the Baptist door to Calvary Chapel where I belonged.
I was an assistant pastor for eight years at Calvary Anaheim, when a series of circumstances caused me to struggle and caused me to think about my first calling in life, to be a Sr. Pastor – I needed to be uncomfortable in order to get back on track with my calling.
If you are thankful for our church, you ought to be thankful that I was “hurt” as well.
(Ro 8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Are you going through rough times right now?
Does God have your attention?  Are you open to God making changes in your life?
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963)

:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

:5 went down to … Samaria

Play Samaria map clip. 

Even though Samaria is north of Jerusalem, any time you leave Jerusalem you must “go down” the hill.
It’s when the persecution hit in Jerusalem that the church scattered.  Philip went 35 miles to the north to Samaria.

:5 Samaria

The race known as the Samaritans were a sort of “half-breed”.

When the Assyrians took the Northern Kingdom of Israel into captivity, they repopulated the land with people from other countries.  These people intermarried with the Israelites still in the land, and the result were the Samaritans.

The Samaritans also had a twisted form of Judaism.

They twisted the stories in the Old Testament so that the Temple was to be built on Mount Gerizim instead of Jerusalem.

The Jews hated the Samaritans.

This isn’t the first time the Samaritans had heard about Jesus.

You might recall the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:30-37) where Jesus used a hated Samaritan to illustrate what it meant to love your neighbor.
Jesus Himself went through Samaria several times.
During one of His trips through Samaria, He had met a woman at a well.
She came to believe that He was the Messiah and went and told the people of her city:

(Jn 4:29 NKJV) Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”

As a result of that woman believing in Jesus, many of the people of that village believed in Jesus.

(Jn 4:42 NKJV) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

In a sense, Philip is reaping a crop where Jesus had already sown some seeds.


Jesus prepares the field

In reality, the most successful times we have witnessing to others is when we see that Jesus has already been working on their hearts.  Prayer is key.

:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

:8 And there was great joy in that city.

:6 multitudes … heeded the things spoken by Philip


Needed:  More busboys

Don’t forget who Philip was.  He was one of the “deacons”, one of the men assigned to help with the food ministry to the widows.  He was a “busboy”.
We may want to be used in the ministry with the big, splashy kinds of events.
God is looking for busboys.

8:9-13 The sorcerer believes

:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

:9 sorcerymageuo – to be a magician, to practice magical arts

Some theologians refer to this Simon as “Simon Magus”, meaning “Simon the Magician”.

I think he might have had an act in Las Vegas as well…

:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

:11 sorceriesmageia – magic, magic arts, sorceries

Simon had developed quite a following because of his magic tricks.

:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

:13 Simon himself also believed

The people stopped follow Simon and started believing in Jesus (not Philip).

Even Simon came to believe in Jesus.

:13 seeing the miracles and signs

:13 miraclesdunamis – strength, power, ability

:13 signssemeiον – a sign, mark, token

Philip wasn’t doing magic tricks.  He was a part of the real thing.

God was displaying power through miracles.  These miracles were making it clear that God was at work.

8:14-25 The sorcerer’s sin

:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them

These people were believers in Jesus, they had been baptized in water, but they had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a separate experience from their salvation.

:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Peter and John lay hands on the people and the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

:19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

:19 Give me this power also

powerexousia – power of choice, the power of authority. 

Simon isn’t asking for the ability or power (dunamis) itself, as much as asking for the authority to use this power.

It is a common thing for magicians to buy new tricks. For Simon, this just seemed like some new trick that the apostles were performing. It might sound like an innocent request, but Peter will have some insight into Simon’s request.

There is a practice called “Simony”, which stems from this fellow. It’s the practice of “buying” a position in a church. In some denominations, the pastor “buys” the church from the previous pastor. In some periods of church history the papacy was sold off to the highest bidder.

:20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!

:20 the gift of God

Peter is referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

On the day of Pentecost Peter called it the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

(Ac 2:38 NKJV) —38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Gifts are free

You can’t buy God’s gifts.
They are free.

