Acts 8

Act 8:1Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2Somedevout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.
Act 8:3But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

Stephen is now executed and God has loosed the influence of Satan onto the Church, that they might not commit the sin of selfishness as the Jewish believers had. Now the message of God would go to all te peoples of the known world at that time.

Act 8:4Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Act 8:5Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
Act 8:6The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.
Act 8:7Forin the case ofmany who had unclean spirits, they were coming outof themshouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.
Act 8:8So there was much rejoicing in that city.

Here we see that Philip has broken Jewish tradition and law and has gone to preach to and to teach the Samaritans. Everyone wanted to hear Philip because he was healing people just as Jesus had done and that brought out their raw, untempered, faith.

Act 8:9Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great;
Act 8:10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God."
Act 8:11And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts.
Act 8:12But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

Unlike Simon's magic, Philip's teaching had life changing effects on people and they were making public professions of their faith in the Baptismal Waters.

Act 8:13Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
Act 8:14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,
Act 8:15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:16For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 8:17Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

Some, today, have taken these verses out of context and use them for the formula for salvation. We must never be rash enough to do this, it is placing limits on what God is capable of and there is not a formula for salvation, it is the gift of God to sinful men.

Act 8:18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,
Act 8:19saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
Act 8:20But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
Act 8:21"You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Act 8:22"Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgivenyou.
Act 8:23"For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."
Act 8:24But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

It is a popular quest today to seek after what it is that Simon did wrong. If we have paid attention to the text it is likely that even the Lost Man could understand what is wrong here had he not been so indoctrinated with greed and capital gain. I see it as rather clear that Simon had found a new and likely more profitable scheme to generate income but Spiritual Gifts are not for sale!

Act 8:25So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Peter and the other disciples have taken the hint and have, now, become evangelical.

Act 8:26But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desertroad.)
Act 8:27So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship,
Act 8:28and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Act 8:29Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."

Philip is used to demonstrate a point that is well taught by Dr. Blackaby, Philip is looking to see what God is doing so that he can join Him in His work as an assistant or even better as a tool the LORD can use. We see that Philip has taken time to asses what the foreigner is studying and then meets him where he is.

Act 8:30Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
Act 8:31And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.
Act 8:34The eunuch answered Philip and said, "Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?"
Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

The single most important thing a Christian can do is to study the Word of God. Like a computer, the human mind can only work with the information that has been entered there and our mission is to teach. (Matt. 28:18b-20)

Act 8:36As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?"
Act 8:37[And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]
Act 8:38And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.
Act 8:39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.
Act 8:40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Just as Philip did, so must we. Philip never forgot who he was and he never forgot whose he was. Everywhere he went he taught Jesus resurrected.