By Mike Riley

In the account of the Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion to Christ by Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:27-39 – KJV), we see at least six remarkable “openings.” In this short study, let us consider these “openings,” as we teach others the saving gospel of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

1) “Open” Door Of Opportunity – The first “opening” we see, is the Holy Spirit leading Philip to an “open door.” The eunuch was a devout man, having traveled hundreds of miles from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship God. We’re reluctant at times to share the good news with people who “have their own religion.” We “think” they’ll never change from that religious upbringing, but doesn’t it make sense to share the gospel with people who have already evidenced an interest in the things of God? When Philip asked the eunuch, “Do you understand what you read?” He replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:30-31). Even though this man already knew the Scriptures, he recognized that his understanding was incomplete. He was willing, even eager, to listen and to learn.

2) “Open” Scriptures – Philip began the conversation with the eunuch’s “open” Scriptures (Acts 8:28), and he never let them close. Note that “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Philip didn’t begin talking about his personal opinions, or some philosopher whose works he had read, or the latest religious theories spouted by the wise men at his local synagogue. He “opened” his mouth with the word of God (Acts 8:35). Isn’t it strange that many religious discussions never quite get around to “opening” The Book?

The treasurer responded to Philip’s teaching with an “open” request. “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Notice that the eunuch didn’t argue with the gospel nor did he try to deny the command Philip had put before him. He simply asked for the opportunity to do what he knew needed to be done for the salvation of his soul (cf. Acts 16:30 – KJV – note the word “must”).

3) “Open” Confession – Philip sought an “open” confession from the eunuch – “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The man from Ethiopia immediately replied: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37 – KJV). Philip didn’t insist that the eunuch subscribe to any creed, or swear by any humanly devised catechism, articles of faith, discipline or doctrine. He invited the Ethiopian to state openly and plainly what he now believed, and the eunuch did just that.

4) “Open” Water – Having stopped the chariot, the two men went down together into “open” water (Acts 8:38). We don’t read about Philip dipping his hand into a basin or a puddle, then sprinkling or pouring water on his companion’s head. The very reason the eunuch stopped in this location was that there was abundant water there, just as there had been in Aenon where John was baptizing (John 3:23).

5) “Open” Obedience – The treasurer submitted willingly to an act of “open” obedience. The Scripture tells us that, “they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38). It is interesting to note that Philip didn’t tell the eunuch that because of his faith, his sins were “already forgiven,” as many religious teachers would have told him today. Nor was the eunuch asked by Philip to pray a “sinner’s prayer,” or any other “catchy” religious euphemism. Jesus Christ, through the preaching of the gospel, commanded him to be baptized (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:47-48), and this humble man obeyed.

6) “Open” Celebration – When the eunuch had been baptized, he engaged in “open” celebration. Note the eunuch, “….he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39 – KJV).

Brethren, How many “openings” have we missed recently? How many “open” doors have we let pass by this week? How many “open” hearts have we failed to “open” the Scriptures to in our life? And, dear reader, if you are not a Christian, why not make the same “open” request and “open” confession that the man from Ethiopia made, “openly” obeying the gospel by being buried in “open” water? (Acts 8:36-38). Then you too can “openly” rejoice at God’s gracious “remission” (KJV) or “forgiveness” (ESV) of your sins (Acts 8:39; cf. Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38).