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About-Him.Com Devotional 02-05-2011
Philip Preaches Christ to Samaria
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Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
At His ascension, Jesus told His disciples that after they received the Holy Spirit, they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). In Mark 15:15-18 the same event is recorded with Jesus telling them to go into all the world to preach the gospel and their preaching would be confirmed by signs following. The apostles were under constant harassment from the rulers of the temple, with beatings and imprisonment (Acts 4:15-21). In spite of this, people flocked to hear the apostles preach. Multitudes brought their sick and lame and laid them out in the streets in the hope that Peter’s shadow would pass over them and they would be healed. God fulfilled His word by healing them all (Acts 5:15).
In Acts 8 we read of a great persecution arising against the church at Jerusalem. Stephen had just been martyred and Saul who had consented to his death was beginning to have believers arrested and sent to prison. The apostles stayed at Jerusalem, but the common man in the pew decided to get out of town. When they went, they took the word of the Lord with them and preached the gospel wherever they went Acts 8:4).
Philip had been appointed a deacon, along with Stephen who was noted to be full of faith and the Holy Ghost. I would assume that Philip had the same spiritual graces. His job was to administer the food distribution to the widows of the church. God took note of his faithfulness and somebody has said that he was promoted from this original meals on wheels to preacher extraordinaire. God still awards faithfulness in the small things. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Jesus. God, once again confirmed His word with signs and miracles.
In John 4, we remember that Jesus spoke words of life to a women who was drawing water from a well. He promised her living water. The women ran back to the city and testified of Jesus, claiming “Is not this the Messiah (Jn. 4:29)?” I’ve read that the city of Sychar and the city of Samaria where Philip preached was just a few miles apart. I would assume that when Philip preached Jesus, somebody spoke up and said, “I remember Him and how we were moved by His words. What happened to Him?” “Well friend they crucified Him. He bore our sins on the cross. However, He didn’t stay in the grave. After 3 days He was resurrected and we saw Him ascend to heaven. He told us to wait for the promise of His Father and then we were to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Those who believed and were baptized would be saved. Those who rejected His gospel would be damned. The miracles that you see me do we do in His name in obedience to His command (Mk. 16:15).
Well they believed the things that Philip preached concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, the people repented and burned their curious works. They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and their was great joy in that city. Well great joy is nice, but great joy wasn’t enough.
Repentance and water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ had been preached in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37-41). Those who obeyed his commands (commands, not options) were told that they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When the apostles heard that the Samaritans had received the word, they rejoiced. They rejoiced but they also noted that the Samaritans had not received the Holy Ghost. So they sent Peter and John to Samaria who laid their hands on them and they received the gift of the Holy Ghost, with some obvious outward sign that was noticed by Simon the Sorcerer (Ac 8:19). It should also be noted that when Paul baptized the Ephesians in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Ghost did not come upon immediately. It was not until after Paul had laid hands on and prayed for them that the Holy Ghost came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:1-7). Some would tell us that as soon as we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit in imparted and we have nothing else to do. I believe that a close examination of the book of Acts tells us otherwise.
Some additional thoughts: We are all preachers of the gospel. College and seminary degrees are nice but will never take the place of a personal experience with Jesus and the unction of the Holy Ghost. As the unlearned apostles had told the council earlier, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Ac 4:20).”
Philip was just a deacon but He felt compelled to go to a city where the population was considered half breed idolaters. He didn’t go in his own power but at the direction of the Spirit of God. No doubt he was out of his comfort zone, but he preached the word fearlessly and God confirmed it with signs following.
The folks in the early church first witnessed in Jerusalem, their home city and in their home churches. Our local city desperately needs to hear the unadulterated word of God preached in our local churches. Often what we hear in many churches is simply that which is pleasing to our ears. Rather than preaching against sin, we are told to not judge. We’re told how good we are and how desperately God wants to bless us. There is no substitute for the blessings of God , but first He wants us conforming to and obeying His word, and His blessings are not just money.
We need to preach the word to our government and elected officials. My city is proud to be called by the moniker, Sin City.” It also has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Anybody see a connection in that? We pray for God’s favor but refuse to let His name be mentioned in our schools.
We need to confine our preaching to that which Philip preached, i.e., The kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” Anything else is a waste of God’s time and ours.
1Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Let us follow the example of Jesus as we preach the word to a lost and dying world.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
The greatest proof that the Bible is inspired is that it has stood so much bad preaching. --A.T. Robertson
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