This morning we have the pleasure of watching three individuals follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. We call it Believer’s Baptism because we believe that scripture clearly teaches that water baptism is something that follows salvation rather than preceding it. Much like the Lord’s Table, water baptism is for the believer and serves as a reminder and a symbol of their salvation.
Whenever I think of a believer being baptized, I think of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
I. Who was Philip?
The first question we might ask is – ‘who was Philip?’ There is more than one man mentioned in scripture with the name Philip. There was Philip who was the brother of Andrew and one of the Lord’s twelve disciples. This is not that Philip. The Philip spoken of in this passage was one of the original seven deacons who served in the church at Jerusalem. He is also sometimes called ‘Philip the evangelist’, indicating one of the primary ways the Lord used him. Philip had a special calling and gift for sharing the gospel. We see that at the beginning of Acts 8 –
Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
Philip was an ordinary man that God used in an extra ordinary way. That reminds me of something that Henry Blackaby said in his book, The Man God Uses, – “God is known for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Throughout Scripture, God used ordinary men to affect His kingdom in extraordinary ways.”
Though Philip was an ordinary man, he had an extraordinary commitment to Christ. That is seen by his willingness to go to Samaria. Many of you know that the Jews hated the Samaritans. Yet Philip recognized that God is no respecter of persons and he knew that Samaria was a part of the Lord’s Great Commission.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus said that the Spirit of God moves like the wind. He is bound to nothing more than His own perfect will and therefore, when the Spirit moved upon Philip’s heart to go to Samaria, Philip obeyed and went. The result was that God used Philip in a very powerful way.
Acts 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Philip experienced every Christian worker’s dream. Souls were being saved. Lives were being changed. The Spirit of God was filling men’s hearts with joy and praise. But then the Spirit moved again in a mysterious way –
Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went …
Just as quickly as Philip came to Samaria, he left. He left a great movement of God to go to a desert place. Why was Philip so flexible?
1) He was committed to doing the Lord’s will
2) He was concerned for men’s souls
Philip believed that God had a special purpose for his life and therefore he was always ready to obey.
II. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
Acts 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
‘Desert’ means that it was a sparsely populated region. Yet there was a major trade route that ran along the Mediterranean Sea that intersected with a road that came from Jerusalem and it was here that the Lord gave Philip his next assignment.
Acts 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship…
This man was a high ranking official in the court of the Queen of Ethiopia. Scripture says that he was returning home after having been in Jerusalem to worship. It seems rather strange that a man from Ethiopia would have been worshiping the Jewish God in Jerusalem. Yet we know from stories of men such as Joseph and Daniel that sometimes the Lord took His servants into other cultures and used them in prominent positions. It is possible that this man was of Jewish descent. It is quite obvious that God was working in his life in a major way.
Acts 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?
And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer , so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Coincidence? I think not. God was orchestrating an event that would take the gospel into the continent of Africa. God had placed this man in Ethiopia. God had placed him in the court of the Queen. God had caused him to go to Jerusalem. God had put in his hands the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah. God had caused Philip to be there at the time this man would be traveling home. God was using Philip to take the gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
The Bible says that Philip preached to him Jesus. What all did Philip say to him? No doubt Philip explained to him:
A. Jesus is the Son of God
Acts 8:37 … I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
There is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. The Bible teaches us that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. God created us in His own image, and because God is holy, He requires His people to be holy. But we’re not holy. We’re sinful. Therefore in order for us to be saved, God had to act in our behalf. God did by sending His Son to this world to be our Savior.
B. Jesus is the Savior of the World
Acts 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer , so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Philip taught this man that God had sent His Son to this world to become a man, so that as a man, He could die in our place. Jesus said:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
C. Salvation is Personal Decision That We Each Must Make
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
There is no doubt that Philip taught this man about the necessity of making a personal decision for we read next in the story-
Acts 8:36 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? 37 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.
Water baptism will not save us. It cannot save us. It is only water. Yet that is not to say that baptism is not important. It is extremely important to our Lord. Baptism for the believer has great significance.
1) Significant Because it is a Symbol of Our Salvation
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The English word ‘baptize’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptisma.’ It means to be completely engulfed or immersed into something. A common way this word was used in Greek culture was when someone dyed a piece of cloth. In order to change the color of the cloth, it was immersed or ‘baptized’ into the dyeing solution; thus when it was brought out of the solution, if from that point on carried with it the characteristics of the solution.
Water baptism cannot save us. It cannot cleanse us or change us. It is a symbol of our being immersed and thus identified with the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ.
Revelation 1:5 … Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…
As I have often said to folks – ‘Only the power of God can take what is black and baptize it into red and bring it out white.’ This reminds me of an old song we used to sing – “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains”. (William Cowper, 1772)
2) Significant Because it is a Symbol of Our Surrender
Water baptism is God’s ordained method for us to signify to the world that we are not one of His disciples.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, (make disciples – followers) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Acts 8:38 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.
The Ethiopian Eunuch made a public profession of faith that day that he had received Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as his personal Savior.
2) Significant – Source of Celebration
39 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.
Do you believe that Jesus is God’s Son, sent to be the Savior of the world? Do you believe that He died for your sins? Have you received Him as your personal Savior? Have you followed Him in baptism? Have you made it known to the world that you are now one of His disciples? If not, I encourage you to do so today.
First of all, pray this prayer –
“Dear God, I know that I have sinned and am unworthy to go to heaven. I believe that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to come to be the Savior of the world. I believe that He died on the cross for my sins. I ask you to forgive me of my sins and to make me Your child. I surrender my life to You and ask You to help me live the Christian life.”
If you prayed that prayer, I encourage you to begin attending a local church and to let your decision be made known. Talk to the pastor and ask for his help and guidance. Ask to be baptized and to become a member of that church. Attend regularly and seek to grow as a believer. God will help you dear friend. There is nothing that He wants more than to help you become and to live as one of His dear children. If I may be of help to you, please contact me by emailing: email@example.com, or calling: 540-365-6312.