Philip, The Evangelist - Seven Secrets to Successful Witnessing
a) Introduction - The Commission (Acts 8:26-40) Praise God, Church! Tonight I wanna talk about our commission as Christians. In Mark 16:15 The Bible says... And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. How many in here tonight know that this is the great commission, And that it still applies to the Church today? See, we have all been called to a ministry. Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: The Bible doesn't say that He called all to pastor, Or that He called all to prophecy. This scripture, though often misinterpreted, doesn't even say that He called all Christians to walk in one of these five offices. He's called some to other offices or areas in the ministry, And He makes that evident to them, either by speaking it to them, Or by a vision, or through a word from someone with the gift of prophecy, And He also communicates His will for us through our circumstances. Amen! But tonight I don't want to go into depth on each individual ministry, But rather to expound on the ministry that He has called us all to. And that is the great commission. Amen! He has called each and everyone of us to be a witness. To be a light in the darkness. To reach souls for the Kingdom of God! So tonight as we look at the life of Philip, Let's learn what God expects from those who press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus as witnesses for Christ. Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet. Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. Act 8:32 The place of the Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. Act 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Act 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. Philip was not a man to act on his own authority, Nor one who sought to carry out a mission in his own power. He was a God-sent servant, And a spirit controlled worker. When the "Spirit of the Lord" directed Philip to go to a certain place he arose and went. When the "Spirit of the Lord" told Philip to speak to a certain person he obeyed with alacrity, And when the "Spirit of the Lord" caught the evangelist away, he submissively allowed himself to be taken, In Philip's complete surrender to the Lord we see the secrets of his success in Labor. So tonight, I want to bring those secrets to the forefront, So that we might be able to apply them to our witness. b) The Seven Secrets to Successful Witnessing.... The title of tonights message is "The Seven Secrets to Successful Witnessing." I said earlier that we have all been called to the great commission of harvesting souls for the kingdom. We've all been called to be witnesses in a Christ-less world. Now I want to talk about how we can fulfil our mission. We all have different ways of sharing our faith with others, And I'm not here to change the way you do things. As we look at Philip's life I just want to point out seven essential steps to achieve our goal. I'm not saying that there aren't more than seven steps to successful witnessing, But I am saying that without these seven steps you are attempting the impossible. 1. Obedience... My first point tonight is obedience. This is everyone's first step. No if ands or buts about it. This is where a lot of Christians fall short. They don't even try to be a witness. They say that that's the Pastor's job, Or that's the evangelists job. But really it isn't always so. Who's gonna here the Pastor preach if no one ever invites them to Church. If no one ever models a moral Christian attitude to them. Who's gonna seek Jesus if no one tells them who He is. Amen! See Christ commissioned us in Mark chapter 16. So we've received the call. It's up to us to be obedient like Philip. Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, Act 8:27 And he arose and went: See, Philip showed true obedience. He arose and went not knowing what he would find. The angel of the Lord sent him into the desert, and he went. No questions asked. You know a lot of Christians today won't even witness to their own friends or family, Let alone go out into the desert not knowing what awaits them. His obedience was unconditional, and people today want to be conditional followers of Jesus. They only want the goodness of God without the trial and error that perfects the saints. They want to skate into the Kingdom of Heaven by the hair of their chinny chin chin. Amen! It's those kinds of Christians who really have to question their salvation tonight. Yes, I said it! I hope you wore some loose shoes tonight, Amen! Jesus said in Luk 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. So, if we, as Christians, have truly received this amazing free gift of salvation, Are we going to keep it all to ourselves? The answer is NO! We are going to obediently preach the Gospel to every creature that God calls on us to preach to. And we're going to do it with alacrity like Philip. 