March 24, 2011
Spiritual Gifts Series
The Spiritual Gift of Evangelism:
“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.”
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You must understand Samaria to understand the parable of the good Samaritan and other passages dealing with Samaritans. In the Old Testament, the people and land of Israel became divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms under the reign of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, son of David. For a time, the capital of the Northern Kingdom was Samaria. The Northern Kingdom fell to invaders about 722 B.C. About 586 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and conquered the Southern Kingdom. King Nebuchadnezzar deported many Jews to Babylon. Around 538 B.C., Jews began returning to Israel from Babylon. When they came back, the people of the land, who served other gods and intermarried with pagans, were known as Samaritans. The returning Jews hated them for their actions and would not associate with them. So you see, the Jews despised the Samaritans at the time Jesus was walking in Palestine (see John 4:9).
Jesus had ministered to the woman at the well near Sychar, Samaria during His incarnation (John 4:7-42). In Acts 8:5, we read about Philip going down to Samaria and proclaiming Christ to them.
Philip. Philip was apparently one of the men appointed by the congregation and the apostles in Jerusalem to minister to the needs of the Hellenistic Jews, and to be in charge of that ministry (Acts 6:1-7). He had a Greek name. When persecution arose in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered and Philip went down to the city of Samaria.
Evangelists Go To Unpopular Places To Minister to Unpopular People. The biggest problem with Samaria, from the Jewish perspective, was that it was populated by hated Samaritans. Jesus had called such people the neighbors of the true believers, even if the true believers were Jews (see the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37). Evangelists go to places filled with sinners and often to places that everyone hates, like Jews hated Samaria.
Evangelists Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Evangelists tell people that Christ Jesus died for sin and paid the price of death for each one of us. They also tell about salvation by grace through faith. They urge people to receive Christ by faith, and accept the gift of eternal life from God who loves them.
So we learn more about the gift of evangelism from the life of Philip.
● We learn that evangelists travel to unpopular places to speak to sinners.
● We learn that evangelists go right through religious and cultural barriers that hold other people back so that they can share the good news of Jesus Christ dying for sin and being raised to live within us.
● We hinder the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism when we do not expect God to reach sinners by sending evangelists to new places, even hated places filled with hated people.
Application for Today
Today, I want to want to have faith that God will spread His gospel to the unsaved through the ministry of evangelists. I want to watch people receive Christ Jesus and turn from their sins to new life in Christ. I want to be an evangelist today, and help those who have that special spiritual gift of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.