:21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

:21 your heart is not right



If I was in Peter’s spot, I might think, “Well maybe we could really use a gifted guy like Simon.  Maybe we should just teach him how to pray for people…”
Peter has the discernment to realize that Simon’s heart is not right.

:22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

:23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

:23 poisoned by bitterness

We aren’t told what made Simon bitter. Perhaps Simon was bitter over the fact that he had lost his following. The people who had once followed him had now come to believe in Jesus Christ, and after they had been baptized, they no longer followed Simon.


Deal with the root

(Heb 12:15 NKJV) looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
When I was a kid, my parents would sometimes assign me the chore of weeding out in the backyard. When a kid weeds, they usually tend to just pluck off the leaves on top, leaving the root. And the weeds always grow back. As an adult, when I deal with weeds I know I need to get as much of the root as I can.
Bitterness is a root cause of problems in life.
If I don’t deal with the root, the thing that has caused me to be bitter in the first place, then I’m going to have all kinds of problems continually popping up.
Dr. S. I. McMillen illustrates in a chapter entitled “The High Cost of Getting Even,” from his book, None of These Diseases, how physical maladies including ulcers, high blood pressure, and strokes are connected to harboring resentment and hatred toward others. He says, “It might be written on many thousands of death certificates that the victim died of ‘grudgitis.’” Dr. McMillen describes how hating a person enslaves the one who hates:
The moment I start hating a man I become his slave. I cannot enjoy my work anymore because he even controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body; I become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The man I hate may be miles from my bedroom, but more cruel than any slave driver he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my inner-spring mattress becomes a rack of torture. I really must acknowledge that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour out my wrath.


A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next day the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5 am for an early flight to Sydney. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he finally wrote on a piece of paper, “Please wake me at 5 am.” The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9 am, and that he had missed his flight! Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn’t awakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. It said, “It’s 5 am, wake up.”

Paul wrote,

(Eph 4:31–32 NKJV) —31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

:24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”

:24 Pray to the Lord for me

What happened to Simon? We don’t have any further mention of him in Acts.  History records him to be a heretic in doctrine and living an immoral life.

:25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

:25 many villages of the Samaritans

I wonder if John went to that one village in Samaria where …

(Lk 9:51–56 NKJV) —51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Now, instead of wanting to destroy them, John is preaching the gospel to them.
My, oh my how Jesus changes our lives.


From hatred to love

The last time John wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans.
Now he’s calling down the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we get a little too caught up in “fighting” the good fight and think we need to be “fighting” everybody.
Play Mastercard Pirate commercial
John himself would write in his later years,
(1 Jn 4:7–8 NKJV) —7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Corrie Ten Boom shares this true story in her book, The Hiding Place:  “It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.  He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time.  And suddenly it was all there -- the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face.  He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said.  "To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!"  His hand was thrust out to shake mine.  And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.  Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.  I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand.  I could not.  I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.  And so again I breathed a silent prayer.  Jesus, I cannot forgive him.  Give me Your forgiveness.  As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

8:26-40 The Ethiopian Eunuch

:26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.

:26 Arise and go toward the south

Play Samaria to Ethiopia map clip

Philip is going to start in Samaria, head to the road towards Gaza, and meet a man on his way to Ethiopia.

Philip has been in the middle of a great revival.

And God tells him to go down to the desert.
He’s going to leave the crowds and the “success”, and all God tells him is go head down to a certain road.


