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 ACTS 8:26-39

(A verse-by-verse commentary)

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH!

God loves everyone!

Even the so-called misfits!

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Here's the next Bible Story we're going to discuss. Please take the time to read it.

"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. 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, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 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. 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: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 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? 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. 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. 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." Acts 8:26-39

The Books of Luke and Acts were penned by the same man, although under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We believe that man's name was Luke.

He lived in a day when "handicapped" people, more especially people who were "deformed" in one way or another, were ridiculed!

They were considered less than "whole people."

Misfits, rejects, monstrosities!

History is full of examples.

It looks to me like the Lord leads Luke try to "expose" that false belief.

God made us all!

Including those of us with "imperfections" of various kinds.

Which, by the way, pretty much includes us all, to some degree.

Nobody's perfect!

But let me show you what I mean about Luke and Acts, those two Books of the Bible.

In Luke 13 there is a woman. She came to Church one day. And Jesus was there! The woman was one of those "deformed" people. She could not straighten her body, not to stand completely upright! She was "bent double," her body "frozen" in that position! And she had been that way eighteen years! But Jesus saw her that day. And he healed here, making her straight! He also called her a "Daughter of Abraham," a term of great honor and respect! Jesus would have nothing to do with "making fun" of a handicapped person!

In Luke 19 there is another such case. A little "short" man is mentioned. Ancient literature tells us much about the supposed character flaws of the "short" people, the "little" people! Such people were rejected from society! No questions asked! Now, enter Zacchaeus! He was so short he could not even see Jesus the day our Lord came to Jericho! Maybe too the crowd would not let him "in!" They hated such "runts," as he would have been called, and a lot worse too! But Jesus rejected their prejudices wholesale! He took time to call Zacchaeus down from that tree, and "into" eternal life itself! Jesus even ate supper with the man, proving acceptance rather than scorn!

And in Acts 3 there is another such man. This one is so weak in his ankles that he can't walk, not at all! That, the early Greeks and Romans said, was a "sign" of weak character! A coward maybe! And a whole pile of other negative things, too! But Peter and John, just like their Lord had done before them, "healed" the man! And this man, thought to be so timid and weak of heart, testified and shouted and glorified God all over the Temple that day! Even the large crowds did not "scare" him, not one bit! Another "freak," as they would have so callously called him, was "accepted" into the family of God!

See what the Holy Spirit is doing?

What Luke is doing?

God loves everybody, even the deformed!

Maybe, especially the deformed!

Then we come to our Text for the next few days!

An Ethiopian gets saved!

Acts 8, but not just any Ethiopian!

A less-than-normal one, a "surgically altered" one.

I'm taking the definition of "eunuch" to be the literal one.

He has, excuse the plain language, I'll not use the term very often, been "castrated."

I say that because we must understand that this man was every bit as abnormal as the "bend-double" lady or the "wee little short" Tax Collector or the "lame in his ankles" man at the Temple gate!

And Jesus loved them all!

He saved them all, too!

I guess they fit into the category of "whosoever!"

"That through His Name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43, preached by Peter the Jew to Cornelius the Gentile! The "Name" here is that of Jesus!

Is there something wrong with you?

Little or big, it does not matter to Jesus!

He loves you.

He died for you.

He will save you!

Accept and love you.

Treating you just like all His other children, no matter your deformity!

Or mine!

Truth be told, we all were low-down hell-bound sinners, weren't we?

Now that's a handicap!

Let's rejoice in the marvelous Grace of God today!

Grace that loves everyone, including you and me!

Praise His dear Name!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

The Ethiopian eunuch, an unlikely man to be saved, was one of God's "targets" one day long ago!

But the Lord worked in a strange way, it seems. He first introduces us to the preacher, then the sinner!

"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. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians ...." Acts 8:26-27

The Lord told Philip what to do, "Arise!"

Where to go, "Toward the south!"

Exactly, "Unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza."

What to expect, "Desert," not a resort!

All this for one reason, a "lost" man was searching for Jesus!

The verb "behold" means "to look, to see, to understand also!"

