5 Missiological Teaching Tools for Today’s Church from Acts 8:1-8 (Part 2)

September 12, 2016

In the previous post, examined the first 3 Missiological Teaching Tools from Acts 8:1-8. They are:

(1) God is sovereign, and brings about gospel expansion through unexpected means. (v. 1-8, 1:8),

(2) God uses EVERYONE for Gospel Work, not just the leadership! (v. 1b)

(3) There is an implicit understanding/teaching of Scripture that Christians are to preach Christ wherever they go in life. (v. 4)

 In today’s post we’ll observe the last 2 Missiological Teaching Tools. May the Lord use all 5 Missiological Teaching Tools to make our churches stronger in carrying out the mission of God.

(4) Christians are called to preach Christ to the “religious-Priests,” and are called to preach Christ to the “irreligious-Samaritans.”  (v. 5)

Who are the “religious-Priests” and the “irreligious-Samaritans?” The “religious-Priests” are the people that think they have a right standing with God because of their outward good works. They base their salvation on the good works they do. They think they can earn their way to heaven. The “irreligious-Samaritans” are those who have no interest in God whatsoever. They do not go to church. They do not strive to live according to the Ten Commandments. They have no interest in living for God. Both of these types of people need the gospel.

In Acts 8:5, Luke mentions Philip. This is not Philip the apostle from the twelve disciples. Instead, this is Philip the table-waiter chosen in Acts 6:1-7. He was chosen to serve the Greek-speaking widows that were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. Luke writes about Philip later in Acts 21:8 calling him “Philip the Evangelist.” This is the first and only place in the New Testament someone is given this designation. What a title to be remembered by! What does Philip have to do with the fourth Missiological Teaching Tool? In Acts 8, Luke is contrasting the evangelistic work of Philip in chapter 8 to that of Stephen in chapter 7

In Acts 7, Stephen evangelizes the “religious-Priests.” He preaches Christ to the legalist  who thinks he can earn his way to heaven through good works. Acts 7 records the speech to the religious leaders of the time. In the speech Stephen explains that he has a correct view of the temple and the law that the High Priests never had. In the speech, Stephen sharply preaches the Christ to them as their only hope.

In contrast to Stephen, Acts 8:4-8 describes Philip preaching Christ to the “irreligious-Samaritans.” They were not the religious legalists that Stephen was evangelizing. On the contrary, they were definitely different. They were the mixed-race Samaritans that had a history of not following the law of God. They did not know who Christ was and needed to hear the gospel. The contrast that Luke is clearly making shows us that these two were called to evangelize both groups – the religious and the irreligious.

This is an important “missiological teaching tool” to notice. Luke is pointing out that Christians are called to preach Christ to everyone indiscriminately. All people need Jesus, and are in desperate need of the gospel. May we share the gospel with the “religious” and the “irreligious!”

(5) Our missiological pattern is to be made up of both gospel proclamation (v. 4, 5) and doing mercy ministries. (v. 6, 7)

In John Stott’s renowned book, Christian Mission in the Modern World, he writes, “Mission describes everything the church is sent into the world to do.”[1] This is the displayed pattern over and over again in the Scriptures.

While gospel proclamation is always thought of in doing the mission of God, the usually overlooked and forgotten part of mission is doing mercy ministries. The church is called to do both.

In Acts 8:6-8 Luke writes that Philip is doing two things. First, he is preaching the gospel. (v. 4, 5) Second, Philip is healing people. (v. 6, 7) By Philip healing people, he was meeting a present-day physical need of the people in Samaria. Jesus’s ministry also had this similar missiological pattern. For example, Matthew 4:23 states, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”

Therefore, the mission of the church is certainly gospel proclamation, but the mission of the church must also include doing mercy ministries. This means that the church is to be known by both their gospel proclamation and their good deeds. Doing mercy ministries is a crucial missiological tool in the Christian’s tool-bag.

What was the result of both gospel proclamation and mercy ministry done in this city? The result is reported in Acts 8:8. Luke writes, “So there was much joy in that city.” This should be goal for all of our cities in the state of South Carolina! This particular city had joy because Philip chose to evangelize them. Let’s see people in every city in our state find joy in Christ because we choose to evangelize them!

NOTES

[1] John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 1975), 48.

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