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A little boy asked Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, "When can I get advertised?" He meant "baptized" but he made the right point--baptism is advertising that you're a Christian.

A little boy was asked in Sunday School to explain baptism. He said, "It's when the preacher holds you under water and you think about Jesus!"

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, Go over and walk along beside the carriage.

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, Do you understand what you are reading?

31 The man replied, How can I, unless someone instructs me? And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
33 He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.

34 The eunuch asked Philip, Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else? 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, Look! There's some water! Why cant I be baptized?[d] 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 

Acts 8:26-39


1. God often plans encounters with and for us.

26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza. 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, Go over and walk along beside the carriage.

Every one of us who have become Christ followers can point to some kind of a God planned encounter in our lives that led us to follow Him.

God is intensely interested in your spiritual life. He created you for fellowship and He longs for you to honor Him with your life.

In 1996, contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan arrived for a series of concerts in Los Angeles. As she unpacked her clothes for that evenings concert, she discovered her dress was terribly wrinkled. A woman helping with the concert set out to find an iron. She was sent to a church staff members house with a key and instructions as to where she would find the ironing board. To her horror, she entered the house only to find the teenage daughter was home with a loaded gun. She was about to commit suicide when the woman arrived. Through quick thinking, a cool head, and the presence of God, she was able to talk the troubled teen into dropping the gun and returning with her for help. In response to Gods miraculous intervention, Cindy Morgan said, to rescue a life, he wrinkled a dress. Christian Reader, Jan./Feb. 2000, p. 79

Sometimes God speaks to us through the megaphone of pain in our lives. Some of you are right now thinking that you've had about as much pain as you can stand. I dont know if this Ethiopian man was in pain or in trouble but something was causing him to search for God.

What ever you are experiencing today God is allowing you to be in this service because you need to encounter God in a new way. He has brought something across your pathway of life that is leading you to think about Him.

2. God used Phillip to present an explanation about Jesus.

30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, Do you understand what you are reading?

31 The man replied, How can I, unless someone instructs me? And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.


I love this story because here is this Ethiopian who doesnt really know anything much about God and even less about Jesus Christ. It is important for us to note that he was searching. He was a wealthy man and a man of responsibility. He was the treasurer for the Queen of Ethiopia. We can assume that he was on a search for God and a relationship with God because of his reading and his trip to Jerusalem.

When Phillip saw that the man was reading some scripture from the Old Testament book of Isaiah he seized the opportunity to teach him about Jesus.

Jesus Christ has a message for all of us. He wants to change our lives and turn us from the things of this life that would destroy our families and lives. The teachings of Christ are radically life changing when they are followed.

3. God pardons everyone who asks.

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Acts 2:38

The word repentance means a change of mind. John the Baptist came preaching that people should repent. This means three things:

1. It is intellectual By it the sinner comes unto the knowledge of sin, and its consequences. Intellectual repentance causes us to be conscious of sin. Rom. 3:20

2. It is emotional. It is genuine sorrow for sin. It must be deeper than sorrow for being caught. (worldly sorrow) It must be godly sorrow, sorrow because one has sinned against God.

3. The third element of repentance.  It is volitional, a change of will and purpose. It is a turning from sin to God, the heart crying out for pardon and cleansing.

Repentance is an act of man and is antecedent to and a preparation for salvation. It is necessary if God is to forgive. Beacon Dictionary of Theology, pg. 449

Repentance is necessary on our part but to accept the salvation that God offers through Jesus Christ all we must do after exhibiting a godly sorrow is believe that He saves us.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. II Cor. 7:10

Max Lucado tells of a young man who approached his pastor at the close of a worship service and asked, What can I do to find peace in my life? The wise minister replied, Im sorry, but youre too late. The distraught man was perplexed. He said, You mean Im too late to find peace? You mean I'm too late to be saved? The pastor answered, No, you're just too late to do anything about it. Jesus did everything that needed to be done two thousand years ago. The beauty of Gods gracious atonement is that Christ did it all (1 Peter 3:18). We must simply embrace it. The Beast Within Us All, Max Lucado, Sept. 26, 1999


Sometimes we just need to understand what all of this coming to or accepting Christ means. Often people don't understand. So its no surprise that the story is told about the baptism of a King by St. Patrick in the middle of the fifth century. Sometime during the ritual, St. Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the kings foot. St. Patrick was totally unaware. After the baptism was over, St. Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the kings forgiveness. Why did you suffer this pain in silence, the Saint wanted to know. The king shrugged and replied, "I thought it was part of the ritual."

