Baptism. What Hinders You

Baptism. What Hinders You

Baptism What Hinders You

 

And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Acts 8:34-38

Hindrances Removed

Acts 8:26-40

Pr Edi Giudetti

 

07/10/2018

 

 

A Hindrance to Understanding Removed

A Hindrance to Heaven Removed

A Hindrance to Baptism Removed

 

Introduction

 

 

To set the scene of this incredible event we need to consider the context.

 

THE PASSAGE IS BETWEEN CHAPTERS 7 AND 9 AND AFTER CHRIST HAD RISEN

 

The Acts of the Apostles.

Jesus had only recently been crucified, buried, raised from the dead and ascended into heaven.

 

The first Christian martyr by the name of Stephenhad just been killed

the first persecution of Christians had begun in Jerusalemby the hand of a young man called Saul. All this by Chapter 7.

 

This Saulis the same man which is yet to have the Damascus road revelation of Christ in the next chapter, chapter 9, who came to write some fourteen books of the New Testament and changed his name to Paul.

 

So here we have this account, wedged between the first Christian Persecution in chapter 7, and the dramatic conversion of the first Christian persecutor in chapter 9!

 

Two individuals are noted, one is Phillip who was one of the twelve disciplesand now an apostle and evangelist, the other is a man of governmentwho was in the service of the Queen of his nation, Ethiopia.

 

This man was a Eunuch, (whether that be his physical or committal state we are not told, for there are two types of eunuchs in Scripture, one is a physical Eunuch and the other is one committed to a chaste life for the sake of his service to the Lord), and he was a man of great authority, the treasurer of his nation.

 

But we also see that he was a Proselyte to Judaism, for he came to Jerusalem not on business but for the express purpose of Worship.

 

And now we see him returning Southto the land of Ethiopia on the African continent.

 

Now this land at the time was far greater than the Ethiopia of today, it extended directly below Egypt through what is modern Sudan and Eritreainto todays Ethiopia. It was bounded by the Upper Nile river on its Western Border and the Red sea on its East.

 

Though it is not spoken of much today, it was a well-known nation in history past, referred to in the Bible many times, referred to by the Great Greek Epic writer Homer, it was also referred to by a man known today as “the father of History”, Herodotusand also the great Jewish historian Josephus.

 

Side Note:

 

Turn to Genesis 2

 

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the firstisPison: thatisit which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, wherethere isgold; 12And the gold of that landisgood: thereisbdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second riverisGihon: the sameisit that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. (Gen 2:10-13)

 

We noted that it was bounded by the upper Nile river on its western border in Bible times.

The creation account of Genesis chapter 2 has that land bounded by the Gihon river that came out of Eden.

 

You may be interested to know that the springsthat come out of the Nile river is referred to, even to this day, as the GihonSprings by Ethiopians.

 

 

Back to our Passage.

 

We see that the man seeks understanding of a passage in the Bible that reveals to him the work of Jesus Christ, who the Bible says is God manifest in the flesh, the one who came to give his life as an offering for the sin of all Mankind.

 

When the knowledge of it is understood by him, he is saved for eternity by believingthis work and desires to be Baptised.

 

So, the context is now put in place for you and our first point needs consideration;

 

A Hindrance to Understanding Removed

 

27 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, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 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.

 

 

 

HUMILITY

 

Here we have a displayed for us a humility that is rarely witnessed,a high official, a great man of authority who directly serves the Queen of his nation,she being the highest authority of the nation, for Ethiopia was a land where a woman was the head, and he having the charge of all her treasure,

 

here we have a man recognizing his lack of understanding to a complete stranger.

 

But he had taken the first steps toward understandingwhen he committed himself to follow a God that his nation did not know,

He went to Jerusalem for this express purpose, to follow the God who is declared from heaven to all people, but who few identify.

 

Turn to Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech,

And night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language,

Where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth,

And their words to the end of the world.

 

The greatest hinderance to our understanding is the unwillingness of our hearts to believe that God is.

 

The Bible says 10 The fear of the LORDisthe beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holyisunderstanding.(Prov 9:10)

 

We cant even begin to hope to have understanding of a given passage in the Bible if we are unwilling to see the God of the Bible in Creation.

 

If “the heavens declare the Glory of God” and we willfully remain deaf to their voice.

