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March 25, 2011

Spiritual Gifts Series

The Spiritual Gift of Evangelism:

Philip

(Part II)

Acts 8:25

“So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.”

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      Philip had begun to preach in Samaria.  Before him, Jesus Himself had preached in Samaria and established a center for evangelism at Sychar, Samaria starting with the conversion of the woman at the well, followed by many believers from Sychar (John 4:7-42). Sometimes, God sends just one evangelist to an area, and through the conversion of one person in that area, the new convert begins to tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In fact, in Acts 1:8, Jesus had already disclosed the master plan of evangelism to the apostles: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” This plan has geographical features: start in Jerusalem where you are, move out one layer to Judea which encircles Jerusalem, and then out one more layer to Samaria, and then to the outermost parts of the earth. Jesus clearly intended for the Samaritans and everyone on earth to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit would provide the power for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

         In the Book of Acts, you see the plan of evangelism, outlined geographically in Acts 1:8,  fulfilled through the ministry of the apostles and other believers.  After Philip preached in Samaria, Samaritans came to faith in Christ.  You too can have your sins forgiven right now.  If you believe in your heart that Jesus died on the cross for all your sins, and that He will forgive you for all your sins right now, then you can accept His gift of forgiveness by faith right now.  You can pray: Lord Jesus, I accept your gift of salvation.  I believe you died for all my sins and now forgive me of my sins.  Please take control of my life so that I may live to please you.  Amen. This message of salvation spread in Samaria.  The Jews in Jerusalem sent the apostles Peter and John to witness what was going on in Samaria.  They observed firsthand the Holy Spirit coming upon the lives of the saved Samaritans, just as the Holy Spirit came upon the lives of the Jerusalem believers earlier.

       In Acts 8:25, Peter and John followed up the work of Philip in Samaria.  Peter and John preached to many villages of Samaria as they were going back to Jerusalem.  Peter and John had already witnessed Jesus Himself preaching to Samaritans, and now they were following in His footsteps.

       Evangelists Open Areas to Salvation.  Jesus had prophesied and planned for His apostles and disciples to go into Samaria.  Philip, Peter and John opened up Samaria to salvation by preaching the Gospel.  Philip first, then Peter and John behind him. 

      Evangelists Share the Gospel with Many People.  Some spiritual gifts focus upon a ministry to one small group of people, but God uses evangelists to speak to many people. In your life, if you enjoy sharing the Gospel to many people, and do it all the time, then you may have the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism.  Notice that Peter and John went to many villages of Samaria.

       Evangelists Often Work Together as a Team. Peter and John ministered together as they worked in Jerusalem (Acts 3:4-4:31; Acts 8:14-25) and as they worked in Samaria.  Evangelists often travel with other evangelists, and with other saints using other spiritual gifts (like the Gift of Teaching and the Gift of Encouragement), and bring light to people sitting in darkness (Acts 13:47).

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

       ●  We learn that evangelists open up new areas for the Gospel, perhaps your family or your work environment. 

       ●  We learn that evangelists often work together, and each believer will share the gospel.

       ●  We hinder the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism when we do not go into new areas, work together, and expect God to save our friends and enemies just like He saved us.  We were all enemies of God before He saved us through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10). 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to want to encourage others to share their faith, and also encourage the work of teams of evangelists.  Are you watching and helping evangelists do their work today?