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06 June 30, 2013, The Effective Christian Life, Acts 8;26-40

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06 June 30, 2013, The Effective Christian Life, Acts 8;26-40

  1. 1. “The Effective Christian Life” Philip and the Ethiopian Acts 8:26-40 June 30, 2013 FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI USA
  2. 2. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association My Hope Outreach Emphasis www.myhopewithbillygraham.org
  3. 3. JUNE MEMORY VERSE Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
  4. 4. the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
  5. 5. July 7th—Lesson 2— “The Christian Witness” ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL RALLY IN FELLOWSHIP HALL EAST AT 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  6. 6. July 7th lesson led by Ken Blackstock and Ken Sims.   July 14th--Lesson 3 “The Care of New Christians” 1 Thessalonians 2 & 3
  7. 7. WHAT’S THE #1 THING?
  8. 8. BRING GLORY TO GOD!
  9. 9. 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
  10. 10. 1) Bet Sepher - ages 6-10 House of the Book 2) Bet Talmud - ages 10-14 House of Learning 3) Bet Midrash -ages 15-30 House of Study Talmidim - disciple
  11. 11. The best of the best from Bet Sepher went on to Bet Talmud and the best of the best of the House of Learning went on to Bet Midrash (House of Study) at age 15.
  12. 12. *The Jewish Educational System of Jesus’ Day *Jesus: A Jewish Rabbi and His Yoke *Follow in His Dust
  13. 13. In Jesus day, there were two different kinds of Rabbis: 1) Common rabbis 2) Rabbis with s’mekah
  14. 14. Yoke of learning
  15. 15. The rabbis with s’mekah referred to their own unique collection of interpretations of Scripture as their “yoke” or yoke of learning.
  16. 16. Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in
  17. 17. heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 KJV
  18. 18. Follow in His Dust
  19. 19. Are we walking so closely with Jesus, that we’re covered in His dust?
  20. 20. The Holy Spirit!
  21. 21. PBPGINFWMY Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet
  22. 22. You are God’s Masterpiece
  23. 23. *In Ephesians 2:10, the passage that we studied three weeks ago, Paul says we are the workmanship of God, God’s poem! *God is not finish writing all of His poetry yet!
  24. 24. Allow Him to write the rest of your story. The Gospel According to You?
  25. 25. 10 For we are his (poiema) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 KJV
  26. 26. …“created in Christ Jesus unto good works” for God’s glory! WHAT’S THE #1 THING?
  27. 27. BRING GLORY TO GOD!
  28. 28. Acts 8:26-40
  29. 29. Acts 8:26-40 KJV 26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto
  30. 30. Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the
  31. 31. charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet.
  32. 32. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
  33. 33. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  34. 34. 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
  35. 35. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
  36. 36. 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
  37. 37. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
  38. 38. 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
  39. 39. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  40. 40. 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  41. 41. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
  42. 42. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
  43. 43. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. Acts 8:26-40 KJV
  44. 44. A eunuch is a man who may have been castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences.
  45. 45. Castration was typically carried out on the soon-to- be eunuch without his consent in order that he might perform a specific social function.
  46. 46. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the 21st century BC.
  47. 47. Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures: treble singers, religious specialists, government officials and
  48. 48. guardians of women or harem servants.
  49. 49. A study on eunuchs has found that they live 13.5 years longer than non- eunuch men as a result of a lack of testosterone, which suppresses the immune system, and its
  50. 50. resultant negative effects on health.
  51. 51. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Copyright © Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2007.
  52. 52. *Influenced by the surrounding nations, Israel frequently fell into pagan idolatry. *An idolatrous Israel had no message to give to the idolatrous Gentile nations.
  53. 53. By the time of Jesus, the worship of pagan idols was gone, disappearing for the most part after the Babylonian Captivity.
  54. 54. It was replaced, however, by a corrupted form of Judaism that advocated salvation by works.
  55. 55. Because of Israel's failure, God cut a new channel through which His blessings could reach the world — the church.
  56. 56. Unlike national Israel, the church would embrace all nations.
