Summary: Forgiveness and salvation are universal needs. Those needs are not met in one’s personal moral properties or position in life, but only through faith in the person and work of Christ Jesus the Lord.
Evangelization Of An Ethiopian
Text: Acts 8: 35-38
Intro: Prior to the story that we have just read, we are told of the death of Stephen, one of the first deacons of the church of Jerusalem. Before his death, Stephen preached a scorching sermon to the religious leaders of his day, concerning their guilt in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. This fiery message inspired by the Holy Spirit, wound up costing Stephen his life, for the Bible tells us that these men “…were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (Acts 7: 54b). The violence of their anger toward Stephen is brought out by the words “…gnashed on him with their teeth,” meaning: “to bite with loud noise, to grind or gnash the teeth. Literally, they began to gnash their teeth at…him (just like a pack of hungry, snarling wolves)” (Robertson’s Word Pictures). Moments later, this godly servant of God was stoned to death.
It is at the stoning of Stephen that we are introduced to a young man named Saul. Saul, who, after his conversion, became known as Paul, severely persecuted the church of Jerusalem. However, this didn’t produce the effect for which the Jewish religious leaders had hoped. Instead of hindering the growth of the Christian church, persecution actually inspired its growth.
During the tremendous growth of the Church, the Apostle Peter and Philip the evangelist had the opportunity to preach Christ in the town of Samaria. Not long after Peter and Philip returned to Jerusalem, Philip was given instructions, via an angelic messenger, for a special assignment. He was told to go into the desert, south of Jerusalem. He obeyed immediately, even though he wasn’t given the details of what God had in mind for this assignment. However, Philip’s obedience resulted in the salvation of an Ethiopian official in the court of Queen Candace (Con’da-ce).
This account is a great illustration of the need for Christians to be available to God to witness of His saving grace. You see it isn’t that there is no one left with which to share salvation’s story; but it is simply that we often overlook or ignore the opportunities that God gives us to share Christ with the lost.
But why is evangelism so important?
* Evangelism is important because all humanity is separated from God by sin (“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”—Rom.3: 23).
* Evangelism is important because man cannot meet God’s righteous demands in order to earn his salvation (“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”—Eph.2: 8 & 9).
* Evangelism is important because God loves the lost, and desires to forgive them, if they will but trust Him (“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee”—Psalm 86: 5).
* Evangelism is important because putting one’s faith in Christ alone is the only means of obtaining God’s forgiveness and the gift of eternal life (“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”—John 14: 6; “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”—John 3: 16).