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Faith that Saves

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Faith that saves.

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Give credit to Pastor John MacArthur for his outline on this chapter!
God’s plan of salvation in the OT was that in keeping the covenant the Jews would bless the nations of the world
God never intended that Israel keep His blessings for themselves
Israel for the most part failed in its responsibility to be a blessing the nations
she either turned inward or outward
inward: separatistic, isolationist, no contact with the Gentiles whom they despised
Samaritan woman to Jesus in ,
“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Peter to Cornelius in ,
Peter to Cornelius in ,
How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)Peter to Cornelius in ,
“You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation”
outward: syncretistic, idolatrous, loving the world
“You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation,outward: syncretistic, idolatrous, loving the world
outward: syncretistic, idolatrous, compromise with the surrounding nations
both these extremes kept Israel from being the blessing they could have been
made Israel impotent
the church experiences these same extremes and sometimes both at the same time
a tension recognized in the NT
go into all the world and make disciples () vs. be separate ()
God’s purpose in the NC is for the church to be the blessing to the world that Israel failed to be
like OT Israel, the church tends to towards these same extremes
a tension recognized in the NT
go into all the world and make disciples () vs. be separate ()
the church in Acts was forced out of Jerusalem into the world through persecution
as they scattered they brought the good news of Christ with them and so the blessing of the gospel began to spread
Satan opposes the spread of the knowledge of Christ either through a head-on attack as in the killing of Stephen and the great persecution which followed or by a more insidious approach: planting unbelievers in the church who pose as Christians and spread false teaching
last week we considered Simon the magician as a example of this effort by Satan to sabotage the mission of the church to be a blessing to the world
Simon the Magician was a poser, a false Christian
he believed, was baptized and continued with Philip but he was a false Christian
a fact of NT Church existence
wherever you find the church you will find false Christians
it’s not a question of “if” but “how many”
this is one of Satan’s methods of corrupting the church and making it ineffective
responsibility of the church to be on guard and confront false christians and false teachers lest they corrupt true believers with their unbiblical persuasions
cannot do this unless true believers are wholly and faithfully committed to all of the scriptures
this week we will consider the Ethiopian Eunuch and how he became a true Christian
through him the gospel will go from Jerusalem directly to the gentile world in Africa
he was the first recorded Gentile believer and became the first missionary to Africa!
we want to ask ourselves: what is required for true salvation?

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation

Acts 8:26 ESV
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.
Acts 8:26
who is the “angel of the Lord”?
Acts 27:23 ESV
23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,
angel of God was no ordinary angel but a description of Christ
Paul says he belonged to him and worshipped him, two things that are never true of believers in relation to angels
remember what the angel said to John when he bowed down to him in Revelation
Revelation 19:10 ESV
10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Revelation 22:8–9 ESV
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
“arise and go down toward the south” or “at noon” (26)
God knew who he was, where he was and had a plan and purpose for him even though he did not yet know him
God sent Philip to him to explain Jesus
“go toward the south” or “at noon”
“toward the south” is redundant given the specific instruction about the particular road on which the eunuch would be travelling
“at noon” + “a desert place” = very particular instructions
original city of Gaza destroyed early in 1st century BC
there were two roads, the one to the new city of Gaza and the old road to Egypt through the ruined city of Gaza
“noon” - deserted at this time because it was the hottest time of the day but necessary for Philip to travel at that time so as to meet the eunuch at the right time
go at about noon - timing was important so that Philip was at the right place at the right time
a desert place
he had been predestined to be saved from before the creation of the world
not a good place for a person to go on their own because of robbers and bandits
what we learn from this:
this was no chance encounter, God’s instructions were very specific!
apart from the direction and guidance of the HS this meeting would never have taken place and the eunuch would never have heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
God sent Philip to him to explain Jesus
God was fully aware of the eunuch’s travels
Philip obeyed the voice of the Lord and went
note that God did not tell Philip why, only that he was to go
God knew who he was, where he was and had a plan and purpose for him even though he did not yet know him
salvation is a sovereign work of God by his grace
unbelievers cannot find their way to God
they are spiritually dead ()
Jesus said that no one could come to him unless the Father draws them ()
even when presented with the truth sinful man rejects it as something foolish and nonsensical ()
Satan is blinding them ()
we see in this story God sovereignly working through Philip to bring the eunuch the gospel in order to draw him to himself

