“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.” (Acts 8:26-28)
Philip the deacon had preached the gospel in Samaria to a people who respected the Law of Moses. Upon leaving the Lord directed him to a certain road on which he encountered an Ethiopian official who seems to have been a Jew or Jewish convert. Philip met him on the road and preached the gospel of salvation in Jesus based on what the man knew from the Old Testament, using the man’s question about his current reading in the prophet Isaiah. He was baptized and received the Holy Spirit and presumably brought the gospel to Africa.
We must note how comfortable Philip was in his methods of evangelism. He was able to tailor the message he preached to the needs and culture of the one he approached. Yet he did not vary the gospel message itself. He focused only on Jesus, what He had done and why, and the sinner’s response to it. And He relied on the Holy Spirit for direction and obeyed without question.
We too must vary our approach when presenting the gospel. Most of us think that evangelism takes place in large groups, but Philip shows us that we can evangelize as individuals, one on one. In fact when we look at the gospels we see that Jesus used this method as well. He preached often to large crowds but he also enjoyed being with people. He hung out with them, ate with them, listened to them and eventually shared the gospel with them. We can do the same in our own missional field, where we live, work and shop, the very areas where God has strategically placed us. He calls us to be His agents where we are, to fellowship with believers and unbelievers alike, to listen to them, hear their stories and complaints, pray for and with them and, in time, share the good news of salvation in Jesus alone.