“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).
God’s time had arrived for His sent man to carry out his mission. In Acts 8:29, the Spirit revealed to Philip the prepared sinner. Philip was directed by the Spirit to draw near to the Ethiopian’s chariot. When Philip obeyed the Spirit and drew near to the chariot, Philip heard him reading the words of Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Then Philip opened his message by asking the Ethiopian a question, “… Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30c). The Ethiopian replied, “…How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him” (verse 31). Praise God, for God has Provided the Messenger, Prepared the Sinner, and has brought them together to hear a Message from God.
The Scripture that the Ethiopian was reading was Isaiah 53:1-12. The Ethiopian asked Philip, “…of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” (verse 34). This shows that the Ethiopian Eunuch was quickened, and had an inquiring spirit. This sinner had been prepared for the Message.
Philip answered the Ethiopian, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (verse 35). What did Philip tell him about Jesus? Philip preached exactly what Isaiah had said concerning Jesus. Isaiah presented Jesus in the following manner:
- The Suffering Servant (the sinner’s Substitute)
- The Sufficient Servant (the sinner’s Sacrifice)
- The Successful Servant (the sinner’s Savior)
1) The Suffering Servant (read verses 3-9); which reveals Jesus as the Sinner’s Substitute (also see 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The first thing that a quickened sinner should be told of is his sin in Adam; the result being spiritual death, which places the sinner under the dominion of the law of sin and death. The sinner is to be revealed himself in light of the Law of God to come to the knowledge of sin and the curse he is under (Romans 3:19-20). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Therefore, Philip identified Jesus as the sinner’s Substitute: “…borne our griefs… our sorrows… wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him.” The sinner must be taught that Jesus, the Son of God, suffered in our place; being separated from God on our behalf, which satisfied God in Christ’s Offering Himself for sinners. A quickened sinner is convicted of his sin, placing him in a position of condemnation forever. He then has no hope in his miserable, depraved, fallen state until the Spirit of God points the hopeless sinner to his Substitute, Jesus Christ.
When quickened by the Spirit of God (John 6:63), you see Christ, the Lamb of God, “… which taketh away (or beareth) the sin of the world” (John 1:29). You are revealed that He did this for you; you are the sinner who broke God’s law in Adam (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 1:21). As Isaiah 53:4-5 reveals, who “…hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him.”
Paul says in Romans 3:19-20, that it is by the Law of God that a quickened sinner sees this knowledge of sin. You have to see you are a sinner, before you need a Savior. Therefore, Isaiah made it perfectly plain that Jesus was the Substitute for sinners. See how Paul explained this, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
2) The Sufficient Servant (read verses 7-11); the sinner’s Sacrifice:
In the Bible, from the time that God covered Adam’s naked body with the (bloody) skins of an innocent animal slain for that purpose (Genesis 3:1-21), God continued His revelation using lambs and goats for the purpose of an innocent sacrifice totally consumed upon the altars to type out the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Paul said He is our Passover; He was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). God revealed from Adam to Christ, that the only avenue a sinner could approach God would be through a blood sacrifice (or through the death of the sacrifice and it being totally consumed with fire on the altar). There are too many Scriptures to print that verify this truth. Note some of these Scriptures:
- (Genesis 3:15, 21) God clothed Adam with coats of skins.
- (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 11:4) Abel’s blood offering of the firstlings of the flock.
- (Genesis 12:7; 13:18; 22:1-14) Abraham’s altar, and the story of giving up Isaac.
- (Exodus 12:1-42) Moses and the night of the Passover. Read Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy; where God set up the different offerings and sacrifices for sin, especially the Day of Atonement, which all pointed to Christ, our Passover Lamb. This practice was followed by the true people of God; up to the time of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.
The Substitutionary Death of Christ as the fulfillment of all the lambs used as sacrifices for sin on the brazen altars of the Tabernacle and the Temple is well documented in the New Testament. (See John 1:29; Romans 3:24-25; 5:1-21; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-26; 10:1-18; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2:24; etc.)
So Phillip took Isaiah 53:1-12, and preached Jesus, our Substitute (the Suffering Servant) for our sins. Philip brought out the word “our,” for the sinner must know Christ died, not for His own sin, for He had no sin, being God in the Flesh; but for the sinner’s sin in Adam, which placed the sinner in eternal death (or eternal separation from God).