4. God promotes baptism as evidence of our salvation

As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, Look! There's some water! Why cant I be baptized? 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

One of the most beautiful and sacred institutions of the church is our ability to public identify with Christ and the church through the ordinance of baptism.

It has meant many things through the ages of church history and in the many different cultures. For some as in the first century church it meant death because you were identifying with Christ and His message.

What a beautiful thing it is to be symbolically buried with Christ in the water and raised to signify and illustrate the new life you have taken on with Him.

There is nothing like starting a new life with Christ. There is nothing like serving the God of the second chance.

We find in Jesus the mercy that we need.

Former televangelist Jim Bakker went to prison for fraud as he should have. In his book He speaks of events that occurred immediately after his release from prison:

When I was transferred to my last prison, Franklin [Graham] said he wanted to help me out when I got outwith a job, a house to live in, and a car. It was my fifth Christmas in prison. I thought it over and said, "Franklin, you can't do this. It will hurt you. The Grahams don't need my baggage." He looked at me and he said, "Jim, you were my friend in the past and you are my friend now. If anyone doesn't like it, I'm looking for a fight."

So when I got out of prison the Grahams sponsored me and paid for a house for me to live in and gave me a car to drive. The first Sunday out, Ruth Graham called the halfway house I was living in at the Salvation Army and asked permission for me to go to the Montreat Presbyterian Church with her that Sunday morning. When I got there, the pastor welcomed me and sat me with the Graham family. There were like two whole rows of them.  I think every Graham aunt and uncle and cousin was there. The organ began playing and the place was full except for a seat next to me. Then the doors opened and in walked Ruth Graham. She walked down that aisle and sat next to inmate 07407-058. I had only been out of prison 48 hours, but she told the world that morning that Jim Bakker was her friend. Afterwards, she had me up to their cabin for dinner. When she asked me for some addresses, I pulled this envelope out of my pocket to look for them in prison you're not allowed to have a wallet, so you just carry an envelope. She asked, "Don't you have a wallet?" And I said, "Well, yeah, this is my wallet." After five years of brainwashing in prison you think an envelope is a wallet. She walked into the other room and came back and said, "Here's one of Billy's wallets. He doesn't need it. You can have it." "The Re-education of Jim Bakker," Christianity Today (December 7, 1998)

That is a picture of the mercy and grace and love that we find in Christ. It is not on your merits or personal achievements that you find a relationship with God. It is because He is pursuing you. He wants a relationship with you.

5. God provides encouragement to us through His presence.

39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.

What a great testimony of a Christ follower. 


Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.

However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.

The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.

The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan's response, "I will do it!"

So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.

He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.

What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.

Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they would have to give up their commitment to bloodshed. They could not be killers and church members too.

After a hasty round of diplomacy, the problem was solved quite simply. As the words were spoken and the priests began to baptize them, each soldier reached to his side and withdrew his sword. Lifting it high overhead, every soldier was totally immersed-everything baptized except his fighting arm and sword.

That is a true historical fact. The unbaptized arm. What a powerful picture of Christianity today. How many unbaptized arms are here this morning? How many unbaptized wills are here? How many unbaptized talents? Unbaptized check books? Unbaptized social activities? How many are there here this morning?

In addition to being the most prolific hymn writer of the 20th century, B. B. McKinney was a music teacher, pastor, and music minister during his lifetime. Though his life's service was dedicated to God, he still realized that he had done little for his Savior, even after Jesus died on the cross to pardon his sin. While contemplating that fact, he composed four stanzas of what perhaps is the most thought provoking hymn in history. "Satisfied With Jesus" is McKinney's personal testimony of what his Lord had done for him.

I am satisfied with Jesus,
He has done so much for me:
He has suffered to redeem me,
He has died to set me free.

I am satisfied, I am satisfied,
I am satisfied with Jesus,
But the question comes to me,
As I think of Calvary,
Is my Master satisfied with me.

He is with me in my trials,
Best of friends of all is He;
I can always count on Jesus,
Can He always count on me?

I can hear the voice of Jesus,
Calling out so pleadingly,
"Go and win the lost and straying;"
Is He satisfied with me?

When my work on earth is ended,
And I cross the mystic sea,
Oh, that I could hear Him saying,
"I am satisfied with thee."

I believe that God has spoken to some of you this morning. You've watched the testimonies of these who were baptized and youve been doing a lot of thinking about your life. Your choices and the consequences sometimes seem to overwhelm you. I want you to know today that Jesus Christ is aware of everything that is going on in your life and He has allowed you to be here today to see this service and to hear His voice.

I want to give you a chance to respond.