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Summary: Persecution scatters the Gospel.

A. INTRODUCTION – ACTS 8:1-4

1. Persecution initiated. Saul held the coats for those stoning Stephen. “. . . I cast my vote . . .” (Acts 26:10).

2. Persecution intensified.

3. Persecution scatters the gospel.

B. THE GOSPEL SPREADS TO SAMARIA – ACTS 8:5-6

1. What is significant about Philip the deacon going to Samaria?

2. What was their great result? “There was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8, Shechem).

a. John the Baptist.

b. The Samaritan woman won by Jesus.

c. Signs by Philip.

d. Dramatic conversion of Simon.

e. Work of the Holy Spirit.

3. The second area of influence is in the circle of outreach. “. . . in Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria . . .” (Acts 1:8).

C. APOSTOLIC CONFIRMATION OF THE NEW CHURCH

1. Why did Peter and John come from Jerusalem? “. . . prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15).

a. Apostolic confirmation.

b. To report to the church what God was doing.

2. Was Simon saved? “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:13).

a. “Then Simon . . . believed . . .” Says he was sad.

b. “. . . he was baptized . . .” Had outward signs.

c. “. . . he continued with Philip . . .” Faithfulness.

d. Silence - it does not say he was unsaved.

3. Why was Simon not saved?

a. Buy spirituality. “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:19).

b. Accusation of going to Hell. “Your money perish with you . . .” (Acts 8:20).

c. Needed to repent. “. . . pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:22).

d. Admission he was not saved. “Pray to the Lord for me” (Acts 8:24).

D. THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

1. Angel directed. “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26).

2. A proselyte of the gate (i.e., had been saved but not circumcised).

3. The chief financial officer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia.

4. Wealthy: personal copy of Isaiah. “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth” (Acts 8:32, from Isaiah 53:6).

5. Question. “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31).

6. Response. “See here is water, what hinders me from being baptized” (Acts 8:36).

7. Confusion. “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37).

8. Witness directed by the Lord. “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go . . .’” (Acts 8:26). “. . . the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away . . .” (Acts 8:39).

E. THE EVANGELIST’S POSITION

1. Philip the Evangelist – Philip traveled spreading the Gospel but lived in one location. “He preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:40).

2. The evangelist was not a local church officer, but carried out church functions, (i.e., the Great Commission). “On the next day we who were Paul’s companions . . . came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him” (Acts 21:8).

F. APPLICATION

1. The Faithfulness-Promotion Principle. Those who are faithful in their first responsibilities are promoted to greater realms of accountability. Philip was faithful as a layman and deacon before being promoted to be an evangelist.

2. The Light from Pressure Principle. When the church did not reach out in evangelism, God used persecution to motivate them to carry out the Great Commission.

3. The Bucket in the Well Principle. Just as “what’s in the well comes up in the bucket,” so those who make an outward profession usually express their background.

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.

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