Last post I quoted Spurgeon and said that we need to let the lion out of cage. We don’t need to be fearful but we need to faithfully tell the truth of God’s Word and I applied that to evangelism and then told a fabricated story, although I am sure true in many parts to many people. The Word is studied and over time they are convicted and boom the Spirit does His work and they are saved…they repent and believe. After I posted, my daily reading was in Acts 8 and I thought of my reading from the day before in Acts 7.
Let me introduce them by way of Acts 17. When Paul was on Mars Hill he brought the message straight and some responded and some didn’t.
 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”  So Paul went out from their midst.  But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. (Acts 17:32-34 ESV)
The great Apostle Paul got a mixed response. Some believed and others mocked and others said, ‘tell me more next time.’ That sets up Acts 7 and Acts 8 where there are two completely different responses.
In Acts 7 Stephen brought it! He retells some of OT history: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Israel’s apostasy but Stephen gets cut off when he lets them know that they were the ones who were guilty because they didn’t accept the leaders that God put in place.
 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. (Acts 7:54 ESV)
Most of you know that it got worse and Stephen lost his life. The message was not well received.
But then there’s a beautiful historical account that has a different result. An Ethiopian was riding and reading in his chariot but he wasn’t getting it. So Philip, led by the Spirit, moved closer to the chariot and the Ethiopian was in Isaiah 53.
 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
(Acts 8:32-33 ESV)
Philip explains the text to the man and he comes to faith. Philip then baptizes the man at his request.
So both Stephen and Philip used the Bible. Stephen summarized and applied and Philip simply explained the text. There was nothing wrong with either approach but as I mentioned last time, the same sun that melts the ice, hardens the clay. The Word was brought and God did a melting act in the Ethiopian and a hardening act in the gang that killed Stephen.
One of my underlined sections from Acts comes later on in the book:
 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,  for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:9-10 ESV)
The Lord was encouraging Paul that there were some in Corinth that would come to faith and Paul needed to stay faithful in preaching the gospel. We can get discouraged sometimes because our success might seem limited from a human standpoint but we are successful when we faithful share the message. That’s when our job is done, we can’t convert anyone. There may well be some in your community, in your workplace, in your neighbourhood, in your family who have not yet come to faith but will. People respond differently to the gospel but it’s our job to be faithful and let the animal out of the cage and leave the results to God.