Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. ACTS 8:5 Notice what Philip preached when he arrived in Samaria: Christ! What did that mean in the first century? Remember, they didn’t have the New Testament to use. All they had was the Old Testament. So when Philip “preached Christ to them” (Acts 8:5), he was simply explaining how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament expectation of the coming Jewish Messiah. The only message the early church had was the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ and Him crucified” was the message (1 Corinthians 2:2). The church today has so muddied the gospel water that we can preach forever and never get around to Christ crucified. We’ve added cultural issues and social issues and theological issues to the Gospel that probably would have just confused the first-century Christians. They only had an eyewitness story to tell of a Messiah who died and rose again. That was what Christ did, and that is what the church preached. And look what happened when Philip preached that simple message. Multitudes of people responded to his preaching and the miracles he performed, “and there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:6–8). - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening
This particular devotional is both an eye opener and a condemnation for today's Christians. It's no wonder the world sees no huge value in joining the Church of the living God. Note clearly that didn't say "the Church". The Church Universal is God's Church, it has no denominations. It has no special groups of people. Jesus is the Head of One Church. One body.
I have yet to be to a real revival that had fruit to pick such as I have read of some of the Evangelists of old had done.
But I have to consider that in light of the stories told the only message taught that brought souls to God had only to do with Jesus Christ being preached. Just as Philip did in this passage.
He preached the fulfillment of Scripture.
He preached the holy Spirit indwelling Jesus, proving He was the Christ.
The message that won souls wasn't self-condemnation it was that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, suffered an died on a cross in our place. He fulfilled the Scriptures in every detail of the coming Messiah. The King of Kings and Lord of He was and is and evermore shall be.
Jesus's life was of compassion to others. They taught that. It was of righteousness, they taught that. It was of fleeing temptations. They taught that. It was of His birth in Bethlehem. Scripture said it, they taught it. It was said in Scripture that out of Egypt He would call His Son, they taught that because Jesus fulfilled that. His very manor of birth was written centuries earlier, they taught that is how it happened, with witnesses! They taught the very things that Jesus shared with them after His resurrection from every place in Scripture.
Living for Jesus comes after a true understanding of Jesus, His birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection. Teaching about what a Christian life is about BEFORE a person is saved is like reading in fluent Greek the owner's manual to a car with no pictures to someone who knows nothing more than you sound funny and probably kind of scary. People need Christ preached first. They need to be tranformed by the new birth in Christ. Then they begin to learn about the truth of God.
My Friend, Dear Reader...
Jesus said He is the Way the Truth and the Life. You want to be saved? It will not start with your failed attempts at living a good life. Your good life, no matter how perfect it looks to you, doesn't measure up to God's standards. Jesus came to take your place when it comes to meeting that standard. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. He willingly obeyed His Father in coming here as He did. To live as He did. To go through the horrific death He died. In order to rise again, as the risen Lord and Savior. To sit at the right hand of God the Father. To be able to intercede on behalf of those who have placed their faith and trust in Him for Salvation.
He preached Christ. I believe that Dr. Jeremiah was right in saying what goes through Churches today would confuse the early Church people. They were taught what was important. They were taught about Christ for that's all they had with no real New Testament written yet.
When Saul became Paul, he confounded his compatriots by proving what? That he was now a real righteous man and should be listened to, that now he can show you 12 points to a better life? No. He was proving one thing and proved it well.
That Jesus was the Christ. That to be saved you must believe and receive. Tge letters we read that are the New Testament came decades later.
What are you thinking of my Friend when it comes to life? Are you tired? Tired of running? Then start a walk with Jesus and find that He's been waiting for you all the time.
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