It is not a question of abilityto see God but more a question of unwillingness.

There is no problem with the eyes, but there is a problem with the Will.

Its clearly not evidence that is at issue, for all the Heavens declare his Glory, Paul makes it even more clear when he said “for the invisible things of him are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made” Rom 1:20.

 

 

Psalm 19 gives a presentation within the scriptures that all of creation declares the Glory of God, his handiwork clearly recognized, each day it speaks to usof his being,each night it reveals knowledge of the creator, and not a place on earthhas not been spoken to, and in a language that is universal, the language of the revelation of God.

 

 

Romans Chapter 1:18-20 not only presents a similar understanding but it also logically concludes accountability.

 

Turn with me

Rom 1:18-20

 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

 

“Without Excuse”

 

It is inexcusable for any person on earth not to believe in God!

 

“Without excuse” because the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.

 

 

If you run into a legally parked car with your car, who will the insurance company blame for the accident? Who would a court of law say was at fault? WHY?

Because the parked vehicle was ‘clearly seen’, and it left you ‘without excuse’.

 

What if the car had its Hazards lights on, and a blaring siren declaring its presence ahead?

 

It is inexcusable for any person on Earth not to know God exists.

 

Incredibly however, understanding is hindered when the obvious is rejected!

 

Romans 1 goes on to incredibly demonstrate that when man refuses to acknowledge the inexcusable reality of God, his understanding is hindered, DARKENED is the word used in scripture.

 

Let’s read on to see how far a man’s mind loses its ability to understand and how far a man’s heart can be darkened.

 

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

 

What is most astounding as you read this is that, not only do their hearts become darkened, but they become fools, but not only this, the more foolish they become, the more they profess themselves wise.

 

They turn away from worshipping the Creatorwho is self-evident, to worshipping the createdthat declares, in itself, the glory of God, its creator!!!!

 

But more than even that, verse 24 gives us a hint that the very actions of their bodies run the risk of being dishonored.

 

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

 

In light of this text, does it seem a coincidence to you that God has never been so wholesale rejected the west, and yet the western world has never seen such propensity to sexual depravity?

 

As the understanding of God is hindered, sexual deviancy becomes prolific. Why?

 

We have no other answer other than what it says in the text, For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections,

For what cause?For changingthe truth of God into a lie, and worshippingand servingthe creature more than the Creator.

 

But notice the confirmation of a directly hindered understanding in verse 28

 

 

28 And even as they did not like to retain God intheirknowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

 

A reprobate mindis a mind that no longer functions in a proper manner.

 

To prove that the reprobation of the mind is not limited to sexual deviancy;

 

Professor George Wald, the late Harvard Scientist and Neurobiologist, who summarized his philosophical position while arguing for the element of Evolution that is not scientific.

There are two sections to Evolution, one is true and provable, the other is philosophicaland not provable.

 

Micro Evolution (Natural Selection)/ Macro Evolution (Spontaneous Generation through mutation and random variation)

 

 

He argued for the philosophicalversion this way;

 

One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task, to concede that the spontaneous generation  of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are — as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.”

 

Friends, when you say something is impossible, yet you choose to believe it to be true, you are on the verge of a reprobate mind with a hindered understanding.

 

But He went on to clarify it in this next sentence that you may see his personal view;

 

““I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution” [1]

 

This is evidence of a hindered understanding, no man can come to God if his understanding is hindered and certainly none can be Baptized.

 

What does hinder such a man to be Baptized? To choose to believe that which is contrary to reality, the impossible!

 

But George Wald was not alone in choosing to believe that which is contrary to reality, Evolutionary Biologist Richard Lewontin,demonstrates that the entire atheistic segment of Science actively worked to create an “apparatus” to deny hearing the heavens declare the Glory of God;

 

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.”

“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causesto create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

 

 

The Bible says “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God”

 

It has never been a ‘head’ issue, it is has never been a question of intellect, it has always been a matter of the heart.

 

There is a point that man comes to when there is a conscious rejection of God in the heart. His understanding is hindered and it is God that hands him over to his own foolishness…all the while professing themselves wise!

 

 

The Ethiopian Enuch came to know God by that which was declared about him in the heavens, even the invisible things of him was clearly seen by the Ethiopian, they were understood by the things that are made.

