Battling for Glory

July 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Posted in I Peter | 5 Comments
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As Christians, our journey on the road to glory begins with our spiritual birth. As we move from glory to glory with our minds “hinged” (not unhinged), and with our eyes fixed on Jesus, Who is both the Author and the Finisher of our journey, we remember that we are sojourners and pilgrims, not homeless wanderers. All through this journey, we are being prepared for glory as we go, and we are moving toward the fullness of glory, even as we make conquests along the way. We are bringing our thoughts into captivity and getting victories over our enemies, but how well the devil knows this tendency of ours to think of the victories as “ours!”

Here is where we have to be in the Word and filled with the Spirit. A victory along the way is not winning the whole war.

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

I Peter 2:11

The war is the whole campaign, not an individual battle.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. and I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:17-18

Peter would be very displeased with the idea (proffered by many people) that he is the rock upon which the church is built, and the false idea that his successors get revelations from God not found in His Holy Word.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 3:11

Flesh and blood don’t reveal to us that Jesus is the Son of God. We become children of God by grace through faith. Likewise, we don’t fight spiritual battles by flesh and blood. We fight by submitting to God’s Spirit, and we do this by faith.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

II Corinthians 10:3

This is a paradox. We win battles by surrendering. We do fight battles, but we don’t win these battles by fighting them in the worldly way. Beware of the temptation of Satan. Victory in battle can easily give place to lawlessness, but an attitude of submission does not allow for lawlessness or rebellion.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

I Peter 2:12

Our submission to God will be a witness to unbelievers.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I Peter 1:13

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

I Peter 1:15

Having a good testimony in the presence of unbelievers is not the way to bring ourselves glory. It is a way to bring glory to God, and to present a favorable impression of Him in the eyes of the lost for the “day of visitation.”

Growing and Living Stones

May 25, 2018 at 11:28 am | Posted in I Peter | 1 Comment
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Christians should not be average. Average is the best of the worst, and the worst of the best. Average Christians are like kids who don’t have any appetite for the Bread of Life or for the milk of the Word.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

I Peter 2:2

They just want something sweet and entertaining, even though it has no substance.

Peter’s name meant “rock” or “stone.”

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

I wonder if Peter later reflected upon the Lord’s words, and thought that, given his name, it is not surprising that the Spirit used him to make illustrations with stones. Christ said He will “build” His church, so, in this sense, although the Church is not a physical “building,” it is a building built from living stones.

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I Peter 2:4-5

Peter had preached in Acts 4 about Christ being the stone Who was set at nought of the builders, but Who, in truth, had become the head of the corner – the Stone that holds the whole building in place.

Christ is building His Church, but He is using us to do it. How does a man build a house? By tearing down his neighbor’s house? No, by getting unused stones. No Christian should try to build up his or her own ministry by tearing down another’s ministry.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

I Peter 2:9-10

Many Christians like to brag about how “peculiar” they are, but notice how we should not be that peculiar from each other. There is a unifying principle among the living stones of the house of God. We are a “holy nation.” My failure to live a holy life makes me a traitor to my nation. We are to help our nation “show forth” the praises of Him Who called us to be a part of this nation. We do belong to a “nation,” even though this world is not our home.

A Glimpse of His Glory

February 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Matthew | 8 Comments
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In Matthew Chapter 17 the King gives His closest followers a glimpse of His glory. In Chapter 16 He had told them:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 16:27

They would get a preview of this glory very soon.

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Matthew 16:38-17:2

This is what is known as the “Transfiguration.” Transfiguration is change, but not from outward forces, like remodeling a building or plastic surgery. It is change from within – transformation, not conformation.

Christ is God, so all His glory is self-generated. We cannot produce our own glory; only He can.

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Matthew 17:5

Part of God’s glory is His holiness. No one is like God. Here, He says that we should listen to and obey Christ because He is God incarnate.

And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Matthew 17:6

“Glory” also speaks of the “weight” of God – the magnitude of God. No one can stand in His presence – not even angels. We talk about “weightier” and “lighter” matters, and God is the “heaviest” subject about Whom we could ever speak.

The King’s glory helps us to understand the King’s power. The nine Disciples who had not gone up into the Mount of Transfiguration were now faced with a demon they couldn’t handle.

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

Matthew 17:14-16

They could not handle this demon because they had been guilty of a lack of discipline. They had not been praying and fasting. If the glory of the King – Who Himself was disciplined – doesn’t motivate us to be disciplined, then we can’t be trusted with the power of the King.

Now the Holy Spirit inspires Matthew, the former tax collector, to tell about what happened when the King was challenged to pay taxes. (Normally kings receive taxes!)

