“When Philip ran up to [the chariot], he heard [the Ethiopian] reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” (Acts 8:30 HCSB)
If you have received Christ, you have to share Christ. It is the gift that must keep on giving. In this amazing, miraculous story from Acts, several supra-cultural principles for sharing Christ with others become immediately apparent. To be effective in reaching our neighbors and the world with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, I believe that the Scriptures give us all we need to know how to do it.
1) Obey The Great Commission
First of all, we must be obedient to share Christ with others. In verse 26 of this chapter, Philip is told to “get up and go.” Though this command was in direct response to a person (the Ethiopian) who was in need of hearing the Gospel, it is also the ongoing command of our Lord to us to get up and go and make disciples (Matt 28:19).
2) Begin A Relationship
After Philip caught up with the chariot (he must have been running pretty fast), he asked the Ethiopian if he understood the Scriptures he was reading. It is important when sharing our faith, especially with someone we do not know, to build a relationship with them first. Find out who they are, what they already believe, and where they are at spiritually. Philip starts from a listening position rather than explaining. People want to be valued not talked down to.
3) Wait For An Invitation
Once you have established a relationship and there is a desire for the person to engage further, you will likely get an invitation to begin a process of discovery. The Ethiopian was glad to have Philip there, and so he invited Philip into the chariot with him (Acts 8:31). We should be careful not to share with people who are agitated with us and are not interested in what we have to say. It is very difficult for someone to receive revelation and have a changed heart if they are angry at the messenger.
4) Explain The Gospel From The Point Of Their Interest
In verse 35 it says that “Philip proceeded to tell him the good news of Jesus Christ, beginning [from the Scripture the Ethiopian was reading].” It is never effective to begin to explain something to someone from a point they are not interested in. It is far better to start from the point they are struggling with. The only way to discover where that point of interest lies is making sure you have not skipped step two: LISTEN.
5) Follow Up
The Ethiopian was glad to receive the revelation through Philip and so asked the evangelist: “‘What could keep me from being baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart you may.’” Philip followed up to ensure that the Ethiopian understood what he was committing to. There was no lapse in time or half-year discipling training, but just a further inquiry into the sincerity of the decision.
If this historical incident was significant enough to be included in Holy Scripture, then it certainly is an excellent model for our own evangelistic activities. I believe that if you follow these simple steps, you will see great fruit born from your evangelistic activities.
Father, I come to you in the Name of Jesus. Thank you for choosing me for this mission possible. I know that with You nothing is impossible, and that by the power of Your Holy Spirit I can be an effective witness for Christ. Let me obey Your commission, and depend solely on You for the right words to speak every time I share Christ with others. Amen.