The Book of Acts - Chapters 8 & 9
The Book of Acts
Chapters 8 & 9
“God brings faith to the hearts of people”
Ethiopian and Paul
How does faith come?
“Faith is confidence [sure] in what we hope for and assurance [certain] about what we do not see.”
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
“… Jesus, the author [Pioneer] and finisher [Perfecter] of our faith…”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“… no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.”
-1 Corinthians 12:3
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.”
Faith comes from God!
God gives it,
Don’t reject it.
Conversion (Martin Luther)
“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called my by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…”
(Martin Luther’s Explanation of the
3rd article of the Apostle’s Creed)
*It is God Himself who puts faith within our hearts.
(Through Word & Sacrament)
*We are then told to not reject it.
*It is God alone who gets the credit/glory for our having a relationship with Him.
*He begins faith and he sustains it.
God’s Part… God Gives
Our Part… Don’t Reject
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him…”
“…children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
-John 1:13 - GOSPEL
“… it is God, who works in you to will [to want, to ACCEPT] and to act according to His good pleasure.”
“Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You even at my mother’s breast.”
-Psalm 22:9 – GOSPEL
“…God has even granted the Gentiles repentance unto life.”
-Acts 11:18 – GOSPEL
“No one can COME to Me unless the - Father draws him …no one can COME to Me unless the Father has enabled him.”
-John 1:44,65 – GOSPEL
“For you have been born again not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, the living and enduring Word of God.”
-1 Peter 1:23 – GOSPEL
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” [Gospel]
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”
“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
“It is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
“Gift” = A thing given willingly to someone without payment;
BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF GOD’S GIFTS
A thing given willingly by God because of his unconditional love.
Philip and the Ethiopian
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?”… 31 “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 This is the passage of Scripture…“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.”… “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… “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip… appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel…”
This Ethiopian man was SEEKING God.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
There is always hope for you to grow in your faith.
There is always hope for those who are currently not seeking God.