Even in the midst of persecution, the early church grew mightily. The Gospel has now spread throughout the region and even to the Samaritans. In the account of the Ethiopian, we find what could be the first Gentile to accept Christ as Savior. Ethiopia was considered by the Romans and the Greeks as the ‘end of the earth.’ Philip, being led by the Holy Spirit, is instrumental in fulfilling the Great Commission. We learn from this text what it takes to Spread the Word to the world.
Requires Obedience. It is interesting to note that it was an angel that told Philip to go in a certain direction. We find this in verses 26-28. Philip did not ask questions or make excuses, he just obeyed. Too often we find ourselves trying to reason things out. We question everything and accomplish very little for God’s kingdom. There is a need to think things through and be reasonable; however, when we are given a clear command in scripture, we must simply obey. It is one thing to be hesitant about something that is not totally clear in scripture, but it is an entirely different thing to be hesitant about something that is a clear command in scripture. Jesus commanded us to ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel….’ The obedience of this command is not an option for the believer. We have the responsibility to spread the Word of God to the world in which we live. This is not a command that demands a time of reasoning; it demands a response of obedience. This is what Philip did, he just obeyed. This is exactly what you and I are called to do today. We must simply obey the command to bring the Gospel to the world.
Recognizes Opportunity. In verses 27-34, we find Philip coming up on a chariot. In this chariot there is a man from Ethiopia that was searching for an understanding of God’s Word. In verse 34, the Ethiopian asks Philip to explain to him the scripture that he was reading. Notice the sequence here. Philip obeyed the call to go and then the opportunity came. There is a lesson to be learned here. We are not to just simply wait until opportunity is given to us to witness, we are to go to the opportunity. I do believe that we must practice lifestyle evangelism. Meaning, we are to live for Jesus on a daily basis and allow our lives to be a witness of Him. However, I also believe that we must be aggressive in our evangelism. We cannot just sit around and wait for opportunities to witness. Opportunities are all around us. We must go to the opportunity. We must actively search out and look for open doors to share the Gospel. We must be aware of those around us, looking for those opportunities to share. I am afraid that we as Christians today has put too big of an emphasis on building relationships before sharing the Gospel that we tend to shy away from sharing the Gospel all together. Evangelism is not about relationship building, it is about saving a lost soul from hell. While we are taking our time building relationships, people are going to hell. There needs to be a urgency about us to proclaim the Gospel. Now, don’t get me wrong. Relationships are vitally important. But, there comes a time when we just simply must give people the Gospel. You may say, ‘well, I don’t want to offend them.’ Are you saying that you will beat around the bush when it comes to sharing the Gospel so that you will not offend someone? Which is more important, not offending someone or saving a soul from hell? Think about it. God’s Word is offensive. It cuts deep into our souls and convicts us of sin and shows us our need for Jesus. We are commanded to share that Word. It is not our responsibility to be concerned over whether or not we offend someone or to convict someone. It is our responsibility to simply preach the Word. This is what Philip did. He obeyed, saw an opportunity, and pursued that opportunity.
Replies Openingly. Notice in verse 35, how Philip just preached Jesus. One thing that is true about the Bible is that the whole Bible points to Jesus. You can begin at any point in the Bible and tell someone about Jesus. Notice the sequence again: he obeyed, recognized and pursued the opportunity, and then just preached Jesus. Philip got straight to the point. It is sad to see God’s people today getting caught up in all types of methodology and reasoning when it comes to sharing the Gospel. It is not a matter of how you share the Gospel; it is a matter of simply sharing it. We must boldly proclaim that Jesus is Lord and that He is the only way to salvation. We should be open about our faith. There should be no doubt as to what we believe.
Receives Outstandingly. In verses 36-39 we see how the Ethiopian responded to the Gospel. He heard the Gospel, believed the Gospel, and received the Gospel. There are people all around us that are ready to receive the Gospel if we would just simply share it with them. People are hungry and looking for answers. We have the answer and His name is Jesus! If you study the scriptures, you find that we do not have to prepare people to receive the Gospel. The Holy Spirit of God is the one that draws people to Christ and sets up ‘divine appointments’ where they will hear the Gospel of Jesus. Our job is to simply share it. Our job is to simply preach the Gospel to everyone. As we preach the Gospel to everyone, God will bring those people across our path that is ready to receive it.
You and I have been given a command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Will you obey? Will you pursue those opportunities? Will you spread the Word?