Series 58


by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Acts 8:26-39)

The greatest day in the life of a Christian is the day of his conversion. There are others which are noteworthy but this is the greatest – when through God’s grace we passed from death to life (John 5:24). The conversion in this study is that of an Ethiopian who held a very high position in the Queen’s court. He was in fact her treasurer. After the Flood the earth was repopulated through three of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. From Shem came the Jewish race, from Ham came the black people of the world, and from Japheth came the Gentiles. So in Acts chapters 8, 9 and 10 we read of the conversion of three different people: the Queen’s treasurer (representing the black people), Saul of Tarsus (representing the Jewish people) and Cornelius (representing the Gentiles). The Ethiopian was no ignoramus, but an educated, alert and probably quite wealthy man who was hungry for the Lord, because he had travelled all the way from Africa in order to worship God in Jerusalem. Whilst there he came into possession of a scroll, part of Isaiah’s prophecy, and was reading it on the way home. But God was at work – read these verses carefully and see the amazing way in which the Lord reached out for this soul and sent His servant Philip to lead him into blessing. There are several outstanding things which he would always remember in connection with his conversion:-

1. He would always remember the place where it happened

Being converted is such a definite experience and many can pinpoint the time and place where it happened. We could ask Matthew, Peter or the dying thief maybe, or Saul, Lydia or the Jailer to tell us when and where they were converted, and they would be able to give us the answer very quickly. In what different and strange places God meets with people and saves them! Where were you saved? – at home or abroad? during the day or at night? If you cannot remember the time or place, the important thing is to know that it took place and that you are here and now trusting Jesus (John 9:25).

2. He would always remember the preacher whom God used

Sometimes God works by communicating His word directly, as He did in the case of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-6). But very often He uses a preacher, someone through whom He announces His message (1 Corinthians 1:21). In this case the preacher was Philip, a layman who was filled with the Holy Spirit and who had a burning passion for the salvation of others. He had been greatly used in big meetings in Samaria (Acts 8:5-8) but now God had directed him to the desert of Gaza so that he could lead this one man to the Lord (Acts 8:26-30). What an ideal preacher Philip was! Notice his humility, his obedience, his availability, and notice too that he had only one message – look at verses 31-35. So God sent Philip to intercept the Queen’s treasurer and lead him into the joy of salvation.

3. He would always remember the Scripture which led to his conversion

This is brought before us in verses 30-35. What was the portion of Scripture? It was Isaiah chapter 53, especially verses 5 and 6. So Philip immediately preached the gospel from this portion of God’s Word, explaining the truths of John 3:16; Acts 13:38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 7:25; and it is quite evident from verse 37 that he truly believed on the Lord and received Him as his Saviour, calling upon Him for salvation (John 1:12; Romans 10:13). This is the only way for a sinner to be saved.

4. He would always remember the publicity which accompanied his conversion

It is evident that Philip had instructed the Queen’s treasurer about baptism, about the Lord’s command – look up Matthew 28:19-20; see what verses 36-39 tell us. There was no hesitation on the part of this new convert because he was eager to obey the Lord whom he now loved and trusted and wanted to serve with all his heart. He was willing to make an open confession before all the officials who were travelling with him through the desert. He was now a Christian and wanted everyone to know it! How is it with you? It might be a useful exercise to consider the following outline which makes the New Testament teaching on believer’s baptism clear:-

    1. 1. The example: Matthew 3:13-17.
    2. 2. The command: Matthew 28:18-20.
    3. 3. The candidates: Acts 8:12; 18:8.
    4. 4. The significance: Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12.
    5. 5. The motive: John 14:15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.


5. He would always remember the peace and joy which filled his soul that day and every day that followed

This account ends in verse 39 with the words, “(he) went on his way rejoicing.” Of course he did! How could it be otherwise? He now had peace with God (Romans 5:1); and the peace of God filled his heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7). There can be no peace with God and we cannot know the peace of God until the Lord Jesus becomes our personal Saviour. Do you know this joy and peace? – an inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8); the joy of sins forgiven (Psalm 32:1-2); the joy of knowing that your name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20); and the joy of full surrender to the Lord?