Friday, December 16, 2016

How Good News Spreads!

Acts 8
Philip in Samaria
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

After Stephen was martyred, a great persecution broke out against the church. Many disciples, like Philip, were scattered from Jerusalem all the way to Samaria. But as you read this chapter, you will see that the "blood of the martyr became the seed of the church." As believers like Philip were scattered, they brought the gospel with them. And Philip not only preached the gospel, but also healed the lame and paralyzed, and cast out demons.

As you read the rest of the chapter, Philip leads the local sorcerer, Simon, to faith. Then on his way down to Gaza, he meets the Ethiopian eunuch. He just happens to be reading out of the Old Testament a passage from Isaiah the prophet foretelling how Jesus would be led like a sheep to the slaughter. Philip starts with this passage and tells him how Jesus is the fulfillment of this and many other prophecies. The man comes to faith, is baptized, and as he comes up out of the water, Philip is taken by the Spirit to another place.

Though Stephen's death was a big blow to the church, it became an opportunity for the gospel to be spread from Jerusalem, to Samaria, to the ends of the earth. The Ethiopian eunuch was from Africa and was going to Jerusalem for the festival, and ends up becoming a believer, and bringing the gospel back to his own country. You can see how the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

The fact is God is always working to spread the gospel wherever his disciples go. Like Philip, we can preach the gospel and bring in God's power wherever we go, and wherever we live. Philip was appointed as one of the seven deacons, and ended up doing the work of an apostle. I'm sure Philip would have never imagined being in this role. One thing about God is that He can use anyone who is open and obedient. " Philip was open and obedient to the Spirit's leading, and we see how God's plan to spread the Good News to the whole world took one more step because of him.

As we think about how God used Philip we might ask ourselves, "I am open to what God wants to do in and through me, and will I step out in obedience to God's call on my life?" God is still longs for all people to be saved and he uses His people to do his bidding.

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