The noun "aner" means "man" all right, but precisely "the male of the species!"

God is already overlooking this person's deformity, his handicap, his "difference" from the rest of society!

This man, mutilated as he may have been, every bit as much "deformed" as the lady who was bent double eighteen years or the wee little man up that tree or the lame man with no ankle strength, all of whom Jesus has healed in Luke's writings, was a "candidate" for salvation!

Praise the Lord!

Plus this, he is an African!

In Acts 8, this descendant of Ham is going to be saved.

In Acts 9 a descendant of Shem is going to be saved! That's Saul of Tarsus, of course, later Paul the Apostle!

And in Acts 10 a man named Cornelius is saved, a Gentile, a descendant of Japheth!

All three of Noah's sons are represented here! The "heads" of all the families and tribes of earth!

Wow!

"Whosoever will!"

I personally believe Jesus died to save all mankind. "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." At least this is what John said, 1st John 2:2. He believed it!

I believe this for several reasons. One of which is this, it is the position that brings the most glory and honor to my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Plus, overall, it's what the Bible teaches.

This man had been to Jerusalem, to worship.

But he left not learning all he wanted to know, Jesus was still missing in his life!

But when you combine a hungry sinner ... and a loving Saviour ... the result is a miracle of epic proportions!

Salvation!

Even to a man whom the world despised!

A misfit!

Deformed, either by birth or by order of the King or maybe even self-inflicted. Still, deformed!

Rejected by society!

But accepted by the Lord God Almighty in Heaven!

That's the kind of Savior we serve!

How can anyone not love Him?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

The Text is called a "narrative."

It is telling a story, a factual event, but written in prose.

Preacher Philip, having been summoned of God to the desert, sees someone. "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, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet." Acts 8:27-28

The proper noun "Ethiopian" is derived from "Aithiops," meaning "black." The verb "aitho" means "to scorch" in Greek, the noun "ops" indicates the human "face."

A black-skinned man, but also he is a "eunuch." Spelled "eunouchos," the term means a "bed keeper." In Greek, "eune" means "bed." And "echo" means "to hold on" to something, to be in charge.

"Authority" means "power" here, "dunastes." Obviously it's from "dunamai," meaning "to be able."

"Candace," in Greek "kandake," is a borrowed term meaning "princess of servants." Instead of being her proper name, archaeologists now believe this is a "title" of a whole dynasty of Ethiopian queens.

"Basilissa" is "queen," from "basileuo," meaning "to reign," to sit on a throne, to exercise kingly power.

"Had the charge" just translates "eimi" really, He "was" into all the money, the treasure, the royal bounty, of the queen. As an appointed official no doubt. "Eimi" here is indicative perfect.

"All" means just what it says, "pas," the "whole" thing. Every bit of it. Secretary of the Treasury!

"Jerusalem" is borrowed from Hebrew, loaned to the Greeks! "Yarah" means "to throw, to cast, to shoot!" And "shalam" means "to be at peace!" When blended, "teaching of peace!" Yes, "yarah" most of often means "to teach!" To throw information into someone's mind or heart!

But why had the man come to the capital city of Israel?

"To worship," the verb "proskuneo" means "to adore and love and kiss" someone very important! It's an emotional word for sure.

But by the time Philip has met the man, he's coming back home from "Church." Precisely, "He was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet."

He was able to "buy" a scroll while in town. That would have been an expensive purchase, too, very expensive! Yet this man certainly could have afforded it.

Also notice that he was not walking! That's what the common folks would have been doing!

"Chariot" is "harma," a carriage usually drawn by several horses!

And the man is not illiterate! He can read, and is doing so as Philip approaches. Get this, "read" is "anaginosko!" It means "to know" something! To learn it, I guess. Reading is a great way to expand one's knowledge.

This man is "hungry" for things religious!

He does not know it yet, but he is longing for Jesus!

And the Holy Spirit, as we shall see tomorrow, has him in Isaiah 53 as Philip arrives!

Talk about right "timing!"

Look how God can get His "messenger" to the right "listener," even if unusual means are employed!