 

As a result, his understanding became fruitful and not hindered. 10 The fear of the LORDisthe beginningof wisdom: and the knowledge of the holyisunderstanding.(Prov 9:10)

 

 

His going to Jerusalem to Worship God is evidence that there was no hinderance to his understanding of God through General Revelation, any hinderance there has now been removed.

 

But now he seeks for an Understanding of the Bible, that is the SPECIAL Revelation God had revealed in his word.

 

And what a revelation that was for him!

 

So, The Hindrance to Understanding is Removed by believing God is

 

 

A Hindrance to Heaven

 

But there is another hindrance that he came to recognise.

 

Certain it was that he feared God, he identified the God of the Jews as that same God of the Bible and he came to Jerusalem for to worship God.

 

But this man of Authority had in his hands a copy of the Book of Isaiahand he had seen within its pages a hindrance to heaventhat God had Removed by making a provision available to all people for all time.

 

Lets take up the passage at chapter 8:32

 

32 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: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

 

Note that Philip began at the same scriptureand preached unto him Jesus. He began to speak about Jesus from a book written 700 years earlierabout an event that happened recently concerning Christ.

 

But more importantly, the passage he was reading also told him something very specificof the work that this “other man” would accomplish.

 

The passage the man was reading from is a chapter of the Book of Isaiah that we have today in the Old Testament. We can turn to it now and see just what he was seeing.

 

Turn to Isaiah 53.

 

In 1947 a young Bedouin Goat herder and been with his herd in the area known as the Dead Sea. The narration of the history is somewhat varied, but we are told he threw a rock into one of the caves and heard the breaking of a clay jar.

On investigating the cave, he discovered a multitude of jars containing numerous manuscripts, some were of the Old testament, some of apocryphal uninspired writings.

 

One item discovered was a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, all 66 chapters in a scroll. This scroll is today held in a museum in Israel known as “The Shrine of the Book”. My family was there in 2012 and visited that museum.

 

What is most significant about it is that this copy predates the oldest copy of the Book of Isaiah available at the time by over 900 years. The accuracy of its words where discovered to be almost perfect, only the misspelling of several words separated it from what we had at the time. Not bad when you consider there are some 37,000 wordsin the book of Isaiah.

 

No secular historical book even compares to this level of accuracy separated by so many years.

 

Not many verses are contained in this chapter, but I would like you to note the many prophetic points that Jesus was known to have fulfilled. Please understand, this is only one portion of hundreds of predictions concerning Christ in the Old testament.

 

Jesus said “search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39)

 

I will annotate a few items as we go, but most speaks for itself.

 

Who hath believed our report?

And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,

And as a root out of a dry ground:

He hath no form nor comeliness;

And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

 

He was a plain man in appearance, we would not be drawn to by his physical appearance.

 

 

He is despised and rejected of men;

A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:

And we hid as it were our faces from him;

He was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs,

And carried our sorrows:

Yet we did esteem him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

 

But he was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities:

The chastisement of our peace was upon him;

And with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

We have turned every one to his own way;

And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

Yet he opened not his mouth:

He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,

So he openeth not his mouth.

 

Jesus gave no defence nor testimony of himself. The rulers aksed him questions but he answered them nothing, “As a sheep before her shearers in dumb”

 

 

He was taken from prison and from judgment:

And who shall declare his generation? (He had no progeny, no children)

For he was cut off out of the land of the living:

For the transgression of my people was he stricken.

 

And he made his grave with the wicked,

And with the rich in his death;

 

Christ was crucified between two thieves and buried in a rich mans tomb.

 

Because he had done no violence,

Neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,

He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,

And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:

By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;

For he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,

And he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

Because he hath poured out his soul unto death:

And he was numbered with the transgressors;

And he bare the sin of many,

And made intercession for the transgressors.

 

The man of great authority needed to know who the prophet wasspeaking of, because within the passage he could not help noticing the declarations of a SUBSTITUTION being made for sinners….IF that is true, then is it possible that he was substituted for me?

 

We all like sheep have gone astray, We know this of ourselves, all of us know and understand we do not do good in the sight of God, we sin daily, so too did the Eunuch know this of himself.

{also

 

We have turned every one to his own way,this is without question, we do only that which is right in our own eyes, and we judge others according to the governing principles we set for ourselves and even those we do not keep.

