Scattered Seeds: Acts 8 (6)
Pray Psalm 22.23.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
Sing Psalm 22.23.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.
Read Acts 8.1-40; meditation on verses 35-40.
1. What did Philip do for the Ethiopian?
2. Where did Philip go? Where did the Ethiopian go?
We note that baptism must have been intimately connected with believing in Jesus, because the eunuch was eager for it at the earliest opportunity. Not that baptism saves, but we are commanded to baptize – and, by implication, to be baptized – as a first act of obedience to the Lord (Matt. 28.18-20). First acts of obedience are more likely to lead to next steps of obedience.
His work done, the Lord “caught Philip away” to Azotus and beyond for whatever He had next in mind. The eunuch continued south to his native land, a new person, filled with joy. Luke leaves the eunuch’s homecoming to our imaginations. We can believe that what happened in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10) happened in the home of that Ethiopian as well. Like the woman at the well in Samaria, this eunuch may have helped pave the way for the Gospel in Africa. Luke can’t tell us everything, but he can point to it, and he does.
Luke wants us to understand that the power of God is at large in the world, that Christ’s work is ongoing, and that no place is off limits, no person is beyond reach, and no power on earth can resist God’s Spirit as He carries out the ongoing work of Christ. He is telling a true and thrilling story, brilliantly.
Launch, establishment, dispersal, replication: Here is a pattern of the ongoing work of Christ with respect to His Kingdom and the communities that are its signs and outposts. And it’s a pattern for us in working our Personal Mission Fields as well.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“First acts of obedience are more likely to lead to next steps of obedience.”
This is true for all of us.
Look at how ready this Ethiopian was to hear the answer to his question. It seems as if a lot of people had been obediently sowing seeds into his life, working the soil of his soul, and preparing him to bear fruit! He already knew about the Scriptures and their importance. He was familiar with the concept of baptism. He was ripe. And the Lord sent Philip to the harvest.
Jesus said to His disciples: “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” (Jn. 4.35-38).
And again, Jesus said to His disciples: The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9.37, 38).
Paul adds further clarification: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1 Cor. 3.6-9).
We each have our own calling in this Field! And at different times we might have different callings. But as you can see, there are places for all of us to do our part. Some sow the seeds of the gospel, some water the seeds, some are the sun that warms the soil, some are called to pray. Some harvest.
Be aware, there is no place for drought or blight.
Happily, each of us who belongs to Christ, can find a growth spot in this eco-system of the Good News of Jesus, so that many souls will go on their way rejoicing!
1. What do we mean by saying that “we each have a calling in this Field”? What can we learn from Philip about fulfilling this calling?
2. Paul wrote that some sow, some water, and some reap the harvest God prepares. Do you think there should be a bit of all this in your Personal Mission Field? Explain.
3. How would you explain the “ongoing work of Christ” to a new believer?
When the inquirer after salvation becomes acquainted with Jesus and his gospel, he will go on his way rejoicing, and will fill up his station in society, and discharge his duties, from other motives, and in another manner than heretofore. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 8.26-40.
Pray Psalm 22.28-31.
Pray for a great worldwide revival in the churches of the Lord, and for a great awakening to saving faith on the part of many unbelievers. Jesus saw this as He was dying on the cross (Ps. 22.1-21; cf. Heb. 12.1-3), and He taught us how to pray for revival and awakening in our day.
Sing Psalm 22.28-31.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord.
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
All the prosp’rous of the earth shall before His mercy fall.
Bending low before His worth, hear them humbly on Him call.
Even those low in the grave He will by His mercy save.
Let the generations all witness to His saving grace.
Let them to all nations call, “Bow before His holy face!”
Let the children of the earth hear of Jesus’ saving worth!
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all of the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.
Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, then download the worksheet and get started. Our monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop is chock-full of helpful suggestions for doing the ongoing work of Christ day by day.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.