July 08, 2018 | Trey Gibson
Passage: Acts 8:26-40
The Two Kingdoms presentation is an evangelism tool used by missionaries in Zimbabwe too reach people for the Gospel, using images they can easily relate to.
While in Zimbabwe were able to participate in a training for pastors and church members not only on how to witness too others, but also on how to help raise spiritual children and babies once they were born again. It is appropriate, then, that we are looking today at one of the more fearless evangelists in the early church: Phillip.
- A little context on Phillip: Phillip is evangelizing in Samaria in chapters 6 and 7. This is significant because Jews and Samaritans have a long history going back to the Old Testament of hatred and bigotry.
- Phillip takes the Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth command from Acts 1 very seriously. Phillip is so bold and successful in his ministry to Samaritans that Peter and John the disciples that Jesus loved and said he would build his church on respectively, took notice and overcame their discomfort to go minister to as well.
Even when we don’t know how or what we need to follow the lead of the Spirit.
“So he started out…” — Acts 8:27
We love having as much info as possible before we jump into the unknown? Some like this even more than others, judging by the larger number of Zimbabwe team members who decided to not jump off of a bridge attached to a rope this past week.
Phillip received a specific instruction from the Lord that was pretty fuzzy on the details other then where to go and when.
We never quite know what part of the journey we will be on in someone’s life. Jesus compared people to soil in Matthew. Some soils are fertile and ready to grow crops, others are still needing to be tilled, others contain so many weeds that nothing will grow for long before getting choked out.
As you share the Gospel in word and action you will experience all of these types of soil at some point
Sometimes you will get to walk up to a crop that is ready for harvest, while other times you get to be a part of the soil prep crew helping to pull rocks and weeds out of people’s lives. Neither role is better or worse than the other, however, we can tend to avoid any work at all out of fear of being part of the second group. Don’t let fear of having to get in the dirt with someone keep you from showing them who Jesus is. Even when we don’t get to be the one who harvests, we don’t stop sowing.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
“Then Phillip began with the passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” — Acts 8:35
Every person has been gifted by God to be a blessing for his kingdom.
At a basic level, all followers of Christ have their salvation story, what we like to call our Testimony. No testimony is too short or insignificant, no story more suited for sharing than others.
In Zimbabwe we had the opportunity to do medical clinics, discipleship/evangelism training, and house-to-house evangelism alongside local believers, and for many of us on the team, our only qualification was our personal testimony, however all were able to see their gifts used for the kingdom.
Phillip entered the life of the Ethiopian man at a point in which not only was he was searching, he was able to verbalize his need for someone to guide him in his search.
When he says (v.31) “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?”; Phillip has a choice. He could have said “Well, I hope you find somebody to tell ya!” or “Let me bring you to church, so somebody else can do that!”
Instead, he uses his experience of following Jesus and his life change through Christ to point this man to JESUS. So how does that apply to us?
One of the reasons the Two Kingdoms Gospel Presentation method is so successful for people in Zimbabwe is because of the sensitivity people there have to the existence of a spiritual world. The people in the book of Acts lived in a culture in which there was also a great awareness of a spiritual realm as well as the physical. In America, we have a tendency to ignore things like Spiritual Warfare, but, there are battles being fought spiritually in each an every one of us.
The main difference for most of us is that for Americans, or really anyone in the Western world, the main weapon of the enemy is apathy.
- Apathy — lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
If the enemy can convince us that letting the holy spirit guide us isn’t really necessary, or that there are other things worth our time, or that other people’s gifts are suited for the Kingdom, but not our gifts of course, then we let him win easily. Don't let the enemy win so easily.
Once Christ transforms a life, don’t stop there. Keep moving forward.
“…then both Phillip and the Eunuch went down into the water and Phillip baptized him.” — Acts 8:38
When the Ethiopian believed, he immediately wanted to take the next step, and Phillip obliged, baptizing him
We tend to procrastinate on taking next steps after Jesus does a work in us (apathy). Don't let the enemy convince you to slow down.
When we were participating in the Pastor training in Zimbabwe, the evangelism tools were helpful, but they were not the only focus. There was a major emphasis on what happens next. Our spiritual story doesn’t end with us being born again spiritually, but rather, it is just the beginning.
Once we are born again, in order to go from being an infant to an adult, we need someone to help raise us spiritually, but once we are old enough, we have to take some of the responsibility ourselves.
In our society we tend to frown on adults acting like children, however we don’t frown upon children acting like children. This should be the same for us spiritually:
- A spiritually mature person practices spiritual discipline in their life: worship, teaching, fellowship with other believers, giving financially and with time, repenting of sin, prayer, time in scripture, etc.
- A spiritually immature person running around in Spiritual huggies relies on others to spoon feed them the word, drag them to worship, disengages from fellowship with other believers, struggles with being held accountable, etc. This is fine as a spiritual infant, however, when a spiritual adult is acting like a spiritual infant, that is a problem.
Children are supposed to act like children, but eventually we are all called to grow up into the likeness of Christ, and keep moving forward.
Phillip didn’t have a mountaintop evangelism experience that he pulled on for years to come for encouragement and joy, after he left the Ethiopian, he stopped in every town he went to share the Gospel.
When I go to Care Effect sites or talk to small group leaders and others who regularly serve, I don’t see a glow and a sense of joy based on one good week they had a few years back, I see a joy and excitement because once we let the Holy Spirit work through us, you want to keep being used again and again.
Don’t let the Enemy tell you your story isn’t good enough, don’t believe the lie that you aren’t qualified, and once you let the Holy Spirit work through you, keep letting it happen!