And Preached Unto Him Jesus
February 19th, 1967 @ 7:30 PM
AND PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2-19-67 7:30 p.m.
On the radio you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing a message from the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts, beginning at verse 26. And let us all read it out loud together. Verse 26, Acts 8, verse 26; and we shall read through the thirty-ninth verse, we will leave off the last verse in the story. This is one of the great, great passages in the Bible and has in it some of the most marvelous truths for our souls. Now let us begin, everybody reading out loud together, verse 26 of the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts:
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The place of the Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened He not his mouth: In His humiliation His judgment was taken away: and who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Now my text: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35]. The story begins with Philip in a tremendous revival meeting in Samaria [Acts 8:5]. And in the very midst of that revival, the angel of the Lord said to him, “You arise and leave this glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God and go down into Gaza” [Acts 8:26], a desert stretch between Palestine, Israel, and Egypt. And he arose and went. And as he stood there by the side of the highway, the great road from north to south; from the Mesopotamian Valley, from Syria to Egypt; as he stood there wondering why God had sent him to that lonely, solitary place, there came riding by in a chariot the treasurer, the chancellor of the exchequer, of the country of Ethiopia under Queen Candace. He was a eunuch [Acts 8:27]. The ever present curse of the ancient Oriental harem was the eunuch. Wherever the harem was instituted, there you would find the eunuch.
And this man was a victim of that vicious and terrible system. He was an emasculated man; he was a dry branch. He had no hope of issue or of family or of progeny. But somewhere in the life of that destitute and forsaken man, he had found a precious hope in Jehovah God. And in that persuasion, that God had loved him and taken pity upon him, he had gone to Jerusalem for to worship [Acts 8:27]. He was a Jewish proselyte; had accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And somehow also the Lord God took pity upon him again, and in his return journey back home from Jerusalem, the Lord had sent Philip, this evangelist, to preach to him the way of salvation, the gospel of grace that can save our souls from death [Ephesians 2:8-9].
In Jerusalem, somewhere, he had found a copy of the scroll of Isaiah; and sitting in his chariot with a charioteer driving the steeds, he was reading that scroll of Isaiah, column after column, turning the scroll as he read [Acts 8:28]. And he had come to the fifty-third chapter of the book, and was reading that prophecy of the suffering Servant, who for our sins bore in His own body the penalty on a cursed tree [Isaiah 53:6-8; Acts 8:32-33; 1 Peter 2:24]. And while he was reading that prophecy, Philip came and walked by the side of the chariot and asked him—he was reading out loud; so many times do I emphasize here that the Bible was written to be read out loud. When the Bible was written, a manuscript was very costly; nobody had a copy of it at home, and every syllable of the Bible was written to be read aloud. The epistles of Paul were addressed to the church; and they were written to be read aloud before the congregation. And this Ethiopian eunuch was reading God’s Word out loud, as it was written to be read, aloud. And as he read, Philip asked him—“Do you understand what you read?” [Acts 8:30].
When the prophet says, “All we like sheep have gone astray . . . and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” [Isaiah 53:6], what does that mean? “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace is upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” [Isaiah 53:5]. Do you understand? And the eunuch said, “I do not know, I do not understand. Is the prophet talking about himself? [Acts 8:34]. Is he the one that bore our iniquities away or is he talking about someone else?” And he asked Philip to come and sit by his side in the chariot [Acts 8:31]; “And Philip began at that same Scripture,” the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, “and preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35]. And that’s my text, “and preached unto him Jesus.”
I have several things to say about it; this is the first one: the gospel message is the story of Jesus, that’s what it is. If we send a missionary to a foreign country and he preaches the gospel, what does he preach? If we listen to a man standing in the pulpit, and he preaches the gospel, what does he preach? From reading the newspapers over these last several days, my soul, my soul, I never heard such trash, I never heard such dribble, I never heard such stuff in all of my life! And these are preachers, these are ministers of the gospel; and they define the Christian religion, and they delineate the message of the Lord in terms so far out I don’t even know if they have any relationship with the revelation of the gospel of Christ that I read here in this Book. To me they are ecclesiastical screwballs!
