The gift of baptism(click Here for study questions) (Acts 8:26-40)Timo Keskitalo, January 9, 2011
Part of the Exposition of Acts series, preached at a Sunday Service service
Find out about who this Philip is and discuss his life and career:
It is strange that Philip is taken out from Samaria from serving the new believers to meet with one person only. Why could that be? It seems quite disorganised doesn't it?
Yet there is a clear plan of taking the steps into world mission:
Acts 6 ministry in Jerusalem
Acts 8 ministry among Samaritans
Acts 8 ministry with the Ethiopian proselyte
Acts 10 ministry with gentile God fearing Cornelius
Acts 13 ministry among gentiles
Why was it so difficult for the apostles to understand that the gentiles could be part of the church?
In which ways had God prepared the Ethiopian man for this encounter?
Imagine how easy God had made it for Philip to minister to him!
Are there experiences in your life, when you feel that God has put you in the right place at the right time?
In the baptism it is indicated that they both went in the water and both came out from the water. Bible does not anywhere give us an exact decription of the amount of water used in the baptism. This is the closest it comes to suggesting that it might have been by immersion. Why does Bible not make it more clear for us?
The missing verse 37 has been added to emphasize the understanding of the early church that the person baptised must confess his faith as a response to the teaching given.
How much teaching is enough? How much understanding is needed before baptism? What was the church the Ethiopian man was joined through baptism?
We need to find a balance between good solid practices and flexibility in these questions.
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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. 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 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 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. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 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?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 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. (ESV)