Is anyone reading here today, hungry?

Wanting to know more about the Lord Jesus?

If so, don't be surprised!

The Lord just may be on His way ... to you!

With the message!

God is far more interested in a sinner being saved ... than we can ever  realize!

So much so that ... "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Amen!

Does anyone today remember how the Lord got the message to you?

I do!

"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:15

Personally, I have probably the ugliest feet on earth today! Including a painful "hammer toe!"

But to a slowly increasing number of people, though they have never actually seen those ugly things, my feet are absolutely "beautiful!"

Because somehow Brother Bagwell was preaching the day God saved them!

Thank God for the message bearer who came to you! Sunday School Teacher, Bible School worker, Mom or Dad, Pastor or Evangelist, whoever!

Oh, by the way, the name "Philip" here, the preacher in this case, in Acts 8, just means "lover of horses!"

Not too spiritual, is it?

A regular man, but a soul-winner for Jesus!

I'll guarantee you this, the eunuch never forgot him.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

I would like us today to study a "three-way conversation."

Here's what I mean.

"Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 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 8:29-31

The "Spirit" speaks first, to the preacher named Philip. Without doubt this is the Holy Spirit of God, too! Lesson: the mature Christian must be on "speaking terms" with the third Person of the Trinity! Paul would have called this "communion" with the Holy Spirit, 2nd Corinthians 13:14.

What did the Spirit say? "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."

Then watch what Philip did. "And Philip ran thither to him."  Now that's instant obedience, another trait of the growing Christian!

But then, surprise, the eunuch is reading a scroll, apparently out loud! Here's the question, though. Is he reading it in Hebrew? Or in Greek? Or in some dialect of the Ethiopians?

We don't know that, not exactly. But we do know this, whatever language it was, Philip understood!

This might be a simple example of the prophet's ears working properly! Or it might be another miracle! Neither would surprise me, not in the Book of Acts! And God will stop at nothing now, this man is going to be saved! If the chariot rider was reading in some foreign tongue, Philip would not have naturally comprehended the words he heard!

Truth be told, every salvation event is a miracle, in one way or another.

Next Philip asked a question. "Understandest thou what thou readest?" Jesus loved to ask such questions! They often create interest!

As a testimony to the eunuch's intelligence, he responded wisely. "How can I, except some man should guide me?"

He needs an interpreter, a preacher, a soul winner! Someone to explain the truth of God's Word! Yes, an expositor!

"Guide" is "hodegeo," a blend of "hodos," meaning a "road or way," and "hegeomai," meaning "to lead." In Greek "ago" alone means "to go ahead" or "to go before."

Then what? "And the Ethiopian desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him." Here's further evidence of spiritual hunger.

The verb "desire" is "parakaleo," an act of "calling someone to sit beside" you! There is an even stronger "calling" happening here, too! God the Holy Spirit is "calling" this man to salvation, to Jesus as Saviour!

Now we have the right combination!

The Holy Spirit is on the scene! He may have been the first One there!

The sinner is there, too. The eunuch with his craving for spiritual knowledge, a need for Jesus in his heart!

And now the preacher has arrived, the soul winner.

Something's about to happen!

And the Word of God rests in the eunuch's lap!

These are the ingredients needed for a lost man or woman to be saved!

And, know what?

That's exactly what's going to occur!

Read Paul's words here for a theological explanation of today's Acts 8 situation. "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 preacher? 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 glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:14-17

Those same ingredients, to some degree, were present when God saved you, too!

The Holy Spirit!

And you, having realized you were a sinner headed for Hell!

Plus a soul winner of some kind. Or at least the memory of what one said to you, maybe even years ago!

And the Word of God! It might even have been a Verse implanted in your head in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School or a Revival Meeting in time past! The Word of God is indestructible!

Thank God for salvation!

Yours!

Mine!

Anyone's!

It's the gift of God!

For, after all, like Jonah said: "Salvation is of the Lord!"

Amen!

Let's be grateful today!

Thankful that God "saved" us!

