What can be added to perfection? Imagine taking a sharpie and attempting to enhance the famous painting of Mona Lisa. Your efforts would most likely deface such a wonderful painting more than improve it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is complete and perfect, yet in our efforts to win souls for the Kingdom, we can do more harm than help when straying from the simplicity of its message.
Our zeal to effectively expound the Gospel can sometimes over complicate the message if we aren’t wise. Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch comes to mind when I think of a perfectly orchestrated opportunity to witness. If you observe the text in Acts closely, you’ll notice that Phillip didn’t have to say much to be effective in communicating the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch.
When Philip encountered the eunuch, the Ethiopian was already reading the book of Isaiah. The passage that he was reading had to do with the Jesus Christ. Maybe you are starting to see how this was a staged event by God for Phillip to witness to the eunuch. There are a few points that I’d like to highlight from this passage that I feel can assist us all in witnessing more effectively.
The first point that I’d like to expound upon is to be led by the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:29 reads: “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” Notice how the Spirit spoke to Philip and gave him directive to go and join the eunuch in his chariot. The second point that I’d like to discuss is obedience to the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:30 reads: “And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?”
Philip listened and obeyed the Spirit and was available to be used. The stage was already set because the eunuch was reading the prophet Isaiah. Phillip asked if there was any way he could assist the eunuch in understanding what he was reading. This action displays our willingness to serve others and teach those who lack understanding. The eunuch then replied by asking how could he understand unless someone would guide him.
Now that the opportunity to help had been proposed to Philip, all he had to do was act on it. The passage that the eunuch was reading had to do with Jesus Christ and he asked of Philip, “Who was this prophet spoken of?” and Philip preached unto him Jesus. We should learn from this passage when it comes to preaching, the simplicity of Jesus to those who have yet to hear the wonderful Gospel.
Sometimes we assume that the people we witness to have already heard the Gospel. It may be surprising to learn that many haven’t heard the full Gospel. Philip didn’t try to shove the whole Old Testament down the eunuch’s throat in one conversation, yet he preached Jesus. Are we preaching Jesus to the world today?
If you observe the progression of this dialogue between Philip and the eunuch, you’ll notice that Phillip was effective because of the following—he listened to the Holy Spirit; he made himself available; he listened twice as much as he spoke; he met the immediate needs of the eunuch and he preached Jesus. This led to the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, and possibly resulted in the eunuch bringing the Gospel back to Africa upon his return. We must learn to preach Jesus and stop over complicating the Gospel. Be available, be obedient, and be effective.