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"?

Let's pray:

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 simple.

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 accept it.

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 of repentance.

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.