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Faithlife

Like A Sheep to the Slaughter

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Introduction:

  1. Acts, in the NT canon, really opens up God's agenda for us.
  2. If there was ever a question of what God wants, what God is up to, or how to join in God's work, Acts answers it.
  3. Almost as if God is a pebble dropped into the middle of human history, the ripples go out in waves to the shores of human existance.
    • 3000 are saved in Jerusalem, Acts 2:41.
    • The resulting church in Jerusalem grows and matures so that more and more spokesmen arise - such as Stephen.
    • Inevitably, persecution begins, and the disciples are dispersed as a result, Acts 8: 1.
    • And then a church that had been solely Jewish began to change to become more diverse.
      • First Samaritans, Acts 8:4.
      • Then the Ethopian, Acts 8:26.
  4. The divine agenda is to bring wayward human back to Him. That is said in many ways throughout the Bible including:
    • Romans 2:4. Do you not realize that God's kindness is mean to lead you to repentance?
    • 2 Peter 3:9. The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

I. God Prods Philip:

  1. Consistent with God's agenda, we find Him prodding the disciples to leave Jerusalem and take the gospel elsewhere. In these early conversions were the seeds of worldwide growth of the Good News.
  2. So an angel goes to Philip to tell him to go toward Gaza. This is not trivial instruction. It is aimed at the Divine intent - redemption of mankind.
  3. After the conversion of the Eunuch the Spirit directs Philip to Azotus, Acts 8:39.
  4. Similarly, a divine dream came to Peter to "kill and eat" foods thought unclean by the Jews. God redefined what was "clean" and expanded the mission of the church.
  5. When the early church migrated westward, it was God at work, leading, guiding, and prompting.
  6. Eusebius the historian and apologist said that the Ethiopian Eunuch returned home to share the gospel. You can see how God's work caused the Gospel to ripple out.

II. Searching, Open Hearts:

  1. There are two opinions about who this Eunuch was.
    • The first is that he was truly as eunuch - a castrated male.
        • If such is the case, he was considered unclean and unable to enter the temple.
        • This would add significance to the redefinition of mission that God was causing.
    • The other view is that the Eunuch was an important man in the court of Queen Candace. A powerful person with much power and authority as the Queen's minister.
      • From Ethiopia. Hence exotic, edge-of-the-world, Timbuktu.
      • Someone whose black skin made him an object of wonder and admiration among Jews and Romans.
  2. What is most striking about this man is his curiosity about scripture. Here is a man who embodies the 4th Beatitude, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  3. The baptism of the Eunuch was like an echo across the canyon of human prejudice. The gospel is for all.
  4. Later Paul said, ...there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

III Persuaded:

  1. When Paul spoke to King Agrippa in Acts 26:24-29, Agrippa replied to Paul's speech by saying, You are out of your mind Paul....Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?
  2. The Eunuch, on the other hand, was curious, openminded, and eager. He was also puzzled about the meaning of the Isaiah text he was reading.
  3. Though Luke doesn't say it, apparently the Eunuch caught the significance of what he read.
    • Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases. Isaiah 53:4.
    • ...he was wounded for our transgressions...upon him was the punishment that made us whole.... Isaiah 53:5b.
    • All we like sheep have gone astray... Isaiah 53:6.
  4. What the Eunuch was reading was the gospel, reduced to one chapter in Isaiah. Of this Paul said to the Romans, I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16.
  5. The Eunuch was persuaded by the message. Who wouldn't be?
    • Especially someone who might have realized what a rude and flawed world this is?
    • Who may have felt his own alienation, especially if he was a real Eunuch.

Conclusion:

  1. His response to the gospel is interesting. "I ready to be baptized. Is there anything standing in the way?"
  2. Perhaps he thought that there was some "qualification" he didn't have.
  3. How many people do you know like that? Who think that God wants them to have their act entirely together before......
  4. There was no waiting. When they came to the first pond or river, they got out and baptized the Eunuch.
  5. There's a man who really understood the message.
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