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March 30, 2011

Spiritual Gifts Series

The Spiritual Gift of

Evangelism:

Philip

(Part VII)

Acts 8:38, Page 1715

“And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

      Philip has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch from the Old Testament, and the eunuch has made a profession of faith.  We have seen the work of Philip the Evangelist, and how God moved him to join the chariot, explain the Scriptures about Christ, and answer the eunuch’s questions about the Bible. 

         Evangelists Often Baptize New Believers.  In the New Testament, baptism signifies identification with Christ and also makes a public proclamation of faith in Christ (see Step Three of the First Step Series at ../../../../../First Steps/Step Three.html).  In this case, the eunuch really wanted to be baptized.  In Acts 8:36, page 1715, the eunuch had spotted water, and asked: “What prevents me from being baptized?”  In the early church, we see the normal pattern that “those who had received his word were baptized . . . ” (Acts 2:41, page 1703).  Believer’s baptism means that you must be a believer before you receive baptism.  Therefore, infants should not be baptized until the child matures enough to understand the Gospel, and make a profession of personal faith in Christ.  If you have not been baptized after receiving Christ, you should seek baptism immediately.  It does not save you from your sins, because only faith in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ will can save you.  Remember too that Jesus ordered everyone to be baptized (Matthew 28:19-20, page 1557).

       Evangelists Suddenly Move under the Direction of the Holy Spirit.  As soon as the eunuch came out of the water with Philip, the Holy Spirit snatched (“ἥρπασεν“) Philip way and the eunuch no longer saw him.  Sometimes evangelists establish long relationships with people they have led to Christ, and at other times they move on quickly.  In this case, we have no further record of contact between Philip and the eunuch.  

       Evangelists Bring the Joy of Salvation.  In Acts 8:39, page 1716, we read that the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.  The eunuch had met Philip, heard the Gospel, made a profession of faith, been baptized, and Philip was snatched away by the Holy Spirit.  Although left behind an alone, the Lord wants us to know the eunuch was rejoicing over his salvation.  Evangelists always bring the message of salvation resulting in rejoicing (“χαίρων“).  In this case, the text now shows the eunuch still on his journey, but now actively rejoicing as he journeyed along.  Salvation changes so many things about each of us.

       Evangelists Go Home.  Philip had a home in Caesarea (Acts 21:8, page 1742) and received Paul there.  Although the Holy Spirit snatched Philip away from the eunuch, Philip had more preaching to do, all the way home.  Sometimes evangelists never get to return to their hometown, or may never have a home (Matthew 8:20, page 1513).  With Philip, the Holy Spirit gave him the privilege of evangelizing all the cities on the way back home.  We should remember the principle that we should be sure to evangelize the areas around our personal homes, and also around the cities where we live.

           So we learn more about the gift of evangelism today from the life of Philip.

       ●  We learn that the spiritual gift of evangelism brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people.  Evangelists often baptize new believers right after salvation.  When they receive the gift of eternal life and forgiveness from Jesus, they greatly rejoice. 

        ●  We learn that evangelists often receive direct instructions from the Holy Spirit to move to a new place to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

         ●  We hinder the spiritual gift of evangelism when we do not help evangelists reach all the cities near where we live, and all the people who live around us.  Although all of us may not possess the spiritual gift of evangelism, we should all do the work of evangelism (2 Timothy 4:5, page 1864), which means we all share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how He has changed our lives and saved us from the penalty of sins.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to see people go on their way rejoicing after receiving Christ as Savior.  I want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading me to people ready to hear the Gospel of Christ today.  Will you be ready, willing, able and eager to share Christ today?

 

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