The Progress Of The Gospel

The Progress Of The Gospel

Book of Acts Chapters 10-11

Before the Book of Acts turns it’s attention to the Apostle Paul, we get to see the Apostle Peter again.

God has clearly revealed the direction the early church was to take!

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

There is no power in any house of God without “Born Again”, “Holy Ghost Filled” believers!

There is no power in the child of God without the Holy Ghost who indwells each believer!

We will see the Apostle Peter complete three things in this study.

Peter will show his God-Given power to heal the sick.

Peter will show us his God-Given power to raise the dead.

Peter will shows us his God-Given power to lead the lost to the Lord, so they could be saved by the “Grace” of God.

So what is God’s greatest miracle?

First none of things theses happened without the power of God.

Everyone that is sick, will again get sick.

Those that were raised from the dead in Bible times had to die again.

Then the greatest miracle must be Salvation!

Salvation will lead us to a place where there will be no sickness and there will be no death but only a place of eternal life!

Let’s begin:

*****Act 10:1  There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

We should not miss the fact that Peter was on his own missionary journey.

Act 9:32  And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

Peter had traveled from Jerusalem to Lydda. As one would travel to the city of Joppa a city on the Mediterranean coast some 30 miles of Jerusalem they would first pass through Emmaus, 7 miles from Jerusalem and then on to Lydda which was 9 miles from Joppa.

While in Lydda Peter had healed a man named Aeneas who had been so sick that he could not get out of his bed for 8 years. That’s like going to Hospice care and healing someone who could then go back home.

Many in Lydda, which were mostly Jews came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

This same area is known as Sharon and the phrase “the rose of Sharon” comes from this area of Israel. Of course we know that the true “rose of Sharon” is Jesus Christ our Lord just as He is the “Lily of our valley”!

While Peter was in Lydda, he and his ministry was known in Joppa, he was called to Joppa for an emergency. Peter found a grand old lady of Joppa called Dorcas which means “gazelle” but her real name was Tabitha.

This grand lady of the city of Joppa was raised from the dead:

Act 9:40  But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

Peter then stayed in Joppa for a period of time in a house of a man named Simon, who was a tanner. Not many Jews would have stayed with a tanner because a tanner had to deal with dead animals which made him unclean in the eyes of the Jew.

Peter was in this place as our lesson unfolds today.

Caesarea was also located on the Mediterranean Sea and was about 70 miles from Jerusalem. This city was built by Herod the Great in honor of Caesar Augustus.

This city was used as the capitol city and the seat of civil government of Rome while they ruled Judaea. Cornelius was an actual Roman Centurion and we can tell by the phrase “the Italian Band”.

Roman citizens and Roman governors would be protected by Roman soldiers collected out of Italy. A Centurion would normally command 100 soldiers.

*****Act 10:2  A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Cornelius was truly a man who had forsaken Roman idolatry and the false religion in which he had been raised as a child. He had come to fear the only true God, who is the God of Israel. Cornelius had even brought up his family in the fear of the God of Israel.

Cornelius gave charitably to the Jews, and Cornelius prayed to God “alway”, which means he prayed continuously.

In the following verses we can see that Cornelius was praying for a closer walk with God!

*****Act 10:3  He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
Act 10:4  And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Don’t you just love the fact that God and all His angels in Heaven know your name. You know if Cornelius lived in America today, he would have pass as a Christian and he would be persecuted by the masses for the way he lived.

He was a military officer, a man of influence, and the foundation of his home. 

God had made Himself known to him  but he had never heard the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

Rom 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

There are so many that live in our world today in this same position waiting on someone to come by and tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

It is believed that this event took place 10 years after Pentecost. We can only know that God has His own plan and it is His plan that works.

But what we see is that when the time came the Holy Spirit began His work on Cornelius and He responded knowing He was meeting the Lord.

In the sense of the Law, Cornelius had been offering a sacrifice that was well pleasing unto God, an odor of sweet smell.

His prayers and his sincerity had won the ear of God!

“But”,  All men shall be accountable to God by Jesus Christ.

He is the only Judge who can Justify each believer!

It is those that believe in His name that can rest assured that there will be no further condemnation!

*****Act 10:5  And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
Act 10:6  He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

Another great thing about our father in Heaven is that, He always knows exactly where we are located at all times. Peter was doing a work in Joppa.

