Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "To the End of the Earth"
Acts 8:26-40 marks a significant moment in salvation history, when the gospel crosses into the gentile world and begins to go to the ends of the earth. This expansion begins with a eunuch, a God-fearer, a foreigner, and one who is hungry for the Word of God. C.J. used this passage to explain how a biblical worldview is a multiethnic worldview. The salvation of this Ethiopian displays the work of the Spirit – beginning with the Spirit calling Philip to leave Jerusalem and concluding with the provision of water for the Ethiopian’s baptism. While this was a unique instance, C.J. exhorted us to remember that all believers are linked through God’s redemptive plan.
- What immediately jumps out at you from these verses as you consider the Church’s role in redemptive history on a local and global level?
- How does having a Biblical worldview help us engage with the current cultural unrest?
- How does the gospel inform our view of humanity?
- How does Acts description of the gospel crossing into the gentile world help inform our unity as believers?
- C.J. described believers as being links in the chain of redemption that have specific roles to play. How might you currently have opportunity to fulfill God’s calling for you to be this link?
Praying the Passage:
“It was the explicit aim of Jesus, in his earthly ministry, to save and gather a people of God not defined by any one race or ethnicity, or any political banner, but rather defined by faith in himself as the only Savior, absolute Lord, and supreme Treasure. Thus, his mission was, among other glorious things, the end of ethnocentrism.” – John Piper
CJ - Jesus makes clear the gospel is to be proclaimed across all ethnic boundaries...
Father, please search my heart for any reluctance to engage with anyone different from me...racially, culturally, economically, socially, or physically.
CJ –In the advance of the gospel across ethnic barriers “to the end of the earth”, the first individual conversion Luke informs us of is a black African from Ethiopia.
Lord, remind me, that I might marvel and worship, that the links leading to my conversion and salvation traveled sovereignly through time, nations, cultures, languages, and the prayers of saints praying for the lost...even from the other side of the world. And prompt me to pray accordingly.
CJ – And in the providence of God, the Ethiopian was reading from Isa. 53 (verses 7-8). David Peterson writes, Philip told him the good news about Jesus because: “There is no one else in history, apart from Jesus of Nazareth, whom these words can truly be applied.”
Father, as I read your Word, open my eyes and heart, and remind me that page after page, and story after story, and book after book, are a part of the unfolding plan of your glorious salvation for all who would believe in Christ.
CJ – This man, who could...not go beyond the Court of the Gentiles, now has access to the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus. He is no longer a foreigner but now part of the people of God...
Father, stir my heart to see your love for the whole world – every tongue, and tribe, and nation – and remind me that I too was once just as excluded, just as separated, just as lost. But you saved me!
One doesn’t have to go to the nations in order to reach the nations. But one does have to be aware of those of a different ethnicity and alert to opportunities to interact with them...in hope of one day sharing the gospel with them.
Father, help me to engage with those of other races, nations, and cultures that I might more clearly appreciate and respect our differences; and more clearly understand the effects, the blessings, and the burdens of those differences. Please lead me by your Spirit to share with those you’ve placed in my path in order for them to receive some experience of the love of God, especially as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Most importantly we are to be aware that the purpose of Jesus death is to redeem image bearers for himself from every ethnicity.
So where can you be a link, play some role whether its in prayer, friendship, service or when appropriate gospel proclamation ... that...culminates in singing together to the risen Christ?
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…” Revelation 5:9-10
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