Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Acts 8:38 HCSB
The Greek word baptizo means “to dip” or “to immerse” and comes from another word meaning “to dip into dye.” When a cloth is dipped into a dye it becomes the color of the dye. When a follower of Christ is baptized, it is a symbolic way of identifying with Jesus Christ. We baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The person being baptized is identifying with the triune God. Note that baptism always follows a person becoming a believer. In Jesus’ final command He directs us to make disciples and baptize them. That is why it is not Scriptural to baptize or sprinkle babies. They have not yet become believers and the act of baptism does not save a person. Faith and belief in Jesus Christ is what saves a person. Baptism is an outward expression of what has taken place in one’s heart. I recently saw a picture on Facebook of a friend of mine in Missouri that had the pleasure of baptizing her daughter. It is always exciting to see people become
believers and get baptized, especially your children.
The Ethiopian eunuch wanted to be baptized because he believed what Philip had shared from the Scriptures and wanted to follow Christ’s command to be baptized. Therefore, they stopped the chariot and Philip baptized him in the river.
Challenge: Have you been baptized as a believer? If not, talk to your pastor about following Christ’s command to be baptized. Pray for those who need to become believers and be baptized.
So Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning from that Scripture. Acts 8:29-30 HCSB
I have learned many different presentations of the Gospel message. The first one I learned was the “Roman Road” using Scriptures from Romans to present the Gospel. Then I learned the Evangelism Explosion presentation followed by Continuing Witness Training. The last technique was “FAITH” presentation using the letters of faith as an acrostic to present the plan of salvation. The easiest method is the one we use with children in Vacation Bible School that simply uses A-B-C: Admit that you are a sinner; Believe that Jesus was the Son of God, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead; and Confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Regardless of the plan, presentation, or method, as believers we are all called to be prepared to share the Good News with those who need to know Jesus as Lord (1 Peter 3:15). Jesus’ final command was, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20). The only way we can make disciples is to share the plan of salvation so the
recipient can become a believer.
Philip was prepared to share the Gospel message. He certainly never took Evangelism Explosion, CWT, or FAITH, but he knew how to explain the Scriptures, detailing how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading from Isaiah.
Challenge: Would you be prepared to share your faith with someone who is lost and needs Jesus as Lord and Savior? Pray that God will give you opportunities to share Jesus with others as the Holy Spirit directs you. You have the Good News – share it rather than hoard it! Practice with a fellow believer how to present the Gospel message so you can become more comfortable with sharing the plan of salvation with those whose eternities depend upon it.
The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.” When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Acts 8:29-30 HCSB
Even though I have a seminary degree there have been many times that I have not understood the Scriptures. I have had to seek help from commentaries, footnotes in the study Bible, and other people to get a better understanding of what God is saying through His Word. At times I will read a portion of the Scripture that I have read many times, but God provides new insight and understanding. It is exciting to constantly be learning new ways that God reveals Himself to us through His Word.
The Ethiopian eunuch was on a spiritual pilgrimage and was seeking answers from God. He was reading God’s Word but did not understand what he was reading. God provided Philip at just the right time to help him completely understand the Scriptures he was reading and how they related to the overarching message of the Bible – the Good News of Jesus Christ and how he could be forgiven of his sins and receive eternal life.
Challenge: When we earnestly seek God and His ways through the reading of His Word, God will provide a way for us to completely understand what He desires for our lives. Spend time in God’s Word each day. Ask Him to reveal new truths and understanding to you. Look for ways to apply what you have learned from God’s Word in your own life each day.
So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. Acts 8:27-28 HCSB
Recently a family came to our church on a Wednesday night seeking to find some help because of some spiritual struggles they were having. They had not been in church and did not own a Bible or even know any of the stories or the message of forgiveness and salvation in the Scriptures. I was able to talk to them about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how He had died for their sins. Both the husband and wife prayed to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. They had come to our church seeking a place where they could get some answers and spiritual guidance.
The Ethiopian had traveled all the way from Ethiopia to Jerusalem just to worship God. This was a very long journey that took many days. Depending upon the location of departure in Ethiopia, the traveling distance could be anywhere from 1500 miles to 6500 miles. The Ethiopian was a man on a mission. He was seeking spiritual help and wanted to worship God.
Challenge: Would you be willing to travel by chariot for days just to worship God? Many of us will stay home from church if it is raining or just cold outside. It appears nothing was going to stop the Ethiopian eunuch from finding a way to worship God. He was willing to go to great lengths to seek the spiritual help he desired.
An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert Road.) Acts 8:26 HCSB
A pastor called asking if I would consider coming to Houston, Texas to talk about serving there as Youth Minister. It did not seem like a good move for me since the church was much smaller than where I was currently serving. After politely declining his invitation, he asked if he could travel to Orlando, Florida to talk to me. I responded, “You are welcome to come, but I really do not feel led to come to Houston.” A week later he came to talk with my wife and me. We were so impressed with his humble attitude, I agreed to go to Houston and meet with key members of the church leadership. I felt God was directing me to go to Houston even though it did not seem at all logical. In less than two years God used me as His instrument to help the youth ministry group grow from practically nothing to over 20. I led a group to go on a mission trip that impacted many more lives. My time in Houston also opened the doors for me to go the First Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas as Youth
Minister where there was a youth group of over 250. Because I listened to God and went where He sent me, He allowed me to enjoy an impactful ministry to even more teens and their families. God is good!