BUT,  this was Peter’s training ground and he had not yet realized it.

It was 30 miles from Caesarea to Joppa and those messengers started that same evening. The business of a tanner would not be hard to find because of the smell and would always be by a large source of water.

The main thing we can see in Cornelius is that he knew his religious devotion was not enough to save him!

Salvation cannot ever be of works!

Those that are satisfied with their good character will still not get into Heaven because they have no concept of their own sin and of God’s “Grace”!

AND, Cornelius needed someone to tell him these things!

*****Act 10:11  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
Act 10:12  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Act 10:13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

Before Peter could lead the Gentiles to the Lord, he needed a little more training. God had to prepare the already Apostle Peter for this work.

The message of the Gospel and God’s “Grace” is the same and will never change but as we carry God’s message to the lost we must have a better understanding of them.!

What we will see in this passage is that most of the barriers to us being true witnesses for the Lord, are within our own selves.

The Apostle Peter had the right message!

He was at the right time and the right place!

BUT,  Peter had lived the life of an orthodox Jew all his life and the Law of Moses was a great wall between the Jew and the Gentiles!

We know that this wall was removed at the cross!

Eph 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus [ye who sometimes were far off] are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

God had declared that there was no difference between the Jew and the Gentile:

Rom 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Notice God knows exactly what it will take to reach each of us in any situation!

Peter was hungry, so God used food to teach Peter a great spiritual lesson.

Peter would also get a first hand lesson on what Jesus had taught him earlier:

Mar 7:15  There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

*****Act 10:14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

The first thing we should see in this verse is that if Christ Jesus is truly Our Lord then the answer “no” cannot exist!

When we say “No” to The Lord then we are not recognizing Him as Our Lord!

This is a contradiction in words!

Jesus teaches us all this truth:

Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

It is a fact that food can cause us many problems but the food we eat CANNOT change our relationship with Our Lord!

After these things were over, Peter was still wondering what had just taken place but as we see God’s timing is always perfect and those messengers from Cornelius had just arrived.

*****Act 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

That voice that Peter had heard said “What God has cleansed, thou call not thou common” and this was repeated 3 times.

As far back as King Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament, we can find the phrase “nor respect of persons” referring to the Lord.

And the exact truth is:

Rom 2:11  For there is no respect of persons with God.

Every person on the face of this Earth stands at the same level before the justice of God and there are no exceptions!

We are all in need of the salvation that can only come through Jesus Christ!

All mankind have the same Creator, and all men need the same Savior, this is the Word of God that is given to us all or to “whosoever” accepts the truth of the Word of God!

Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

That wrath will come to it’s entirety at the Great White Throne Of Judgment!

*****Act 10:35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Before Christ, the Gentile nations were “aliens” from the commonwealth of Israel.

Before Christ, the Gentile nations were “strangers” from the covenant promises to Israel.

Before Christ, the Gentile nations had no hope, and were without God in this world.

Before Christ, there was the Law, but it is Jesus Christ that brought the “Grace” of the Almighty God to every creature on this Earth!

From the very first day of Adam, Our God has required “faith” and after “faith” comes then the “Grace” of God can be shown by Christ through the preaching of the “Gospel”!

God does not honor works as a means of salvation!

But God does honor works that come after faith in those that fear Him! He is the true God of Creation, and  the true God of the Bible!

Cornelius had understood the preaching of John the Baptist according to verse 37:

Joh 1:8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
Joh 1:9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

We will see many other times in the Book of Acts that the preaching of John the Baptist had reached many places outside of Jerusalem.

Yet salvation can still only come through Jesus Christ as we will see in our lesson!

*****Act 10:38  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Peter begins by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter begins by preaching the facts!

You see it took a great power and a great victory to break Satan’s tyranny over the bodies mankind.

Luk 13:16  And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, [whom Satan hath bound], lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

It took great power and a great victory to break Satan’s tyranny over the souls of mankind.

2Ti 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

This is the greatest evidence of the truth of the Gospel and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy:

Isa 49:25  But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

Isa 54:17  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

*****Act 10:39  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Act 10:40  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Jesus had been crucified before the entire world and these things were not hid from the public nor from the Roman army. It was the Jewish leaders that had tried the Lord and it was Rome who had crucified Him.

This was not superstitious reverence but “witnessed”, and “historical” facts!

