Summary: Exposition of Acts 8:26-40, 1 of 2 parts, about a vision for the coming new year in the church
Text: Acts 8:26-40, Title: In 2008 II, Date/Place: NRBC, 1/6/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.” “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.” “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.”
B. Background to passage: Having just seen the moving of the Spirit of God in Samaria and the entrance into the kingdom of the Samaritans, revival was happening, and Philip was right in the middle of it. Then God leads him away from the revival, away from the hot spot to meet an individual in need of Jesus.
C. Main thought: As today is the first Sunday of 2008, I want to look at this passage related to some New Year’s Resolutions for us in the coming year.
A. Let us prioritize personal evangelism (v. 35)
1. The translation is “preached,” but the Greek is euangellion, which means to tell the good news. There are other words for preach that mean to proclaim or herald loudly, but this means to excitedly share. And this was done “as they were going” or traveling. Philip just sat down beside him and told him about the scripture in Isaiah and Jesus. Later in the book of Acts Philip was called “the evangelist.” Good title that he had earned for himself, even though in our text, he was just doing what he was told. But the fact remains that he made personal evangelism a priority. And the bible is clear that it is the mandate for all Christians to share their faith. Yet many do not.
2. Acts 21:8, 1 Pet 3:15, 2 Cor 5:11, 1 Cor 9:19-22,
3. Illustration: I remember a time when I had two hours of conversation with this man on business who was an ex-Catholic, then there was that student from Yale doing a study on social-political groups, then there was that family of Catholics all together, Two out of three born again Christians (64%) accept Jesus Christ as their savior before their 18th birthday, “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” – Spurgeon, tell about Shoshanna, D’Nise, Kelly, Ellen, and the rest…tell about Wal-Mart, Golden Corral, neighborhood,
4. I was thinking the other day how NRBC had experienced a little growth after taking a big step of faith; the growth had come from people who were already Christians. And one of the big differences in S. Ga and Maine is that you can’t just hang out a sign or website and have people pour in. And the only real way that our church is going to grow the kingdom here in Tifton is to go tell other people about Jesus, especially those that do not believe. And the way that you do it is just like Philip, when God provides the opportunity you walk beside or ride with or work with or family get together with that person and share how your treasure meets their needs conversationally. We are going to offer a class to help you deal with your fears, and perceived inadequacies. You will learn the necessary scripture, what to say, some common approaches, strategies (such as servant evangelism), and practice. And the least you can do is to go and invite others to church. TREASURE CHRIST BY MAKING THIS THE YEAR THAT YOU LEAD SOMEONE ELSE TO TREASURE CHRIST!
B. Let us teach and baptize (v. 36-38)
1. Philip must have been instructing him on many things as they traveled. Because nothing is said of baptism, but as soon as they pass some water, that’s what the eunuch wants. By the way, immediate baptism was the NT practice whether it is clearly commanded or not. And even though v. 37 is probably not original, but added later, it is probably something that happened, and gives us a good reminder of what we are shooting for: “with all your heart.” The word disciple means a “learner.” A disciple is one who pursues Jesus, who strives to observe all that Jesus taught.
3. Illustration: Picture a large manufacturing plant in your town or city that produces shoes. The management has invested great sums of money and many man-hours into the plant to produce the finest shoes possible. Money has been spent on salaries for the employees, machinery for shoe making, and materials from which the shoes are to be made. The plant is now in operation with hundreds of workers scurrying to and fro. Machines are running full blast, and activity is at a maximum. One day the president asks the production manager, “How many shoes have we produced so far?” “None,” the manager answers. “None?” the president exclaims. “How long have we been in operation?” “Two years.” “Two years? And still no shoes?” “That’s right,” the manager says, “No shoes, but we are really busy. In fact, we have been so busy that we are all nearly tired out. We’ve been very active at our jobs.” The management would probably be very concerned, fire somebody, try to find out what the problem was. If we now put a cross on top of that building and transform it into the church on the corner—your church, we find much activity going on. Men and women are working hard. The budget is higher this year than ever before. The objective, however, is to produce disciples. Has all that money and man-hour in your church gone into the production of disciples for Jesus Christ’, I was reading a new discipleship manual this week, and the author made a profound but simple observation about our expectations of disciple-making with 8 week classes, Barna research shows consistently that “born again Christians” don’t as a whole believe like or act like biblical teaching regarding belief and behavior, this demonstrates a failure on the church’s behalf,