Text - Acts 8: 26-38
Here we find a familiar story about the Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip the Evangelist. This passage is oftentimes cited for the amazing obedience that Philip displayed in obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the results are nothing less than spectacular. But as we look at this passage I want us to look at it from a different perspective, and that is through the eyes of a newborn babe in Christ. You see:
• The Ethiopian Eunuch in our passage was previously religious, but not saved.
• The Ethiopian Eunuch was a fervent church goer, a proselyte of Judaism, but had not received Christ until this point.
• The Ethiopian Eunuch was well to do and had been entrusted with all the precious riches of his master, Candace the Queen of the Ethiopians, but yet he lacked the spiritual riches of Heaven until He accepted Christ.
And we find that his first words after being saved are in the form of a question. And like the Ethiopian Eunuch we too should be asking this question:
V36 “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
I want us to think about this question the Eunuch asked, “what doth hinder me?” What is it that hinders you in your Christian growth? You see the Ethiopian Eunuch knew He should be baptized [move forward in his walk with the Lord] and asked the simple question what doth hinder me? In other words, what is it that is hindering you from moving forward in my Christian life? Let me give you five possible hindrances in the Christian life. There are certainly more that can be found in the Bible but these five are pretty broad and encompass many areas in our lives.
1. The Hindrance of Sin.
The hindrance of sin falls into two categories, one is positionally and one is practically. The unsaved person is hindered positionally and the saved person oftentimes is hindered practically. The unsaved person positionally is separated from God because of sin.
Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
Jesus spoke saying, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
Positionally, the unsaved person is hindered (separated) from God because of Sin. The good news is that this hindrance can be removed by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ just like the Ethiopian Eunuch. Jesus being the perfect sinless Son of God, shed His blood on a Roman cross for your sins. In your place Jesus Christ died and took upon Him your sin and the sin of the World. “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 Cry out to Jesus and ask Him to save you turning from your sinfulness to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
Oftentimes however, the saved person is practically hindered because of sin. The Ethiopian Eunuch was rejoicing in V39, notice what it says, “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.” I want you to understand however that there was coming a day when practically the Ethiopian Eunuch would need to ask forgiveness for sin which he would commit that would hinder his fellowship. In John 13 we find the account of Jesus as he washes the feet of the disciples. In this account Jesus alludes to the daily washing of our ‘feet’ as we walk in this world. “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” (John 13:10) John in his first letter continues this thought by explaining that 1) We have an advocate with the Father (Jesus Christ the righteous); 2) That if we confess our sin our fellowship can be restored. 1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Then we find in 1 John 1: 7-9, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Practically this hindrance can be removed as well. Our responsibility is to humbly come before God, confessing our sin. If we will do this, God has given us the promise of a forgiven and restored fellowship with Him!
2. The Hindrance of Disobedience
We have not only the hindrance of sin, but also the hindrance of Disobedience. In our passage, Philip the Evangelist portrays over and over again obedience to the directing of the Holy Spirit. In Verse 26 the Bible says, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, Saying, Arise, and go” and in Verse 27 we find, “And he arose and went:” In Verse 29 The Bible says, “The the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near” and in Verse 30, “And Philip ran thither to him...” In Verse 35 we have the record that Philip preached to the Eunuch Jesus. In all counts Philip was an obedient servant to His Master. One of Dr. Clarence Sexton’s favorite sayings is, “The only responsibility of the servant is to obey the Master.” Galatians 5:7-8 tells us that the churches in Galatia had stopped being obedient to the truth. And Paul gives us the indication that it was ‘someone’ (the Judaizers) who had dissuaded them from being obedient. “Ye did run well (notice the past tense); who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.” You see the hindrance of disobedience causes us to be the ‘Usta – Christian’ : I use to go to church; I use to go Soul-Winning; I use to work in the Bus Ministry; I use to read my Bible; I use to pray. Hebrews 12:1 tells us we should ‘lay aside’ these hindrances. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight [Hindrances], and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
3. The Hindrance of Being A Stumbling Stone
The truth is that you and I have the potential to be a stumbling stone to someone else getting saved. This is exactly what the Pharisees and Lawyers were charged with by Jesus in Luke 11:52. “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” While there were at least 8000 Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41; 4:4), the Eunuch had to have a special courier sent to him by the Holy Spirit (Philip the Evangelist). How is it the Eunuch got out of Jerusalem without the Gospel being preached? Maybe it is that we are hindering someone else by our actions or by our refusal to witness. Jesus warns us about the dangers of Hypocrisy which is the leaven of the Pharisees, and much like them we oftentimes as Christians say one thing, but the World sees something else (Matthew 16: 5-12). Or perhaps it is not our hypocrisy but that we refuse to be used of the Lord to witness to our friends, family members, coworkers, or people we meet throughout the day. This is our refusal to witness. Whatever the case, this hindrance not only affects you spiritually but those around you as well.
So far there are three potential hindrances to the Christian life and there are two more I will just make mention of:
4. The Hindrance in the Home
1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."
This hindrance manifests itself by the following:
By not affording due honor to one another
By not dwelling with each other according to Knowledge
By not loving one another
5. The Hindrance of Satan:
1 Thessalonians 2:18 "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us."
This hindrance is one that we should expect as a Christian who is moving forward for Jesus. No doubt Philip the Evangelist had some hindrances from the adversary to deal with. I can’t imagine how much Satan was fighting against the spread of the Gospel! Christian take heart and understand that our Adversary and the World will try to hinder you from being what you need to be as a Christian. What can we do? We can pray and put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-20)
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
I ask you again, what doth hinder you?
Pastor James Grandinetti - Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
Showing People the Way to God
- Personal Evangelism
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