It was the Apostles and the followers of  Christ who were “eye witnesses” to the resurrection and the days that followed Jesus until He ascended into Heaven, which they also wirnessed.

And there had been many other infallible proofs given to them.

And many prophecies fulfilled:

Hos 6:1  Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hos 6:2  After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, [and we shall live in his sight].

*****Act 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi are just a few of the prophesies we are familiar with but John wrote in the Book of Revelation that Jesus was the Spirit of Prophecy.

Peter said this is who Jesus is. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Anointed One sent from Heaven!

*****Act 10:44  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Just as soon as these that heard Peter, believed, and the Holy Ghost interrupted this meeting:

Peter later explained it like this, he said:

Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Just as the Holy Ghost had fell on those 120 in that upper room on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost fell on this meeting with Cornelius.

Peter was not able to finish his sermon this day, enough was said, because salvation comes to those that believe in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The early church now had Jews, Samaritan, and Gentiles and it was time to go to the uttermost part of the earth.

The key to these things is for every “Born Again” believer to reproduce himself through another lost soul and to produce fruit!

*****Act 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

These are the Jews that were with Peter that day.

It is hard for us to realize the great barrier that existed between the Jew and the Gentile that day but we must realize that war and foreign domination can cause hate. It was the Jews that had brought forth the Word of God and they simply could not believe that Gentiles could be saved. They were enemies to the Jew and certainly, they believed that no Gentile deserved to know their God.

Peter went to where ever God sent him and he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “whosoever”. This was his job and it it God who calls those to Himself who will be saved.

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God [by faith in Christ Jesus].
Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

After salvation comes baptism and after baptism comes the work of telling others about Jesus!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Product Of Persecution

The Product Of Persecution

Book of Acts Chapter 8

With the death of Stephen, persecution increased for the church in Jerusalem. The religious rulers of Israel wanted to totally eliminate Christianity!

So what was the product of this persecution?

The Word of God began it’s journey to the uttermost parts of this world!

No matter how things appear to us, it is God who who sits in control of this earth and the things that happen on this earth.

We should never forget this verse:

Rom 8:28  And we know that “all things” work together for good to them that love God, [to them who are the called according to his purpose].

The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ is much, much, more than an idea or some new religion that can be stopped!

The “Gospel” is the Power Of God!

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: [for “it is the power of God unto salvation”] to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ is the “Doctrine of Christianity” and those that believe and have faith in the “promises” that God makes to each believer shall be saved.

You see Satan is “forced” to remove his hold on those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that “oppose themselves”; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the “acknowledging of the truth”;
2Ti 2:26  And that they may “recover themselves” out of the snare of the devil, [who are taken captive by him at his will].

Let’s begin:

*****Act 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. [And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad] throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

The Church at Jerusalem had grown large by this time. It began with those 120 and in addition to those 3000 early converts we know of at Peters sermon we just recently studied over 5000 more were added and women and children were not even mentioned.

They were called a great multitude of believers who were in one heart and one soul.

It is said that they multiplied greatly “But” they were all staying in Jerusalem!

What had God commanded?

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

They had not even started to do this. So, we can see that God allowed some things to happen. We will soon see that they indeed began to scatter and they first stayed close again which was Samaria.

We can see that God’s “will” will be done!

We can be willing participants or unwilling participants but God will see that His Word is fulfilled!

A church that is willing to send and support missionaries to wherever God sends them may grow and remain large enough to provide that support!

BUT, a church that is not willing and refuses to support those that are called of God and the Men, God has chosen, has little purpose for remaining in great numbers and if they will not even work in their local community there is little need in that church existing.

We can see what this leads to:

Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17  [Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked]:

And we know that this is the direction that the church is headed in our day!

It is more efficient for the church and more Christ honoring, for members to be scattered and form new churches in other areas where they are more needed!

But is was not the right time for the Apostles to be scattered!

Here again we can see that God preferred the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem and protect the flock at this time.

The Bible teaches us:

1Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, [but being ensamples to the flock].

*****Act 8:2  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, and is usually accompanied with cries of grief. We should have this expression every time a man of God is called home and Stephen had fulfilled his purpose set forth of God and “only his body” went into the ground awaiting the resurrection or what we call the “Rapture of the Church”.

