Heaven Is My Throne!

God is not dependent on us for anything. We are only in the conversation at all because He chose to include us. All of our conversation about how much we have given or how long we have served or any other work we can think of pale next to who He is. Our relationship with God, the Righteous one, begins when we accept Him for who He is and choose to walk in His ways. Today’s reading ends with the Ethiopian Eunuch asking, “What prevents me from being baptized? And, the answer for him, and for all of us is, “Nothing, nothing prevents you from being baptized”. And once we believe, there is nothing that prevents us from following the angels command to Philip, “Get Up and Go”, go and preach the gospel of the Kingdom and the Name of Jesus Christ.

Heaven is My Throne

Acts 7:48–53
Stephen finishes his response to his accusers with two statements:
Acts 7:48-50 “the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands”
Acts 7:51-53 “they (your fathers) killed those who announced beforehand about the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become”

They would have been nodding their heads in agreement all the way through their history with Abraham and Egypt and Moses, until now. But we can’t put Him in our box. We can’t tell Him who He is. We can “learn of him” as it says in Matthew 11:29–30 (LEB) Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to carry and my burden is light.” Or, as it says in Jeremiah 6:16 (LEB) 16 Thus says Yahweh: “Stand at the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the way of the good is, and walk in it, and find rest for your inner selves. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

And, with his last statement, he lays the murder of Jesus at their feet.

I See the Heavens Opened

Acts 7:54–60
The crowd is rising up against Stephen, Acts 7:55–56 (LEB) But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and* saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Stephen is standing and looking at the glory of God and all the crowd, the mob, could see was their rage. And who do we find in the middle of the crowd? In Acts 7:58 “the witnesses” false witnesses saying Stephen was to be stoned and Saul, an instigator?

Stephen doesn’t cry out for himself in pain, his last words in Acts 7:60 are “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”.

Proclaiming the Good News of the Word

Acts 8:1–8
The mob didn’t stop with Stephen, but then went after all believers and in Acts 8:1 (LEB) “Now there happened on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria”.

There were a few that publicly remained in Jerusalem, in Acts 8:2 (LEB) “devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him” and the apostles at the end of vs 1. And, it is possible that there were some that stayed, thinking they could remain hidden.

“But Saul was attempting to destroy the church”, it says in Acts 8:3. You can imagine Saul with his troop of angry men dragging believers through the city to fill the prison. What would they do with these believers? How many could they hold? Could they get them all and stop the spread of the gospel? It was a well thought out plan, it was anger and rage.

What Saul meant as a way to stop the gospel only served to spread it. Acts 8:4 (LEB) Now those who had been scattered went about proclaiming the good news of the word.

Then we hear about Philip. As he, in Acts 8:5 “began proclaiming the Christ to them”, and in Acts 8:6 “and the crowds … were paying attention”. Philip wasn’t much mentioned in Jerusalem, but out here, proclaiming the gospel, crowds are responding, people are being set free. There seems to be a limit to what you can do in one place and Philips gift, evangelism, flourishes as he reaches out to the people of Samaria. Here, Acts 8:8 (LEB) And there was great joy in that city.

This Man is the Power of God

Acts 8:9–17
In Acts 8:9-11 We see Simon, “practicing magic“, “saying he was someone great” and this is the deception, that, if you follow some man, they have power to help you in your life. Then Philip began, in Acts 8:12-13 (LEB) But when they believed Philip as he* was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were being baptized. 13 And Simon himself also believed, and after he* was baptized he was ⌊keeping close company with⌋ Philip. And when he* saw the signs and great miracles that were taking place, he was astonished. Simon recognized the true power of God’s Kingdom, and Jesus Christ.

Philip gets help. In Acts 8:14-15 (LEB) Now when* the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who went down and* prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit.

Your Heart is Not Right Before God

Acts 8:18–25
Simon offered money in Acts 8:19 (LEB) saying, “Give to me also this power, so that whomever I place my* hands on may receive the Holy Spirit!”. He wanted to be great in the eyes of people.

Simon had believed in vs XX, but Peter reacts strongly, in Acts 8:22 (LEB) Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and ask the Lord if perhaps the intent of your heart may be forgiven you!” Simon responds, in Acts 8:24 (LEB) But Simon answered and* said, “You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said will come upon me.” Clearly Simon doesn’t want to be destroyed or to have his silver destroyed. But, does Simon understand the “state of bitter envy” and “bound by unrighteousness” message? Sometimes people have strongholds in their lives that must be dealt with after they believe, after they are born again. For Simon, there is an intent of heart that is wrong, “this wickedness” Peter says.

Get Up and Go

Acts 8:26–31
It wasn’t much earlier that the apostles were hiding for fear after Jesus was crucified. They needed to have the scriptures opened to them. Jesus, for forty days appeared at different times and instructed them. Revelation came, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came, and with boldness they are going forward.

Now, Philip follows the direction of the angel of the Lord, and is side by side with one asking, Acts 8:31 (LEB) And he said, “So how could I, unless someone will guide me?” And he invited Philip to come up and* sit with him.

What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?

Acts 8:32–40
Nothing, nothing prevents you from being baptized. It doesn’t ever say that the Eunuch believed. It doesn’t ever say the Eunuch professed the name of Jesus. The Eunuch simply asked if he could be baptized. And what he was saying is (* find words Philip would have spoken) that he wanted to repent and be obedient to the Lord in baptism.

Whatever we may think about Philips message or the Eunuchs response, the Lord confirms the result in Acts 8:39 (LEB) And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer, for he went on his way rejoicing.

Study Verses

  • Acts 7:48–53
  • Acts 8:26–31
  • Acts 8:32–40

Today’s Reading

  • Acts 7:48-60
  • Acts 8:1-40