Philip Preaching At Samaria
Acts 8:5-8
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them.…

The early Christians were not disposed to leave Jerusalem. They had been counselled to abide in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high; but Pentecost had come and gone, and still they tarried. Perhaps they were in a measure constrained by their lingering prejudice against the gathering in of the Gentiles. The martyrdom of Stephen was the stirring up of the nest. The infatuated Jews who wrought that murderous deed may have fondly hoped that it would prove the death-blow of the little Christian Church. But God maketh the wrath of men to praise Him. Thus it is written, "The disciples that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word." The Church perforce begins her aggressive march. Providence made them all missionaries. The apostles alone remained in Jerusalem, which became henceforth "a centre not of concentration, but of radiation."

I. Philip, the evangelist, COMES TO SAMARIA. Among those who fled from Jerusalem at this juncture was Philip, one of the seven deacons. He was a man full of the Holy Ghost and power, and with a special fitness for evangelistic work. On reaching the city of Samaria he began at once to "preach Christ unto them." In all the world there was probably, at that moment, no city whose conditions were more unfavourable to Christian effort. The people were half heathen at the best. Rejecting all of the Scriptures except the five books of Moses, they were addicted to all manner of superstitious observances. Just now they were under the spell of a certain necromancer, known to us as Simon Magus, who called himself "The Great Power of God." Under these circumstances a prudent evangelist might have thought best to pass on to more congenial soil. But Philip was not prudent in that wise. He followed the lead of Providence, the only safe plan. For "he that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap" (Ecclesiastes 11:4).

II. His coming is FOLLOWED BY A REVIVAL. Some men are a curse to the cities they live in; others are a blessing. At once he set about two things: —

1. "He preached Christ." It is noteworthy how often we come upon this and similar expressions in the Scriptures — "preaching the Word," "preaching the gospel," "preaching the Lord Jesus," "preaching peace by Jesus Christ." Nothing is said about fine essay work in the pulpit or about profound scientific and philosophical disquisitions. No truth was presented which did not emanate from Christ as a sunbeam from the sun. The mission of a minister is to preach the gospel; and the gospel is the good tidings that Jesus saves. A hundred philosophers, bending all their efforts for a hundred years upon a single sinner would fail to save him, but one faithful herald of the old-fashioned gospel of the Cross can stir a whole city to its depth. Philip was only a deacon, an evangelist; there were many wiser men in Samaria; but, alas! the truth as it is in Jesus had not set their hearts on fire. So he had the advantage of them all. "And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which he spake."

2. And they were all the readier to listen to him by reason of the miracles which he wrought in the name of Jesus. "For unclean spirits came out of many that were possessed; and many taken with palsies and that were lame were healed; and there was great joy in that city." The very best evidence of the truth of Christ's gospel is in its influence upon the community. Take a map of the world and mark off the countries where happiness and prosperity prevail in largest measure, and in every instance they are the countries that acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. The gospel, wherever it goes, proves its Divineness by working miracles of beneficence. And the Christian proves the truth of his message by showing what it has done for his own heart and conscience, and by dispensing of its virtues to all around him. So one man turned Samaria upside down. Before the people knew, probably before he himself realised it, they were in the midst of a great revival.

III. PETER AND JOHN COME TO HIS RELIEF. No better could have been selected than these two whom we so often find in each other's company — Peter the Man of Rock, and John the Son of Thunder. We may imagine the delight with which the faithful, overworked evangelist welcomed them. These apostles came, moreover, not only to preach Christ to the Samaritans, but to confer upon the Christian workers the charismata, or gifts of the Holy Ghost. On the arrival of these apostles the work went forward with renewed energy, but Philip was less conspicuous. No doubt he recognised their superior fitness, and was content to take a subordinate place. Where the mind of Jesus prevails there is neither clash nor jealousy. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

WEB: Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.

Philip At Samaria
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