An Available Holy Servant

Acts 8:27 ESV
27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship
he arose and went
faithful, unquestioning obedience in spite of the fact that it was the heat of the day, it was a desert road, it might be dangerous and he did not know why he was to go
we learn:
God most often accomplishes his sovereign will through prepared human instruments
remember though that though God accomplishes his will through all kinds of people, sometimes in spite of their sin, if we would be useful to the Lord we must be holy
2 Timothy 2:20–21 ESV
20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
because Philip was holy and submissive he became the means through which the eunuch was saved
though he had great success in his ministry in Samaria he was willing to obey the command of the Lord even though it must have seemed irrational
because Philip was holy and submissive he became the means by which the eunuch was saved

A Searching Heart and Mind

Acts 8:27
Acts 8:27 ESV
27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship
Ethiopian: Cush in the OT - an country south of Egypt
and there was an Ethiopian
God’s saving purposes were at work and he knew exactly where the eunuch would be and the timing of his salvation
Ethiopia = Cush in the OT - a country south of Egypt
it’s kings were considered to be incarnations of the sun god
everyday affairs of running the kingdom were therefore beneath them
were carried on by the queen mothers who were given the title “Candace”
similar to Pharaoh or Caesar
a court official … in charge of all her treasure
like Simon the Magician he was also a very important and well known person
he held a very high position in the court of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians
he had come to Jerusalem, to the Temple to worship
somehow he had come to know about the God of the Jews, perhaps through Jews who had travelled to his country to trade
Solomon’s prayer of dedication when he finished building the Temple in
when foreigners came and prayed God would hear and do what they asked that by this they might come to know His name and fear him
Acts 8:28 ESV
28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Acts 8:
seated … reading
seated … reading
someone else was doing the driving
probably had a large number of servants to wait on him and perhaps even soldiers to protect him
he understood Hebrew
tells us he was a proselyte to Judaism
had been on a search for truth (ex. of Frank in whom the Lord was working but was looking in the wrong places)
reading
had spent time with Jews who taught him their language and the ability to read and possibly write
through them he turned from his religion to Judaism
that he was reading highlights the importance of the word
eunuch had a desire to know God and was aware that he was to be sought after through the scriptures
the scriptures clearly teach that God rewards those who seek after him
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Jer 29:13
God’s sovereignty in salvation does not absolve a person of responsibility
we also learn from this that true saving faith requires truth
this eunuch lived up to the light he had and God responded by revealing himself through Philip’s testimony to Jesus Christ
this eunuch lived up to the light he had and God responded by revealing himself through Philip’s testimony to Jesus Christ
cannot be truly saved apart from a true understanding of what salvation is, means and requires

