Google+ 01/21/14 There Was Great Joy in the City!

Acts 8:5-8

 

Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.

Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message

And see the miraculous signs he did.

Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims.

And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed.

So there was great joy in that city.

 

In part two of our six-part devotion series entitled, "Acts of Joy For Jesus!" Luke tells us about Philip.  Remember that in Acts 1, Jesus ascends and empowers the disciples to act on His behalf.  Philip is doing just that.  He went to the city of Samaria.  Stop the presses!  Philip makes a specific trip to speak to the Samaritans?  Tell me it isn't so!  Yes, Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world, particularly since the Jews had rejected the Word of God.  Notice that the crowds were eager to hear Philip's words.  This means they came with open hearts.  This point is critical to the success of the Good News.  God encourages us to go where the open hearts reside.  Guess what?  Most of the time in the book of Acts, that is NOT with the Jews, but with the Gentiles.  For whatever incomprehensible reason, many Christians actually reject Jesus.  They don't want to hear His Word.  They don't read their Bibles daily nor have regular prayer time or church attendance.  Interestingly enough, they do have regular golf, bowling, video game, and TV times.  As I often tell my congregation, God wants us "all in or all out!"  If you don't believe me, just read the book of Revelation!!!  Because the Samaritans had open hearts to the Word of God through Philip, many evil spirits were cast out.  Don't picture this scene as something out of "Ghostbusters."  Sometimes the evil spirits that flee can't even be seen.  The love of money turns to charity.  Hours of mindless TV watching turns to prayer and Bible reading.  Isolation away from God's house turns to fellowshipping in the temple daily.  When our souls and hearts are healed by the Holy Spirit, often physical ailments seem "healed" also.  Then there is the fact that some do have the power of actually physically healing others, by the power that Jesus gives them.  This is the ultimate act of devotion as these healers put everyone else first and die to self to carry God's cross.  Their sacrifice is crucial to the healing, as is the recipients' willingness to accept God's touch.  Now for God's big finish!  When all this occurs, look what happens.  It should happen to all of us and it should be our daily prayer.  "There Was Great Joy in the City!"