Lord, I confess that “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Psa. 19:7). Revive mine today, I pray.
Read Acts 8:26-40
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Being an introducer (of Christ to others) requires a combination of humble patience and obedient expectancy” (Leighton Ford).
Again the work moves into a new area through the intervention of the Spirit. It’s tempting to stay where things are happening, but that is not always the way God accomplishes his mission. So Philip heads south and meets the Ethiopian. Peter’s sermon, Stephen’s speech and the conversion of the Ethiopian confirm that the early Christians had no doubt that, in Jesus, Scripture had been fulfilled. This is one of the many and fullest, most explicit allusions to Isaiah 53 in the New Testament. The servant songs of Isaiah, especially 52:13—53:12, had a significant impact on the theological reflection of the early church, a practice which goes back to Jesus himself (Matt. 12:16-20; John 12:3). The idea of Messiah as suffering servant went against the grain of first-century Jewish thinking, but it’s firmly based in Old Testament thinking and at the heart of New Testament Christology.
Our ultimate source of authority lies in God, but Scripture is the God-breathed revelation of God and comes with his authority (2 Tim. 3:14-17). It is a totally reliable source of wisdom, understanding and knowledge about God. Most of our contemporaries not only do not recognize the authority of Scripture, they find the whole idea of authority difficult. How then do we present the truth of God? The early church faced similar challenges and adopted different approaches for different situations; compare Paul’s sermon in the synagogue at Antioch (Acts 13:13-43) with his words to the crowd in Lystra (Acts 14:8-17). So, while ensuring that Scripture shapes our thinking and behavior, when we talk to others we need to find a starting point they can comprehend. Our other source of encouragement, as Philip found, is that this is the work of the Spirit and he has lost none of his power.
Pray that the church around the world will discover a new confidence in and emphasis on the place of the Bible.
Lord, I need to be a double listener: to You and to the world. May I communicate Christ clearly to others so they understand.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.