  57. 57. Beginning on Pentecost and in Jerusalem as an exclusively Jewish group, the church soon reached out to the half-breed Samaritans.
  58. 58. Another milestone was reached as Philip presented Jesus Christ to a Gentile.
  59. 59. Through this man, a high official in the court of the Ethiopian queen, the gospel would first penetrate the souls of the great African continent.
  60. 60. In contrast to Simon the Magician, his faith was genuine, resulting in salvation.
  61. 61. That genuine faith required three elements: the proper preparation, the proper presentation, and the proper response.
  62. 62. PROPER PREPARATION
  63. 63. Genuine saving faith demands the proper preparation. In the parable of the sower, only the good, properly prepared soil
  64. 64. brought forth the fruits of salvation. The text indicates four features which prepared the soil of the eunuch's heart.
  65. 65. Paul writes, "If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see
  66. 66. the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). *Satan and his demon hosts are also actively involved in keeping men
  67. 67. from finding God's truth.
  68. 68. Like the birds in the parable of the sower, they snatch away from fallen men the truth of the Gospel.
  69. 69. As a result, "when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart" (Matthew 13:19).
  70. 70. The Spirit began his preparatory work by maneuvering Philip into a strategic position.
  71. 71. An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.)
  72. 72. The circumstances that were to lead to the eunuch's salvation were sovereignly and specifically arranged by the Spirit.
  73. 73. Gaza (one of the oldest cities in the world at 5,000 years old) was one of the five chief cities of the Philistines, along with Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath (Goliath).
  74. 74. A road from Jerusalem to Egypt ran through the ruins of old Gaza (where Samson died).
  75. 75. Luke's footnote that this is a desert road underscores the strangeness of the Spirit's command to Philip.
  76. 76. There were two roads from Jerusalem to Gaza, and the Spirit commands Philip to take the one that was seldom used.
  77. 77. It is also possible to translate the Greek phrase kata mesembrian (toward the south) “at noon”.
  78. 78. That rendering would make the divine command to Philip all the more unusual: at noon the road would be deserted of travelers because of the heat.
  79. 79. This was no mere chance encounter and certainly not the result of clever human ingenuity.
  80. 80. *Apart from the Spirit's orchestration of events, it would have never taken place at all. *That emphasizes again the sovereign work of the Spirit in salvation.
  81. 81. THE SUBMISSIVE WILL OF PHILIP Acts 8:27a “And he arose and went;”
  82. 82. God often accomplishes His sovereign work through human instruments (Acts 2:4,14; 4:8,31; 6:3-8; 7:55; 8:17; 10; 16:25-34).
  83. 83. Like a master sculptor, He takes otherwise useless and inconsequential tools and uses them to create a masterpiece.
  84. 84. There is a prerequisite, however, for being used by God. Paul writes, "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of
  85. 85. wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor,
  86. 86. sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:20-21). God uses holy tools to do His work.
  87. 87. Philip was such an instrument. When ordered to go on what must have seemed an illogical journey, he arose and went.
  88. 88. *He did not struggle with the irrationality of the command before obeying, nor did he question God. *Partial obedience is disobedience. *Delayed obedience is disobedience.
  89. 89. To leave the thriving work in Samaria for a deserted road might seem absurd to many but not to the man of God who has just been visited by an angel of the Lord.
  90. 90. By willing obedience he became the means by which God saved the eunuch.
  91. 91. THE SEARCHING WORSHIP OF THE EUNUCH Acts 8:27b
  92. 92. Acts 8:27b KJV and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure,
  93. 93. and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Acts 8:27b KJV
  94. 94. The Ethiopian eunuch was a seeker after the true God, as shown by his long journey to Jerusalem to worship.
  95. 95. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
  96. 96. How he came into contact with Judaism is not told, but there was a large Jewish colony at Alexandria.
  97. 97. He was a high ranking official in his country, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Ethiopia in that day was a large kingdom located south of Egypt.
  98. 98. To the Greeks and Romans, it represented the outer limits of The known world.
  99. 99. Its kings were believed to be incarnations of the sun god, and the everyday affairs of government were beneath them.
