Hindrance To Heaven Removed
What Hinders You?
Pr Edi Giudetti
To set the scene of this incredible event we need to consider the context. THE PASSAGE IN Chapter 8 is BETWEEN CHAPTERS 7 AND 9. It is AFTER CHRIST HAD died on the Cross and RISEN. The first Christian martyr by the name of Stephen had just been killed. The first persecution of Christians had begun in Jerusalem by the hand of a young man called Saul.
All this by Chapter 7.
This Saul is 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 disciples and now an apostle and evangelist, the other is a man of government, who was in the service of the Queen of his nation, Ethiopia.
This man was a Eunuch, (whether that be his physical state or his committed state we are not told, both the physical Eunuchs and those committed to a chaste life are spoken of in scripture), and he was a man of great authority, the treasurer of his nation. But we also see that he was a Proselyte to Judaism, he came to Jerusalem, not on business, but had come to Jerusalem for to worship (v27).
And now we see him returning South to 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 Eritrea into todays Ethiopia. It was bounded by the Upper Nile river on its Western Border and the Red sea on its East.
We see that this man seeks understanding of an ancient text, that is found in the Old Testament section of the Bible even to this day. It is a passage that reveals to him the work of a saviour, one who came to save people from their sins. One who this man of great authority will come to learn, gave his own life for the sake of his own very soul. When he understands this, he believes it.
Many sins and guilt have weighed down his life, he longed for the relief of their burden and found it in what Phillip revealed to him respecting Jesus Christ, written about in that ancient text.
Perhaps you also have longed to be truly forgiven for your own sin. If so, learn from this man of great authority who we find willing to humble himself, to be set free from the burden of sin and guilt.
Having now believed, he asks if there were any hinderance to be Baptised, the answer and his confession given in verse 37. The question for you to consider is, What Hinders You?
There are hinderances that need to be removed, and we will find those hinderances are all of our own making. God made the way and cleared the path, the only obstacles of eternal life are those we have placed in the way. Yet these can be easily removed.
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.Acts 8:27-31
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, and having the charge of all her treasure, Here we have a man recognizing his lack of understanding to a complete stranger. He longed to have any hindrance to his understanding of this ancient biblical passage removed.
No doubt in time past the first steps toward understanding of general things concerning God was made when he looked into the heavens and believed that God is. There is something wonderful that happens to man when we are willing to believe that which is self-evident concerning God.
For this man to have come to the knowledge of his sin, he first needed to know that there is a God he sinned against. Until then his understanding of his sin nature is hindered.
Like us all, there must have been a time when he simply looked up and understood the declaration of God, made in the heavens.
Turn to Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, Where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.Psalm 19:1-04
There is a hinderance to our understanding, as there was to this official, that needs to be removed. The Bible says 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Prov 9:10). The official would have no hope of believing the Bible, if he was unwilling to recognize the God of the Bible in his Creation.
No man will believe a painting is painted, unless he first recognizes a painter must have painted it!
If “the heavens declare the Glory of God” and we willfully remain deaf to their voice.
It is not a question of ability to see God but a question of the will. If man is unwilling to see, then his blindness to that which is visible remains. The Ethiopian had the humility to have that hindrance removed. He considered with his limited understanding all that was made, and he saw the invisible things of the God that made them.
Turn with me to
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:
It is inexcusable for any person on earth not to believe God, is!
“Without excuse” because the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.
The Bible makes no defense of God’s existence, it presents God as ‘Self Evident’, and the witness ‘without excuse’. We will find that it is not a problem with the eyes, but a great problem with the will.
But if we don’t get over the hinderance of the will respecting God’s existence, the Bible also tells that our understanding will become further hindered, and our hearts ‘DARKENED’ is the word used in scripture!
Let’s read on.
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 became fools, They did not seem to begin that way, but became fools. Not only this, the more foolish they became, the more they profess themselves to be wise. They turn away from worshipping the Creator who is self-evident, to worshipping the created. Yes, they worship the very heavens that themselves declares “the glory of God”!!!!
For changing the truth of God into a lie, and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator, their understanding becomes so hindered that even their own bodies are dishonored between themselves, through the lusts of their own hearts, Until the full and direct hinderance of the understanding of the mind culminates in verse 28;
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
A reprobate mind is a mind that no longer functions in a proper manner. It was led by a darkened heart.
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 philosophical and not provable.
Micro Evolution (Natural Selection) is provable and true / Macro Evolution, (Spontaneous Generation through mutation and random variation) ie: [Monkey to man] Is a philosophy never proven.
