Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Devotional November 29 - Tough truth concerning baptism

"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, he was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7,8) In his humiliation his judgement was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. And the Eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of Himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went o their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, see, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Phi;lip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he (Philip) baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus..." Acts :8:26-39a

There are a few beautiful thoughts about these verses that must not be missed.

First of all, the angel spoke to Philip and gave Philip instructions and then Philip went and did what he was instructed to do. That's a novel thought, to actually do what God says to do. First from His Word, by the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit and of course from an angel of God.

Second, Philip was not an Apostle. How could someone who is not an Apostle just disappear and end up somewhere else? And for those who say that only the Apostles could perform miracles. Well, you see where I am headed.

Third, Philip knew his Bible. He didn't rely on someone else's interpretation to make his case that Jesus was Lord and that the whole of the Old Testament spoke of Jesus and that salvation was through Jesus. Part of the reason that more people don't know enough about Jesus to convert anyone is because they don't read their Bible. If you read the Bible, you will inherit the knowledge that puts these kinds of truths together to reach people. If you rely on someone else to do it for you, you might not even get the raw truth that builds up real faith.

Fourth, what happened to the six week refresher course required before you are baptized to make sure that you believe that you believe all the right things, or is the course designed to steer you to believe more than what is required to be baptized? After all if you believe that Jesus is Lord, you are as prepared as you will ever be to be baptized. Baptism doesn't save you. It is the outward expression of an already existing inward faith.

Fifth, we need more Philips in this world. A man who ran after the Holy Spirit spoke to him, a man who had already made up his mind that he would obey as God spoke to him. A man looking for opportunity to serve the Master without 'qualified' reservations. A man able to reveal Christ. A man not afraid to be caught riding in a chariot with an eunuch, if it meant that a soul would be saved. A man who didn't whine his way through the ministry. A man of God.

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