Taking the next step

We are often looking for God’s will in our lives. We talk about wanting all that God has for us.
But it usually starts with a single step.
We might say to ourselves, “Well fine, I’ll get around to that, but I want to know what’s up ahead!” Yet often God won’t show you the next step until you take the first one.
God didn’t give Philip all the details about what was up ahead. He just said, “Go to Gaza”.
Example: You may be saying to God, “When are you going to fix all the problems in my marriage?” And God responds, “When are you going to start loving your spouse like you should?” You respond with, “Well I know that it’s important, and I plan to do that, but I want the problems fixed first!” Yet often God is waiting to fix the problems until you take the first step.
It’s important in understanding God’s will for my life that I learn to take the step in front of me.
This is from J. Oswald Sanders’ book, Spiritual Discipleship (pg.27):
At a conference in Ben Lippen, South Carolina, a young woman was giving testimony to her call to service. In the course of her message she held up a blank sheet of paper, saying that it contained God’s plan for her life. The only writing on it was her signature at the bottom. Then she said, “I have accepted God’s will without knowing what it is, and I am leaving it to Him to fill in the details.” She was a true disciple, and she was on safe ground. With such a yielded will, the Holy Spirit would be able to guide her mental processes as she moved along the path of life.
God is looking for the day when we’ll just say “Yes” without having all the details.
Often I find that I’m not told what “step 2” is until I’ve taken “step 1”.
Years ago before the days of GPS and radar, the old Norwegian sea captains devised a way of navigating through the sometimes treacherous fjords at night.  They set up a system of light houses at certain key points in the fjords.  All the captain needed to do was to point his ship towards the lighthouse until he could see around the corner and get a glimpse of the next lighthouse.  Then he’d turn his ship towards the second lighthouse until he could see the third lighthouse.
We may want to see the whole map of what is up ahead for our lives, but often I find that God just shows us the next lighthouse.

:27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

:28 was returning.

:27 Candace the queen of the Ethiopians

Ethiopia was not the same territory as modern Ethiopia.  Ancient Ethiopia covered the area from Aswan in Egypt to Khartoum in Sudan.

Candace is not a name, but a title.  It’s the title given to the queen-mother.

In ancient Ethiopia, the queen-mother was the one that actually ran the government.  Her son was worshiped as an offspring of the sun and was considered too awesome to do such lowly stuff as run a government.
The Ethiopian monarchy claimed to have been a direct descendant from Solomon.  Their claim was that when the Queen of Sheba came home from her visit with Solomon, she was pregnant, and her offspring was the Ethiopian royal line.
Ethiopia remained a monarchy until 1974, and was ruled for most of the 20th century by Emperor Haile Selassie. His name meant "Might of the Trinity." One of his numerous titles was “Lion of Judah”.  He was overthrown in 1974 by a Marxist coup.

:28 And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

In those days it might have been illegal to text and drive, but it was okay to drive and read your Bible…

:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

:29 Go near and overtake this chariot

Philip’s first direction was to go south toward Gaza.

Now he gets his next order – catch the chariot.  This is the last specific thing that God asks, the rest is pretty natural and doesn’t need any orders.

:30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

:31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

:32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

:33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”

:32 The place in the Scripture

Of all places in the ancient Scripture, this man is reading from Isaiah 53:7-8, one of the most clear passages in the Old Testament about Jesus.

(Is 53:7–8 NKJV) —7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

:34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”

:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

:35 beginning at this Scripture

I like the way this happened.

It is good to sharpen your skills at evangelism. It is very good to think about ways to start a discussion about Jesus with another person.
But I like the way the Spirit has orchestrated this. All Philip said was, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” The Lord took over from there.


Am I willing?

Do you even want to be used by the Lord to reach others for Christ?
Forget about whether or not you know what to say. Forget about whether or not you will be able to answer all their questions.
Do you want to be used to share Jesus with others?
I have this notion that it starts there.
(2 Ch 16:9 NKJV) For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
The person who is reluctant to share their faith is not going to find many opportunities like Philip. God is looking for the person who is willing.


Do I care about them?

Philip took notice of the fellow in the chariot and what he was reading.  He expressed an interest in the man.
I think one of the mistakes people make in personal evangelism is that we get so focused on the goal of sharing the gospel that we sometimes run right over the person we’re talking to.  I get the feeling from some people that they just think they’re another “notch” in our “gospel belt”, that we’re not as concerned with them as we are with being able to make the claim that we’ve witnessed to another person.

