Acts 8

Verse 2: Stephen was the first martyr. We know he will be in the Kingdom because Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 16:25).” It’s interesting to note, however, that Stephen is not mentioned in the faith chapter (Hebrews 11); if Hebrews was written by Paul, you would think he would make a special reference to Stephen, seeing as he is the one who had him taken out, although he does mention that some were stoned in verse 37.

Verse 3: Saul was a zealot; we are supposed to be zealous as well, but he went too far. God gives us a choice; we are not supposed to persecute people who we believe are in the wrong, but instead provoke them to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24); our preaching should be done in love and care. He was someone who was blameless under the law but had missed what the good news was about (Philippians 3:6).

Verse 4: Jesus told his disciples to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20).”

Verse 5: Phillip had been chosen alongside Stephen earlier on (6:5).

Verses 6-7: Jesus said that “in my name they shall cast out devils (Mark 16:17).”

Verse 8: There was “great joy” in Samaria. How many of us have that? Do we have “joy” here in our city?

Verses 9-11: Later on in the Acts, the people of Lystra thought that Paul and Barnabas were gods; they called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercury (Acts 14:11-12). They had the same problem as Simon the Sorcerer, who thought he had power.

Verse 12: “The things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” is the Gospel defined.

Verse 13: It’s amazing that someone in as high a position as Simon would believe the Gospel, and it goes to show that anyone could be the next brother or sister; don’t write anyone off. Jesus did not “write off” the rich young ruler just because he was rich; he told him what he needed to do to have eternal life (Matthew 19:16-22). Have you ever heard someone say “I’m not good enough”? Well they’re right; no one is. In fact, by recognizing that you’re not good enough to be in the truth, is what qualifies you. Thinking the opposite disqualifies you, to think that you’re too good. We’re all sinners in God’s sight; no one is getting a free pass. Baptism is a symbol of a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21), and it’s just the start. We all have different backgrounds. Some brothers and sisters are very rich, some are not as well off.

Verses 18-23: God does not respect anyone just because they have more money than someone else; Simon thought the Gospel was a business, where if you wanted something done, you shake someone’s hand, slip them some money, and it would get done. Salvation is the free gift of God (Romans 6:23). It would be even worse if someone thought they could buy their way into the Kingdom; what price can you put on eternal life? A lot of churches have gotten this wrong; money can buy almost anything. In some churches, the more money you give, the better seat you get. The power of God cannot be bought and the reward is not up for grabs. Elisha would not take a reward from Naaman, and Gehazi tried to sneak around and take it for himself, and was punished with leprosy (2 Kings 5:15-16, 20, 26-27). Daniel also would not take a reward from the king for interpreting his dream (Daniel 5:16-17).

Simon thought that he was being left out by not having the Holy Spirit; we are each given what God gives us. This caused him to be bitter, which Paul warns against (Hebrews 12:15).

Verse 24: James says to pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16), but Simon also should have prayed to God himself, not like in some churches where a sinner goes to a priest or “authority figure” to confess and ask them to forgive. Pray directly to God.

Verse 31: Paul writes to the Romans, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14)?”

We all need help understanding; none of us can be a know-it-all. We also have to help those who want to understand, and we have to search the scriptures daily to see if what is being taught is true (Acts 17:11). Remember that the eunuch did not have the New Testament; he only had the Old Testament and maybe not even the whole thing, but this shows how the Gospel is so interwoven into the Old Testament that theoretically, you could teach someone the Gospel now by using the Old Testament.

Verses 32-33: The Ethiopian eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8.

Verse 35: This is much the same way Jesus taught the disciples after his resurrection: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27).” Their hearts burned within them while Jesus talked to them and opened up the scriptures to them (Luke 24:32).

Verse 36: The eunuch wanted to be baptized right away; didn’t want to wait one more minute. What is holding you back? Someone I know got baptized the day after hearing a great set of classes at Schooley’s Mountain. She did not want to wait and there was a pool there. This also shows how simple the Gospel is; think of the Philippian jailer who was baptized that very night that he learned (Acts 16:33). You’re not going to “get it” all in one day, but God doesn’t ask you to do that. The things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ are simple enough that anyone can understand it and believe it. If we could just get it in one day, we would never need to open our Bibles again.

Verse 37: This verse is actually missing in the New International Version. For some reason they didn’t think it belonged. If you’re reading from the NIV right now, you may see it or may not.

Jesus’ disciples made the same confession, saying that he was the Son of God, in Matthew 14:33, when he entered the ship and the wind ceased. Peter said the same thing a couple chapters later (Matthew 16:16).

We have to know who Jesus is; he is not God, but the Son of God. He came in the flesh; anyone who does not confess that he came in the flesh is the antichrist (1 John 4:3). John also says that whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15).

Verse 38: He that believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). It does not say “has a chance to be saved,” or “might be saved.”

Verse 39: Phillip was caught away; the eunuch went on his way rejoicing. Again, do we rejoice in our great hope?

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