A Deacon Delivers

By Karla Schettenhelm, Children's Ministry
This lesson shows us how God used a man, Philp, to help another man, the Ethiopian, understand God’s word.  After the Ethiopian learned about God he wanted to be baptized, and Philip baptized him.
We see how the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Baptism to give faith.
Find the account of this story in Acts 8:26-40

Story

The account below is taken from the Enduring Faith Bible Curriculum Unit 3, Lesson 11

An angel of the Lord told Philip the deacon [one of the seven men along with Stephen chosen to be caretakers of the people] to get up and go south on a road through the desert that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip went right away.

A rich man from Ethiopia was riding in a chariot. The rich man worked for Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all of her treasure. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way home. He was reading the Holy Scriptures from a scroll.

Then along came Philip, and the Spirit said, “Go!” So Philip ran to catch up to the chariot. Philip heard the man reading a passage from Isaiah 53 and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man said, “No. I can’t understand unless someone helps me. Please help me. Come and sit with me.”

The Ethiopian read a passage of Scripture and said, “Tell me, who is the lamb?”
Philip said, “Jesus is the lamb.” Then Philip told him more of God’s Good News – that Jesus died and rose.

“Now I understand,” said the man from Ethiopia.

As they went along, the man saw water. “Look!  Here is water! Philip, can you baptize me?” He stopped the chariot and they both went down to the water.

Philip baptized the man from Ethiopia. What a joyful day!

When they came out of the water, the Spirit carried Philip away.

The man from Ethiopia could not see Philip anymore but rejoiced and went on his way.

Philip found himself at Azotus, and he kept preaching the Gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Watch Philip and The Ethiopian Man from LifeKids for a quick version of the account.

Act out the account.  
Set 2 chairs together for the chariot. You can have more than one Philip and more than one Ethiopian man depending on the size of your family. Go through the account having family members play the parts of the two men.

After you have acted it out, answer this:
Would you rather have been Philip or the Ethiopian in this narrative? Why?

Things to Consider

Read Isaiah 53:7-8 to read the same passage the Ethiopian man was reading. What does the passage say about Jesus?

The Ethiopian man did not understand what he was reading. Philip helped him. 
  • Who helps you understand the Bible (it is probably more than one person)?
  • What is the job of the Holy Spirit? (To help us with our faith. He’s sort of our “Holy Helper.”)
  • How does the Holy Spirit do this? (Through Baptism and God’s Word.)

Read 1 Corinthians 12:3 and Ephesians 1:13. These verses tell about the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

It is pretty unusual for the Holy Spirit to be talking to Philip and moving him around in this supernatural way. We do not see this mentioned in any other New Testament story. Ezekiel records being moved this way in the Old Testament.
Read Ezekiel 2:1–2 and 3:12–15 and see how the Holy Spirit moved Ezekiel.

Just as God did with the Ethiopian, He works through His Word and Baptism to make us His children.

His Word- The Bible

This week’s Bible verse is 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.' Romans 10:17

Hearing God’s Word is a wonderful gift that the Lord has given us. It brings us faith and life. God’s Word is given to us in the Bible.

Find the Bibles and Bible storybooks in your house. 
  • How many can you find?  
  • How are they different?  
  • Do you know where they all came from?  
  • Are any extra special family Bibles or given to you for a special occasion?

A Bible rhyme for younger children:
The Bible is God’s Word, and every word is true. (Open hands like book)
for me and you (Point to self and others)
We can learn some Bible words, just one or two each day. (Show 1 finger, then 2)
Then we can tell about Jesus. (Make a cross with fingers) We’ll know just what to say. (Cup hands around mouth)

Celebrate the Bible with a song, The Bible (Go Fish)
If you/your children have been baptized, look at pictures from that day.  
Who was with you?  
Did anyone give a gift for that special day – a cross, a picture frame, a Bible, a special stuffed animal?  
Do you still have any of the mementos from this day?

If you/your children have not been baptized, consider talking to a pastor about being baptized.
Read about Baptism from Luther’s Small Catechism (for older children and adults):
IV. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

First

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God's command and combined with God's Word.

Which is that word of God?

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy  Spirit.' Matthew 28:19

Second

What benefits does Baptism give?

It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are these words and promises of God?

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark: 'Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.' Mark 16:16

Third

How can water do such great things?

Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God’s word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus chapter three:  'He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.' Titus 3:5-8

Fourth

What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

St. Paul writes in Romans chapter 6: 'We were therefore buried with Him through Baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.' Romans 6:4

Spread the Word

By sending Philip to the Ethiopian man God brought the Gospel into Africa. The Ethiopian man went back to Ethiopia rejoicing. In this rejoicing he no doubt spread the Word to his friends and fellow countrymen. Sharing the Word and baptizing one person spread the Gospel to so many people.

The same is true for us. We can make a difference by telling just one person about Jesus—and they tell someone, and they tell someone, and the pattern repeats until many people hear the message.
On a piece of  paper make a diagram that shows how starting with just one person can turn into so many people. Show one person telling two people and those two people telling two people and on and on until your paper is filled with people knowing Jesus!

Be Active

Acts 8:30 tells us that Philip ran up to the chariot.  
  • Run in your backyard or down the sidewalk, or jog in place.  
  • Go to a park or a track and run/jog/walk with your family.

Walk like a horse and chariot rider
  • 2 children or an adult and a child pair up and stand one in front of the other, pretending to be the horse and Ethiopian in the chariot. 
  • The first person reaches behind him to hold the hands of the second person, making “reins” with their arms. 
    • Pretend to walk down the rode from Jerusalem. 
    • If you have 4 or more people to do this, you can race your horse and chariots.
  • Wheelbarrow walking and races can also mimic horse and chariot riders.  
    • The person in the back holds the front person’s legs while the front person walks with his/her hands. 
    • See how fast or how far you can walk like this.  
    • Race if you have enough people.

Arts and Crafts

The Ethiopian man was reading a scroll – make one of your own.
  • A paper bag makes good scroll material or use any kind of paper.
    • Cut the paper bag or glue smaller paper together to make an 11 x 17 sheet (or any size rectangle will work!)
    • Use 2 approximately 12 inch dowels or rulers or even sticks from outside.
    • Glue (or tape) sticks to paper, one on each shorter side.
    • Write on the paper.
      • Use Isaiah 53:7-8, the verses the Ethiopian man was reading.
      • Use this week’s Bible verse: 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.' Romans 10:17
      • Write your favorite Bible verse
      • For young children draw a picture, or write Jesus loves me.
    • Roll to make a scroll, and tie with ribbon

Music

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank You for giving us people to help us understand the Bible and teach us about Your Word. Thank You for Baptism, where You make us Your children. Help us to share the Gospel like Philip did with the Ethiopian. In Your name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

A Final Thought

This week, and always, think about yourself as a child of God!

Read 1 Peter 2:9–10. All believers in Christ are part of the people of God. Look at the descriptive words in these verses. What do these verses say about who you are as God’s chosen child?

Complete this sentence:
“Because I am God’s child, I am _____.”

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