What is the gospel? When a man preaches the gospel, what does he preach? Listen to the Word of God who defines it: 1 Corinthians 15:1 and following, “My brethren, I declare unto you, I make known unto you the gospel, the one I preached unto you, the one you received, the one wherein you stand, the one by which you are saved” [1 Corinthians 15:1-2]. What is it? “I have delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” This gospel, what is it? “How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”; this Holy Book, “that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]. “He was delivered for our offenses, He was raised for our justification” [Romans 4:25];—to declare us righteous in the presence of God: that is the gospel.
And when a man preaches the gospel to the heathen, to the pagan, to the benighted, to the unlearned, to the untaught, to the intellectual, to the university, wherever a man preaches the gospel, that’s what he preaches: that we are sinners [Romans 3:23]; that we were condemned to eternal separation from God in our sins, which is hell [Matthew 10:28]; and that Jesus in His pity and grace and mercy came down into this world, born of a woman, to offer His body a sacrifice, an atonement for our sins [Hebrews 10:5-14; Galatians 4:4-5]. And having destroyed death forever in His resurrection [Matthew 28:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57], He was raised to declare us saved in the presence of God, all of us who come to Him in faith, in confession, in repentance, in supplication, in trust, in commitment [Romans 4:25; Ephesians 2:8]. That is the gospel. The gospel is Jesus: Jesus, born of a virgin [Matthew 1:21-23]; Jesus, preaching the gospel of grace [Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8]; Jesus, dying for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3]; Jesus, raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7]; Jesus, our Mediator at the throne of heaven [1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:2]; and Jesus, coming again [Acts 1:10-11]. “And he preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35]; that is the gospel.
My second avowal: the great plan of salvation is trusting in Jesus, not in a church, not in ordinances, not in our own works of righteousness which are as filthy rags in God’s sight [Isaiah 64:6], but in the grace and mercy of the Lord [Ephesians 2:8-9]. It is that plain, it is that simple. How are we saved? We are saved by trusting the Lord Jesus. I went through this Bible, and I underscored every place in the Word of God where the Lord tells us how to be saved. And after I went through the Bible underscoring all those passages, I reviewed it, marking them with a red pencil. And as I looked at them, one after another after another after another, I found an amazing thing. It is this: wherever, in God’s Word, the Lord tells us how to be saved, He will always do it in one monosyllabic simple sentence, never an exception. God will never take even two sentences to tell us how to be saved; but always just one. And every sentence will repeat the same invitation, the same avowal, the same text, the same thing. Listen to it, John 1:12:
But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God, even to those that trust in His name, that believe in His name.
I turn the page—John 3:14:
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up:
verse 15, “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A simple sentence, and then the next sentence—always just one sentence, God will never take two to tell us how to be saved, always one sentence; and He will repeat the same thing over and over and over again. Now the next verse is John 3:16. Let’s say it all together, everybody say it with me together:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
one sentence, one simple sentence, John 5:24:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed out of death into life.”
one simple sentence.
Acts 16:30: “What must I do to be saved?” A modern theologian, if he’s a product of this new school, would write a philosophical, metaphysical speculation on that for pages and pages and pages; but how does God answer it? Acts 16:30: “What must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”; one simple sentence. Romans 10:9: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, that He lives, thou shalt be saved”; one simple sentence. And the next one repeats the same thing again; Romans 10:10: “For with the heart we believe unto a God-kind of righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto a glorious, eternal salvation”; one simple sentence, there’s no exception. “And he preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35].
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one unto his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” [Isaiah 53:6]. And Philip said to that eunuch, “That is Jesus, bearing our sins on the tree. He was bruised for our iniquities. He suffered for our sins, and by His stripes we are healed” [Isaiah 53:5]. That’s Jesus. “And he preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35]. The great plan of salvation is leaning on the Lord, looking to the Lord [Isaiah 45:22; Acts 4:12]. “And there’s life for a look at the Crucified One.” “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up: That whosoever looks to Him may be healed, may have life, and that eternal, everlasting” [John 3:14-15]. What a gospel. “And he preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35].
