Monday, November 29, 2010

An Invitation to Study With Me This Week

Near Tel Aviv
Right now, in our preaching, we are looking at the Christology of the Book of Acts. The word "Christology" means: the study of Christ; reasoning about Christ. This coming Sunday's Acts Jesus-passage is Acts 8:26-36.

I'm inviting our Redeemer people and anyone, if they like, to study and meditate on Acts 8:26-36 with me in anticipation of this coming Sunday's worship service and message.

As you do this, if you have any questions about these verses send them to me. If God gives you any insights, I welcome them - please send them to me.

I'm including below the Home Group questions for this week, on these verses. You can use these to guide your thinking.

How will I prepare for preaching these verses this coming Sunday? I will:
  • print out the verses and carry them with me.
  • meditate on them. Which means: to ponder them, to chew on them, to get them into myself.
  • look at commentaries on these verses. I am especially using Ben Witherington's commentary on Acts, N.T. Wright's Acts for Everyone: Part One, and Peter Wagner's commentary on Acts.
  • use when I am on line. This site includes an Intervarsity Press commentary on these verses which is quite good. Go here.
  • spend time in God's presence hearing from the Spirit on these verses, and writing down what God tells me.
I look forward to how God is going to speak to us all this week!

Here are the home group questions for the sermon to be preached on 5 December 2010.

Jesus, the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 - Acts 8:26-36

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

1. Read Acts 8:4-8 and 8:26.
  • Who is Philip?
  • What had Philip been doing previously?
  • Have you ever been sent somewhere or told to do something without knowing the purpose?
2. Read verses 27-28 above.
  • Why was an Ethiopian treasurer worshipping in Jerusalem?
  • Why do you think he was reading Isaiah?
3. Read verses 29-33 and Isaiah 53 (esp. 7-8). The Ethiopian had questions about Isaiah and Philip was invited to answer them (now Philip knew why he was sent).
  • Where did Philip learn what he taught the Ethiopian?

4. Read Acts 8:34-39. A man who believes in Judaism is suddenly confronted by the truth of Jesus and becomes a follower of Jesus.
  • Discuss the significance of the Ethiopian's question in verse 34.
  • Discuss how God had "set up the situation" for both Philip and the Ethiopian.
  • How did this conversion happen so fast?
  • What do you think this man thought when Philip then disappeared?
  • Do you think the Ethiopian might have later told this story in high places?

Question 1 - Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19
Question 2 - Ethiopians were Nubian (Southern Egypt) Gentiles
Question 3 - Luke 24:27, 32, 44-47. Luke refers to a portion of what is now the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.
Question 4 (bullet 4) - 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16; Ezekiel 3:12, 14.