Friday, May 1, 2009

Acts 8

Saul is breaking up the church. He approved of the stoning of Stephen. He's arresting members of the church and breaking up families and sending people away.

Sounds like a pretty bad dude.

Phillip is in Samaria, preaching, performing miracles, driving evil spirits out of people.

And there's a guy named Simon, known for witchcraft and tricks that appear to be of God but aren't. He converts due to Phillip's teaching. He and many Samarians are baptized.

Peter and John arrive in Samaria and call upon the Holy Spirit to touch the people of Samaria. This apparently hadn't ever happened before.

Simon sees that when Peter and John lay hand son people, they receive the Holy Spirit. So he wants to be able to do the same and brings money to Peter.

20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

Peter and John then return to Jerusalem.

And then it gets weird.

Read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunich.

I feel like I don't have enough knowledge to understand the importance of this story. So I am going to look up some other insights and see what makes sense to me.

Here's an Executable Outline with a lot of information. It sums up the story, gives thinking points, makes some observations, provides lots of references and then sums everything up with a nice conclusion and thinking points:

1. With the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch", we are impressed with the simplicity of salvation...
a. With a simple presentation of the gospel, one can be saved after just one lesson
b. Whether it is preached to large crowds or to just one person, the gospel is indeed God's power to save! - cf. Ro 1:16

2. When the gospel of Jesus is truly preached...
a. The death of Jesus for our sins will be stressed
b. The importance of baptism as commanded by Jesus will be mentioned as well
  1. Such that people will want to know "what hinders me from being baptized?"
  2. Such that people will want to baptized immediately
c. The purpose of baptism will be properly understood, knowing that one can be baptized in private just as well as in public
d. The necessity for a whole-hearted faith in Jesus will be emphasized, otherwise one simply gets wet in baptism!

Was your conversion anything like that of "The Ethiopian Eunuch"? When someone "preached Jesus" to you, were you compelled to ask: "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" - Acts 8:36

If not, have you considered why not? Could it be that the gospel of Jesus Christ was not shared with you in its fullness...?

So there is a myriad of things that happen in this chapter. Saul is a bad guy, Philip is a preacher-man, many miracles are performed, Simon doesn't get it but Peter sets him straight, Philip converts an Ethiopian eunich.


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On April 26, 2009, my pastor spoke about the importance of reading the Bible. I got honest with myself- I don't read it regularly and haven't since high school. He issued a challenge. Read the Bible daily for 6 weeks. I'm taking that challenge and will share my daily readings and thoughts and experiences here. Feel free to join me!