And there was great joy in that city … Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:8,39)
The church of Christ is a body of people that experiences something that cannot be found in the world. There is a profound change that takes place in the hearts and minds of those who obey the form of doctrine delivered by the Holy Spirit to men. It is life moving. No greater joy can a person have than when they realize without Christ they are eternally lost and then rising from the waters of baptism knowing their sins are washed away. At one moment there is hopelessness. The next moment there is eternal hope. The ugliness of sin burdens the soul until the beauty of God shines through by His grace. A heart seeking for answers is tormented by the false hopes of the carnal mind until that time when the power of the gospel removes all doubt and joy is found. The passions of the flesh drive the desires of man into oblivion but find rescue in the arms of Jesus who seeks and saves the lost soul. God’s love is found in His divine plan to bring joy to the destitute hearts of men.
Teaching the gospel of Christ to the lost can be a life changing experience. This is true for both parties: the one teaching and the one hearing. Allowing the power of the word to work through the mercy of God gives confidence to the teacher that salvation comes from God not man. The truth of the gospel is what convicts men. Teaching what to do to be saved is a simple process of using the word of God to guide, instruct and convict the heart of sin. There are no words man can add to what God has already said. When an honest heart hears the good news of salvation, they will respond in obedience. Joy comes when the truth of God is accepted.
Philip went to the city of Samaria and taught the gospel of Christ. Later he would spend time with a man traveling home to Ethiopia. In both cases lives were changed. The city of Samaria was filled with joy. They had learned how much God loved them and sent His son to die for them. Obeying the gospel lives were changed bringing peace, happiness, joy and satisfaction knowing God’s grace was powerful enough to take away their sins. They had reason to be filled with joy. Life had a clearer picture and death was not as fearsome as it once was. Learning the love of God changed their hearts. Philip was directed by the Holy Spirit to find a man of Ethiopia that was the kingdom’s treasurer. Finding the man sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah, Philip taught Jesus to him. Seeing water the Ethiopian asked why he could not be baptized. The preacher told the man there was no reason he could not and having made a confession of his belief in the Lord, both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. What happens next is special: the Ethiopian went on his way rejoicing. Why? He knew Jesus. His life was changed. The record does not tell what happened during his long journey home or what took place when he arrived back in Ethiopia. There is no doubt the trip was filled with joy and his return to the homeland was the beginning of many years of happiness in the grace of God. The man who had left on his journey to Jerusalem returned a changed man.
The gospel changes people. It will impact the hearts of those who teach and will move the hearts of the saved. There is great power in the gospel. Jesus came to change men’s lives and through His word brings joy to all who will obey His word. Seeing the joy in the eyes of the newborn in Christ is one of the most amazing sights to behold. Tears of joy. Lips of praise. Hearts reborn. What an experience. Thank you God.