ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN
Finding God’s Treasure
Please Read Acts 8:26-40
Dr. Williamson, a Canadian geologist, had been slipping along a rain-soaked road that led through Tanzania's back country when suddenly his Land Rover sunk to its axles in sticky mire. Pulling out a shovel, he began to dig his fourwheel drive out. After some time he uncovered an interesting-looking, pink stone. Being a geologist and naturally curious about rock formations, he picked it up. The more mud he removed, the more excited he became, but hardly believed what he saw. When the stone was finally clean, Dr. Williamson had found a diamond!'
Any diamond would have been a surprise, but he had found the now famous giant pink diamond of Tanzania. That muddy stone sparkles today in the royal scepter of Britain, and Williamson is world renowned for his find-accidental though it was.
It is interesting that the geologist found the diamond. Similarly the Bible tells of a treasurer who found a treasure. Jesus compared a sinner who learns the Gospel to one who finds great treasure (Mt. 13:44-46). This is illustrated by an Ethiopian treasurer who found the Gospel treasure on a lonely road leading back to Africa from Jerusalem (Acts 8:26-40). Why did he--of all the people in the world-find the treasure that day?
THE TREASURER WAS WILLING To LOOK FOR SOMETHING MORE. This Ethiopian had traveled fifteen hundred miles to worship (one way) and was still reading his Bible on the way home! Because he was a eunuch, he had not even been allowed-into the temple proper during the ceremonies (cf. Deut. 23: 1). You could say he rode three thousand miles to sit in the foyer! He knew something of the Bible but wanted to know more. He was like a man at sunrise tilting his manuscript to catch the first light. As he read Isaiah's prophecy of Jesus, he was catching the first rays of the rising sun of Christianity. Who will find God's treasure today? Those who are willing to look. It is available to all, but it requires a careful and diligent Bible student (2 Tim. 2:15). One may have to dig out from under denominational teachings and human traditions. One may have to lay aside pre-conceived ideas and a handed-down family religion. God promised that all who fear Him can learn the truth (Jn. 7:17) and He will reward those who truly look (Heb. 11:6; Jas. 4:8; Psa. 9: 10; 14:2; 25:14; 145:18; Prov. 8:17). Some are too busy seeking worldly things (Mt. 6:32); others are waiting for some supernatural sign (Mt. 12:39; 1 Cor. 13:8-10); others would rather please man than God (Gal. 1: 10). The truly wise person seeks the treasure of the Gospel (Mt. 5:6; 6:33; 7:7; Prov. 8). Its value is eternal; its worth inestimable.
Many today, like this treasurer, read their Bibles on the way home from church services and wonder why what they have just experienced differs so from what they read in the Bible. If you are one of these, read on ... We should never be satisfied with a religion less than what we find in Scripture. We can do better. Christ's church does exist today, and you can be a part of it!
THE TREASURER WAS WILLING To LISTEN TO ANOTHER VIEWPOINT. When Philip gave the treasurer an opportunity to learn more of God's Word, he was not rebuffed. This treasurer was humble enough to admit to a complete stranger that he did not understand what he was studying. (He could have told this aggressive preacher to get lost, but then he would have stayed lost.) What was the eunuch reading? "The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth" (Acts 8:32). The treasurer listened as Philip showed how Jesus' death on Calvary and resurrection from the grave fulfilled Isaiah 53's prophecy. Jesus was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8; cf. Mk. 10:45). A goat, killed in the traditional manner, sends out blood-chilling cries that can be heard a mile away, but a sheep submits to the butcher's knife without a whimper. Jesus meekly submitted to the outrages perpetrated against Him and offered no more resistance than a lamb being sheared or slaughtered.
"In his humiliation ... judgment was taken away..." The verdict of Jesus' Roman judge was "innocent," but Pilate gave in to the Jews and changed the sentence to crucifixion (Lk. 23:4; Jn. 18:38; 19:6). "...who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth." How could one describe a generation of people so blind that they did not recognize God's own Son, and then murdered Him?! Jesus' premature death was prophesied more than seven centuries before He was even born.
This was not what the treasurer had been taught in the worship service he had just left. He learned the Truth because he was willing to consider another viewpoint. What about us? Too many religious discussions end with slammed doors and closed minds... raised voices and lowered respect for a friend... clenched fists and closed Bibles ... Are we willing to calmly investigate another perspective? Do we do our own thinking, or do we simply accept what our preacher, friends, spouse, or parents tell us to believe? Truth never suffers from investigation - if we were right in the beginning, we will simply confirm it with more study. But if we were wrong ... we need to know before the Judgment (Mt. 7:21-23)!
THE TREASURER WAS Willing To LEAVE His PAST. As treasurer for his country, he was doubtless an intelligent and industrious man. His religion was good. He was comfortable with it. He knew its customs, understood its theology. It taught high morals and had doubtless benefited his life. But now the preacher suggested that he give it up for something better. It no longer pleased God and was powerless to grant salvation. What went through his mind? Change religions? Go against my family? Offend my friends? Start over? Admit I've been wrong? Nonetheless, he desired to please God more than others (Gal. 1: 10) and was willing to do what many are unwilling to dogive up false religion (Jn. 12:42) or sinful pleasure (Acts 24:25). In heaven, he will never regret his decision (nor we ours).
Philip evidently said something about baptism in their study (although Isaiah 53 does not mention it) because the Eunuch interrupted the traveling Bible class to point out that they were passing a suitable place for baptism. (Since that was arrid country, he may have thought, "if I don't ask now, there may not be another river or lake until after he leaves.")
According to this Bible example and others in the Book of Acts, something is wrong today when someone claims to preach Jesus, but whose hearers never request baptism. How can any man preach the Gospel and answer the question, "What to do to be saved?" and not give the answer Jesus told us to give (Mk. 16:15, 16)? (For further study, see "A Baptism in the New Testament" elsewhere in this paper.)
This treasurer may have been wealthy in Egypt before his journey, but he left this scene a far richer man. In the last view we ever get of him, he is pictured with a "smile on his face."
You'd rejoice, too, if you'd just found God's treasure!
Endnotes: 1. Story told by Eldred Echols, Discovering the Pearl of Great Price, Sweet Pub., Ft. Worth, 1992. 2. Most scholars date Isaiah at about 750 B.C.
House to House
Heart to Heart
Volume 7 Number 6, page 2