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June 6, 2014

Miracle on the Road to Gaza

Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’” Acts 8:36-37 (NKJV)

The Book of Acts is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is full of miracles as the Holy Spirit moved on the hearts of people radically transforming their lives! Here’s such a story of life change. It began with an official from the government of Ethiopia coming to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple in a quest for God. He left as empty as he came. On the road through Gaza, as he was returning home, he was reading from the scroll of Isaiah continuing his search for God. Recognizing his honest quest, God spoke to one of His available servants, Philip. He told him to go and meet this official. Philip caught up with the caravan as they were en route back to Ethiopia. Immediately, Philip noticed that the official was reading the scroll of Isaiah so he asked the man if he understood what he was reading. The official invited Philip to join him in his chariot and explain what the prophet was speaking about. It was the most powerful messianic prophecy in Isaiah found in Isaiah 53. God was at work in the heart of this official, and He honored this man’s honest search for truth as He always will. Philip began at that very passage and explained to him all about Jesus. The official’s response was immediate! Look what happens. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’” I love it! There was no hesitation in this man’s faith and obedience! He wasn’t waiting to be baptized. He wanted to make a public profession that he was now a Christ follower to his entire caravan of servants traveling with him! Listen to his confession of faith. Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’” (Vs. 37) The Bible records what happened next in verse 38. So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” Perhaps like this leading Government Official from Ethiopia, you too have pursued an honest quest for God. You tried religion and nothing changed. Your heart was as empty when you left as it was when you entered the church or temple. It’s not about religion. It’s all about a relationship that is intimate and personal between you and God. You can have that same fulfilling relationship through Jesus Christ just as this man did! Jesus died and rose again for you as well! When you receive Him by faith, simply confessing as this man did, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”, then you can experience His life transforming power! When you do, you won’t hesitate to take the next step of obedience identifying with Christ in baptism. If you’ve taken that step, you know how refreshing it was to enter the water as a symbol of Christ’s death for you and come up out of the water with a vivid reminder of the risen Christ who indwells in you by faith! What a powerful picture of your connection with Christ! If you haven’t, I challenge you to take that step of obedience this weekend. If you’re in the Houston area, join us for our Super Summer Baptism Celebration at Woodlands Church.