Bless His Holy Name!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

The man Luke calls a "eunuch" was reading Scripture!

Right from a scroll!

As he rode in a chariot, back home from Jerusalem!

Just as the preacher arrived, Philip by name, the following verses were under consideration. Let's get them word for word from the Book of Acts.

"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: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth." Acts 8:32-33

This Paragraph keeps speaking of "He, His, He, His, His," and then another "His!"

To Whom do these pronouns point?

Jesus!

Philip soon says so!

And "He," our dear Lord, is compared to a "sheep," a little "Lamb!"

While this noun, "probaton," literally means anything that can "go forward" on its feet, any animal at all, every time it is used in the King James New Testament, 41 times, it is associated with "sheep!"

And do remember this. Jesus is God's Lamb! Especially so in the writings of John, but Luke says so as well!

"Slaughter" translates "sphage," a "butchering!" A "killing!" It's a brutal word, bloody and violent!

The "Text" is Isaiah 53, the "lamb," in Greek "amnos" this time, is God's little "Lamb!"

Again I say, "This is Jesus!"

Listen to John the Baptist one day as Christ appeared down by the Jordan River. "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29

The noun "shearer" is taken from "keiro," meaning "to cut off the hair," harvesting the wool here. Isaiah is using a metaphor, a word picture for Jesus.  "And like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth."

Our Lord was relatively quiet during His arrest, interrogation, beating, sentencing and crucifixion! This reticence helps make the few words He did speak all the more significant!

He did not protest His death, brutal as it was!

He did not cry out in torment or pain, either. Though undoubtedly He suffered untold agony.

Jesus on the Cross was also "humble." Isaiah again: "In his humiliation his judgment was taken away."

The noun is "tapeinosis," His "low estate," His being totally "abased." His accepting a horrible Death as from His Father's Hands! As a Sacrifice for the sins of the world! He died willingly!

With one word, He could have been rescued from Calvary! "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" Matthew 26:53

But He remained on the Cross!

Humbly so!

"Judgment" is "krisis," literally in English, "crisis!"

It was a Crisis, all right!

Jesus was not treated fairly in the Cross!

From mankind's point of view, His trial was illegal, His Crucifixion merely a "lynching," and His death an outright "murder!" All His detractors, Romans and Jews alike, violated law after law to kill this Righteous man!

Yes Isaiah, "In his humiliation his judgment was taken away."

"Taken away," spelled "airo," means "lifted up!" All of a sudden, it was "gone!" Legality gone wild! Propriety denying itself!

In other words, Jesus died! "His Life is taken from the earth." So says the eunuch's scroll! So said Isaiah! So say the Gospel writers as well. So says the Holy Spirit in my heart!

"Is taken" translates "airo" again, that quickly! Jesus, "dead," at least for three days, and no more!

How many of you reading here today believe this?

I do!

Jesus prophesied as dying on the Cross, a brutal death, foretold seven hundred years before it occurred! Foretold in detail!

One last question. From Isaiah, from the scroll: "Who shall declare his generation?"

Who will tell His Story?

"Declare" means "to relate in full!" It's "diegeomai," to "lead out" the meaning of a text, telling it all the way "through!" Omitting nothing! Our verb is related to the noun "exegesis!"

"Generation" is "genea," His "age, time, life, birth and death." These events Jesus brought to earth, especially His Death, Burial, and literal bodily Resurrection, constitute the Gospel, according to the Apostle Paul!

This Story we must declare!

We must preach it!

Everywhere we go!

And that's exactly what Philip is about to do!

First thing tomorrow morning!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The apex of Luke 8 occurs in today's verses, the highest point of the whole story!

"And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." Acts 8:34-35

After a careful reading of Isaiah 53, the Ethiopian asked the foregoing question. "Of Whom is Isaiah speaking?"

Remember that Philip had already asked the man a question, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" Acts 8:30

Two questions!

Both centering on Jesus!

These questions remind me of an inquiry our Lord made one day. "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" Matthew 16:13

And the eunuch's "guess?"

Is Isaiah the prophet speaking "of himself, or some other man?"

