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Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopian eunuch’

Verses 7-9: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”

Set the time machine of your memories back to 1974-1981: do you remember a game show called “Name That Tune”? Hosted by Tom Kennedy, this game show offered a musical twist to its questions. (Now the show is actually older than this and had a handful of different hosts, but I remember this one specifically.) Contestants had to name musical pieces through a series of rounds and games, but I remember the Bid-a-note challenge: this was between two contestants and had as its clues a spoken Jeopardy-like hint. Based on the hint, the two finalists would bid down how many piano notes of the answer they needed in order to guess the song. The starting bid was seven notes, but contestants could bid down to one note, at which the other contestant would challenge them to “name that tune”. (Now granted, if they stated they could name it in one note, chances are they knew the answer from the clue, not the notes!) In most cases, the contestant winning the bid would have to recognize the song from several notes…just enough notes to hopefully name that tune.

Did you ever go somewhere and didn’t know what people were saying? The obvious example is to travel to a foreign country and not know the native language. If you were in that situation, you had to have an interpreter: one who knew what was being said and could tell you what it means. Paul here is advising the Corinthians that while it’s good to have the gift of speaking in tongues, he urged them to pray to ask for the gift of understanding/translation as well, whether personally or for someone to be there to interpret. Non-Christians would see someone speaking in tongues and conclude they had a gift, but to Christians in church who heard only the tongue being spoken, it was useless unless someone stood up to interpret. (Look up the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27-39 for a good example!)

While the gift of tongues is not commonly heard today, Christians still need to tell others about Jesus. Sometimes they need to give their testimony without “churchy” words. Because, believe it or not, there are still those who seek to know who Jesus is, and we have to tell them in a way they’ll understand. Sometimes, we may need to do it in more than one note!

Something to think about!

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Verses 29-31: “Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.”

A few years ago, we were on a Carpenters mission trip to help a church in Dublin, GA, put up a new sanctuary. The church was predominantly African-American; I only mention this due to what God called me to share on this particular trip. I gave the devotional sermon on Carpenter Sunday, and God pointed me to this Scripture and led me to share some thoughts that I wasn’t sure how they were going to be received! As a “fleece” to verify God’s leading, I consulted with the pastor, Bro. Carlos, about what God was leading me to say. He gave me a reassuring smile and said, “I’ll back you all the way, brother.” So I shared this passage and shared some “comments” that might be said today in the same situation by those of less faith, juxtaposed to those statements from the passage. It went something like this:

“Now, did Philip say, “ But God, he’s a government official…I’m not sure I should approach him.” “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
“But God, he’s an educated man, I’m not…will he listen to me?” “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
“But God, he’s black.” What do you think God said? “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

Philip said none of these things; he followed God’s will and joined a man he didn’t know.

By the way, did that Ethiopian eunuch say, “Am I going to let this white stranger in my chariot?” No, he said, “How can I [understand], unless someone guides me?”

Jesus came to die and rise again for ALL men! His gift of salvation is for everyone!”

By the way, that message I was nervous about sharing? It was greeted by “Amen!”, from church members and Carpenters alike.

Jesus wants us to go in His name…He’ll do the rest!

Something to think about.

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Verse 5: “And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,”

One became the first Christian martyr. One embarked on several missions, especially one concerning an Ethiopian eunuch. Some are only mentioned in history as later having positions in the church. Others are never mentioned again. And one unfortunately became associated with hedonistic followers that Paul himself congratulated other early churches in opposing.

Names are interesting labels, and the names of the first deacons are intriguing. Like other Christians then and now, some stayed faithful to God, and some did not. Of those that were faithful, some had more known of them, and some did not. Regardless of how history records what you do in the service of the Lord, remember that in God’s eyes, it will never be forgotten.

Something to think about.

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