Text: Acts 8:2-40
The Church Scattered
Christians must get out of their
comfort zone to reach the lost
After Stephen’s martyrdom a great persecution
began against the church. They were scattered
throughout Judea and Samarian fearing for their
lives. Fear creates opportunities for change,
and opportunities to reevaluate our priorities.
In a crisis we tend to reconsider which things that
are most important. What changes have you made
recently? How has our current crisis caused you
to reevaluate the importance of matters in your life?
God used the persecution of the early church to get
the gospel message beyond Jerusalem. What would
God have to do to get you to move beyond your
Those who had been scattered
went about preaching the word
The early church was so enthusiastic about what
Jesus had done in their lives that they shared about
Jesus regardless of where they found themselves.
This was not just some key persons. It was all of them!
The Bible says that “those who had been scattered
went about preaching the word.” What keeps you
from sharing with others about Jesus? How has being
a follower of Jesus changed your perspectives and goals?
How has the presence of the Spirit in you changed who
you are and what you do? Are you excited about what
Jesus has done and is doing? Has your life been enriched
by your experience with Jesus? Who have you told about it?
Exercising the forms of faith is
inadequate for salvation
Here we find a man named Simon who was a magician.
He saw the signs and wonders that Phillip was doing, and
the crowd that Phillip was attracting, and he was amazed.
When the crowds responded to the preaching of the gospel
Simon believed and was baptized as well. When the news
reached the church in Jerusalem that Samaritans were being
saved, Peter and John were dispatched to them. When they
came, they prayed that the Samaritans would receive the Holy
Spirit and they did. Simon saw the Spirit coming upon the
believers through the prayers and the laying on of hands by
Peter and John. So he offered Peter and John money to be
given this power as well. Peter rebuked him for wanting to
obtain the gift of God with money, and called for him to
repent, and pray for forgiveness. Simon answered Peter
saying, “Pray for me yourselves so that nothing of what you
have said will come upon me.” Simon showed a lack of
understanding and a lack of transformation that showed
he also had a lack of faith and salvation as well.
Faith that does not transform a life, does not save a soul
either! Going through religious forms and rituals does not
save. We are only saved by having forgiveness of our sins
through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and by experiencing
the regeneration of the Spirit.
Are you a new creature in Christ today? Do you know that you
have been born again of the Spirit? Do you know that you are
in right standing with God today? Having the right forms of faith
and practicing the right religious rituals, does not and never did
please God or save anyone!
The definitive evidence of saving faith is
obedience to the direction of God
Philip, Peter, and John begin to make their way back to
Jerusalem, preaching in the towns of Samaria along the way.
Phillip receives the call of God to head to the south of Jerusalem
to the desert road that leads to Gaza. That’s it! That’s all the
information he was given. Not where along the road, not what
will happen, not even why he should go there. He is told to go,
and he got up and went. This is the life of faith! Radical,
immediate, and complete obedience to the commands of God.
The result was that he encountered an Ethiopian court official
who was heading home from Jerusalem where he had come to
worship. As the Ethiopian rode by in his chariot, God told Phillip
to join him. So Phillip ran alongside the chariot and overheard
the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah, and Philip asked him if he
understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian did not
understand and asked Philip to join him. Philip began from
this scripture in Isaiah and preached Jesus to him.
God told Phillip where to go and he went. God told Philip
what to do and he did it. God put Philip into a circumstance
where Philip had the opportunity to share Jesus and he shared
Jesus. The Ethiopian was saved and baptize there, along the
desert road leading to Gaza.
Proclaiming Christ is not optional
or occasional for the truly saved
Philip finds himself in Azotus (also know as Ashdod) just
north of Gaza along the Mediterranean coast. As he passed
through the area he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities
until he came to Caesarea in northern Israel along the coast.
Jesus left a command to his church, “Go and make disciples
of all nations.” In Philip we see a man who traveled through
Samaria and shared Jesus with the people there. Then we find
him on a desert road in obedience to God, and he shares Jesus
with an Ethiopian he encounters along the road. Then Philip
passes through Azotus, and shares Jesus there. He travels
further up the coast passing through the city of Joppa and
eventually reaching Caesarea, all the while sharing Jesus with
those he meets.
What is the greatest thing you’ve ever experienced? Do you
relish telling people about it?
Where is your Faith?
Faith is not in the practices of organized church
Faith needs to share Jesus with others
Faith is obedient to go and make disciples
Faith goes where where it is sent
Faith tells what needs to be told