All right, a third avowal: what is the great act of conversion? When a man believes unto salvation, what is that experience? One time I bowed before the Lord, and I said, “O God, show me in this Book, not by a man’s speculative definition, but show me, Lord, by inspiration, show me in this Book, Lord, what is it to believe? What is saving faith? If I believe in Jesus and am rewarded with everlasting life, what is that, Lord, that I believe unto eternal life?”
And the Lord answered so plainly. You know if God can’t speak to you as plainly as I can speak to you, I’m more alive than God is; I can talk to you, I can speak to you; He can too. And if you will open your heart, God will speak. If you will listen, if you will hear, God will talk to you. I laid that before the Lord, and I said, “Lord, show me in this Book by inspiration, not by theological multiplication of syllables and sentences, but by the Word of God, what is it to believe unto everlasting life? What is saving faith, converting faith?”
And this is the verse that the Lord answered me: Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12, “For I am not ashamed: for I know, I know whom I have believed.” Now what is that, Lord, to believe? “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day, committed unto Him against that day” [2 Timothy 1:12]. Then, saving faith, to believe on Jesus and be saved, is to commit my life and my destiny to the Lord Jesus. When I trust in Jesus unto salvation, that’s what I do; the great act of conversion is the committal of my life to the Lord. And He is able to keep me even against that ultimate day [2 Timothy 1:12].
I had a child, a twelve-year-old child, in my study this evening before coming over here. And as I talked to the youngster, I sought to impress upon her what it is that sin does to us, and what it means to be lost, to be lost. And she gave me the answers that I had written in the little book, “All of us have sinned” [Romans 3:10, 23].
“And what is the penalty of our sin?”
“Eternal death in hell” [Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23].
“And what is death?”
“Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body [Matthew 27:50]; and eternal death is the separation of the soul from God” [Matthew 10:28]. Then I said to the child, “And who can save us from this eternal death?” And she answered correctly, “Jesus, only Jesus” [Acts 4:12, 16:30-31]. And I said to the child, “That’s why we worship the Lord Jesus.” I said, “Do you see your father who loves you sitting over there?”
“Do you see your mother who loves you seated over there?”—and she has a lovely father and mother—“Yes.” I said, “Do you know what’ll happen to you when you die? Your mother and your father will put you out of their sight.” And the little girl winced. And I said, “I love you, but when you die, I will help your father and your mother put you out of their sight. When that ultimate day comes and we die, your father, and your mother, and your pastor, and these who love you most can do no other thing in their helplessness but to bury you out of their sight.”
That’s why Jesus is a glorious Savior; for He stands beyond the grave to receive us [John 14:3]. Where my hands cannot reach, where the hands of father and mother and family and these who love us most cannot reach, we stop at the grave; all we are able to do is to weep. But Jesus can save us in the hour of our death [Psalm 116:15], and Jesus can receive us to Himself beyond this life [John 14:3]; and Jesus, forgiving our sins, can take us to Himself to heaven to live with Him and with the redeemed of the Lord forever and ever [John 11:26], and that’s what it is to be saved: when I commit myself to the blessed saving hands of Jesus [2 Timothy 1:12].
“I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him”—my life, my soul, my destiny, whatever is I, given to Jesus—“against that day” [2 Timothy 1:12]. Any day of trial, any hour of death, any judgment that shall ever come, Jesus shall save me; and when I commit myself to His gracious and precious hands, I am saved. That’s what it is to be saved [2 Timothy 1:12].
Do you believe Jesus can do that? Do you? Do you believe Uncle Sam can deliver a letter? Then you put it in his hands and trust Uncle Sam to deliver it. Do you believe the bank can keep your funds? Then we deposit our funds in the bank and trust them for it. Do you believe your insurance company will pay your heirs and your family that may be in such desperate need when you die? Then we trust the insurance company for it. Do you believe that Jesus can keep you in the hour of your death and receive you beyond the cold, swollen Jordan that lies, that runs, that swells between us and the world that is to come, do you? If you believe that, commit yourself to Him, give yourself to Him, and you’re saved, and you’re saved [2 Timothy 1:12]. That’s what it is to be born again [John 3:3, 7]; just trusting Jesus and committing your life to Jesus. “And He preached unto him Jesus” [Acts 8:35].
