In considering Philip the Evangelist we found a man privileged by God to be the first to preach the Gospel to the Samaritans breaking the Jewish-Samaritan barrier and the first to preach to an African, the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Minister of Finances in queen Candace’s cabinet. Yesterday we looked at Philip the man and then some of his movements. Today we consider …
1) Philip’s Ministry. Firstly we read of his evangelistic abilities.
Ac 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. Once again a fearless man going into a Gentile environment that could be hostile to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In my early Christian walk I was so passionate about the gospel that I was quite fearless … but years later I realized I was more noise than Gospel. Being fearless in a pagan setting requires wisdom and discernment, not just passion because often a new believers could present a half truth or even get the Gospel message wrong. Philip was a man of all three those ingredients. The word “proclaimed” is interesting because it means more than “preach”. To “proclaim” includes expose or exposition. This means that the full Gospel was proclaimed to the theological understanding of the hearers where the Holy Spirit could act in the heart and mind to convince the hearers that what they were hearing in truth. Look at this
Ac 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
The people heard and saw resulting in them paying close attention to what Philip said. The Spirit gripped them, stirring them spiritually to understand perfectly what the Gospel meant and required. In the same vicinity that Philip ministered, there was a man known as Simon who practiced sorcery. People went wild after him
Ac 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
This is what happens when a true Gospel Evangelist preachers Christ for Christ’s sake. People respond!
2) Philip and the Eunuch. The Eunuch is on his way back to Africa. It seems as though he is alone but this is unlikely being such an important official. He is seated in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah (v28)
Ac 8:29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Philip obeys running up to the chariot and hears the Eunuch reading from Isaiah. Now see what he does … remember he is on a special divine mission from God
Ac 8:30 “Do you understand what you are reading?”
he asks the man. In Middle Eastern culture such a question could be rude or imposing, but in this case it is a gospel tactic to open a discussion … and it works! The Eunuch responds
Ac 8:31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?”
And this is exactly what Philip wanted. So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Please read verses 32-33 which is from Isaiah 53. This puzzled the Eunuch, yet Philip was ready for taking matters to the next level.
Ac 8:35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
This is a great example of expositional preaching … using the Bible to interpret the Bible in context. Isaiah 53 is all about Jesus’ arrest, punishment and crucifixion. Philip was able to explain that Jesus was being spoken of. He was able to show from that Old Testament passage how what Isaiah spoke of was fulfilled in Jesus Christ! This is what we need in our pulpits and in our evangelism today. Men knowing the Bible properly and how it fits together and sufficiently gifted to craft a message based upon a Bible passage that reveals, explains and exposes the meaning of the text. Pray for pastors and evangelists to be able to do this well.
3) Philip and his methods. He went down to Samaria to evangelize there (v5), and
Ac 8:30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot. After his sudden departure from the Eunuch
Ac 8:40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
He went and served Jesus wherever the Gospel was needed. He worked amongst the crowds, he worked amongst individuals and traveling from place to place spending short periods of time flooding the town and city with the Gospel … and then moving on to the next place the Spirit took him too. Indeed this is hard work, emotionally, physically and spiritually draining … but it is God’s work and is done in God’s power. This is not itinerant preaching … going from Church to Church. This is spending a few days in a town using all available time to preach Jesus and then moving to the next place doing the same thing. History tells us that John Wesley did this on horseback … preaching hell and damnation as he rode upwards in England and on his return he would preach salvation. This type of ministry is not a hit and run crusade but a deeper more meaningful ministry that assures the hearers have understood and those who responded positively are counselled or catechized properly so that they do not fall away once the heat of the message cooled down.
4) Philip and his message. Look at these three verses
Ac 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there … 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ … and … 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. His message was nothing but the Gospel.
This must be our message today. Preach money loose souls. Preach Christ, win souls and the money will come. Do “miracles” and attract crowds. Preach Christ and win converts. When Jesus said
Joh 12:32 “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”
He meant that when a crucified Christ is preached people will be saved. Pray that Jesus is preached in our pulpits today.
Dear Lord, thank You for Philip and his testimony. Help us to be willing to serve you without concern for an easy life … for Jesus sake. Amen.