So wondered folks about Jesus! The Disciples attested to Jesus: "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Matthew 16:14

But more importantly, "Jesus saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:15

You know, that remains the critical question in Scripture!

Who is it's main Character?

I say, Jesus!

From Genesis to Revelation!

Quickly, back to today's Text, although we have not veered very far. "And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." Acts 8:34-35

That first guess, that Isaiah was talking about himself, is still what unsaved Judaism supposes! They advocate that Isaiah 53 is merely a prophecy concerning Israel herself, and her people.

They believe that the only "servant" in view in Isaiah's best known chapter is a nation, they themselves!

But they are wrong.

At least if we accept the New Testament interpretation of that Old Testament classic, Jesus is the Subject!

Philip thought so too!

Without further comment the preacher cut loose! "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." Acts 8:35

This bible sermon is expository in nature!

Philip's Text was Scripture, pure Scripture!

Not philosophy!

Not psychology!

Not history!

Not personal opinion!

But the Word of God!

Sounds like verse-by-verse, too!

The verb "began" is "archomai," from a root word meaning "to lead, to be chief, to rule," spelled "archo."

Philip let the Bible lead his thought patterns!

Scripture was the criteria, the canon!

He no doubt, after expositing Isaiah 53, then told about Jesus the recently slain, buried and resurrected Saviour!

Isaiah's prophecy has been fulfilled, in a Person!

Not in a nation!

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

The verb "preached" is a blessing. "Euaggelizo" means "to proclaim good news!" News fit for an "angel" to tell!

And even "angel" is probably taken from "ago," that is "to lead."

Even Gospel preaching can be "exegetical," then!

Philip preached "Jesus!"

Not merely about Jesus!

This sermon came alive!

Jesus was, dare I say it, present!

In His Holy Spirit!

It is still quite heartwarming when Preachers to this day "preach Jesus!"

A deformed, hated by the world, old eunuch, really a "nobody" in society, the sole congregant, the single auditor of one of the greatest sermons in the Book of Acts!

Sounds like God is not too "taken" by the rules of physiognomy that were so prevalent in first century Greek Roman culture!

This poor "pervert" was important enough for God to send a preacher, a great one too, right to his chariot side!

The man is just about ready to be saved!

God just about "has" him!

For tomorrow's verse, just to mention it, has the eunuch saying: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Wow!

That does it!

Dear reader here today, have you been saved?

If not, carefully consider Who Jesus is. Listen to the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit of God.

If so, if you have been saved, praise the Lord all day long!

I hope to do so too.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

The conversation we have been studying is loaded with questions.

They do not end today!

Between a preacher named Philip and a man from Ethiopia, the treasurer of the Queen there. He is also identified in this Text as a eunuch.

"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? 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." Acts 8:36-37

The eunuch's desires are right, but his timing is a little "off." He sees water and wants to be baptized, obviously immersion is here indicated. If "sprinkling" were the goal, a cup of water would have sufficed!

But one should not be baptized until he or she has first been saved. Otherwise he is not Biblically baptized. One's baptism cannot possibly have the correct meaning if it's not done in the proper time sequence. That means "after salvation." One lexicon says the verb "baptizo" means "to dip." To put someone all the way under the water, completely!

Philip gently corrects the eager eunuch's priorities. "If thou believest with all thine heart ...." That's the prerequisite for baptism! Believe in Jesus first! The Saviour!

"Believest," spelled "pisteuo," means "to have faith in" Someone, "to trust" that Person! The indicative present qualities of the verb here require us to read it as "believe right now and keep on believing the rest of your life." I am not implying human effort here, just the fact that the verb insinuates that kind of trust, very dynamic faith!

"With all thine heart" negates any possibility of apathy, too. No lukewarm belief allowed!

"If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Here "thou mayest" translates the verb "exesti," meaning that something is "proper, lawful or permitted."

If you have been saved, God approves of your subsequent baptism!

Now watch what the eunuch says! "And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Acts 8:37

Wow!

There are few declarations of faith in all the Bible any clearer than this one! Any more distinct!