God demanded the debt be paid by the sinner; of which he could not pay. “But God”; yes, praise God; God satisfied the debt of sin in Himself (Christ Jesus; our Substitute; the Ransom Price), who paid the price on the Cross, and there made Atonement for our sin.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Ethiopian saw who he was – a sinner, short of the Glory of God. And he saw who Jesus was – his Substitute, who suffered eternal separation for him; and God was satisfied with the payment in Christ Himself, the Perfect Lamb of God, our Substitute. He saw Christ, the Lamb of God, the Sin Offering, the Sacrifice for his sins, even his Sufficient Servant, the sinner’s Sacrifice.
3) The Successful Servant (read verse 11); the sinner’s Savior
Then, to sum up his message on Jesus, Philip presented Jesus as the Successful Servant, our Savior. That is, Jesus got the job done. Isaiah wrote, “…shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant (Jesus Christ) justify (or declare righteous) many; for he (Jesus) shall bear their iniquities.”
Yes, the Atonement was completed in the work of Christ on the Cross. He did not make it available upon conditions. No, Christ completed His Mission as Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior; based upon who He was, God in the Flesh, who came to give His life as a ransom for many.
Isaiah said, “He (God) …shall be satisfied.” When? When He (God) shall see the travail of His (Jesus’) soul. When did this happen? On the cross. When Christ said “it is finished,” He meant exactly that. Yes, the plan of redemption was completed. The Bible says, we were (not maybe), but we were justified (or declared righteous) in the Atonement of Christ. (See Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24.)
Our Justification must be viewed in three ways:
- Eternal Justification: Ephesians 1:3-11 is very plain that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. God did not get caught in a dilemma when Adam sinned. God always had His Eternal Purpose of Redemption in Jesus Christ. (See 1 Peter 1:18-20.) (Also Revelation 13:8c) “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
- Judicial Justification: This is Christ’s work on the Cross as Sacrifice and Substitute. (See Romans 5:8-10; 3:24-25.) This was accomplished even before we were born, in Christ on the Cross
- Experiential Justification: This is the Spirit’s work in Regeneration, making the sinner know of his Redemption in Christ. (See Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:5-6.)
Philip preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that Jesus was God in the Flesh, reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) in His vicarious (substitutionary) and expiatory (satisfying) Atonement for the sin debt of sinners. Philip preached a done salvation in Christ; proven by His Resurrection. Not that we “may be saved,” but we “are saved” in His Atonement. (Read Romans 5:1-21; Hebrews 2:14.) Redemption is in Christ’s work, not in your believing. The Foundation (or the requirement) is the Atonement. Believing is the end of the quickening process, wherein you come to confess the message you have heard.
There is no substitute, Man of God, for the Message of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Justifier.
(Romans 1:16-17) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Only the Gospel Message will loose you from your grave clothes. (John 11:44) “And he (Lazarus) that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him (this is what the Gospel does to a quickened sinner), and let him go.”
Only the Gospel will manifest the Work of Grace in the sinner’s heart; only the Gospel is ordained to teach and bring you to confession (or birth; Romans 10:8, 17). The Gospel does not quicken the sinner, the Holy Spirit does that. (See John 6:63; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:5-6.) But the Gospel reveals the Righteousness of God from faith to faith:
(Romans 1:17) “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
That is, from the faith implanted in you (Romans 10:8), bearing witness to the faith that is preached.
Preachers today have tried to dress up, tone down, or disguise the old, old story of Jesus and Him crucified and raised the third day from the dead. But, that is of man. God had Philip, Paul, and all the others to preach simply Jesus and Him crucified and raised from the dead, and of His Kingdom (Acts 8:12; 28:23-31).
Why are so many preachers today turning from the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their own messages of entertainment? Some say the message has changed. No, the Message from Genesis to Revelation has always been the Gospel of God’s Grace and Mercy in the Sacrifice – Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Abel preached Him; Noah preached Him; Moses preached Him; and all the Prophets, even unto John the Baptist. Then after Christ came, was crucified and raised from the dead, and ascended back to heaven and returned in power at Pentecost; the message has been: Grace and Mercy in Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God (Acts 8:12; 28:23-31).
The Apostles preached Christ and so must the Man of God today. Preach Christ and Him crucified and raised from the dead; and see God bring about the “Miracle of Conversion.”