Tuesday, September 18, 2018


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa.  He is amongst others a blogger and lyrics writer. To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you continue in
My word, you really are My disciples.
You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free."

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Jun 21

Written by: Andries
Thursday, June 21, 2018 12:53:05 AM  RssIcon

When we hear or read about the good news of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, it always calls for a response. Faith, gratitude, turning our lives around and experiencing great joy are facets of our responses.
 
In Acts 8 we read about the response of an Ethiopian official to the Word – to the Gospel.
He had visited Jerusalem to worship God - but without an understanding of the Gospel. But after Philip explained the Gospel starting with the Scripture the official was reading, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus"(Acts 8:35). Then he understood and believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Lord and Saviour.
 
Acts 8: 30 – 31: Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the (Ethiopian) man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
 
Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. The Ethiopian official did not and he asked for help from this unknown preacher who appeared next to his chariot in the desert.
So Philip, beginning with the scripture the man was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8, shared with him the good news of Jesus.”
 
The prophecy about Jesus that he read was one of the most important passages for the first Christians. It is part of Isaiah's fourth Servant Song, describing the mysterious figure who was slaughtered and humiliated and whose life was "taken away from the earth," as Luke gives the text to us in Acts 8.
 
So, to the official's question about whom this servant is, Philip can eagerly reply that it is no one else but the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth. And like Jesus before him did on that road to Emmaus (Lk 24), Philip proceeds to speak, "and starting with this Scripture (in Isaiah), he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus"(8:35).
In joyful response, the Ethiopian asks Philip to baptize him into this faith of Jesus. And in verse 38, "both of them, Philip and the official went down into the water, and he (Philip) baptized him."
 
Then we read that the official “went on his way rejoicing.” (Verse 39)
 
The good news of Jesus calls for a response: amongst others a response of gratitude, of public profession of faith, of receiving holy baptism and of experiencing great joy and a transformed life.
This is exactly what the Ethiopian official did. He had been in Jerusalem to worship God - but without understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But now he understood and believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as Lord and Saviour.
 
How much more should we who have heard the gospel our whole lives and were baptised as infants, confess our faith, proclaim the gospel, live new lives, and rejoice in the goodness of God? How much more should we carry the good news of Jesus back to our families, friends, neighbours, schools and workplaces, for all to know and to believe?
 
We too should ask ourselves:
“Do I understand what I am reading?”
“Can I explain the Gospel from what I am reading from God’s written Word, this Good News about the Living Lord?”
And “do I believe and live the good news of our Lord, Jesus the Messiah?”
    

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