A Prepared Witness

Acts 8:29–31 ESV
29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Acts 8:29 ESV
29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
Acts 8:29–30 ESV
29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
the Spirit said … go over … so Philip ran
Acts 8:29-
most clearly through the Word
very certain and clear
also by guiding our thoughts
is very uncertain and unclear
the issue is not the HS but our ability to discern between him and our desires
clarity is in hindsight - looking back we can see either God’s hand or our foolishness
so Philip ran
Philip instantly obeyed the Lord in spite of all the servants and soldiers who were travelling with the eunuch
not our usual response to God’s guidance!
might have had to run because he would have been stopped
not our usual response to God’s guidance!
do you understand what you are reading?
tells us he was a proselyte to Judaism
had been on a search for truth (ex. of Frank in whom the Lord was working but was looking in the wrong places)
tells us he was a proselyte to Judaism
had spent time with Jews who taught him their language and the ability to read and possibly write
had been on a search for truth (ex. of Frank in whom the Lord was working but was looking in the wrong places)
through them he turned from his religion to Judaism
had spent time with Jews who taught him their language and the ability to read and possibly write
through them he turned from his religion to Judaism
do you understand
do you understand
often a good way to open a door for witness
ask lots of questions in order to engage the prospect in conversation
though he was reading he did not understand
though he was seeking God he had not yet come to the knowledge of Christ
he had not been baptized with the HS and thus he was unable to understand the truth
it made no sense to him
because he was seeking, God sent Philip to him
the scriptures clearly teach that God rewards those who seek after him
God to Israel in captivity:
Jeremiah 29:12–14 ESV
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Jer 29:12-13
God is faithful to send witnesses to those who want to know
God’s sovereignty in salvation does not absolve a person of responsibility
this eunuch lived up to the light he had and God responded by revealing himself through Philip’s testimony to Jesus Christ
God is faithful to send witnesses to those who want to know
this is what it means when it says, “God is not willing that any should perish”
in other words, “God is not willing that anyone who seeks after him should die in their sins”
if you have the desire to be saved God will not ignore you or shut you out
Romans 10:14 ESV
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Rom 10:
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
the eunuch was seeking God through the reading of his word
unless someone guides me
though he was a great man he was humble and teachable (not Simon)
another prerequisite of salvation
(
beginning with this scripture
P
Philip knew his bible and used it to tell him about the good news of Jesus
Philip did not go into a long discourse about the Jewish sacrificial system but focused on Jesus
beginning = used other OT scriptures
every believer should know their bibles so that they too are able to provide answers to those who are searching for answers
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
good resource: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/the-gospel-2016-national-conference/beginning-with-moses-christ-in-all-scriptures/
bible is bookended by Christ: () and
scripture alone is what is needed if you would see people won to Christ!
the whole bible is the story of Christ
The Old Testament says He’s coming. The Gospels say He’s here. The book of Acts proclaim Him. The epistles explain Him. And Revelation says He’s coming again. That’s the Bible in a nutshell. Steve Lawson, Beginning with Moses: Christ in all the Scriptures, Ligonier 2016 National Conference
Romans 1:16 ESV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
the Christ must suffer
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
note all the prophecies about the suffering of the Messiah:
telling other what Christ has done in you is helpful but the biblical truth about Jesus is essential
Jesus’ virgin birth in Bethlehem (; ; )
Jesus’ triumphal entry (Zech 9:9)
the OT sacrificial system as a picture of Christ
the bronze serpent in the wilderness and Christ being hung on a cross
hands and feet pierced (), betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (), count his bones (), divide his clothes (), betrayed by friends (), no bones broken (Ps 34:20)
suffering servant passages in , , , ,
despised and abhorred, gave back to those who struck him, beard plucked out, appearance marred more than any man, forsaken, pierced, oppressed, afflicted
disciples missed this!
prophecies about the glory of the Messiah:
he will receive glory, dominion and a kingdom that will never pass away and all the nations might serve him (Dan 7:14)

A Right Response

Acts 8:36 ESV
36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Acts 8:36
nothing is said of the eunuch making a profession of faith!
some ms add vs. 37:
And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
most reliable ms do not have this verse
added because a true saving response to the gospel is confession
he was teachable and Philip was knowledgeable
he was teachable and Philip was knowledgeable
summary of what Philip taught him
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
the normal saving response to the gospel: faith, confession,
baptism a public confession of faith expected of every believer
always follows conversion
though we are not told of the eunuch’s private confession of faith to Philip it was witnessed in his public confession before his whole entourage
there was no delay
delay came later when church leaders experienced false conversions like that of Simon
developed training on core doctrines to guard against false believers
baptism followed a short period of instruction
instead of immediately baptism was delayed for a short period of time
persecution would also show whether faith was genuine
baptism a public
water
And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
remember that they were in a desert place!
at some point Philip must have asked him, “do you believe”
another indicator of God’s sovereign direction and control
Acts 8:39–40 ESV
39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
through this miracle the HS confirmed to the entire caravan Philip and and his message
the eunuch went on his way rejoicing
joy a mark of a true believer
Galatians 5:22 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
1 Peter 1:8 ESV
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
Application
God only gave Philip enough information to make a start
Philip had to obey even though he had no idea where he was going and why
it was not until he met the eunuch that God told him to approach him
God initiated this encounter
though the eunuch was a committed worshipper he did not know him
he was searching
Jeremiah 29:12–14 ESV
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
he was searching because God stirred up his hear
God was working in him
he was chosen by God, the object of his saving love
he had been predestined to be saved from before the creation of the world
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