 

 

This man was humble enough to recognize this of himself, what a wretched man he is, how can he be saved from his own nature?

 

What a hindrance this is for heaven!How can this hindrance be removed?

 

And then he reads,

 

And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Of us all? Of us all?

 

The ‘all’ must include me, it does not exclude me.

 

The Lord (God) laid on this man MY INIQUITY? CAN THIS BE TRUE?

 

And he goes on to read what happened to him and then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scriptureand preached unto him Jesus;

 

Phillip confirmed verse 8, That it was For the transgression of my people was he stricken

 

That When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin (10)

 

That By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;

For he shall bear their iniquities.(11)

 

Andalso that  he was numbered with the transgressors; and again that…he bare the sin of many, (12)

 

Is this true? Who is this man? Is the prophet speaking of himself or some other man? Who is he that I might believe him?

 

What we are witnessing in this great official is the HINDRANCE OF HEAVEN slowly being removed.

 

The Hindrance of Understanding already removed and just as God darkens the hearts of those who WILL NOT BELIEVE what is plainto them concerning himself, so TOO God Enlightens the Hearts of those who do.

 

This is incredible! It is perfectly consistent in the Bible. This is why YOU CANNOT SPEAK TO PEOPLE OF THE SALVATION OF THEIR SOULS unless they are first willing to see that which is self evident.

 

The Eunuch had the Hindrance of His Understanding first removed when The Heavens declared the Glory of God and the invisible things of God clearly seen and being understood by the things that are made.

 

Now his understanding is furthered so that the Hindrance of Heaven might be removed from him. This is the work of God and it is marvelous in our eyes.

 

He now sees that a “Scape Goat” has been offered him, a SUBSTITUTION to take his place.

 

Dear friends, this is the Gospel. O that you would believe it as did this great man. That, having the hindrance to your understanding removed, you may also have the Hindrance of Heaven removed by believing the Gospel.

 

To accept the gift God has given through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus on our behalf.

In this and in this alone, the Hindrance to Heaven is Removed!

 

Leads me to My last point this morning

 

 

A Hindrance to Baptism

 

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

 

 

This last question asked by the man relates to eternity, it relates to heaven and salvation. Philip no doubt told the great man the way of gaining heaven and he would have told him of the hindrance to heaven.

 

When he asked what Hinders him from being Baptised, Philip answered him only one thing that can hinder him.

 

Only one thing ultimately hinders heaven;

 

If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.

 

This is the condition, this is the only condition to gain access to eternal life, Baptism being a simple showing of that which has been done.

 

Can you believe that heaven can be accessible so simply?

 

In Acts 16:30 the prison guard had thought the men had escaped and would have killed himself, but seeing them all still there came into the cell and asked, “Sirs what must I do to be saved?And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31)

 

John 3:16 tells so plainly that all we need do is believe, it tells us that believing saves us and that not believing condemns us;

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believedin the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

Friends, if hell was not created for man, but man finds himself in peril and risk of an eternity in hell at his death, why would a loving God, who created the entire universe for mankind, make escaping hell difficult?

 

 

So simple is the way to eternal life but what we have just discovered is that the way to eternal life is ALSO a test of the heart.

 

Those unwilling to see that which is plain to them, have their understanding further hindered and hearts darkened.

Those willing to see, have the hindrance to understanding removed and are given more understanding for the purpose of having the Hindrance of Heaven removed.

 

unto you that hear shall more be given. 25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (Mark 4:24-25)

 

There is a hindrance to heaven, a hindrance to baptism and that is unbelief.

 

Man generally thinks that there is something more to it, that if hell is so bad and so final, something more complicated needs to be involved to escape it.

 

Man fell because he did not wantto believe God, Adams transgression was to do with his will. Therefore, the way of return is to believe God, it too is a trial of the will.

 

Jesus is the Son of God and died that we might live with all hindrance of Glory removed.

 

Friends,

Hindrance to Understanding is Removed by believing God is

Hindrance to Heaven Removed by believing Jesus died for you

Hindrance to Baptism Removed when we gain eternal life by faith in Christ

 

If these items hindered you, will you now believe, be saved and be baptised today?

 

If not, what hinders you?

[1]Frontiers of Modern Biology on Theories of Origin of Life.’  New York Houghton Miffin 1972. p 187.

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