March 28, 2011
Spiritual Gifts Series
The Spiritual Gift of
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Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
As Philip talked with the Ethiopian eunuch on the desert road, the Holy Spirit used Philip to evangelize. As a verb, evangelize means to share the good news of Jesus Christ regarding salvation by faith alone. Philip was an evangelist and one of the seven deacons (Acts 21:8; Acts 6:5).
Evangelists Explain Scripture. Evangelists do not develop their own plans of salvation. They do not create evangelistic programs separate from the Bible. As we see with Philip, evangelists only know and preach one means of salvation, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus taught: “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Likewise, Peter proclaimed: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I frequently see “evangelists” on television and hear them on the radio that do not use the Bible to present the message of Jesus Christ. Philip based his message upon the Word of God. The Holy Spirit gifted people to spread the message of Jesus the Savior, as presented in the Bible.
Evangelists Often Meet People Who Have Been Reading the Bible. As Philip drew near the Ethiopian’s chariot, he heard the eunuch reading the prophet Isaiah (Acts 8:28-30). God had prepared the heart of the Ethiopian, in part, by reading the Bible and having his heart stirred by the Holy Spirit through the pages (or scroll) of the Bible.
Evangelists Often Ask Spiritual Questions. Philip asked the Ethiopian: “Do you understand (“γινώσκεις“) what you are reading?” This question opens the door to further discussion focused upon the Word of God. It also shows that salvation depends upon understanding the Word of God. Faith starts with understanding the message of salvation presented in the Bible. You must hear it and comprehend that Jesus died for you. It does not mean that you understand fully the depths of salvation, but you must hear the facts of salvation and grasp the essential truths. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
So we learn more about the gift of evangelism today from the life of Philip.
● We learn that the spiritual gift of evangelism means that the evangelists use and depend upon the Word of God to present the message of salvation found only through Jesus Christ, the only Savior.
● We learn that evangelists often ask penetrating questions that open the door to speaking about Jesus Christ, using the Scripture to explain Christ.
● We hinder the spiritual gift of evangelism when we forget that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Evangelists help people hear and understand the Word of God for salvation.
Application for Today
Today, I want to ask penetrating spiritual questions to people prepared by God to receive Christ as Savior. I know, some of you will be thinking you could never do that, but if God sends someone to you today, unsaved and asking about a Bible passage, will you think about doing the work of an evangelist and sharing Christ the Savior from the Bible today?