Sometimes is seems to be that we come across as a person who is not feeling very well.  Our stomach is hurting and we feel a bit nauseous.  We don’t get to feeling better until we vomit this thing out of our stomach all over the person we’re talking to.  I know that is a gross illustration, but sometimes our sharing of the gospel comes across like this.

Philip took time to ask the fellow about his reading.  He listened before he responded.
Ask people about their lives.  Ask them to tell you their story.  Find out what they’re interested in.
There are going to be people like this eunuch where you’re probably not going to see them ever again.  But most people that you will share with are going to be people that you will see over a period of years.
Don’t cut the relationship short by ignoring them just so you can get to the gospel and feel better.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


Knowing the Scriptures

Philip recognized the passage that the eunuch was reading from.  He recognized that it was no coincidence that this passage was about Jesus, and he moved the conversation towards Jesus.
You don’t need a seminary degree to share our faith, but it really helps to know your Bible.
(2 Ti 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

:35 preached Jesus to him

Philip started with the Scripture where the eunuch was reading, but moved it on to talk about Jesus.

:36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

:37 Then 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.”

:38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

:37 If you believe

I understand why some churches have people go through membership classes before they are baptized, but look at what Philip does.

The fellow simply believes and then is baptized.

Are you ready to believe?  Right where you are you can ask Jesus to be your savior.

:39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

:39 the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away

caughtharpadzo – to seize, carry off by force; to snatch out or away

It’s the same word used by Paul in 1Th. 4:17 to describe the “rapture”
(1 Th 4:17 NKJV) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Philip experiences something like the “rapture”.  He gets “beamed” to Azotus, about 20 miles up the coast from the city of Gaza. One moment he’s in Gaza, the next he’s twenty miles away.  For us, one moment we’ll be here on the earth, the next we’ll be in heaven with Jesus.

:39 he went on his way rejoicing

This man has been saved.

It was from this man that the Christianity came to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia would be known for almost two thousand years as a “Christian Nation”, that is until the Marxists overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.


Obey in small things

Philip might have questioned God for leading him away from the great revival going on in Samaria.
And then to find out that it was just to talk with one man!  Even if this man was important, it’s only one man!
Yet this man would affect an entire nation, for thousands of years.
John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his life.  Never.  Wasn't that he didn't want to, just never needed to.  But then one morning he did.  The snow left his town of Colchester, England, buried in white.  When he awoke on that January Sunday in 1850, he thought of staying home.  Who would go to church in such weather?  But he reconsidered.  He was, after all, a deacon.  And if the deacons didn't go, who would? So he put on his boots, hat, and coat and walked the six miles to the Methodist Church.  He wasn't the only member who considered staying home.  In fact, he was one of the few who came.  Only thirteen people were present.  Twelve members and one visitor.  Even the minister was snowed in.  Someone suggested they go home.  Egglen would hear none of that.  They'd come this far; they would have a service.  Besides, they had a visitor.  A thirteen-year-old boy.
But who would preach?  Egglen was the only deacon.  It fell to him.  And so he did. His sermon lasted only ten minutes. 

I’ll let the young boy tell the rest of the story…

Play Spurgeon’s Conversion clip.

The boy's name?  Charles Haddon  Spurgeon.  England's prince of preachers.

--Max Lucado in When God Whispers Your Name, (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994).

:40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

:40 Philip was found at Azotus

Azotus was also known in earlier days as Ashdod, one of the chief cities of the Philistines.

:40 till he came to Caesarea

Play Gaza to Caesarea map clip

Philip goes from Gaza to Azotus to Caesarea.

Caesarea was a city built by Herod the Great in order to gain favor with the Romans.

We might think of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but politically in those days Caesarea was the actual capital.

Caesarea was where the Roman governors, like Pontius Pilate, would have their residences.
They would only show up in Jerusalem for the Jewish holidays.

It’s almost as if Philip has decided to move to Washington D.C.

He will settle down in Caesarea and raise his family there, including four daughters (Acts 21:8-9)

(Ac 21:8–9 NKJV) —8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.