October 9

Acts 7-8, Psalm 122

When sharing our faith, what should our endpoint be. If your endpoint is for someone to say the sinners prayer, consider at a large event or a crusade they will state the number of professions of faith there were. However, we read of Simon the Sorcerer's profession of faith and baptism in Acts 8:13, yet he was eventually exposed by the Holy Spirit through Peter in 8:21, "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God." If the endpoint is to get them into a Biblically based church, consider again Simon comfortable in the new Samaritan congregation or the demon possessed man in the synagogue of Capernaum in Luke 4:33. If your endpoint is to get a Bible in someone's hands consider the Ethiopian official who had the Scriptures in his hands yet said to Philip after being asked "Do you understand what you are reading?", "How can I, unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8:30-31).

From a ministry standpoint what Philip was asked to do seems foolish. He initiated the Samaritan movement and is now led by an angel and told to leave and go along a desert road by himself in 8:26-27. He obediently followed without questioning or reasoning. Philip comes along the Eunuch in the chariot and after the exchange mentioned above he is invited in. We read in Acts 8:35, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him." Jesus gave us this same example as He left the crowds and discipled the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. It says in the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:7, "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

We live in difficult times and Jesus said we were to make disciples not just believers (Matthew 28:18-20). This means those of us in the faith need to come alongside others both within and outside the church. We should not worry about what to say, for if we step out in faith, Scripture says in Luke 12:12, "For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." To effectively reach out we need to be students of the entirety of Scripture and not just focus on the New Testament or the Psalms, in which case you will not be in a position to reach out to a Jewish non-believer. Paul gives us an example to follow in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22, where he concludes his method with, "...I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." We can learn much from the example of Philip. He was faithful, no matter what his position: table-server (Acts 6:5), preacher-evangelist (8:5-6), one-on-one teacher (8:30-35) and father (he had 4 daughters who were prophetesses in 21:8-9).

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster