Acts 8

Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the lost. Take the Eager-Beaver Approach, for example. “The more scalps, the better.” This numerical approach is decision-centered, and little (if any) effort is directed toward follow-up or discipleship or cultivating a relationship.

The Harvard Approach is quite different: “Let’s all discuss the world’s religions.” While this reason-centered approach is educational and occasionally quite stimulating, it suffers from one mild drawback—no one ever gets saved! Being sophisticated is more important than telling the truth about sin or heaven or hell. Discussion is in . . . decisions are out.

Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach: “I’m just a silent witness for God.” Somewhere along the line this person has swallowed one of Satan’s tastiest tidbits: “Just live a good Christian life. Others will ask you about Christ if they are really interested, so relax.” Faith, please remember, “comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17).

What we need, I submit to you, is the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26–40.

Philip was engaged in an evangelistic crusade in Samaria when the Lord instructed him to go south to the desert road that ran from Jerusalem to Gaza. Faithful Philip “arose and went.” He was available (Principle 1). On the road he encountered an Ethiopian statesman traveling home from Jerusalem. And the Spirit of God prompted Philip to approach the traveler. Philip was led by the Spirit (Principle 2). He sensed that God was clearly opening the door.

Philip cooperated, for obedience (Principle 3) is essential. He heard the man reading Isaiah aloud and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” A proper opening (Principle 4) is so important. Philip didn’t barge in and start preaching.

The man invited Philip to sit with him and assist him in his quest for understanding. Philip responded with great tactfulness (Principle 5). Even though he had his foot in the door, he remained sensitive to when he should speak of salvation. When that moment came, he “opened his mouth” and became specific (Principle 6). No vague dialogue about religion. He spoke only of the Savior, the main issue. The last few verses then describe the follow-up(Principle 7) Philip employed.

As you rub shoulders with hungry, thirsty humanity, keep the Philip Approach in mind. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be at the moment Christ returns than riding shotgun in a twenty-first-century chariot, speaking openly about faith in the Savior.

As we become alert to those empty chariot seats God wants us to occupy,
we may even begin to feel comfortable in them.

I can't think of a place I'd rather be at the moment Christ returns than speaking openly about faith in the Savior.

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Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.