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Summary: A sermon with an evangelistic edge preached at a Baptismal service.

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Finding what you’re looking for. WBC 6 Feb 05am. Acts 8:26-40

(Baptismal service of Sarah Logan)

A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a preacher baptising people in the river.

He proceeds to walk into the water and subsequently bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are YOU ready to find Jesus?"

The drunk answers, "Uh, what?... yeah!." So the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the water. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?" The drunk replies, "No, I haven’t found Jesus."

The preacher shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again for a little longer this time. He again pulls him out of the water and asks again, "Have you found Jesus my brother?" The drunk again answers, "No, I haven’t found Jesus."

By this time the preacher is at his wits end and dunks the drunk in the water again---but this time holds him down for about 30 seconds and when he begins kicking his arms and legs he pulls him up. The preacher again asks the drunk, "Tell me.. tell me.. tell me- have you found Jesus!?"

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

Listen- that’s fabricated… and we don’t force baptise people! But it is funny!

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

This man found what he was looking for

Actually- your heart really warms to him:

he was a man of great influence and power

- in charge of the treasury of the Queen of Ethiopia

- in fact: tradition has it that he “went on his way rejoicing”, (v39) all the way to the Queen who recognised his story as what SHE was looking for, too

o (Ethiopians long influenced by what came out of Jerusalem

 Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia) went to hear Solomon’s wisdom, and became a monotheist)

o And as a result the Ethiopian church was founded. Became the Coptic church

- Whatever: he was one of the first followers of Jesus in Africa

Man of influence and power but

- a deeply humble man

o when someone pops up at his chariot and asks ‘do you understand what you’re reading?’, he doesn’t tell him to “bog off!”. Says “No, I don’t. I need help to understand”

- a deeply spiritual man

o Here he is, reading a bit of the Jewish Scriptures. Is 53

o Searching. “Still hasn’t found what he’s looking for”

o Has been up to Jerusalem to worship

 Judaism was a magnet to those of spiritual integrity

Yet- this must have left him still searching and probably frustrated

- maybe why he was so engrossed by this passage: “Who can speak of his descendants?...”

o he could have no children. Was a Eunuch

o probably to ensure security in the Queen’s house

- but the knock on effect was could not fully convert to Judaism, become a proselyte… worship in the temple

o it’s that verse that makes you wince DT 23:1 No one who has been castrated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD.

Poor bloke. Yet he is such a genuine seeker- he keeps coming back and seeking… even though he is partially rejected… because he can see there is truth in what the Jews believed

- but I bet he recognised it wasn’t the full story. And he’s searching for more

o with utter integrity

o Illustr: we need to recognise the integrity with which many search. Have genuine questions that need answering

 = why Alpha is such a hit

Maybe he held onto, with hope, the passages in the OT that hinted at more… a better deal. Bits only 3 chapters on from what he was reading

ISA 56:3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say,

"The LORD will surely exclude me from his people."

And let not any eunuch complain,

"I am only a dry tree."

ISA 56:4 For this is what the LORD says:

"To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,

who choose what pleases me

and hold fast to my covenant--

ISA 56:5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls

a memorial and a name

better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name

that will not be cut off.

Whatever- that wouldn’t have been his reception in Jerusalem, then

- it’s fulfilled in what Philip tells him

Ilustr: Jonathan Kissell (Barry and Mary’s son) went into a pub in Harrow on Thurs 4 Sept. Noted a skinny bloke standing there and got talking with him. They had a good conversation; having many things in common (both had TV production in their background).

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