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                    "WHAT IT MEANS TO PREACH JESUS"

                               Acts 8:35

INTRODUCTION

1. It is not uncommon today to hear people say "Let's just preach
   Jesus...!"
   a. Often in response to those who preach and teach on baptism
   b. Which many modern preachers rarely mention in their preaching

2. But what does it mean to preach Jesus...?
   a. Should it include baptism?
   b. If so, what else should be included?

3. In Acts 8, we read of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch...
   a. Who on his return from Jerusalem was met by Philip the evangelist
      - Ac 8:26-29
   b. Who invited Philip to explain a passage from the book of Isaiah
      - Ac 8:30-34
   c. Beginning with the passage (Isa 53:7-8), note that Philip preached
      Jesus to him - Ac 8:35

[We can learn what it means to preach Jesus from what is written
regarding the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch!  For example, consider
what we can glean from...]

I. ISAIAH'S QUOTATION

   A. JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS...
      1. The passage from Isaiah reveals the reason for the Messiah's
         suffering - Isa 53:4-6,10-11
      2. Christ's death for our sins was fundamental to the gospel Paul
         preached - 1Co 15:1-3
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore proclaims His death for our sins

   B. JESUS HAS BEEN EXALTED...
      1. Isaiah's prophecy begins and ends with the exaltation of the
         Messiah - Isa 52:13; 53:12
      2. The theme of Jesus' exaltation permeated Peter's preaching - Ac
         2:36; 5:30-31
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore pronounces that He has been exalted
         by God

[From Isaiah's Quotation, we learn that preaching Jesus includes
preaching how Jesus died for our sins, and has been exalted to the right
hand of God!  Now let's consider what we learn about preaching Jesus
from...]

II. THE EUNUCH'S QUESTION

   A. THE IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM...
      1. Notice the first question asked by the eunuch - Ac 8:36
         a. "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
         b. Preaching Jesus clearly included preaching on baptism!
      2. Indeed, baptism was important to Jesus and His apostles
         a. Jesus commanded it in giving the great commission - Mt 28:
            19-20; Mk 16:15-16
         b. The apostles commanded it in their preaching - Ac 2:38; 10:
            47-48
         c. The apostles also wrote of its value in their epistles - Ro
            6:3-4; 1Pe 3:21
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore includes preaching baptism!

   B. THE IMMEDIACY OF BAPTISM...
      1. The Ethiopian was anxious to obey; Philip was willing to
         accommodate him - Ac 8:38
         a. Why the urgency?  Why not wait until they got to town, or to
            a church?
         b. Others were baptized immediately, even after midnight - Ac
            16:30-33
      2. The reason for such urgency is clearly taught elsewhere
         a. Baptism is for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. We experience the working of God, and put on Christ - Col 2:
            12-13; Ga 3:27
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore calls upon people to be baptized
         quickly!

[From The Eunuch's Question, the importance and immediacy of baptism
clearly taught elsewhere is implied. Let us also be careful to note what
we learn about preaching Jesus from...]

III. PHILIP'S QUALIFICATION

   A. THE NECESSITY OF FAITH...
      1. Philip's response to the eunuch's question qualified who should
         be baptized - Ac 8:37
         a. "If you believe...you may"
         b. Faith is a necessary prerequisite to baptism, which
            precludes infant baptism
      2. Indeed faith is necessary to salvation - Jn 8:24
         a. Through faith we can have life in His name - Jn 20:30-31
         b. Baptism is a working of God when our faith is present - Co
            2:12
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore demands faith in Jesus before
         baptism!

   B. THE NECESSITY OF HEARTINESS...
      1. Philip required a wholehearted faith - Ac 8:37
         a. "If you believe with all your heart, you may"
         b. Baptism without such faith renders one simply wet!
      2. The sort of hearty sincerity God has always required
         a. By the children of Israel under the Law - Mt 22:37
         b. By the partakers of Christ today - He 3:12-14
      -- Preaching Jesus therefore requires more than just mental assent
         before baptism!

CONCLUSION

1. Preaching Jesus certainly involves more, including...
   a. Preaching repentance, though such is not mentioned in our text
      - cf. Lk 24:46-47
   b. Preaching the resurrection of Christ, though such is not mentioned
      - cf. Ac 17:30-31

2. Yet from the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, preaching Jesus must
   include...
   a. Preaching about the suffering and exaltation of Christ
   b. Preaching the necessity and immediacy of baptism by a sincere
      believer

3. Today, many do not preach Jesus as Philip and the apostles did...
   a. They ignore baptism altogether, or render it insignificant
   b. They call upon people to pray, when apostolic preaching called for
      people to be baptized

Has Jesus truly been preached to you, as Philip preached Jesus to the
Eunuch? - cf. Ac 2:36-38; 22:16
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