Matters of Faith: If You Can Just Believe

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

“Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Acts 8: 26-39(v.v. 35-39)

To believe is to have a firm persuasion of a thing. When we believe, we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt and certain that what we believe is true. Adrian Rogers tells a story in his book, What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day, of two men who mailed envelopes at the same time at the same post office. One was beautifully typed, elegant in language, and written on expensive paper. The other was on cheap paper, hand-written with smudges and misspelled words. The elegant letter was not delivered, but the cheap one was because it had a stamp. The other did not. People are like those two envelopes. No matter how elegant or polished someone is, if they do not believe the Gospel story, it won’t do them any good. Looking good, sounding good, or smelling good does not make you good. In order to get into the presence of the Lord, you must bear the stamp of “Believer!”

Essential truths for growing your faith as a believer

What I like about the Eunuch is that he was looking for something. Did you take note that he was a man of faith before he met Philip? We know that because he was reading the scripture when Philip approached him. This man of great influence, power and authority was also a man of faith, but he needed Philip to introduce him to Jesus! Everybody must be introduced to Jesus if they are to get to know him. It’s just like putting a stamp on an envelope.

Once Philip shared with him the meaning of the prophetic word of Isaiah, he was ready. The Bible says that Philip started at the text the Ethiopian was reading and shared many other scriptures with him. I’m sure he told him how the Old Testament the priests would ritually wash themselves before service on the Day of Atonement. For the priest, cleansing in water is symbolic of a spiritual washing (Leviticus 16:3-4, and 26-28). I’m sure he told him how it was an act of sacrifice, but a baptism now is based on the faith and belief in the atoning sacrificial work of Christ on the cross. It’s symbolism now connects the believer to Christ and the community of other believers.

There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story:

  1. We could have all the information we need right in our hands and still miss the message.
  2. With a proper understanding, we ask for the right thing – “What hinders me from being baptized?”
  3. When you learn what is right, you not only ask, but you are willing to make a public confession of that knowledge; “Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
  4. Just knowing what’s right is not enough, you must do what’s right!

If you can just believe.

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell, associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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