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Is Better Late Than Never Really Better?

Troubleshooting the Christian Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:07
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Luke describes him as a eunuch (a castrated man; it was common in the ancient Near East for men who had been castrated to serve in positions of state) who held office in the Ethiopian court under the queen, Candace. He was her chief finance minister.
we are probably justified in taking “eunuch” to be a governmental title in an Oriental kingdom and in emphasizing two facts when considering the Ethiopian’s relation to Judaism: (1) he had been on a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem and (2) he was returning with a copy of the prophecy of Isaiah in his possession, which would have been difficult for a non-Jew to get.
The ancient kingdom of Ethiopia lay between Aswan and Khartoum and corresponds to modern Nubia (not Abyssinia). It was ruled by a queen mother who had the dynastic title Candace and ruled on behalf of her son the king, since the king was regarded as the child of the sun and therefore too holy to become involved in the secular functions of the state
One of the ministers of the Ethiopian government—in fact, the minister of finance—having become either a full proselyte or a Proselyte of the Gate, had gone to Jerusalem to worship at one of the Jewish festivals and was now returning home reading Isaiah.
He was thus an outsider, forever to remain so within the Jewish system. But there was something about the Jewish God and the Jewish way of life which had attracted him, as it did with many in the ancient world
he had made the long journey to Jerusalem to worship, perhaps at one of the festivals; and he had procured, or perhaps he already possessed, a copy of some or all of the Jewish scriptures.
the Ethiopian was benefiting from a simple truth. When you find yourself attracted towards the faith, the scriptures provide, marvellously, something you can have and hold and take away and which, however far you are geographically from a place of worship, can become the source of living water from which you can drink at your own pace and in your own way.
We today should ponder, too, the fact that the first non-Jew to come to faith and baptism in Luke’s great story is a black man from Africa.
he plants this story at the heart of the moment when the gospel is starting to go out into the wider world, to make it abundantly clear that wherever you go, whatever culture you come to, whatever situation of human need, sin, exclusion or oppression you may find, the message of Jesus as the one in whom all the promises of God find their ‘Yes!’ (2 Corinthians 1:20) is there to meet that need.
2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
highlighting for his readers the fact that Philip’s ministry to the Ethiopian eunuch was especially arranged by God and providentially worked out in all its details.
there is no evidence that anyone in pre-Christian Judaism ever thought of the Messiah in terms of a Suffering Servant.
The Talmud, indeed, speaks of suffering sent by God as having atoning efficacy (cf. Davies, Paul, pp. 262–65); and there are many indications that “humility and self-humiliation, or acceptance of humiliation from God’s hand, were expected of a pious man and thought to be highly praiseworthy” (E. Schweizer, Lordship and Discipleship [London: SCM, 1960], p. 23; cf. also pp. 23–31). But there is no explicit evidence that this general attitude toward suffering was ever consciously carried over to ideas regarding the Messiah, God’s Servant par excellence.
At a time when only what Christians call the OT was Scripture, what better book was there to use in proclaiming the nature of divine redemption than Isaiah, and what better passage could be found than Isaiah 52:13–53:12?
Isaiah 52:13–53:12 ESV
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Thus Philip began with the very passage the Ethiopian was reading and proclaimed to him “the good news about Jesus,” explaining from Isaiah 53:7–8 and its context a suffering messianology. Of the evangelists, Matthew and John apply Isaiah 53 to Jesus’ ministry of healing (cf. Matt 8:17 on 53:4; John 12:38 on 53:1; see also Matt 12:18–21 on 42:1–4). Luke, however, alone among the evangelists, portrays Jesus as quoting Isaiah 53 as being fulfilled in his passion (cf. Luke 22:37 on 53:12).
Luke 22:37 ESV
37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
3 things are happening: Acts 8.30

A Love For the Word of God

Acts 8:30 ESV
30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Reading- anaginosko…means 2 things.
Recognizing and knowing exactly.
REading out loud.
Barbara Bush reading literacy.. George bush socks
Reading out loud does not mean we have comprehension.
fine print at the end of the radio ad.

Understanding of the Word of God

Understanding of The Word of God- ginosko
to perceive and understanding… to know things as they are, not an opinion or to sense how things are.
Matthew 13:19 ESV
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
Matthew 13:23 ESV
23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Jesus himself spoke that his disciples could UNDERStand luke 24
Luke 24:36–47 ESV
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
He Opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
Rosie- Romantic novels… how she learned of romance..... we learn of God in the scriptures.
Having our minds opened. Open mindedness.
Minds- the seat of reason.
Jesus opened their minds to unreasonable things. they were unreasonable because they were faith matters, understand with your heart.

Irresistible Witness for Jesus

Acts 8.31
Acts 8:31 ESV
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
guides- to instruct. It means to lead or guide into understanding.
guides- to be a guiding or motivating force for someone’s actions.
What is the first thing this gentleman does? He invites Philip to come explain the scriptures.
2 tim 3.16-17xxxx
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Bible is a library
It is where we meet Jesus. Where we find bad people, good people , strange people… and Jesus.
“Did God really say?”- the Serpent, Genesis 3
Yes, he did really say...
The eunuch responded to Philip by asking for baptism. As a Jewish proselyte or near-proselyte, the eunuch probably knew that water baptism was the expected external symbol for a Gentile’s repentance and conversion to the religion of Israel. Therefore, it would have been quite natural for him to view baptism as the appropriate expression for his commitment to Jesus, whom he had come to accept as the fulfillment of Israel’s hope and promised Messiah.
Bottom Line:

Christian Procrastination Denies Others Salvation

Good News That is Late News is Really Bad News

The disobedience of the apostles actually hinders the Great Commission. Acts 1.1-ff
Acts 1:4–11 ESV
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
It is only in Acts 7-8, when under persecution, that the gospel leaves Jerusalem and certainly Judea.
Acts 7:54–8:8 ESV
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.
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