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We Will Serve the Lord – Part 7

It is now time to take a brief look at one of those records of conversion from Acts 8: the conversion of the Ethiopian treasurer, beginning with verse 26. I am going to emphasize only two or three points. The rest is obvious.

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.

So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 

Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading? ”And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away. And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”

So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you: who does the prophet say this of, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

You should have noticed the Word of God states clearly and plainly that the Holy Spirit spoke only to the preacher and did not appear to or say a single word to the man sitting in his chariot. The Holy Spirit acted to put the preacher in contact with the man saying to him that he should go over and introduce himself. There is no indication anywhere in the text that the Ethiopian treasurer knew a thing about any of that or whether there was such a person as the Holy Spirit. We all need to know that.

The same conclusion applies to the appearance of the angel. The angel’s voice was heard by Philip the Evangelist. And furthermore all that the angel said was for Philip to go down a certain road – not a single detail beyond that was offered. The treasurer was on that road taking a break and reading in his chariot. So the preacher heard the voice of the angel, not the other guy.

In conclusion: there is no evidence that the treasurer saw or heard anything out of the ordinary. He did not see or hear an angel and he did not feel or “see” the Holy Spirit or witness the presence and work of either one. The only thing that might be considered remarkable from the Eunuch’s view was where Philip had gotten off to after they both came out of the water.

The point is that there was no evidence at all of any outside force or of any spiritual presence this man knew of. The scriptures are silent about anything like that. And you can see that is what is written in God’s Word. The Holy Spirit performed his duties and so did the angel, but visitations from either obviously do not matter to anyone in becoming a Christian. And I can boldly suggest that none of that (angels speaking and visitations of heavenly beings of any type) has happened since the Plan of God was fully finalized and since all of the apostles had gone to their heavenly reward. So we need to be careful and cautious as to what we accept as the truth and what we tell to others. Some people teach things that simply are not found in the Word of God. This is just one example. And we can take our friends to this very spot and if they truly seek God they just might have to ponder these things and perhaps make a different choice from what they may have been taught.

You might have to read it to them more than once. You might have to be patient. People simply do not know enough about God’s Word to fill up a thimble. And oops! That includes some Christians too. There are more than a few preachers and teachers who have not read the scriptures through. Some preach commentaries. And it just may be harder to get someone up and onto the right path now. But that is not our concern.

There are only a few like the jailer who heard songs being sung and saw that the good guys (and the bad ones, too) had not run off when the gates of his jail were broken open. He had enough sense to ask the preachers right away, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved.” But if these people responded to the Good News then, without any notice of any outside presence of God or heavenly beings, then we certainly can do the same things now and be pleasing to God; and so can our friends and neighbors. If not, why not? God has said that he will never change and that no one has any authority to amend or modify the Word of God. (Ecclesiastes 3: 14, Jude 3, Matthew 28: 18 – 20, Mark 16: 15 – 20, Luke 24: 44 – 53, John 21: 25, Galatians 1: 6 – 20, and many other places).

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