But this time the verb "pisteuo" is  in the first person! No one else can believe for you!

Jesus "is" the Son of God, that clause utilizes the present infinitive form of "eimi," meaning "to live, to be, to exist, to happen," all in an ongoing durative sense!

Jesus is forever the Son of God!

Always has been!

Always will be!

God the Son, very God of very God, deity personified!

Jesus!

There's no doubt about it!

The man was saved!

By the Grace of God!

Believing on Jesus!

Jesus, as preached by Isaiah chapter fifty-three!

Is this same Jesus your Saviour?

Are you trusting Him?

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The story has just about ended, Luke's goal nearly accomplished.

"And the eunuch commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 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. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." Acts 8:38-40

The Ethiopian man just got saved! The Lord changed his life forever! Let's go back one verse where the eunuch just said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Philip obviously thought the man had "believed with all his heart," again a reference to Acts 8:37.

That constitutes salvation!

According to Paul, anyway! "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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10

After this, after being born again, "baptism" is not only acceptable, but expected.

The act of being immersed in water does not save anyone!

Nor does it help save!

Neither does not being baptized prohibit one from going to Heaven!

But it is proper, in order, according to Jesus!

Jesus, Who commanded His followers to: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20

That first verb, the imperative "teach," translates "matheteuo," meaning "to make disciples!"

One gets saved!

One should then be baptized!

Then he or she is asked to consistently live for Jesus!

Amen!

That's why the eunuch "commanded the chariot to stand still!" They had driven quite near "certain water." Enough for them "to go down into" it! Philip is about to "immerse" the new Believer, plunging him beneath the water, then immediately bringing him right back out!

A symbolic picture of what just happened to the man!

Just like he is soon to be "buried" in baptism, covered with water, completely, so has he just "died and been buried!" Died to what he used to be! Died to the old life! Died to those now former sins!

Then, immediately when saved, simultaneously with that "death," the new believer is "resurrected!" Raised with Jesus Christ, as it were! Raised to walk, Paul says, in newness of life!

Born again, in other words!

"Regenerated," come back to life, by a miracle of Almighty God!

Baptism simply reflects what's happened in the new convert's life!

Death, entering the water "grave!"

Burial, being put all the way under the water, like a dead man is put all the way under the ground.

Resurrection, out of the grave, up form the water, which speaks for itself!

Paul again in Romans 6:4-5. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."

Yes!

This eunuch, almost everybody believes, was truly saved!

Certainly!

Then, after this divinely recorded baptism, God works a miracle! "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." Acts 8:39

"Caught away" is "harpazo," meaning "snatched, carried off, seized!" It's the "rapture" verb of the New Testament!

Earlier God quickly put Philip in place, obviously to witness to the traveling eunuch! The God even more quickly took Philip away!

The soul winner came!

The soul winner went!

Both trips under the direction of the Lord!

This symbolically gets "man" out of the picture.

Even the "preacher" man!

Now it is just the new believer, the eunuch, and the Lord Jesus Who saved him!

And the two humans never meet again! "The eunuch saw him no more." Acts 8:38

Wow!

But Someone does stay with this new Christian, the Holy Spirit!

How do we know? Because of His, the Spirit's, "fruit!

"And the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing." Still Acts 8:39.

Happy in Jesus!

Oh, the joy of being saved!

Oh, the joy of just recently being saved!

And oh, the joy of obeying your newly accepted Lord and Saviour!

Philip goes right on preaching, next found at "Azotus," another name for the Philistine city of "Ashdod." It means a "stronghold!"

Philip, still fighting the devil!

Still attacking the forces of darkness!

Still winning souls!

Still preaching, everywhere!

"But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." Acts 8:40

Something makes me want to say of them both, Philip and the eunuch, and I think it's true, "And they both lived happily ever after!"

Because of Jesus!

The story ends here!

Next verse, Acts 9:1, begins the account of another man getting saved! It's told three times by Luke alone! In Acts 9, again in Acts 22 and still again in Acts 26! It's the account of Paul being saved!

