Summary: The scattering of the church spreads the gospel to Samaria.
The Gospel on the Move
Acts 8:1 – 8:13
Jeff Hughes – May 25, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. It has been said that the gospel is the greatest story ever told, about the greatest offer ever made, by the greatest person who ever lived.
b. In the past five months, as we have journeyed through Acts, we saw where Jesus gave instruction to the apostles to carry the gospel first to Jerusalem, then to Samaria, and to the very ends of the earth.
c. The book of Acts can be broken down into those three parts as well, the first seven chapters dealing with the gospel’s spread in Jerusalem. As we begin chapter 8 though, we start to pick up a new part of the gospel story, as the gospel gets carried to Samaria.
d. Here’s a little background about Samaria. After the death of Solomon, the northern tribes split off of the kingdom and became Israel, leaving the kingdom of Judah. Samaria was the capitol of the northern kingdom. The Assyrians attacked Samaria in 725 BC and it fell about three years later. The Assyrians deported most of the people out of Israel, and brought in many people from Babylon and other countries to live in Israel. This was done to weaken the countries that Assyria dominated, so no country could rise up against them. In time these different races of people intermarried and the whole area around the city of Samaria became known as Samaria. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great captured the city and settled Macedonian veterans there. Herod named it Sebaste and built it back up to a beautiful city. During the time of Jesus there was hostility between Jews and Samaritans. Remember that the disciples were surprised when they found Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
e. They were surprised that Samaritans were people that God cared about. They thought that since they were God’s chosen people, the Samaritans were doomed for all eternity. They could not be more wrong. God had a plan for the Samaritans, and today, we will see it begin to unfold as we continue on our journey through Acts.
f. Before we close, I’d like to draw each of your attentions back to your field – your coffee pot, or water cooler, the people you share life with. Pray that God would use you to share the gospel with those people.
g. Let’s pray.
a. Many churches today are like a laboring crew trying to gather in a harvest while they sit in the tool shed. They go to the tool shed every Sunday and they study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and then get up and go home. Then they come back that night, study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and go home again. They comeback Wednesday night, and again study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and get up and go home. They do this week in and week out, year in and year out, and nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest.
b. I think it fitting that Jesus told His disciples while He was in Samaria, at that same well – He said - Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ’One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
c. In our passage of study this morning, we will see both sowers and reapers. We will see a harvest, because truly, the field of souls in Samaria was white unto harvest.
d. While we study this passage this morning, I want each one of us to think about your own field. People don’t usually congregate around water wells in this country anymore, but think about your water cooler or coffee pot at work. Think about those folks, the people around you in your everyday life. I still work a secular job, I have folks that I am thinking about that I work with right now. Think about this - if those people don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, then they are ripe for the harvest. Pray that God would use you to bring those people to the Lord.
e. There’s a place to take notes in your bulletin, and I’d encourage you to follow along. If you need a Bible, just raise you hand, and we’ll get you one. Acts is right past John, and just before Romans in the New Testament.