By Larry Ray Hafley
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5). “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).
What did Philip preach? What were some of the central themes of his preaching?
1. Philip Preached Christ. In preaching Christ, Philip preached “that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). This is the fundamental, foundation fact of the gospel. No presentation of salvation can ignore it. Further, Philip preached “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4). It is what Paul preached when he preached “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2),and it is what Philip preached. These same essential points must be presented today.
2. Philip Preached The Kingdom of God. To preach “things concerning the kingdom of God” is to preach the kingdom of God (cf. Acts 20:25). Philip told of the kingdom of promise and prophecy, of the kingdom “which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44). He told of the rule and reign of the Christ. He spoke of the government, the mountain of the house of the Lord, of the throne of David (Isa. 2:2-4; Lk. 1:31-33). Philip taught that one must be born again, that he must be born of water and of the Spirit, before he can become a citizen of that kingdom (Jn. 3:3, 5). He said that one must be converted, become as a little child, and do the will of the Father, or else he cannot enter the kingdom (Matt. 7:21-23; 18:3). He said that God “bath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son.” (Col. 1:13). The kingdom of God is the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18, 19). So, Philip preached concerning the church. He told of its one head, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Philip stressed and impressed upon his audience that since we have received such a person, “let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).
3. Philip Preached The Name Of Jesus Christ. To preach the name of Jesus Christ is to preach the authority of Jesus Christ. The Jews asked the apostles, “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Peter said, “that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him . . . .” Observe that it was by the power or name or authority of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 4:7, 10, 12). The name of Jesus is the power or authority of Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other (name, power or authority – LRH): for there is none other name (or authority – LRH) under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Philip, therefore, spoke of salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. He said that Christ now has “all authority” and that those who are taught concerning Christ are to be baptized “into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:18-20).
After Jesus partook of humanity and humbled Himself unto death, God exalted Him and gave Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:9-I1). Jesus was given the name, “Jesus,” at His birth, but the name He received here was after His resurrection. This name is His power or authority. At the power or authority of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess. Philip thus spoke of this authority and power when he preached concerning the name of Jesus Christ.
4. Philip Preached Baptism. Yes, Philip preached the necessity of faith, repentance and baptism. His word produced faith and the fruits or results of his preaching shows the presence of godly sorrow unto repentance (Acts 8:9-12). To the Ethiopian eunuch, Philip preached Christ Jesus. That he preached baptism is indicated in the next verse (Acts 8:36). After hearing Jesus preached, the eunuch expressed his desire to be baptized. Why would he do that; indeed, how could he do that, if baptism had not been included in Philip’s preaching of Jesus?
What did Philip say about baptism? “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16) “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). He evidently said words equal to those as the texts of Scripture indicate nothing else.
What Philip preached must be preached today. These topics can never grow old. They are vital because their consequences are eternal. Are these great and grand themes being spoken in truth and love and boldness where you assemble?
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 1, p. 25
January 6, 1983