by Roger Thomas

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The Gospel in Advance (4 of 20)
Roger Thomas
Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:26-35

Introduction: By divine appointment the Holy Spirit brings together two men as different as night and day. One was a servant of Christ, one of the seven chosen by the Jerusalem church to help care for the needs of the Greek widows. Phillip a man of God, full of the Holy Spirit and used mightily of God in a revival among the Samaritans (reported earlier in chapter 8).

The other man was a strange mixture of power and weakness. The Ethiopian was treasurer to his Queen, a man of some importance in the far away land. But he was also a eunuch. The barbaric practice of emasculating slaves was common among the pagan nations especially before a servant was given a position with the king's harem or in a queen's palace. His position and condition probably left him feeling admired and scorned all at the same time. He was a God-fearer which meant he tried to follow the Jewish faith, but without actually converting. Perhaps he felt he couldn't given his circumstances.

On his way home from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Ethiopian is reading and thinking--about the message of Isaiah. Philip the messenger of God asks if he understands. The Ethiopian asks for guidance. There in a wagon traveling south across the Judean wilderness, a Christian evangelist preaches the gospel of Jesus to the curious seeker. He does so beginning in the book of Isaiah.

I wonder what he told him. What could that Old Testament teaching have to say about the New Testament gospel? Wouldn't it be interesting to overhear that discussion? That's what I want to attempt tonight. Beginning with that same passage, I want like Philip to explain the message of Jesus.

First, let survey the prophet and his book. Isaiah lived over 700 years before the time of Jesus. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem, in Judah, the Southern Kingdom. He's young when we first meet him, perhaps about 30, perhaps younger. He would minister ...

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