The Ethiopian Baptism
Calvin Fomum, December 11, 2005
Main text: Acts
8:26-39 (read before the sermon)
Summary: It is wonderful to walk with God; He
will give you true, eternal joy. Today someone will be baptized. The
Ethiopian was humble to ask for help understanding the prophet Isaiah
from Philip, a man of God. Philip explained it and told him that the
Holy Spirit is free! If he wants it, he should just take
away his sins.
Freddy and myself will sing a number, we'll just sing the two of us and you'll listen. I hope you don't mind.
I lay my sins on Jesus
It's a beautiful song, and I hope that we can minister to you through it.
I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursed load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.
I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem:
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.
I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes His Name abroad is poured.
I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the s holy Child:
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the song.
Alleluia, Praise the Lord!
It is nice to sing to the Lord.
It is a wonderful thing for the world to know Him.
My dear brethren, it is a wonderful thing to find the Lord. I don't
know if you've found him, but it's a glorious thing to find Jesus.
You can have $10,000,000 put into your bank. And you'd say "I'm so
happy, I'm going to buy me a Cadillac and a house in the mountains, and
my mother is so poor, I'm going to pump some money over to her."
My dear, all of that is not like finding the Lord Jesus Christ. We know
some rich men who are in trouble. Some rich men who don't have joy.
They don't have joy and they don't have peace. So money can't give us
the joy of salvation. There is nothing under the sun that can give us
the joy of salvation. God made it that way. I don't know why he made it
that way, but there is nothing under the sun that can truly satisfy us.
It is all mature men and women here. You've been trying some things to
get satisfaction out of them. You have been trying. You are looking for
contentment. You try this one,try this one, try this one, and you feel
empty. Now you're here. I beg you with all your heart to try the Lord.
You'll find joy, you'll find peace, you'll find light, you'll find life.
Today is a great day. The greatness of the day is not determined by the
things I see around. The greatness is determined by whether someone
gets saved. One person who says "I'm going to follow the Lord" makes
the day wonderful. One person who repents creates joy in Heaven. That
alone, the repenting of one person, causes so much joy in heaven that
the angels, the holy spirit, and God the Father dance. It is a glorious
thing, a glorious thing. We cannot even imagine the wonderful joy of
heaven, but the Bible tells us that it is great.
I want to share with you a little from Acts 8:26-39.
Isn't that great, "He went on his way rejoicing"?
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for this wonderful
opportunity to share the gospel. We pray, oh God, that your Holy Spirit
will be here to minister to the hearts of men and women. We beg you, we
beg you, we beg you that without you, we are nothing, without you that
I am nothing, without you I can communicate nothing. I pray that at the
end of the meeting the brethren will be filled with joy at the
ministering. Because you have been speaking to their hearts.
Now, this is the story of the baptism of the first African that is in
the Bible. You know where Ethiopia is? This guy is not just a
non-entity who desired to be baptized. He was a treasurer, a minister
of finance in Ethiopia. He was a man of understanding, learning in the
society. He was in the first class. He was not a push-away. He was in
charge of the treasury. That was the kind of person who was desiring to
be baptized. From that scripture, we find out that there was also
Philip, who was one of the disciples that was appointed to take care
of the needs of the brethren. But one thing that the Bible tells us
about him was that he was full of the Holy Spirit, so he was not just
some disciple, but he was a man of God.
Now if you look at verse 28,
it says "he was returning home, seated in his chariot. He was reading
the prophet Isaiah." He was reading the Word of God. What do you read?
Some people like to read novels, dirty novels. Some people feed on
science. Some people will check every area of the Internet to get
information to read. But the word says that he was reading Isaiah,
Isaiah is in the Bible, so he was reading the Bible. What do you read?
What is your personal Bible, so to speak? What do you feed on? Some
people feed on pornography. Now I want to ask you a simple question: on
what do you feed? Have you set on your heart that you are going to feed
on the word of God, or do you have some other Bibles that are not the
Holy Bible that you are going to feed on?
The Bible says about this man: "He was reading from the prophet of
Isaiah", the word of God. Then the Holy Spirit told Philip to go and
talk to him. Philip asked "Do you understand what you are reading?"
That's a big question to ask, right? Can you imagine you're somewhere
reading your Bible and someone asks you "Do you understand what you are
reading?" That's challenging you, right? But the Holy Spirit told
Philip to ask the question, he wasn't just speaking out of his mind.
The Ethiopian eunuch was very tender person. He wasn't rude to him, and
what did he say? He replied "How can I unless someone guides me?" He
admitted that even though he was very learned, was in the upper class,
was a man world respected, he said "How can I understand unless someone
guides me? How can I understand these spiritual things unless somebody
who knows it guides me?" You see in the ministry that we've got, we
make disciples that are ministers for the Lord. For example, Freddy has
been with the Lord for a long time. He knows what he is talking about,
so he comes and looks for Sam, and he witnesses to Sam, and he leads
Sam to the Lord and he teaches Sam everything he knows about the Lord.
And Sam says "Yeah, this is good! I like it" And Sam talks to someone
else and the chain continues.
I'm an economist, but this is not economics. I can talk to you about
the multiplier, the accelerator, and supply and demand, and so on, but
this is different. When it comes to spiritual things, forget about your
computer science, forget about your engineering. It is not solving
equations, it's having the life of God in you. And you need somebody.
Just like you need to sit under a professor and be taught, you need to
sit under somebody and be taught.
It doesn't matter who you are, even President Bush--when it comes to
spiritual things--he needs to call somebody who knows the Lord and be
guided. He can just talk about politics and social service reforms and
so on, but when it comes where he goes when he dies, when it comes to
the to the Lord, about the salvation of his soul, he needs to talk to
somebody who knows the Lord.
So what about us? You cannot be a superman. You need to humble yourself
and learn. You need to come to Fredlip proclaimed the Good News about
Christ. He talked to him about how God so loved the world that He sent
His only beloved son to Earth to die for us, and that if anyone
believes and repents of all their sins they will not perish. That is
Good News!! It is so simple, but people don't want it because it is too
If God had said the person who goes to the moon will go to heaven, then
everyone would be striving to go to the moon. You'd see people
gathering all of their money to go the moon. But how many Americans
will go to the moon?But how many Africans will go to the moon? But how
many Europeans will go to the moon? But how many Australians will go to
the moon? But how many Asians will go to the moon? Not that many,
right? But it is not that hard what the Lord has prescribed to us. He
just wants us to be free! It's so simple. We complicate the modelcan I
really have eternal life?
I was working at IBM, and I talked to a lady who was working with me,
and I said: "If you repent of all of your sins, the Lord will forgive
you." And she told me "Get out of here!!" It was too simple for her to
But the Bible said that Philip proclaimed the Good News to the Eunuch.
This Good News is about the love of God, my dear brethren, that God
loves you just as you are. He doesn't want anything, he doesn't even
want your money. He just loves you as you are, and he sent his son to
die for you as you are. And that if only you believe, you will have
eternal life. But how many of us have come up with philosophies about
how we should be able to get to heaven. We try to explain in other
ways. The message is simple. If you believe, fine, if you don't, it's
your fault. It's not a work of man, it is a work of the Holy Spirit.
The question is do we believe the word of God?
In Acts 2:37-38.
The people were cut to the heart, but what shall I do? Just repent. I
do not tell you to go get $1000 and give it. I knew a preacher who said
he would give the Holy Spirit for $5000. The Holy Spirit is FREE! Do
you want it? Take away your sins. The Bible says repent and be baptized
everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be
forgiven. All that you need is to remove your evil ways. We know them
We know our sins. We cannot say we do not know our sins. They are
written with an iron pen on our hearts. If someone says to you that
they do not know their sins, they are lying. You know them. You can
hide them, you can cover them, but they are there. All the Lord
requires in the Good News that Philip gave to this man was this issue
And they went on in verse 36.