2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The soul of Stephen had departed out of this world. The interval between death and the resurrection, is a state of absence from the body, during which time the soul exists in a separate state “with the Lord” and the body in a state of inactivity and “sleep” waiting on the resurrection when “both will be reunited together again” but in a glorified body as that of the Lord.

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are “asleep”, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, [even so them also which “sleep” in Jesus “will God bring with him”].

*****Act 8:3  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Saul was a young man full of zeal about his religion:

Php 3:6  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Gal 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that “beyond measure” I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Gal 1:14  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Saul went into every dwelling where it was reported that a Christian lived and into every house where they gathered and physically dragged these believers out into the streets and then into the prisons.

It can be said that “making havoc” would be like treating these believers as “the filth of the world” especially of Jerusalem.

*****Act 8:4  Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

And what were the results of this persecution?

It would still be wrong to believe that God caused this persecution but it could be said that God allowed this persecution to take place.

Our God is a righteous and a God who is also Holy!

AND, These believers that were scattered abroad went preaching the Word of God!

The Greek word “diasperio” used for the English word “scattered” means to “sow throughout”.

These believers of the early Church in Jerusalem were “God’s spiritual seed” and “persecution” was used of God to “plant this seed in new soil” so it could bear fruit!

It is in the best interest of every house of God to be sure to teach the entire truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which should also include all the Old Testament.

Because every child of God must be “rooted and grounded” in the entire truth of God’s Word!

Col 2:6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Col 2:7  “Rooted” and built up in him, and “stablished” in the faith, as ye have been taught, “abounding” therein with thanksgiving.

*****Act 8:5  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Philip’s glad reception in Samaria is proof of all these truths!

Most of these Samaritans, [with no disrespect], were a half-breed people, a mixture of Jew and Gentile. This was brought about many years earlier when the Assyrians had captured the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.

In 732 BC many of these of Israel were deported into foreign lands and many Gentiles were imported who then inter-married with the Jews that were left behind.

These Samaritans openly opposed the Jews!

It is interesting to note that Israel, gained possession of Jerusalem and most of the old remnant of Samaria during the Six Day War of 1967, which at that time the nation of Jordan “had claimed but were not a part of”.

The nation of Jordan was never the owner of these lands as they belonged to “Israel”.

It should also be noted that Jordan, no longer had any power of this region which we now call the “West Bank”, but they ceded that land “that they never owned but just claimed” to the Palestinian Liberation Organization or the PLO. This happened at two times in 1988 part A and 1994 part B.

Jordan had no authority to do these things and the PLO had and has no right to claim these lands!

The true owners, “Israel” had regained their land in 1967!

Let’s continue:

Philip was one the seven chosen men and what we now call a Deacon but after the death of Stephen and this persecution, he fled to Samaria probably in fear of his own life.

Here Philip preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That word “Christ” means In Greek, “The Anointed One or “The Messiah”.

It seems even many of the Church of today reject that Jesus is the “Christ” or Jesus is the “Messiah”, God in the flesh!

The “lost” cannot be saved if they reject this truth!

*****Act 8:6  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

When God calls someone to go to a specific place of ministry, God will also soften the hearts of those in that place He is sending that person. We will see this over and over again in our study of the Book of Acts.

We can also see that God had given Philip some of those powers that only the Apostles had. All these powers and gifts of these sort, disappeared at the death of the Apostles and only God Himself uses these powers today and most of them go unnoticed.

Salvation did not then nor will it ever come from a miracle or a wonder!

Salvation can only come from the heart of that once lost person!

*****Act 8:7  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Act 8:8  And there was great joy in that city.

Nobody can ever be saved simply because of some miracle!

These people paid more attention to the Word of God that Philip was preaching than they did the miracles that came about through him!

When Philip mentioned that he had left Jerusalem “because the hatred showed to him”, he was probably received with open arms in Samaria and his message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought great joy to these people.

Maybe not all of them had forgotten that day Jesus had stropped by and converted that woman at Jacob’s well.

Joh 4:7  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

While the church in Jerusalem was suffering misery because of persecution, Samaria was having great joy!

*****Act 8:26  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 Gaza, which is desert.

We have skipped many verses to stay with the theme of this lesson but that does not mean they are not very important.

Peter and John “had been sent” to confirm Philip’s work.

This would be the first steps in removing the walls of separation between the Jew and the Samaritan!

We see that Peter and John had been sent as messengers of the Gospel and not in any function as a ruler.