  100. 100. Real power lay with the queen mothers, known by the hereditary title Candace (which is not a proper name, but an official title, like Pharaoh or Caesar).
  101. 101. This man was in charge of all her treasure. In today’s terms, he was the Minister of Finance, or Secretary of the Treasury.
  102. 102. Despite his power and prestige, he had a vast emptiness in his soul.
  103. 103. He made a long, arduous journey from his homeland to Jerusalem, searching for the true God.
  104. 104. Unfortunately, given the state of contemporary Judaism (based on works), he probably went away still empty.
  105. 105. Because he was a eunuch, he would have been denied access to the temple (Deut 23:1) and therefore been unable to participate fully in the Jewish worship services.
  106. 106. Deuteronomy 23:1 KJV 1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
  107. 107. Further, he would not have been allowed to become a full proselyte to Judaism.
  108. 108. He would have been limited to the status of a God-fearer — one who attended the synagogues and read the Scriptures but stopped short of becoming a full proselyte.
  109. 109. The Gentile Cornelius was an example of such a God-fearer (Acts 10:1-2).
  110. 110. God's sovereignty in salvation does not obviate man's responsibility. That God rewards the seeking heart is the clear teaching of Scripture.
  111. 111. In Jeremiah 29:13 God said, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
  112. 112. *The eunuch is a classic example of one who lived up to the light he had. *God then gave him the full revelation of Jesus Christ through Philip's ministry.
  113. 113. Acts 8:28 KJV 28  “was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet.”
  114. 114. While returning to his own country, the eunuch was sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.
  115. 115. He had a desire to know God and was aware that He was to be known through the Scripture. He was indeed an eager seeker.
  116. 116. He had no doubt paid a great price in Jerusalem for that scroll, which would have been difficult for a Gentile to acquire.
  117. 117. Perhaps Isaiah had special meaning to him, since the book speaks encouragingly to eunuchs (Isaiah 56:3-5).
  118. 118. Isaiah 53:3-5 KJV 3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly
  119. 119. separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
  120. 120. 4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
  121. 121. 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that
  122. 122. shall not be cut off. Isaiah 56:3-5 KJV
  123. 123. While God's existence, and some of His attributes, can be discerned from nature (Rom 1:20), saving knowledge of Him comes only through the Bible.
  124. 124. Romans 10:12b-15 KJV 12b for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  125. 125. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a
  126. 126. preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring
  127. 127. glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:12b-15 KJV
  128. 128. *All the essentials were in place; the Spirit's work of preparation was complete. *Philip had obeyed the Spirit's call and was in place to meet the man.
  129. 129. The eunuch's heart was seeking, prepared by reading the Scriptures. All was set for the next step.
  130. 130. Acts 8:29 KJV When the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot," he instantly obeyed.
  131. 131. *Although the eunuch's entourage must have been impressive, Philip was not intimidated. *Boldness belongs to Spirit filled people (Acts 4:31).
  132. 132. Acts 4:31 KJV 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with
  133. 133. the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31 KJV
  134. 134. We can discern in Philip's words the essence of an effective presentation of the Gospel.
  135. 135. IT MUST CENTER ON SCRIPTURE
  136. 136. Acts 8:28b-31 KJV 28b and sitting in his chariot read Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet.
  137. 137. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
  138. 138. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  139. 139. 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. Acts 8:28b-31 KJV
  140. 140. Apparently without the benefit of a formal introduction normally required for an audience with such an exalted leader, and demonstrating his eagerness by having
  141. 141. run up, Philip heard him reading Isaiah the prophet.
  142. 142. The ancient custom of reading aloud provided an opening for Philip, who, though a complete stranger, boldly asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
  143. 143. The man was so perplexed by the passage he had been reading that he seems not to have cared who Philip was or why he was in his presence.
  144. 144. The eunuch just exclaimed, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?"
  145. 145. *Amazingly, he then invited Philip to come up and sit with him. *The evangelist's heart must have been rejoicing in the confidence that God had so prepared this man.
  146. 146. That the official invited Philip to explain the Scriptures to him speaks of the eunuch's seeking, humble, and teachable spirit (Isaiah 55:6-7).
