Preaching Christ

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.”

                                                                                                                                                                Acts 8:4-5

When Luke begins to write the second volume of his account of the spread of the Gospel of Christ he introduces is as a description of the continuing work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His Gospel was the beginning of the works of the Christ.  The book of Acts continues to describe what the Lord is doing.

This is a good way to think about the task that we have been given as believers.  We are called as individual believers, and together as the Church to be witnesses.  Darrell Johnson in his Discipleship on the Edge writes about the fact that as witnesses we are responsible to describe the works done by the one who is the defendant in a court of law.  This one is the Lord Jesus Christ who has come as the light and life of this broken world.  We point to Him.  It is He who saves us.  He is the One who gave His life for us.  When the Apostle John describes the two witnesses he points out that they do their work dressed in sackcloth.  Again Johnson points out that this point us to the prophetic call to real repentance towards God.  We cannot follow the living God without turning from every other thing that we worship.

Luke describes the witness of one follower of the Lord, a deacon by the name of Philip who took the Word of God to a city in Samaria.  As Luke describes the witness of this man he uses several powerful words to present the key themes before us.  We wonder about the words that Philip used, looking to discern the correct approach to take in reaching our own city.  Luke takes us much deeper here as he points to the reality of what Philip was bearing witness to.

First Luke tells us that Philip was part of a movement of many believers.  Perhaps this was a work done by the Church together as led by the Holy Spirit.  They preached the word wherever they went.  Luke here uses the term made famous by the Apostle John in his Gospel.  They preached the logos.  David Pao in his Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus writes about this word that it refers to the Word of God in a personal, powerful way, as the one who comes into our world and speaks powerfully.  Whenever this word speaks its sovereign purpose is accomplished.  This personal, powerful nature of the Word we preach is confirmed as we continue to look at what Luke writes here.  Philip went to a city in Samaria and preached the Christ there.  This preaching was attended with the power of the Lord who confirmed its genuiness by the powerful way He worked in that city.  To preach the logos is to preach Christ.  This is our task as witnesses for Christ today in our cities.  It is not our task to produce the power of the word of God.  We are responsible to preach the Christ expecting that His power will be at work among us to convert the sinner.

John tells us that if the Lord Jesus Christ is glorified by being lifted up on the cross, being proclaimed as Christ crucified, then He will draw all men unto Himself.  The question for us is this, “Do we believe that He is still at work in this way today?”  Do I believe it?  Does the Church believe it?  If we do then we will be out proclaiming the Christ to everyone who will listen.  That is in fact our calling.  It takes courageous faith to walk with the Lord in this way, bearing witness to His saving power.  Whenever we do, we become fruitful.  When we find ourselves seeking some other way, then we begin to decline.