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                "GOSPEL PREACHING IN THE FIRST CENTURY"

                       Philip In The Gaza Desert

INTRODUCTION

1. From Peterís first two sermons, we saw that gospel preaching in the
   first century involved...
   a. Proclaiming the death, burial, resurrection and lordship of Jesus
      Christ
   b. Extolling the character of Jesus, and that He will one day return
   c. Calling on people to respond with faith, repentance, and baptism
   d. Offering the remission of sins, and the refreshing gift of the
      Spirit

2. From Philipís preaching in the city of Samaria, we saw that it
   included...
   a. Proclaiming the kingdom of God and the name (character) of Jesus
      Christ
   b. Calling on people to believe on Him and to be baptized in His name
      (by His authority)

[As we continuing our survey of gospel preaching in the first century,
we have another example of Philip preaching the gospel, this time to a
single individual in the Gaza desert...]

I. THE SETTING

   A. PHILIP SENT TOWARD GAZA...
      1. An angel of the Lord tells Philip to go toward Gaza - Ac 8:26
      2. On the way there is a man sitting in his chariot - Ac 8:27-28
         a. A eunuch of Ethiopia, in charge of the treasury of Queen
            Candace
         b. Returning home, having gone to worship in Jerusalem, reading
            the prophet Isaiah
      3. The Spirit tells Philip to overtake the chariot - Ac 8:29

   B. PHILIP PREACHES JESUS...
      1. Hearing the eunuch reading Isaiah, Philip asks if he
         understands - Ac 8:30
      2. The eunuch asks Philip to help him - Ac 8:31-34
         a. He expresses the need for someone to guide him, and invites
            Philip to sit with him
         b. The scripture under consideration is Isa 53:7-8
            1) Which speaks of one led as a sheep to the slaughter
            2) Which describes one whose life is taken from the earth
         c. The eunuch asks if Isaiah was speaking of himself, or of
            someone else
      3. Beginning with that Scripture, Philip preaches Jesus to him
         - Ac 8:35

[As before, with Philip in the city of Samaria, we are not give the
details of the actual sermon.  But from what is revealed we can infer
much about what Philip preached...]

II. THE SERMON

   A. FROM ISAIAHíS QUOTATION...
      1. Jesus died for our sins
         a. Isaiah reveals the reason for the Messiahís suffering - Isa
            53:4-6,10-11
         b. Preaching Jesus therefore proclaims His death for our sins
      2. Jesus has been exalted
         a. Isaiahís prophecy begins and ends with the exaltation of the
            Messiah - Isa 52:13; 53:12
         b. The theme of Jesusí exaltation permeated Peterís preaching
            - cf. Ac 2:36; 5:30-31
         c. Preaching Jesus therefore pronounces that He has been
            exalted by God

   B. FROM THE EUNUCHíS QUESTION...
      1. The importance of baptism
         a. Notice the question asked by the eunuch - Ac 8:36
         b. "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
         c. Preaching Jesus clearly included preaching on baptism!
      2. The immediacy of baptism
         a. The Ethiopian was anxious to obey; Philip was willing to
            accommodate him - Ac 8:38
            1) Why the urgency?  Why not wait until they got to town, or
               to a church?
            2) Others were baptized immediately, even after midnight
               - e.g., Ac 16:30-33
         b. The reason for such urgency is clearly taught elsewhere
            1) Baptism is for the remission of sins - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
            2) We experience the working of God, and put on Christ - cf.
               Col 2:12-13; Ga 3:27

   C. FROM PHILIPíS QUALIFICATION...
      1. The necessity of faith
         a. Philipís response to the eunuchís question qualified who
            should be baptized - Ac 8:37
            1) "If you believe...you may"
            2) Faith is a necessary prerequisite to baptism, which
               precludes infant baptism
         b. Indeed faith is necessary to salvation - cf. Jn 8:24
            1) Through faith we can have life in His name - cf. Jn
               20:30-31
            2) Baptism is a working of God when our faith is present
               - Col 2:12
      2. The necessity of heartiness
         a. Philip required a wholehearted faith - Ac 8:37
            1) "If you believe with all your heart, you may"
            2) Baptism without such faith renders one simply wet!
         b. The sort of hearty sincerity God has always required
            1) By the children of Israel under the Law - Mt 22:37
            2) By the partakers of Christ today - He 3:12-14

   D. THE RESPONSE...
      1. The eunuch is baptized immediately - Ac 8:38
      2. The eunuch goes on his way rejoicing - Ac 8:39

CONCLUSION

1. From Philipís preaching in the Gaza desert, preaching Jesus in the
   first century included...
   a. Preaching about the suffering and exaltation of Christ
   b. Preaching the necessity and immediacy of baptism by a sincere
      believer

2. Today, many do not preach Jesus as did Philip (and Peter)...
   a. They ignore baptism altogether, or render it insignificant
   b. They call upon people to pray, when apostolic preaching commanded
      people to be baptized

Has Jesus truly been preached to you, as Philip preached to both the
Samaritans and the Eunuch...?
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