A Journey Thru Acts 35: Scripture’s Solar System Revolves Around The Son 3 (8:26-40)
For the third post in a row we will dig into Acts 8:26-40 (please click HERE).
Last post we continue answering the question:
“What exactly IS the Good News about the Lord Jesus
that Philip shared with the Ethiopian man?”
We must be clear on this if we are to accurately share it with non-Christians &
if we are to completely enjoy it ourselves. The word “rejoice” occurs 154 times in the Bible—wow…not just “positive thinking”—rejoice because of Who God is & what He has done to save His sinful people!
And so we must talk about this Gospel amongst ourselves and non-Christians.
Why? Why not only focus on the parts of the Gospel
that people are most likely to like & enjoy & accept?
1 Corinthians 4:1-2: This, then, is how you ought to regard us:
as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
What a staggering privilege and responsibility–the Gospel!
The LORD has entrusted the Gospel to His people: may He bless us to be
- true not trendy,
- faithful not famous,
- accurate not acclaimed,
- resolute not relevant,
- precise not popular,
- enduring not entertaining,
- clear not clever,
- firm not flimsy,
- clarifying not compromising,
- revealing not reconstructing.
In the rest of this post, please let me offer to all of us some personal questions flowing from Acts 8:26-40, questions that are not rhetorical but meant for us to go to our houses and wrestle with now & throughout the week:
Have You Received This Gospel &
Applied It To Yourself Thru Repentance & Faith?
Not only do you believe (though that is important!), but have you received?
The demons believe that the Lord Jesus died & rose again—
James 2:19: You believe that there is one God.
Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
–but they certainly don’t apply His death to their sinfulness by faith,
they certainly haven’t regretted & repented of their sinful offenses
against the LORD & cried out to Him for mercy.
You may believe in the existence of police & judges,
but oh the difference between criminals believing that &
actually turning themselves in.
- Have you turned yourself in,
plead guilty, &
thrown yourself on the mercy
of the holy & compassionate Judge of heaven & earth?
Luke 18:13-14: “But the tax collector stood at a distance.
He would not even look up to heaven,
but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.”
Are You Able To Explain The Gospel Simply & Clearly & Biblically?
Look throughout Acts at the different examples of the disciples proclaiming the Gospel to individuals and to crowds, to those they knew and to strangers. Learn from those who learned from the Lord Jesus face to face!
1 Peter 3:14-16: But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
To a non-Christian, can you explain why you have hope that this life is not all there is?
Can you introduce them to the God-Man Jesus Christ with your words?
Are You Praying For Non-Christians In Your Life To Be Like The Ethiopian?
Romans 9:1-4a: I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
[Sounds serious–wow. Why is Paul suffering such soul-level pain?]
3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.
[Wow. If Paul could, he would give up his eternal salvation so that some of his fellow Jews could be saved from their sinfulness. Wow. It doesn’t work that way, which of course Paul knew, but his deep desire was for his fellow Jews to be saved, to receive the Lord Jesus as their Savior & follow Him as their King.
God blessed Paul to have such a deep love for non-Christians and to desire their eternal salvation (and face terrible danger to tell them the Gospel), not just to desire to bless their short time on earth.
Acts 26:28-29: Then Agrippa said to Paul,
“Do you think that in such a short time
you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you
but all who are listening to me today
may become what I am, except for these chains.”
Do you pray for this, loved ones?
Do you desire non-Christians to be reborn, made new, forgiven, redeemed, adopted, justified, sanctified, and glorified through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Are You Listening To The Holy Spirit To Guide You
To Invite Non-Christians To Discuss The Gospel?
But you might think, “Aaargh! I don’t have time to do this…
I don’t need one more thing put on my plate!”
You do have time, my friend, you do!
But not while continuing to do everything else that you do now.
Make the choice to read His voice—we hear the Holy Spirit as we read God’s Word!
Learn also to think about God—Who He is, what He has done, what He will do—instead of all the other “harmless” things we think about:
- things that I deserve,
- my bucket list,
- ways that others have let me down/hurt me,
- sports & movies & entertainment,
- social media,
- “did you hear about so & so…?”
- FOMO—fear of missing out on the latest news/gossip,
- reacting to the latest thing that lots of people are violently angry at/offended by.
Loved ones, you simply cant have all that noise in your minds
AND hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. You can’t.
We must learn to turn down the volume of culture
so we can tune in to & turn up the voice of Christ.
Not easy, but not complicated. Try sitting in a room & paying attention to a tv, computer, tablet, mobile phone, mp3 player, magazine, & face to face conversation with a friend (remember those!? 🙂 )—try to pay attention to all of them…you can’t.
And please know that it will feel like a sort of DEATH
as you begin to turn off the things that you crave.
Just know that.
But repent of all the voices you have given access to in your mind/heart—guard your heart (emotions, desires, choices) for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23)—repent to Him first & the Lord Jesus will transform you over time to crave HIS voice (My sheep know my voice and listen to my voice and will not follow another’s voice”—John 10:3, 4, 16, 27).
1 Corinthians 7:29,31: What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short.
From now on…those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them.
For this world in its present form is passing away.
Oh loved ones, yet another Bible passage that feels as if it were tailor-made for 2017 (because it was!). It is gross how engrossed we are with the things of this world, and we live as if this world is NOT passing away, we live & build our lives as intricate sandcastles, ignoring (or denying!) that Christ Jesus will return as the Tidal Wave King, as if this current world & its values are not going to be flushed away…repentance must start with God’s people before it spreads to non-CHristians…
Will You Discuss The Gospel With Non-Christians?
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
Romans 10:13-15: 13“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Joel 2:32] 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” [Isaiah 52:7]
Simple, not complicated: our mission is to tell non-Christians about this glorious Gospel/Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, His death & resurrection
Finally, Are You Praying For Boldness & Humility To Proclaim The Gospel?
Acts 4:29-31: Now, Lord, consider their threats and
enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders
thru the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
[Goodness: when facing persecution & threats for being Christians, their prayer was not for an end to the persecution & threats but rather for boldness from the LORD to continue His mission to them in the face of such persecution & threats. Wow.
Do you pray for this, dear Christian?]
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Ephesians 6:18-20: 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly [boldly] make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly [boldly], as I should.
My friends, do you pray for that?
Please wrestle with these questions now & today & this week…
Ephesians 5:15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
7Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is
Romans 13:11-14:11 And do this, understanding the present time:
The hour has already come for you
to wake up from your slumber,
because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime,
not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery,
not in dissension and jealousy.
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Know the Gospel…enjoy the Gospel…proclaim the Gospel…fill this city with the Gospel:
convenience store, and
fill it all with the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, His death & resurrection:
free eternal life offered to all
headed toward a costly eternal death…