Acts 8. Forum Discussion

Chapter 8 is a fascinating chapter.  It begins with Luke’s account of the persecution that began with the church in Jerusalem.  He writes about Saul (Paul), “Ravishing the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, and putting them in prison.” – Acts 8:3 

This “Saul”, that was so horrible to early Christians would later become the apostle Paul and go on to contribute many of the writings in the Bible.  From time to time we may feel that our sins are so bad that God could never forgive them.  That is simply not true (Except for the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – Mark 3:29).  Look at how Paul went from persecuting the church to dying for it as a martyr.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  If we don’t believe that God will forgive our sins, we are greatly underestimating His grace and mercy.  

Chapter 8 includes an interesting scripture that I’d like to think about in today’s study.  Let’s look at verses 14-17:

“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” 

Were they baptized without receiving the Holy Spirit?  This goes back to a study we had not too long ago when we asked ourselves, “Do you think that people can receive the Holy Spirit without being baptized?”  At the end of the day, does it really matter if we know or don’t know the answer to that question?  God is clear that He wants us to learn and follow His commandments.  One of His commandments is baptism.  So we should do it.  How and when we receive God’s blessing of the Holy Spirit is up to God.

Finally in chapter 8, Luke writes about the Ethiopian eunuch that was returning from Jerusalem where he had gone to worship.  The Ethiopian eunuch was on the side of the road studying from the prophet, Isaiah.  The Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join his chariot.” – Acts 8:28. 

Philip asked the eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  The eunuch replied, “How could I, unless someone guides me?”  And he invited Philip to come and sit with him.  Acts 8:30-31.

There are several teachable moments from this exchange.  First, Philip reached out to the eunuch to see if he was understanding what he was reading.  He didn’t wait for the eunuch to come to him.  That is an example for all of us as we work to spread the gospel.  Second, the eunuch was “teachable”.  Maybe we have had people offer to help us in our Christian walk, but our pride, or our busy schedules get in the way and we do not accept their invitation.  Again, we can learn from the humility of the eunuch who was receptive to Philip’s teaching.  Lastly, I think we can get some help in deciding when we are ready for baptism.  Philip did not have to stay and continue studying with the eunuch in order to baptize him.  The eunuch asked Philip, “What prevents me from being baptized?” – Acts 8:36.  Philip responded in verse 37, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”  Amen

Comments

It's uplifting to see how God's forgiveness, grace and mercy were applied to Paul's life, after all he had done. God never quits on us, hopefully we don't quit on Him.

Reply

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