In Acts 8:26, the angel of the Lord tells a preacher named Philip to leave Samaria, north of Jerusalem, and travel southwest, to the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.
On that road, Philip meets a government official—a treasurer—from Ethiopia. He’s a Jew who’s been to Jerusalem to worship, and now he’s on his way home. The Ethiopian is reading from Isaiah 53 (Acts 8:32). Philip asks the man if he understands what he’s reading, and the treasurer invites Philip to join him in his chariot to study.
Philip begins at that Old Testament passage and preaches Jesus (Acts 8:35).
As Philip and the Ethiopian travel, they come to a body of water. The Ethiopian says, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Why is it that when Philip preaches Jesus and they come to a body of water, the Ethiopian asks to be baptized? Preaching Jesus must include the requirement to be baptized.
When the Ethiopian confesses that he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Philip commands the chariot to stop, takes the Ethiopian into the water, and baptizes him (Acts 8:37-38).
As they emerge from the water, Philip receives instructions to go somewhere else. And the Ethiopian treasurer—formerly a Jew who met a Gospel preacher, heard about Jesus, obeyed the Gospel and was saved—goes “on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
The Ethiopian treasurer had been reading a passage in Isaiah 53 which, about 700 years earlier, predicted the suffering of Christ. The devout Jew didn’t understand who the passage was talking about, but when Philip explained the life of Jesus, the Ethiopian came to understand that Isaiah prophesied about the suffering of Christ. Philip preached Jesus (Acts 8:35). And when they came to water, the treasurer requested baptism.
Just before Jesus ascended back to heaven, He gave the Great Commission. In Mark’s account of it, Jesus tells the apostles to go everywhere preaching the Gospel. Then He says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).
In Acts 8, Philip preaches Jesus, the Ethiopian believes the message, is baptized, and is saved. Baptism is a common thread in all of the conversions in the book of Acts.
Trying to be saved before baptism, or without baptism, is unbiblical. If you were told to be saved any other way, you were told error, and you are still in your sins.
- The Bible (37)
- The Church (33)
- Holy Spirit (2)
- Bible Authority (11)
- Calvinism (7)
- Nature of God (9)
- Faith (19)
- Family Matters (7)
- Denominationalism (10)
- Attitudes (46)
- Christian Living (57)
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