Professor George Wald argued for the philosophical version 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” 
This is evidence of a hindered understanding, no man can come to God if his understanding is hindered and certainly none will admit their sin or even look for a Saviour let alone be Baptized.
What does hinder a man like Professor George Wald? The willful choice to believe that which he knows is contrary to reality!
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 causes to 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, and a question of the will. 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 to be wise!
The Ethiopian of great authority had that vital hindrance removed well before he obtained a copy of the Book of Isaiah that he was reading that day. He 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 LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Prov 9:10)
Have you ever asked yourself, “What hinders me…?”. Is it reality, or is it a question of the will? This you need to ask yourself honestly and humbly. Your answer to that question will either darken your understanding or find the beginning of wisdom. The Hindrance to Understanding is Removed by believing God is. This is the first obstacle we ALL have to face at one point in our lives. Death is not the time to have the truth of it revealed.
The official also faced it, and he left Jerusalem with a book that revealed more of the truth of it.
A Hindrance to Heaven Removed
But there is another hindrance that he came to recognise.
This man of Authority had in his hands a copy of the Book of Isaiah and he had seen within its pages a hindrance to heaven that God had Removed by making a provision available to all people for all time, but he was not sure that was the right understanding, perhaps it seemed too good to be true!!
Lets take up the passage at Acts 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 scripture and preached unto him Jesus. He began to speak about Jesus from a book written 700 years earlier about an event that happened very recently concerning the very one spoken of in this ancient text. The passage he was reading told him something very specific of 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 and as you do I want to tell you about a discovery made in 1947.
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 and saw a copy of this scroll.
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 the book of Isaiah contains some 37,000 words.
No secular historical book even compares to this level of accuracy separated by so many years. (Homer / Plato / Aristotle / Julius Caesar / Plutarch etc)
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?
2 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. 3 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. 4 Surely he hath borne ourIsaiah 53:2-7
griefs,And carried our sorrows: Yetwe did esteem him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: Thechastisement of our peace was upon him; And with his stripeswe are healed. 6 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. 7 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 defense nor testimony of himself. The rulers aksed him questions but he answered them nothing, “As a sheep before her shearers in dumb”
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: And who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 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.Isaiah 53
The man of great authority needed to know who the prophet was speaking 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 this man, know this of himself.
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.
Is this not true? Friends, this was written over 2700 years ago, is this not true of you too?
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 scripture and preached unto him Jesus;
Phillip confirmed Isa 53:8, 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)
And also 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. Is it being removed for you? Are you wondering if the ‘ALL’ in verse 6 includes you?
And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The Hindrance of Understanding was already removed, and just as God darkens the hearts of those who WILL NOT BELIEVE, so TOO God Enlightens the Hearts of those who do. This is incredible!
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. And he believed it; Now his understanding is furthered so that the Hindrance of Heaven might be taken away from him. This is the work of God and it is marvelous in our eyes.
NOW, the Ethiopian sees that a “Scape Goat” has been offered for him, a SUBSTITUTION to take his place. The phrase “Scape Goat” has its origin in this book beloved, and it speaks of that which was to come in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true and original Scape Goat given FOR YOU because God’s will is that none would perish.
Dear friends, this is the Gospel. If the hindrance to your understanding removed, the Hindrance of Heaven can also be removed by believing the Gospel. Will you believe? Again, as before, it is a question of the will.
Salvation and heaven is a 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 Removed
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 8:36-38
There is a hinderance to baptism, just as there is a hinderance to understanding and a hinderance to heaven. None of it is a limiting criteria placed upon by God, ALL OF IT is the limits we place upon ourselves.
When we wilfully reject anything to do with that which is plain to see respecting the reality of God, we hinder our own awareness of him. When we are aware of him, but deny that we all come short of the Glory of God and reject the provision God has made for our sin and guilt, eternal life is hindered.
But if we know God is, and believe that he sent his Son to pay the penalty for our sin, any hinderance to Baptism is removed. 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.
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 believed in 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.
In verse 14 of this passage Jesus speaks of that which was done many years earlier as a representation of what he was yet to do as he speaks to Nicodemus;
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus went to the cross for your sin, there is no other remedy, there is no other solution, there is no other way to be washed from sin, Jesus took away all the hinderances of eternal life, the only one that is left is the stubbornness of our own hearts.
Will you bend you knee beneath the Cross of Jesus?
2 Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of one who suffered there for me:
and from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess,
the wonders of his glorious love and my own worthlessness.
3 I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place:
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss;
my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
 Frontiers of Modern Biology on Theories of Origin of Life.’ New York Houghton Miffin 1972. p 187.