Power & Presence

Sermon Series:Acts

In Acts 8, the church was scattered due to persecution, thus launching the next phase of Acts 1:8. Philip went to Samaria where crowds heard him preach the Gospel and saw signs and wonders and there was great joy in the city as people believed the Good News and were baptized. Among them was Simon who had ‘astounded’ the crowds with his magic for years. He and everyone else thought he was a big deal until Philip came to town proclaiming Jesus. As Peter and John heard about what was happening in Samaria and came to see for themselves, they realized that the people had not yet received the Holy Spirit. So they prayed for people to receive the Holy Spirit which led to Simon offering to buy the apostolic power to give people the Holy Spirit. Simon wanted power without discipleship and Peter rebuked him and called him to repentance. An angel then told Philip to go to the Desert Road that runs south of Jerusalem and to come alongside an Ethiopian eunuch who was in his chariot reading Isaiah 53. Beginning with that Scripture, Philip connected the dots of the passage to Jesus, baptized the Ethiopian, was “carried away by the Spirit,” and showed up on the Mediterranean coast where he continued his evangelism tour. Filled with joy and the Spirit, the Ethiopian most likely spread the Gospel in Northern Africa. This chapter highlights the tandem of both the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Ministry among the Samaritans was a demonstration of Power as Philip preached the Gospel, cast out evil spirits, healed the lame and paralyzed, and performed miraculous signs and wonders. Ministry to the Ethiopian was an embodiment of Presence as Philip listened to the Holy Spirit, came alongside the Ethiopian, asked a question, paid attention, connected the dots of the text of Scripture to Jesus, and baptized the guy. The passage invites us to explore the ways and means of the Holy Spirit and the evidence of His power and presence in and through our lives. “The Church is sent into the world to continue that which he came to do, in the power of the same Spirit, reconciling people to God.” - Lesslie Newbigin