What is to prevent me from being baptized? What is to prevent from
obeying the Lord and from being baptized? Notice that in some Bibles,
v. 37 is missing (see the footnote). The only thing that could have
prevented him from being baptized was not believing with all of his
heart. Do we believe him with all of our hearts? Believing God is tied
to obeying him. You cannot believe God and not obey Him.
I have done a lot of evangelism in the U.S. I have knocked on doors and
so on. I have met people who say they are "sanctified" You cannot
believe and be smoking a cigarette? Why? The answer is that the Holy
Spirit dwells in us. If this place is filled with smoke and dark with
smoke, you would run away, right? If we filled this place with smoke,
it would go into your lungs. I for one, would want to run out. And I
would be inhaling it. It would be an uncomfortable situation for me.
What happens for a believer who has accepted the Lord? The cigarette
smoke would suffocate the Holy Spirit in you. There is no way we can
call ourselves believers and spirit-filled and still believe in the
Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not stay in a heart that smokes a
cigarette. I met a pastor in Durham who s on it. It does not cost
$1000, $100. It is free. The only thing you need is to beg God to take
away your sins, that's all.
So in verse 38,
they went down into the water and Philip baptized him. There is no
where in the Bible that it says we should baptize people with
sprinkling. They got baptized in the Jordon, in person, in the water.
Both went down into the water. And when they came up, the Lord snatched
Philip away, and the Eunuch went on his way rejoicing. The minister of
the Lord went on his way rejoicing! Have you met the savior? The one
who gives joy in your heart? The only one who can give us joy. I have
found the Lord, and He gives me joy. That joy is open to anybody who
wants it. It is real joy. Not the joy that comes from winning a match,
when you get a medal and then you say "What's next?" If it is real joy,
it should last a long time. It is eternal joy! The Ethiopian Eunuch got
baptized and went away rejoicing.
One thing I want to proclaim tonight is that baptism is not an end.
Some people are confused that baptism is the end. It is not an end, it
is the beginning. It is the beginning of the race. You don't make
baptism the end of the walk with God.
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
Now they passed through the sea, right, they were baptized. But after
they passed through the sea, they were complaining and grumbling and so
on. So we cannot make Baptism the end of the Christian race. It is,
indeed, the beginning of the Christian race. It is a public
announcement that you belong to Christ. When you get baptized you are
raising up your hand to follow him the best that you can. I don't want
to say it will be easy--it is a narrow road. But we have people in the
church who can help us. It is possible with the Lord in you and the
people around you, it makes the walk Good, it makes the walk Easy. Some
people say ah being a Christian is too hard. But God cannot ask us to
do it. He cannot tell us to do something that is impossible. So, my
brethren, giving our lives to the Lord is the greatest choice we can
make. I don't care how many degrees you've got, I don't know how much
money you've got, I don't know how many men you've got, I don't know
how many women you've got. But what I want to say is that they will
pass away at the twinkle of an eye, they will pass away, and the word
of God will stay.
Is there someone here who wants to give their lives to Christ today? Or
someone who wants prayer that they can move towards the Lord today?
Praise the Lord? Is there another person? Is there somebody else who
wants to give their life to the Lord to make a decision to love the
Lord with all his strength today? There are many decisions we make in
life, but the most important decision we can make is to give our life
to the Lord. You can have your degrees, but the day that death comes
our way, those pieces of paper are nothing. You can have your cars, but
when you die, your cars will be used by other people. Especially in
America where people have 2 or 3 jobs, jumping from one thing to
another. There is nothing you can hold on -- you are pursuing air.
Nobody has been buried with money. We are not living for dollars, we
are living for God. The Bible says the sound of the trumpet will call
people to arise to be with the Lord. The Bible is true, it is real. We
beg you with all of your hearts that you make a decision about Jesus
because that is the best decision you can ever make.
Let's pray: The Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we thank you for
speaking to our hearts this afternoon. We thank you that the word you
gave us tonight did not go out void, but that it will accomplish its
purpose for You tonight. We thank you for the brother who decided to
give his life to You and he will be a changed man. We pray for those
who are still doubting. We pray that you will work your glorious
purposes in all of our lives.