  147. 147. Acts 8:32-34 KJV 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb
  148. 148. before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
  149. 149. 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
  150. 150. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Acts 8:32-34 KJV
  151. 151. That passage, taken from Isaiah 53:7-8, puzzled the eunuch.
  152. 152. His confusion was understandable, since contemporary Jewish thought was divided on the interpretation of this passage.
  153. 153. Some held that the slaughtered sheep represented the nation, others that Isaiah spoke of himself, still others that he referred to the Messiah.
  154. 154. There was no doubt in Philip's mind, however, of whom Isaiah wrote.
  155. 155. Philip was knowledgeable enough in the Scriptures to meet the eunuch where he was.
  156. 156. Every believer should strive to be proficient in the Scriptures so that we, too, can meet people at the point of their perplexity and lead them to the Savior.
  157. 157. In the words of Peter, we are to "always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us" (1 Peter 3:15b).
  158. 158. IT MUST CENTER ON JESUS CHRIST
  159. 159. Acts 8:35 KJV 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
  160. 160. Philip was ready. Beginning from the very Scripture the eunuch had been reading, he preached Jesus to him.
  161. 161. He showed the eunuch that the Lamb of which the passage spoke was none other than the Messiah, Who would be the ultimate and final sacrifice for sin.
  162. 162. He then presented evidence that Jesus was that Messiah.
  163. 163. Any Gospel presentation, to be effective, must clearly and comprehensively present the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
  164. 164. Perhaps the reason some reject Jesus is that He has not been presented well enough for them to understand Who He is and what He has accomplished.
  165. 165. To proclaim to others what Christ has done in our lives is important, but the Biblical truth about Jesus Christ is the essential message the sinner must hear.
  166. 166. As Paul wrote to the Romans, "Faith comes from hearing . . . the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
  167. 167. THE PROPER RESPONSE
  168. 168. The Spirit's preparation and Philip's presentation combined to produce the proper response on the eunuch's part.
  169. 169. That proper response was threefold: 1) faith 2) confession 3) rejoicing
  170. 170. Acts 8:36 KJV 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  171. 171. FAITH
  172. 172. As they went along the road the eunuch was instructed about baptism.
  173. 173. They came across a pool or stream in the desert at just the appropriate moment for the man to publicly testify to his saving faith by being obedient to the ordinance
  174. 174. of immersion.
  175. 175. That is yet another example of the Holy Spirit's control of events.
  176. 176. CONFESSION
  177. 177. Acts 8:37-38 KJV 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  178. 178. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Acts 8:37-38 KJV
  179. 179. Baptism is the public confession of faith expected of all believers.
  180. 180. The eunuch not only confessed his faith personally to Philip but openly in front of his entire entourage.
  181. 181. *That both he and Philip went down into the water indicates that his baptism was by immersion. *So the word baptizo means “to immerse” not “to dip”.
  182. 182. REJOICING
  183. 183. Acts 8:39-40 KJV 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no
  184. 184. more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. Acts 8:39-40
  185. 185. By performing this startling miracle, the Holy Spirit confirmed to the entire caravan that Philip was indeed His spokesman. So are we!
  186. 186. As for the eunuch, he went on his way home rejoicing. Joy is a mark of a true believer!
  187. 187. Philip, meanwhile, found himself at Azotus. Azotus, twenty miles north of Gaza, was the current name for the ancient Philistine city of Ashdod.
  188. 188. *As he passed through the coastal region, he kept preaching the Gospel to all the cities. *No matter where he was, Philip had only one thing on his mind.
  189. 189. As he made his way north toward Caesarea, where he and his family apparently made their home (Acts 21:9), he preached in the cities (such as Joppa and Lydda,
  190. 190. which Peter would shortly visit) as he traveled.
  191. 191. *Luke does not give us the subsequent history of the Ethiopian eunuch. *According to the church Father Irenaeus, he became a missionary to the Ethiopians.
  192. 192. What is clear is that the Spirit's preparation, coupled with Philip's presentation, produced in him the faith that does save!
  193. 193. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Copyright © Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2007.

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