The key of this chapter which the Spirit of the Lord inspired me is that
Verses 1 speaks about Great Persecution
Verses 2 speaks about Great Lamentation
Verses 8 speaks about Great Joy
So we conclude here that after every Great Persecution and lamentation there is a Great Joy. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. Psalms 30:11
Verse 1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Some persecution comes to take us from the comfort zone, Jesus command was to leave the place once they had received the power of Holy Spirit but they stayed inside Jerusalem only. God shook the nest like eagle’s do and people were scattered through out the regions of Judea and Samaria. They were fruitful in Jerusalem but Father God wants them to be more fruitful around the world that’s why He pruned those fruitful branches. If you are persecuted for His name sake then remember you are a fruitful branch don’t be satisfied by just being fruitful, God wants you to bear much fruit for His name and through this His name will be glorified. John 15:8 says; “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Rejoice when you are persecuted for His name sake for your reward is in the hand of God”.
Verses 5 to 8 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
Notice Philip was not performing miracles firstly but he preached Christ. Miracles followed when they paid close attention to the Word. You don’t need separate miracle sessions but when we pay close attention to the Word miracles will follow thereafter. Miracles come by faith and faith comes by hearing the word of God.
If one Stephen is dead, God is able to raise many more Stephens. If one way is closed God will open another way to share His word. The world cannot stop the church. The church is unstoppable. Why there was a great Joy in that city because someone preached Christ to them. If Christ is missing, Joy will be missing. If anyone reading this is missing joy, needs healing or lacks peace in their life receive the Holy Spirit see the difference HE makes.
In the Old Testament it says that ‘The house of Obededom was blessed because of the presence of the ARK; everyone who visited him was blessed’. The Ark of the Covenant represents the Holy Spirit/Christ’s anointing which is now in you through faith in Jesus. You and the people whom you are associated will be also blessed. Joseph was put into various places but because of him those places and people were blessed because God was with Joseph.
Verses 12 and 13 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
Here is the proof of true baptism. Baptism was given to those who believed in Christ and we don’t find any infants or children in this group, it says both men and women were baptized. Secondly, being baptized is a personal decision no one can compel anyone. Verses 13 say Simon himself believed and was baptized. So these verses nullify the false teaching that someone else’s faith (like a parent) is enough for your baptism to have effect. This is why we call it ‘The Believers Baptism’. Did you believe when you were baptized or did someone else believe when you were baptized? The difference is clear.
Verses 22-23 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
This verse states that Saint Peter has no authority to forgive your sins. If he cannot do it while he was alive how then he will mediate for you when he is dead? There is only mediator between God and us and He is the MAN Jesus Christ.
Peter seeing the bitterness of Simon says to him to pray to the Lord and not himself. Let all who mediate through the saints read this verse and understand the truth.
Verses 26-39 speaks about a servant of God who yielded to the voice of Spirit and that obedience made one person to receive Christ. It is not our talents that bring person to Christ. We just need to obey the Holy Spirit who will give us wisdom on what we need to speak, how we need to speak, to whom we need to speak …let us be in the position of obedience. After all it is not the brilliant words that attract a soul towards Christ but it is the Spirit who draws all people to the Father in Heaven.
Verses 31 How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains t to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
I want to show you two beautiful thoughts from this verse:
1) He invited Philip to come up- Philip went up to his level
2) Philip sat with him
While we share Gospel firstly we should be listeners and go the level of the person whom we are sharing the good news. Secondly, we must make a relationship with that person and then speak out the truth. Most people will not accept the truth in your first encounter, we need to make a relationship first and then proclaim the grace and truth of Christ Jesus. What was the result of this effective way of witnessing? Philip accepted and believed in Christ. Let us be an effective and unstoppable witness of Christ. Where is ‘your Philip’? How are you building a bridge of relationship to him? Is it time to share the Gospel with ‘your Philip’? I think so.
Next week Chapter 9 & 10