Speaking the Truth in Love

Philip’s Evangelism Plan

Philip the evangelist found the Ethiopian treasury secretary, a eunuch, on the desert road leading from Jerusalem down to Gaza. The man was riding in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah. At the traveler’s invitation, Philip climbed into the chariot and began teaching him. His success with the eunuch suggests a seven-point plan for reaching potential converts.

Have an Obedient Heart. “An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go.” […] And he rose and went.” (Acts 8:26-27). The average Christian has converted 0 persons. This means that we think of the Lord’s final instructions as the Great Suggestion. But Commission is still the right word.

Be Motivated by God’s Math. “An Ethiopian, a eunuch” (Acts 8:27). One convert. And we don’t even know his name. Compared with Pentecost when 3,000 people were baptized, Philip’s success was nothing. But in evangelism math, one equals many. No doubt, the eunuch went home and taught his friends.

Depend on the Spirit. “The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot'” (Acts 8:29). We can’t expect this sort of supernatural guidance. But we should expect the Spirit’s participation in our work. This is why we pray for open doors and the ability to speak plainly.

Ask Good Questions. “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). Questions—especially open questions—stimulate thinking. Open questions begin with words like how and why. Why do so many atheists hate God? How can you hate someone you don’t believe in?

Start in the Right Place. “And beginning with this scripture” (Acts 8:35). The right place is wherever the potential convert is. The eunuch was reading Isaiah, and so that’s where Philip started.

Remember What Gospel Means. “He told him the good news of Jesus” (Acts 8:35). The gospel isn’t a package of rules and restrictions. God’s Son entered our world, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended into the heavens to reign over his people. And he’s coming again to take us home!

Speak Up. “Then Philip opened his mouth” (Acts 8:35). If we want to introduce someone to Jesus, we’ll have to say something. Simply setting a good example isn’t enough. Faith comes by hearing God’s word.

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