Monday, October 22, 2012

On 10-28-12, Acts 8:26-39will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Philip Baptizes a Man from Ethiopia aka Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Philip Baptizes a Man from Ethiopia
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
 Acts 8:26-39
International Sunday School Lesson
October 28, 2012

Jed Greenough

There is an immediacy about doing the work of the gospel, have you noticed that?  If you look at today’s scripture as soon as Philip had finished sharing the good news about Jesus the eunuch said, “Look, here is water.  Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”  And he was.
Immediately after Peter shared with the gentiles of Cornelius’ house they were baptized.  Similarly so was Paul’s and Silas’ jailer and household.  In fact all accounts of baptism that I can think of from the beginning at Pentecost onward demonstrate the urgency of sharing the good news and when people come to faith, baptizing them.
When we consider today’s scripture we see the importance God gave to this Ethiopian.  We will never again read of this man going forward and I think we should consider that.  Consider the importance of each individual as we think about the importance we are to place on sharing the good news ourselves.  This Ethiopian might have gone back to his lands and converted many or he alone may have been enough.  We need to treat every individual as important and urgent.  And with each of these individuals we need to impress upon them the need to act upon their new faith at once.
God sends one of his angels to tell Philip were to go.  The Spirit tells him to go to a chariot and stay near it.  Philip once there immediately grabbed the opportunity he was given to share the good news.  Further for our example, the eunuch already as we know a man of faith, asked to be baptized at the first opportunity.
Now we may not receive any direct instructions from an angel of God but you know you have had the Spirit give you instructions on sharing the good news.  How you doing with that?
Church is a great place to hear the gospel but in percentages the large majority is as the saying goes already in the choir.  We need to go to the “chariots”, whatever and wherever they are “and stay near it.”  You know you have heard the Spirit telling you to do just that.
You are sitting in the barber chair listening to Him say, “share the good news”.  Or you are driving somewhere with a co-worker and you hear the same thing.  Last week it was your neighbor and this week it was someone in the doctor’s office.  God has an army of Christian “salespeople” but only a handful produce any “sales”.
I am sure that you and your church support missionaries around the world and that is great.  Theirs is a special calling and many of them are in some of the roughest places and many are even in mortal danger.  There is however a slew of missionaries needed everywhere.  There is in fact one needed right where you are.
Start listening to the Spirit as you are told to share the good news.  Then start looking for the opportune moment to share that.  Sometimes it might be as you are being regaled with someone’s debauchery of the night before.  Other times it will be the bad things that are happening in a neighbor’s life.   The impetus doesn’t have to be just the bad and really why should it? It might be the joyous occasions of a wedding or a child’s birth.
We know when those times are it is just time that we all started acting immediately on them.

For Discussion:

1.      In this scripture the eunuch was reading Isaiah 53.  I’d like you to read about a eunuch in Isaiah 56!
2.      Discuss how your church treats new converts with regard to baptism and its immediacy.
3.      Discuss how the unsaved die every day.
4.      Discuss the joy as demonstrated by the eunuch in verse 39 and how many times our joy in our salvation wanes.
5.      Discuss sharing the gospel covering how to overcome fears, opportunities, methods and so on.
6.      Make it a class project to share the gospel in your church neighborhood.  Make a plan, have teams, plan it out.  Practice makes perfect.  Some will be searching already just as the Ethiopian was while for others it will be totally new idea.
7.      Discuss how you have all had members of cults visit at your door and compare to how we are doing.
8.      For those who have had success in treating these subjects with a sense of urgency find a way to teach your brothers and sisters out there to do the same.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

11-4-12:   Paul Testifies Before King Agrippa aka Paul before King Agrippa Acts 26:19-32
11-11-12: Paul Survives a Shipwreck aka Paul Sails for Rome Acts 27:1, 2, 33-44
11-18-12: Paul Ministers on Malta aka Paul Ministers in Malta Acts 28:1-10
11-25-12: Paul Evangelizes in Rome Acts 28:16, 17, 23-31 or Acts 28:23-31

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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