Watch!

In Acts 8, with the eunuch, a man gets saved while going home, traveling back to Ethiopia from Jerusalem.

In Acts 9, with Saul, a man gets saved while leaving home, traveling to Damascus!

Plus, in Acts 10, with Cornelius, a man gets saved while at home, not traveling at all!

Point being?

God can save a man or woman anywhere!

Even you!

Even now!

Even right where you are this second!

My favorite salvation verse is in order here. Jesus said it. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

Oh, that word "rejoicing" as in "the eunuch went on his way rejoicing," means "being glad!"

It's, of course, a present participle!

The rejoicing continued without interruption!

Truth be told, it's still going on, now, in Heaven!

And that's my desire for each of you today, our friends.

Be happy in Jesus!

Rejoice in the Lord!

After all, He is the One Who saved your lost soul!

Hallelujah!

I can promise you that word will be said in Heaven millions of times over and over again!

Hallelujah!

"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God." It's John this time, from Revelation 19:1.

Hallelujah!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, CONCLUSION:

We began this series of Bible Study Lessons with a discussion of an ancient form of science known as "Physiognomy."

Basically it taught that much could be told about a man's or woman's character by their very physical appearance!

Later such nonsense was expanded to include a person's place of origin, his hometown or her country!

And at times physical attributes were compared to some well known animal, a method of evaluation that transferred zoological traits to a human being!

Luke 8 dispels all three notions!

First of all, a eunuch was considered to be a mutilated man. "The most despised" on earth, one scientist proclaimed! Another said of eunuchs, "the wickedest trade on earth!" To even "see" such a man in one's day, to lay one's eyes on such a low-life person, was an "ill omen!"

He is "neither a man nor a woman," quipped another educated ancient! A "hybrid and monstrous!" Another wrote, "They are alien to human nature!" Yet again, "Men who belie their sex."

Such people could not worship in ancient temples! Nor even come near them! They very physical deficiencies forbidding them, disqualifying them! Furthermore, people were assured, "Eunuchs were greedy and lewd and perfectly evil!"

Luke takes all that "garbage" and throws it away!

In God's eyes, physical deformities do not hinder a man or woman from being saved!

Many ancients said the same things and worse about people with weak backs, short heights, lame ankles, to name a few.

So, in Luke's writings Jesus heals a person from each of the foregoing categories!

A woman who had been paralyzed, bent double, for eighteen years! And Jesus, in Luke 13, specially honors her by calling her a "Daughter of Abraham!"

Then in Luke chapter 19 Jesus saves and later eats in the home of a despised little "runt" named Zacchaeus! Short of height! Jesus honored that man, instead of despising him! Shortness, to the physiognomist, was particularly offensive!

Needless to say, in Acts chapters three and four another such healing occurs! A lame man, no strength in his feet and ankles and legs! But Peter and John accept him and love him and "give" to him, generously! Despite the prevailing worldly standards!

Yes!

Jesus loves us and invites us to him ... just as we are!

He is not prejudiced!

"Whosoever will," praise the Lord!

This eunuch also would have been belittled because of his country of origin. The Ethiopians were hated for that reason alone! The "least" of all mankind, one expert wrote! But all that did not bother the Holy Spirit! He led Philip to the lost man, the Ethiopian, and welcomed that repenting sinner into God's family, with open arms!

And even that Acts 8 illustration about a "lamb," really talking about Jesus Who is God's Lamb, defies the logic of Physiognomy! To these folks "lambs" and "sheep" were filthy and useless! Lacking strength and resolve!

But nonetheless God's Son is still a Lamb!

The slain Lamb!

Our Hero!

Our Saviour!

Our Lord!

Not a despised zoological specimen at all!

What the world overlooks, worse yet, hates and mocks and slurs, Jesus loves and accepts and redeems!

If such people, ourselves included, will only come to Him, come to Jesus!

Jesus, Who loves!

And saves!

And accepts!

And heals!

And preserves!

Eternally!

Wow!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell
 

 

                                          The Grace Of God, Awesome!

 

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