Even though Philip was preaching to great crowds in Samaria, he was obedient to go where God sent him and was able to effectively share the Gospel message with the Ethiopian. Certainly, the influential Ethiopian leader would have returned to his own country and shared the Good News with others.
Challenge: Are you willing to be obedient to follow God’s leading, even if it takes you somewhere that does not seem logical? You never know how God will use you to minister to others. Following God’s plan will always bring good results.
So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7 HCSB
I stood on the shore of the lake. The waters were perfectly still and reflected the varied colors of red, orange, and yellow fall leaves on the trees on the opposite shore. It was such a beautiful sight and a vivid reminder of the greatness and creativity of God. As I picked up a stone and tossed it into the lake, the ripples began in the center where the stone hit the water and spread out in all directions. It reminded me of the way in which the Good News of Jesus Christ spread throughout the world.
This Scripture records that the preaching of God flourished and that the number of disciples multiplied greatly. Even priests began to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The Good News of Jesus Christ started in Jerusalem and just like the ripples on the lake, it spread outward and eventually went around the world. It is amazing to me that after 2000 years there are still people groups who have not heard the Gospel Message and do not know anything about Jesus.
Challenge: It is our job to continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those we encounter each day. What can you do this week to share the Gospel with your family, friends, and work associates? Pray that preaching about God will flourish and that we will see people accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. Acts 6:6 HCSB
I can clearly remember the beautiful June day in 1976 when I was ordained to the Gospel ministry at Bashford Manor Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. My father made the day even more special by preaching my ordination service. I can recall kneeling at the front of the church while the deacons and ministers came by and one by one laid their hands on my head. Each one whispered a brief prayer or a word of instruction or encouragement. Ordination was a way of acknowledging that I had been set apart by God for the Gospel ministry as a vocation.
The seven men that had been selected stood before the apostles who then prayed for them and laid hands on them. This was an installation or commissioning service for the seven men. The laying on of the hands was a Jewish practice that was used to indicate that a person had been set apart for a certain job (see Number 27:23 and Deuteronomy 34:9). This symbolic action was sometimes used as a way of blessing another person.
Challenge: Have you been set apart for a special service? You may not have been called to be a minister of the Gospel or a deacon, but God may be calling you to serve in the church as a teacher, a committee member, or even to sing in the choir. Consider using your God-given talents and skills to serve the Lord.
Therefore, brother, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. Acts 6:3 HCSB
Having been in full-time ministry for 40 years, I have had to learn the skill of delegation. At times it is easier to just do the job independently rather than delegate it to someone else. At other times a job may necessitate independence. Good delegation requires selecting the right people and training them to do the job correctly. Often the more people involved in the planning process, the more people will be involved in implementing the plan. Allowing others to be involved lends ownership and provides a way for many to use their God-given talents to serve. If delegation is done correctly, the job seems easier and the task is done with a spirit of unity and excellence.
The Twelve decided to delegate the responsibility of the widows’ food distribution to other people so they could devote themselves to prayer and preaching. Note the requirements for these leaders: of good reputation (the person was known as an individual of integrity, also a requirement for an overseer – see 1 Timothy 3:7), full of the Spirit (it was obvious that the person allowed the Holy Spirit to give direction to his life), possessing wisdom (the ability to properly discern right from wrong). These are leadership skills that would be beneficial to anyone.
Challenge: Would you qualify to have been selected to serve as one of the leaders responsible for the distribution of food and money? Seek to be a person of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit, and wise. Delegate responsibilities and use the skills of others.
Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters. Acts 6:2 HCSB
As the Church Administrator I am responsible for helping to develop the annual budget and watching to make sure we keep our expenses within what is budgeted, but more importantly to keep expenses within receipts. It is important to take care of financial matters properly and to be wise stewards of the money that God provides for outreach, missions, and ministry. I take care of the finances so the pastor does not have to worry about it and can focus on preaching the Word of God and ministering to people.
The early church needed someone to take care of the financial matters surrounding the distribution of food and money to the widows so the Twelve could focus on preaching the Good News. The Twelve had their priorities correct and kept the “main thing” the “main thing.” The preaching of the Gospel is of upmost importance. It is the final command of Jesus Christ to His church – Go and make disciples. We must preach the Gospel so people can hear and understand the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Challenge: What are your priorities? The sharing your faith and doing that which proclaims the Gospel message is what is of most importance. Ask God to help you to remain faithful to the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. Acts 6:1 HCSB
Our church has a food distribution program called Dare to Care. People who are in need of food can come to the church and receive a box of food. They must be a county resident and they can only come a certain amount of times each month. Some get a greater quantity of food because of the number of people in their families. Some of the food is provided by the organization Dare to Care and the church voluntarily supplements with other food.
Food distribution is not a new ministry. The early church was in the food distribution business. Each day they would distribute food and money to the widows and those in need. The Hellenistic Jews were those who spoke Greek, while the Hebraic Jews spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. Evidently, the Greek speaking Jews felt that they were not being treated fairly and complained to the church leaders.
Challenge: Do you overlook those who are in need? Consider getting involved in helping with the Dare to Care ministry or supporting it with your gifts and donations. Remember to always treat people fairly and look for ways to help those in need.