2. Alacrity... That's the second step to successful witnessing...ALACRITY! Alacrity ALAC'RITY, n. [L. alacritas, from alacer, alaris.] Cheerfulness; a cheerful readiness or promptitude to do some act; cheerful willingness; Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, He ran cheerfully to the eunuch! He was happy to do the will of his Father. He arose at the request of the Spirit and went from Samaria south past Jerusalem, into the desert on the road to Gaza without a clue why he was going there. This was no short trip. Amen! But after walking through the desert for however long the Bible says he saw the Ethiopian eunuch and he ran to Him. He ran with alacrity because it was confirmation to him. He was in the Lord's will. Out in the middle of the desert God had provided a fish for him to reel in. Amen! See, we need to be cheerful in all that we do for the Lord. God loves a cheerful giver! Amen! Not just of your tithes or offering but of you time and effort, too! We can't let the devil steal our joy! The Bible says in numerous scripture's that there's joy in being a soul-winner. And not just joy for you, but joy for the Lord as well. Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. We need that alacrity, That cheerfulness to be a successful witness! And it needs to be a part of our method! 3. Theme... My next point tonight is theme. When we are witnessing we should always have a theme, And that theme should always be Jesus. Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. See, we this is a very important point, and we even do this sometimes without being aware of it. Notice that is says he preached Jesus. Though they were reading Isaiah, he didn't preach Isaiah to him did he? Isaiah was a prophet but he didn't focus on prophecy did he? No, It may have come up, But he used the eunuch's interest of prophecy to preach Jesus. See, when we are witnessing to non believer's we have to keep in mind that they don't know Jesus. No matter what you give them, the only true thing that they can receive at that point is Jesus. And Jesus has to be the main theme in your witness. You don't invite someone who's sick to Church, And say come get a healing. You'd be preaching healing. You invite them to know Jesus who is the creator and re-creator of our bodies, and He gives the healing. It's always important to keep Jesus as the essence of your message. 4. Response... Step four and five go hand in hand. Step four is for the person you are witnessing to. And step five is for you. The fourth step is response. Different people respond different ways to the preaching of the Gospel. Some times they are converted right then and there, But sometimes not. We can't let this effect our ministry. We can't measure our ministries success on instant converts, But rather by how we obediently fulfilled our commission. We may not see someone saved everyday, but we should find comfort in the fact that we have planted a seed in the heart of everyone we witness to. 1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. It is God who gives the increase. Amen! He's been in the salvation business alot longer than we have. Amen! And we know from personal experience that He's an on time God! Amen? The eunuch was an instant conversion. He responded to Philip's preaching by asking him to baptize him. Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 5. Service... That brings us to step five. Which is service. If you preach Jesus to someone, and they don't accept Him, Just know that you did the service God called you to. But if they accept Jesus then you need to be prepared to do the service that God is Communicating to you through your circumstance, Which is teaching them the way to be born again. Pray with them, and direct them to a church full of strong believer's, Where they can learn and grow in the Lord. Where they can be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit. Amen! Like the eunuch in verse 38. Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Where they can come into a place of submissiveness, And become witnesses just like you and me, 6. Submissiveness... That's my next point tonight...Submissiveness. This is different from point one where we have to submit and be obedient. As a matter of fact it's different from all the other points which all, by the way, require submission. This is submission to God's will while in the act of witnessing. Not submission in preparation for, But submission during the very act. Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. See, Philip submitted to God by allowing Him to sweep Him away when God's will was done. He could have easily rode into Gaza with the eunuch, or left and walked back to Samaria. But He went where God would have him to go. He did what God would have him to do, by submitting to the Spirit. In the same manner we have to submit to the Spirit. I'm not saying we're going to be translated to another place, But I am saying that our plans are not always God's plans. He may want you to pray for that person even though you hadn't planned on it. He may give you a prophetic word even though you weren't intending to do so. Whatever the case we need to submit to the Spirit, Rather than quench the Spirit. That is how we Perservere. 7. Perserverance...(Conclusion) Perserverance is the last step for success in witnessing. No matter how hard it may seem, No matter how rough the road, We need to abide in Him. Amen! We can't give up on our commission. That is one of the main purposes of our Earthly lives. We are not just here biding time until He comes. We are in the process of being perfected, And we are in the service of our Lord. Act 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. He continued to preach the Gospel until the day that he died a martyrs death. Amen! And though we read tonight about his successes in ministry, I'm sure there were times when only seeds were planted. It didn't discourage Philip and it shouldn't discourage Christians today. Amen!