God's Gracious Pursuit (Part 1)
Acts • Sermon • Submitted
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Read Luke 15:4-7, Acts 8:26-40
God has moved heaven and earth to show His mercy to sinners. The Ethiopian Eunuch found redemption because God pursued Him. God relentlessly pursues His lost sheep that He might save them.
How does He do it? By...
God saves through sending. He always has.
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
What had to happen for this message to be sent?
Moses, Prophets, even wicked nations
For what purpose? God has chosen to show His glory in saving lost sinners like
Ethiopian Eunuch (v.27)
God-fearer - He was in Jerusalem to worship. He could not enter the temple, was an outsider. Yet, he was seeking to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Man of High-rank - a court official in charge of all of the treasury of Candace or Kandake - queen mother of Kush or as the Bible writers and Romans called it - Ethiopia.
Ethiopian - from region of Cush south of Egypt, modern day Sudan. He was likely a person of color, a foreigner and heading back on the long road home.
Eunuch - This could mean he was an official, but more literally indicated that he’d been a slave who’d been set apart for service by castration, a sort of insurance policy that also demonstrated supreme authority over such servants.
This would have kept this man from becoming a full convert to Judaism / proselyte
“No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.
Like you and me and everyone.
Though the Ethiopian Eunuch was a man who sought God, and a man of high standing, he still was marred in such a way that he could NOT come to God on his own.
You may be looking for merit before God in your standing, in your reputation, your influence, your financial status, but none of it is enough because we are all marred with the disqualifying mutilation of sin.
as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;
It takes a divine work of God to overcome the permanent marks of sin in us.
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
In spite of his unworthiness to come to God, God would go to great lengths to come to Him. It was always His plan to do so.
Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.
Read Isaiah 56:3-8
Who is called to share this message? Who is it that God is sending and using to redeem His lost sheep?
Every Believer is sent!
Evangelists (like Philip)
Missionaries on specific missions (like Paul and Silas)
Parents, Neighbors, Friends, Family - You!
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
God is relentless in pursuing the lost according to His grace. He has laid the foundations, provided the means, and is sending His messengers who obediently answer His call to make disciples.
Desert water is scarce. One must go to the well and unlike in our homes, the water didn’t come to them - they had to draw it up from the deep. There would be a bucket on a rope which would be lowered down into the water. Then, having lowered it under so it was filled, they must pull it back up to the surface. What were the means in drawing the water? Person pulling? Rope? The bucket? The pulley? What if one of those things failed?
By many means God so draws His lost sheep to Himself.
One often overlooked aspect of God’s pursuit of sinners is His drawing. If you know Christ this morning, it’s in part because He drew you to Himself.
The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them.
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
You see no one simply comes to God of their own doing. No one would want to, apart from God’s graciously pursuing and drawing them to Himself. That’s what God was doing in (v.27-32)
God had somewhere along the line sparked a desire in this Ethiopian to know Him
He had traveled very far to worship
Though likely a foreigner, and certainly marred and unclean, he still wanted to perform what duties and rituals he could
This is not simply a sign of this man’s goodness, but of God’s gracious drawing
God was revealing Himself through His Word
While he couldn’t quite understand it, this man knew the answer was in the scriptures
God uses His Word to awaken sinners to Himself and to their own need of Him. He brought this man to Isaiah 53, one of the most explicit pictures of Christs atoning sacrifice in the OT.
Read, keep reading until God reveals!
He didn’t know it, but God was bringing him, drawing him to a point of intersection where he would encounter Jesus through Philip. Though he was moving in the opposite direction, he was not out of reach of God.
How often friends, do we think someone too far, running from God and neglect to see that God can, and does draw men and women to Himself.
Ex. Shane, Deb, Myself! None too far!
God is drawing His lost sheep. He does so in a thousand ways, using a thousand means, but all to bring them to a knowledge of the Truth. But how will they understand it?
God saves and sanctifies through his illuminating Work
Blind, lost and unknowing.
Ex. Curtains drawn and no alarm. How can we know it’s day when we’re asleep and there’s no light? (Note: unlike our bodies that are trained to wake up, our sinful hearts are trained to stay asleep! We must have light, that we might even know we are sleeping!
The Bible teaches that sin, and its corruption is like darkness. That it has pervaded this world and even our own minds and hearts. It takes a work of God to shine light into that darkness, to give us “eyes to see.”
Speaking of Israel’s hardened, blinded, dullness
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
He explains further in
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
We cannot understand the gospel apart from God’s revealing work. We cannot understand our own need, or the majesty of His grace towards us unless He, by His Holy Spirit reveals it to us.
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
God sent His people, His evangelists, His gospel to bring light!
We’ve been saved according to grace ...
but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;
This Ethiopian was only beginning to see, but God would shine the light more brightly!
Holy Spirit was working in Philip and in this man
God was using His Word to stir a desire in him
God would use His servant Philip to shine the light of the gospel
God is saving people just as He always has, just as He saved you if you are His here this morning.
He’s also regenerating and carrying which we’ll get to next week as we look closer at the text in the scroll of the Ethiopian and his response to the news of Jesus Christ.
Do you see the great lengths God has went through to show His grace to us? Every moment, every circumstance, all of history according to His purpose!
How did you come to hear of Jesus for the first time? It wasn’t an accident!
Who has He sent in your life to draw you? What circumstances led you towards Him? Is He drawing you now? Don’t pull away friend, but continue to seek and to search as this Ethiopian
Remember, no matter
Remember there is road outside of God’s reach!
What desert road did He find you on? Are you there now, seeking, waiting for Him to meet you?
Where and to whom is He sending you dear brother/sister? We have the same divine message, the same divine Spirit, the same mission and purpose as ambassadors for our King!