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Matthew 17:24-27

The King not only disciplines Himself, but makes Himself a servant, paying taxes He does not rightfully owe, just to keep from causing trouble. Have you ever been asked to do something you really shouldn’t have to do? To put up with some nonsense you shouldn’t have to put up with? Remember the King – the GLORIOUS King – Who didn’t even have a half-shekel to pay His taxes.

The glory of the King is a necessary motivation to being a follower of the King – to doing what God said, and learning of His ways, and living His principles. This is the only recorded miracle in Jesus’s earthly ministry involving money, and the only miracle I can think of where the Bible doesn’t confirm that it actually happened. The King said He was going to do it, and Matthew, having understood something of His glory, just expects us to take it for granted that He did it. We are not even told if the precise miracle is that Jesus caused a fish to swallow a coin, and then caused that exact fish to be the one caught, or if He just created the coin, and exercised dominion of the fish to make it be caught.

Revealed Truth

December 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Matthew | 3 Comments
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And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

Matthew 15:39

In the Book of Matthew, it may seem at times like the King is in retreat, but He is really just engaged in spiritual battle, staying in sync with His Father’s timeline. While He is battling, He is also doing two other things – things that we need to be doing while we are battling: (1) helping the hurting, healing and feeding the sick and the hungry; (2) teaching others. All Christians should be continually learning and teaching (Titus 2).

By the beginning of Matthew Chapter 16 the King had revealed secrets about His Kingdom, and now He was ready to reveal secrets about His plan.

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:16

Here, Peter had spoken the plain truth.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

Jesus was the Christ, and that fact was not not just a pronouncement. It is a foundation. He would build on this foundation. He would build a church. When He conquers the kingdom of hell, His Church will be victorious with Him.

This is the first mention of the Church – the ekklesia – the called-out assembly. It is also the first open discussion about His death.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Matthew 16:21

Lord, I pray that the light of Your truth would help us to grow, and that the heat of persecution would not cause us to wither and shrivel, but to grow, also. Help us to be the kind of Christians You want us to be. Help us to be the kind of friends, neighbors, spouses, church members, workers you want us to be. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Flesh and Blood

May 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Hebrews | 3 Comments
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Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:14

It was important for Jesus to become flesh and blood, so He could die and break the power of death and the power of the devil. Angels aren’t flesh and blood; they’re spirit beings.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

I Corinthians 15:50

For this reason, if we are to inherit eternal life, we must be “born again,” and, in this second birth, we must be “born of the Spirit.”

To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:16

The Apostle Paul always tried to remember not to be proud even though He was elected by God to do great things. He did not want to glory in his flesh.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 16:17

Jesus told Peter that he was blessed because his confession of faith was based on listening to God, not just on what he had seen with his flesh-and-blood eyes.

For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Leviticus 17:11

The Bible tells us that that thousands of years ago God told people that the life is in the blood. George Washington died after being “bled” as a means of healing, even though there was a Bible right there on his bedside table that would have refuted this so-called “science.”

Break It Up!

February 10, 2012 at 10:01 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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We might suppose that God is chiefly in the business of building.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

However, the Bible tells us that there are times ordained by God for breaking, as well as building.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes 3:3

When we think of some of the heroes of the faith who were themselves broken before God, like Job, Jonah, Isaiah, David, and Peter, just to name a few – and when we recall all the times that God, in loving discipline, has had to break us in order to bring us back to Himself – we might be very glad that God condescends to use broken things.

Vance Havner once said that God uses “broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume.” If you are feeling broken right now, maybe to the point where you feel useless before God, take heart! The body of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, was broken for you on Calvary’s Cross, so that you might draw strength from Him. The Apostle Paul understood this principle.

When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

Acts 20:11

When you are experiencing a dark night of brokenness, call upon the Lord, and when His sun “breaks” the morning sky, get up and depart from your bed of sorrows, ready to serve Him with new energy.

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

I Corinthians 11:24

More Strange Weapons: A Stone (God’s Will Is Foundational)

June 3, 2011 at 11:23 am | Posted in Strange Weapons | 9 Comments
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Strange Weapons: A Prod, a Peg, and a Pitcher

More Strange Weapons: A Stone and a Bone

Last time, I reviewed the Biblical account of Abimelech’s death.

Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:

Judges 9:50-56

Before I start making the application, we need to remember something very important about God’s will: God’s will is perfect.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 (emphasis added)

Many people will acknowledge that the Bible is infallible and inerrant. But if God’s Word is perfect, so must His will be perfect also. If you hold an extravagantly expensive diamond up to bright light, it will reveal a myriad of different views – all breath-taking. Even the slightest change of perspective will cause the viewer to see new refractions of light through its facets. The clarity, color, and cut of some diamonds seem to offer endless worlds of beautiful variations. However, even the most exquisite diamond will eventually reveal some flaw somewhere in its make-up. God’s will is like a diamond without a single flaw. If we could inspect God’s will from every angle, each millimeter of movement around it would reveal only more absolute perfection for all eternity. God’s will is completely FLAWLESS.

Faith is a great challenge for Christian believers, and it is prone to much misinformation and misunderstanding. Faith is not me pronouncing my will to God. It is trusting that His will is right, and will ultimately be for my good – even when His will seems completely against my will.

The Bible calls the woman who hurled the millstone down from the tower at Abimelech a “certain” woman, meaning she was a “particular” woman. She was distinguished from the others by the fact that she is the one who threw down the stone. But, in our idiom, we have another meaning for “certain:” someone who is “sure,” someone who is absolutely convinced. Are we “certain” men and women when it comes to trusting God’s will in our lives? Do we know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose? Or do we have uncertainty – do we think a few things can’t really work out for good?

The weapon of a millstone reminds us that God’s will is like a weapon of spiritual warfare in that:

I. Stones are foundational.

Stones form the underlying structure of things. In the Old Testament, the millstone was one of the basic, foundational tools for sustaining life.

No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:6

It would have been difficult to grind grain for making bread without a millstone. In the New Testament, we have better Bread. Jesus said, I AM the Bread of Life. He proclaimed that He was the foundational Rock of the Church – all other ground is sinking sand. Upon this Rock I shall build My church, He said – that He is the Christ – the Son of the Living God. If we are going to utilize the advantage of God’s sovereign will in our spiritual warfare, we are going to have to build our house upon the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. Anything that we are hoping to build to last is going to have to be built on Jesus.

A. The foundation concerning God’s will is for building.

We must build our lives on the foundation of God’s sovereignty. When the people of Thebez ran into a tower to escape Abimelech, that seemed like a foolish plan. Abimelech was setting towers on fire, and battering doors down. But he could not defeat God’s will. God’s will was for him to die in defeat and disgrace – and God accomplishes His will.

When you are in trouble – financial trouble, relationship trouble, sickness, confusion – will you go through the Door which is Christ Jesus, and hide yourself in the Tower which is Almighty God? The Name of the Lord is a strong tower – the righteous run into it, and they are saved.

B. The foundation concerning God’s will is broad.

Remember, Abimelech had a will, too, but Abimelech’s will was opposed to God’s will. Abimelech wanted to be King, and among his followers he was popular and supported. But man’s will is fickle and transient. People can love you and support you one day, and betray you and desert you the next day. God’s will is a foundation that is broad in the sense that it covers all contingencies, and remains firm. God’s will is a rock that you may fall upon – but it is also a rock that you may never fall off. God is immutable. God does what pleases God, not what pleases man. In the warfare of the Christian life, you are going to want a weapon that is dependable – that will not let you down. You are going to want to place your trust in God, not in men. Even when God’s circumstances make it seem like He doesn’t know what He is doing, and people are giving you what sounds like good reasonable advice, trust God, not people.

C. The foundation concerning God’s will is found at the bottom.

Remember, Abimelech wanted to be the “head.” He concocted his scheme to be King in his own “head.” And he was defeated when God’s strange weapon – His sovereign will in the form of a stone – struck him on the head.

The foundation of a building is located at the bottom – it is the base. When a foundation is too narrow, too limited, and you try to build on it, to build upwards, it gets too “top heavy.” The things stacked at the top fall easily and they fall hard – and they destroy much around them.

If you are building your life on the world’s ideas of the future, on your own ideas of the future, on what you can only see – apart from faith – with your own eyes trying to look into the future, then your plans are liable to fall easily, fall hard, and to destroy those around you. The 9/11 terrorists flew their hijacked planes into the top of the World Trade Center. They would not have caused much damage if they had hit a building with a broad base and a narrow top. Church steeples are more sharp and pointed the higher they go in order to symbolize the fact that the closer we get to God, the smaller we realize we are, and the bigger we realize He is. Abimelech was a terrorist who wanted to cause maximum destruction.

When the tower in Siloam fell, what did Jesus say? “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” God is sovereign – He’s in control.

God’s will, like a stone, is foundational. Next time, we will see that stones are also functional.

A House Built for a King

February 17, 2010 at 10:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments
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We may never know for sure until we get to Heaven, but it seems plausible that, in the councils of eternity, God the Father decreed that Christ the Son, during His time on earth, would have the sort of occupation which would remind Him of what He had been at the foundation of the world.