Not one Apostle was regarded or elevated above any of the other Apostles!

And by this time of this verse, Peter and John had returned to Jerusalem and shared, with enthusiasm, the good news that God also would save those that were lost in Samaria.

The Bible says that the truth is:

Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that “whosoever” shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But while revival was going on in Samaria, Philip was called of God for a more important task.

There was a single individual on his way home that was under conviction by the Word of God and needed to be shown how to make application of God’s Word.

We must realize that no angel has ever experienced God’s “Grace” therefore, they can never bear witness of what it takes to be “Saved”!

1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; [which things the angels desire to look into].

The angels desire to know the salvation that “Grace” provides and also the feeling of the “indwelling” of the Spirit but they will never know these things on a personal level.

But they do have great joy for everyone of God’s creation that does when they see the pleasure on God’s face.

Luk 15:7  I say unto you, that likewise [joy shall be in heaven] over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Gaza was the southern most city “of Israel” and a route between Syria and Egypt. This road was well traveled by visitors to Jerusalem.

*****Act 8:27  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 charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Act 8:28  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

As we witness for the Lord we should also realize that God will direct us to the right person at the exact right time.

This eunuch was a man of great authority and that word “Ethiopia” is given to us to tell us that this was a black man.

This is one of the places where God shows us that the Gospel is for “whosoever” and through this man the “Gospel” would be spread to this area of the Gentile world as well as all others.

That word “Whosoever” means exactly what it says!

Not only was this man black but being a eunuch for whatever reason, which could have been his own choice but probably not, he could have “never” been accepted into Judaism and though he was allowed to worship in Jerusalem, he would never have been accepted into the family of God “by the standards of the Law”.

AND, it would be hard to question a man’s love of God who had traveled more than 200 miles alone to worship Him.

In “type” this man represents all people who are religious, and read the Bible, and seek the truth “but do not know the saving faith in Jesus Christ”.

Philip had been among the first to go to Samaria and now he was of the first of Jerusalem to witness to the outside world!

*****Act 8:29  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

It had been an angel of the Lord who had directed Philip to this location in Gaza but now the Holy Spirit was giving Him direction to lead this man to Jesus.

Joh 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, [he shall testify of me]:

It is the Holy Spirit that leads every believer to where God sends!
It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is to be preached upon arrival to that place!
It is the Holy Spirit of God that brings conviction to that one that hears the Word of God!
It is “faith” in God’s Word that brings Salvation!

The Word of God is already in this chariot with this man and he is reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. “There was no New Testament at this time!”

*****Act 8:30  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest
thou what thou readest?
Act 8:31  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.

This Ethiopian was reading the Word of God out loud and God had already prepared this man’s heart to receive a Christian witness and God had specifically sent Philip!

When we obey the leading of the Holy Spirit we can be sure that God has gone on before us to prepare the way!

This man was reading this passage:

Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

*****Act 8:35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

All the Old Testament scriptures relate to Jesus one way or another!

The Bible says of our Lord:

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

This Book of God had been written in Heaven long before it was given to men by the Holy Spirit!

Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Again:

1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1Pe 1:20  [Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world], but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ Jesus came into this world specifically to do the will of God!

And what is the will of God?

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world [through him] “might be saved”.

Isaiah 53 describes our Lord as the willing Sacrifice for all sinners even to the point of “loosing all His human rights”!

And it takes the Holy Spirit to open our minds to this truth!

*****Act 8:36  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?
Act 8:37  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.

This verse clearly shows that baptism is to take place only after the “saving faith” of the believer.

It is not enough for a lost person to desire salvation!

Everyone must understand God’s plan of salvation!

AND, It must come from the heart!

Jesus said:

Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, [and understandeth it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Jesus Christ is the “fulfillment” of the prophesies of the Bible!

And then:

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and “hearing by the word of God”.

And then:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, “thou shalt be saved”.
Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

*****Act 8:38  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.

It is obvious that these verses refer to a “complete immersion” into the water used for this baptism!

If we recall the time of Noah we know that the world was repopulated by his three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth.

God has now reached out to the descendants of Shem which is the Jews.

God has now reached out to the descendants of Ham, this Ethiopian and those with him.

God in our next chapters God will reach out to the descendants of Japheth, the Gentiles, through the Apostle Peter and then the Apostle Paul.

ALL, These things began to happen because of the persecution of the early Church!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!