Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
The early church is under persecution, yet it continues to expand as the disciples and the new believers spread out from Jerusalem and into the rest of the surrounding areas. As they go, they share the gospel and life. Philip was one of those who was sharing in Samaria. When he shared the gospel, many believed and placed their faith in Christ and were baptized. One of those was a magician named Simon. Simon had been amazing the people of Samaria with his magic. As he put on his show, people would sit with their mouths open and they even assumed he received his “power” from God. Yet when they saw the power of the Holy Spirit through Philip they were not simply amazed. They responded by trusting Christ.
People want to be entertained. It’s nice to sit and watch someone else do something. Especially if what they are doing is remarkable or hard to explain. Yet in this passage we see that though the ministry of the Holy Spirit is remarkable and difficult to explain, it is not entertainment. Rather ministry should include a clear call to life change and furthermore a response from those receiving the ministry for life change.
Simon wowed the people with his magic but he never took them past the point of entertainment. The people would leave saying, “that Simon is special.” “That Simon has a gift.” “That Simon gets his power from God.” Yet it never progressed passed that. On the other hand, when the people saw the power of God through Philip, they responded by trusting Christ and being baptized. The gospel ministry is not entertainment. It is an invitation to eternal life and a call for life change.
Few quick applications.
#1. Remember I am not an entertainer. Entertainers leave people saying, “wow, that guy was good.” Rather I am a minister. My role is to lead people to see the greatness of Jesus.
#2. Give clear chances to respond. Philip was clear on what he called people to do and they responded.
#3. Keep giving the call to baptism. Baptism is the public identification of a believer. Though getting wet in public doesn’t seem to be the most desirable thing to do, it is a significant action for a new believer and I must keep giving the invitation.
Father remind me that I am not an entertainer. You don’t judge my ministry on showmanship but rather obedience. May I keep preaching the gospel and fight the temptation to merely entertain. Success isn’t when they leave saying, wow that was good. Success is when they live changed lives.