Jesus, during the time leading up to his public ministry, was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). In Bible times, a carpenter was chiefly a builder. We know from Scripture that Christ built the heavens and the earth (Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1 and 1:14; Psalm 104).

It may surprise some, but Jesus Christ is still building today. What is He building? He is building His Church (Matthew 16:18). What material is He using? His materials are born-again believers, who have received Him as Savior by faith (I Peter 2:5).

If you have been saved by grace through faith – and that is the only way TO BE saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) – then there are some pre-ordained good works for you – as hand-fashioned material in the hands of the Master Builder – to get busy doing. Christians are not saved BY good works; they are saved UNTO good works, and the best work for a Christian to be involved in is the building of his Lord’s Church.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth

June 30, 2009 at 10:57 am | Posted in Acts | 20 Comments
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Acts Chapter 8 introduces us to Saul of Tarsus, who would become the Apostle Paul.

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 8:1

Saul saw Stephen stoned, and he approved of it. But you have to wonder if it affected him – if God used it to begin to prick his conscience.

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:5

Something was bothering Saul, stabbing at his conscience as he charged down the road to Damascus like an angry bull.

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Acts 8:2

He “wreaked havoc” on the early Church – tore it to pieces like a wild beast – the way Samson once did to a lion (which normally tears the lamb.) But the early Church was empowered by the Lamb of God; persecution only caused it to grow.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Acts 8:4-5

Philip went to Samaria. The Samaritans were half-Jewish and half-Gentile. When the Assyrians had conquered the northern tribes of Israel, they brought in people to intermarry. The Samaritans were the second ethnic group in Acts upon which God poured His Spirit.

Philip’s revelations were confirmed by special miracles for a special ethnic group.

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

Acts 8:9

Simon was doing satanic miracles; Philip was doing God-empowered miracles.

To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

Acts 8:10-11

Simon’s miracles bewitched the people; Philip’s preaching set them free.

Satan got Simon to infiltrate Philip’s ministry.

And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Acts 8:18-20

The laying-on of hands is there in Chapter 8, but not in Chapter 10 when the Gentiles receive the Holy Ghost. Laying-on of hands is not necessary for Spirit baptism – and notice that only the Apostles could do it. There is only one prerequisite for Spirit-baptism: Salvation.

Simon the sorcerer has a word named for him: simony. Simony is the buying and selling of church offices. Simon was willing to pay for the ability to lay hands on people and impart the Holy Spirit to them. There is much division and confusion and strife about this among the professing Christian church today, and, obviously, if you read this, you can do what you want, but I would be very careful about paying money – whether you call it a “love offering” or “sowing a seed” or whatever – for some “anointed” object.

Peter was very good at ferreting out Satan, and he spoke harshly to Satan’s secret agents when they were exposed. When he exposed Ananias, Peter asked him, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” (Acts 5:3) He told Simon:

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

Acts 8:22-23

It is possible that Ananias and Sapphira would have destroyed the church in Jerusalem, and likewise Simon could have destroyed the church in Samaria. It may be that Peter was so good at spotting Satan’s infiltration tactics because of his past experience with Satan trying to infiltrate the disciples through Peter himself.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Matthew 16:23

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Luke 22:31-32

Acts Chapter 8 also contains the important account of the Ethiopian eunuch. This Ethiopian servant would have been wealthy – he was riding in a fancy chariot. And it may be that he was not a real “eunuch” in the modern sense of the term, but rather a high-ranking servant who had retained the name. In any event, he had a scroll of Isaiah – which would have been very rare to have in those days. He apparently had an interest in being a Jewish proselyte. However, if he was in fact a real “eunuch,” he would have been barred from temple worship due to his physical mutilation. He could have still been what was known as a “God-fearer” (this is what Cornelius was). God-fearers were Gentiles who tried to observe the Jewish laws and rites, even though they could not be true Jews. Joseph pretended to be an Old Testament example of this. He gave his brothers a hint when he sent them home, saying, “This do and live; for I fear God.” (Genesis 42:18)

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

Acts 8:30

The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah 53:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Isaiah 53:7-8

This passage of Scripture deals with the Messiah as a substitutionary sacrifice.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:35-39

Please note that the Ethiopian had to be saved before he could be baptized.

Philip was “caught away” – this implies a supernatural phenomenon. He ended up at Azotus, and then preached his way back to Caesarea – about 60 miles. There are few spiritual events that will energize your Christian life like leading someone to the Lord and seeing him saved.


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