Gospel Witness, Except Some Man Should Guide Me

BY PGF
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

Acts 8:26-35

“32 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: 33 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

In the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch, God shows the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) fulfilled in accordance with God’s broader purposes and specifically within its establishment. From the structure in Matthew 28:19, We know that Philip had taken the training of our Lord and obeyed the command to go (“Go ye”), listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, and shared Scripture with a lost man teaching (“teach all nations”), by the word of God, how to be saved. The Ethiopian believed and was baptized (“baptizing them”) into the faith.

We don’t learn when or where the Ethiopian was afterward trained in the faith to keep all that Christ commands (Matthew 28:20). This instruction is provided to Christians throughout Acts and the New Testament letters; indeed, the entire Bible is for our education. This does happen, sometimes a lot; a soul will be converted as you share Scripture with them, yet did the Lord have other plans for their training and to which group of believers they would attach. Invite converts to Church for sure, but pray for them over the next several days or more, that the Lord would train them up at the place He desires.

In Acts 1:8, all disciples of Jesus Christ are commanded to be witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth. We are to tell of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Mark 16:15, Christ’s disciples are told to preach the Gospel to every creature. But it’s Matthew 28:18-20 that has the structure of the Great Commission; to teach all nations and, upon conversion, baptize them into the faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Then converts are to be instructed to keep all that Christ commands.

In Acts 8:26, the angel of the Lord prompts Philip where to go. Note that Philip is not given a 3-point outline, interim milestones, and a Church growth plan with a building fund as the measure of success; although, he did get taught by Christ and prepared for the mission. And nobody (if you do find somebody hold on fast) will teach you how to be a disciple; you’ll have to pray and study the Scriptures and try the mission; in this, you will find Christ is faithful. God called the disciples, and they followed, so follow on.

Philip is faithful to go. We can say with assuredness that if you do not pray like you mean it, and study your Bible as though your life depends upon knowing it, and serve in spirit and in truth among a group of serious and committed believers, that the Holy Spirit cannot use you, and may never prompt you to go because you remain an infant in your faith being untrained and unprepared. Many in this condition do, however, hear the prompting of the Spirit of God. But as Matthew 10:32-33 below indicate, they tell God no in their heart because they are not serious about the work of Christ in the Kingdom of God to see the fruit of the greatest reward for our labor, the conversion of souls to the faith.

“32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

Now to our text. We’ll lightly cover a few verses in Acts to set a framework for being a witness for Jesus Christ within the Great Commission.

Verse 27 of Acts 8: says in part, “behold, a man of Ethiopia.” Here we find the principal reason for Philip to be attending to the mission of Christ in the region of Gaza. The word behold in verse 27 indicates that God has now revealed the purpose to which Philip has been sent.

In verse 29, we see that AFTER he was dutiful to be first at the appointed place and time along the road headed south to Ethiopia, the Spirit prompts Philip to the specific duty he must carry out. How many, God help them; have rejected the initial prompting of God to go, the work remaining undone. If Philip had not gone, how does the Gospel get to Africa? The Ethiopian was a man of great authority. You never know with whom you’ll share the Gospel.

If you pray for the power of the Holy Spirit, attend to preparation by the study of Scripture, and have your heart set to serve and your mind purposed to the task, God will give you teed-up softballs ready to hit out of the park. There is the Ethiopian, reading Isaiah and asking to be shown what it means. That’s what happens to the faithful serving within the Great Commission. Sometimes God will reveal His sovereign power to you who have shown faith to believe that He goes before you. This is a time of celebration in the Spirit and to further walk worthy (1 Thessalonians 2:12 / Colossians 1:10), growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The reward of faith is a greater faith by the revelation of God to us through Christ, leading to ever more extraordinary service of Him.

So there, in verse 30, Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands the Scripture, and in verse 31, the Ethiopian asks a great teaching question for us; “How can I, except some man should guide me?”

In verse 35, the word of God says that Philip “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” We know where he started but not the course he took or upon what verse he ended, but the Gospel to save, bringing forth faith to the hearer, under the power of conviction by the Holy Spirit of God, is right there in the text he read to Philip.

Not so much technical instruction, but here are a few tips and ideas to help you enter a conversation about God or the word of God and move the conversation forward to Christ crucified for the shedding of blood, remission of sin, and resurrection unto life eternal. The section of Scripture that the Ethiopian was reading is Isaiah 53:7-8. We don’t know what Philip said to the Ethiopian or how he explained this section of Scripture, but if you’ve done the groundwork in prayer and study, the Lord will be faithful to answer. The Lord already told Philip to go, upon which command Philip went. When he arrived at the place, “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” So why would a Gospel witness doubt the Lord now? Philip went and started talking to the Ethiopian. God will speak to lost souls, bringing their faith unto conversion to life everlasting; we just deliver the good news of salvation.

The Ethiopian desired a “guide” to show him the meaning of the Scripture. This is soul-winning 101; get your Bible open so they may hear the word of God, building their faith (Romans 10:17). A soul winner should be instant in season and quick with the word of God, to start at a question about Scripture or God and preach Jesus Christ. The first thing to do is slow down and read that section of Scripture. Within every passage of Scripture are God’s purposes in judgment, grace, and instruction in righteousness. Philip “began” at the same Scripture. It’s not hard to open the Bible and begin at any section, only for those in earnest desire of God, guided by you, to arrive at the foot of the cross and into eternal life as a born again son of God. This is what Philip did. If you have to move to a different book or section of Scripture, such as Romans or John, then take the lost sinner there to arrive at the cross.

But praise God for the fatness of the pitch that Philip received. Isaiah 53 is the prophecy of the torture of Christ, the coming Gospel, fulfilled not long before Philip and the Ethiopian met. Because Philip was trained, prepared, and faithful, he came upon a man who asked; can you show me what the Bible means? If only they were all that easy.

You might object that the Holy Spirit didn’t prompt you to go, but you are without excuse; we are commanded in Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15, and the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to do this work. If you start this work, God will be with you. And, it’s a blessing. We are so prone to sin there is nothing we could say that would make you serve this way. You have to experience it to see it. You’re missing out on one of the best aspects of life in Christ when you don’t share the Gospel seeing lost sinners come to faith. When the power of the Gospel to convert a soul under the Holy Spirit comes upon a lost sinner, it’s mighty to behold.

So, the Ethiopian got saved, and baptized, then proceeded to carry the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him into Africa. If you’ve been saved and baptized, don’t let that good news go to the grave with you; share the Gospel. This is why Christianity in the west is dying; millions, having heard but refusing to share, are the dead end of a former Christian civilization. Philip was not a dead end.

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You are currently reading "Gospel Witness, Except Some Man Should Guide Me", entry #30794 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published June 26th, 2022 by PGF.

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