Now, I’ll stop with this one. We’ll be going off the radio in a moment. I have time for another. The entrance into the church, into the fellowship of the body of Christ, is in obedience to a great commandment, the last great commission of the Lord Jesus. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, Look, look, here is water, I want to be baptized” [Acts 8:35-36]. So plainly and evidently, when Philip preached to that eunuch Jesus, he also told the eunuch of the great and final Commission of our Lord: “Go and make disciples of all of the people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And if you will do it, I will go with you to the end of the age” [Matthew 28:19-20]. Philip told him that.
And as they went on their way, that eunuch said, “Look, look, here is water, here is water, I want to be baptized! May I be baptized?” [Acts 8:36]. And Philip said, “One condition, and just one”; not how old you are, or how learned you are, or how much theology you understand; have you been to college, do you have a degree? Oh, no! Philip said, “Just one prerequisite, one requirement: if you trust in Jesus with all your heart, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” [Acts 8:37].
Just one requirement, do you trust in the Lord? Do you believe in the blessed Savior? And that eunuch answered and said, “I believe He is all that He said He was, can do all that He has promised to do, I believe He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world” [Acts 8:37]. And he commanded the chariot to stand still, and that charioteer pulled those steeds to a halt. And the eunuch stepped down out of the chariot, and Philip stepped down out of the chariot, and both of them went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” [Acts 8:38]—buried with the Lord in the likeness of His death, and raised with the Lord in the likeness of His glorious resurrection [Romans 6:3-5]. “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing” [Acts 8:39]. That’s why I wanted you to sing that song tonight, “And he went on his way rejoicing.”
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
All praise to the Father, all praise to the Son,
All praise to the Spirit, the great Three in One!
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
Glory, I’m saved, glory, I’m saved!
My iniquities are all pardoned, my sins are all gone!
Glory, I’m saved, glory, I’m saved!
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
[“Saved by the Blood,” S.J. Henderson]
“And he went on his way rejoicing” [Acts 8:39]. Now you sing that next Sunday night?
Oh, that’s the spirit, that’s the spirit! When we give our lives to Jesus, that’s not doleful, that’s not giving up all of the gladnesses and happinesses of living; that’s when we really begin to live. “And he went on his way rejoicing” [Acts 8:39]. Glory, hallelujah, I’ve been saved, I’ve been saved! And he rode down to Ethiopia and the Lord Jesus, his companion and traveling friend at his side, and he lived his life as chancellor of that treasury, loving the Lord Jesus; and somewhere that eunuch died, and Jesus was there to receive that convert to Himself in glory. What a triumph! What a victory! What an incomparable blessing! That’s what it is to love the Lord Jesus. That’s what it is to be saved; and that’s what it is to be a Christian [2 timothy 1:12].
Now, while we sing this song of appeal, you, you, give your heart to Jesus, and come down here and stand by me tonight, do it tonight. In this balcony round, somebody you—on this lower floor, into the aisle and down here to the front; a family you, a couple, a youth, a child you—as the Spirit shall lay the appeal upon your heart, come tonight. On the first note of the first stanza, come, make it now; the whole family you, or just one you, come. When you stand up in a moment, stand up coming. “Pastor, I give you my hand, I give my heart to God, and here I am, here I come.” Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.
AND PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2-19-67I. Story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39)
A. Attendant curses of Oriental harem was the ever-present eunuch
B. A man of great authority
C. Came into the knowledge of the one true God
D. Asked Philip for help understanding Scripture (Isaiah 53:6)II. The gospel message is the preaching of Jesus
A. Definition of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
B. Dr. Truett in IndiaIII. The way of salvation is trusting Jesus
A. Always presented in one simple sentence (John 1:12, 3:14-15, 16, Acts 10:43, 16:31, Romans 10:9-10, 13)
B. Easy for us, not for HimIV. The act of conversion in the committal of your life to Jesus
A. What it is to trust, believe (2 Timothy 1:12)
B. A choice is involved (Exodus 32:26, Joshua 24:15, Matthew 19:21)V. The entrance into the church through obedient to the command of Jesus
A. The body of Christ (Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Acts 8:36-39)VI. Our song of praise now and throughout eternity
A. We will do it in heaven (Revelation 5:11-14)