Summary: The theme of Acts is not just the works of the apostles but that nothing stops God from spreading His word.
And the Gospel goes on.
Very anticlimactically written, from this point on there is a shift from Peter and John to a man named Saul.
Saul is introduced as being present when Stephen was stoned and that he gave his approval. Dr. Luke gives us insight into Saul and then will compare it to another deacon/evangelist named Phillip. This morning we will focus on Phillip.
There is a theme throughout the Book of Acts. It states that the Gospel went on without hindrance. In spite of the persecution that has now broken out, the Gospel was still preached. In this case, the persecution is in Jerusalem. The Greek speaking Jews take the Gospel elsewhere; this is known as the Diaspora or the Dispersing.
As a result, Deacon/Evangelist Phillip takes the Gospel to Samaria. This would normally be a slap in the face to the Jews. Samaritans were not well liked by the Jerusalem Jews; they were considered mixed breed and traitors. Actually this makes great sense. There is still a kinship between the disposed Greek Jews and Samaritans. Both are considered outcasts by the Jerusalem Jews. Because of the martyring of Stephen, the persecution of the Greek Jews, and the worship of the Temple, there would be a sense on commonness between Phillip and the Samaritans. God has opened another door. What God opens no one can close, what He closes no one can open.
A) Enter Phillip:
1. Miracle worker: How did Phillip get these gifts? Where did he get the ability to perform miracles? Acts 6:6 tells us, They (the Greek Jews) presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
At the “ordination” of the deacons, the Apostles laid hands on them. Phillip and Stephen are two we read about performing miracles.
2. Preacher: The miracles were to substantiate the message.
a. He preached Christ
b. He touched the people in their need
c. He reached people because the message and the actions showed he cared.
People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.
3. Enter another antithetical character. For every hero there is a villain. Enter Simon Magus.
1. Early writings describe him as Gnostic. Irenaeus calls him the father of Gnosticism.
2. Early writings have him as a villain to Peter later in Rome
3. It is said that he had himself buried alive in Rome with the prediction that three days later he would rise again.
4. He is a magician, practiced sorcery and deceived the people.
5. Now he comes up against the genuine article.
Phillip had character that stood out
1. The people saw he was not another ruse.
2. The difference between Simon and Phillip is GOD.
3. Even Simon Magus is convinced there is something about Phillip.
When people see God in us it is attractive.
1. People want to know we care.
2. What do they want with me?
a. Most evangelical people I met were mostly interested in my wallet
b. Send me, Send me, Send me.
c. It was all about them.
d. Then I met the genuine article.
Simon Magus was still in it for the wrong reason.
1. He may start out for the right reason but that will change.
2. He saw it as another cash cow
3. He wanted people to follow him
4. He saw it as another way to control people.
Enter Peter and John
1. They confirm the report about Samaritan conversion
2. They give the people to power
3. Simon wants the power to hand on these gifts.
We cannot buy God, it isn’t because He is worthless, He is priceless.
We cannot buy our salvation, it is a gift.
We cannot say God owes us, He gives because He loves completely.
Persecution does not stop it, Greed can’t have it, abuse of power can’t silence it. The gospel goes on without hinderance.