But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)
Saul of Tarsus brought a heavy persecution upon the church, scattering the saints everywhere preaching the word. The evangelist Philip traveled to the heart of the mountains of Israel to the former capital of the northern tribes, Samaria. In the days of Ahab and Jezebel, Samaria was the center for idolatrous worship. The devout Jews despised the Samaritans as a half-breed mix of Jew and Gentile. Philip took a bold step by coming to the city of Samaria to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Crowds flocked to Philip eagerly, hearing the words about the kingdom of God and seeing the miracles which he did. There was great joy in Samaria. Philip preached a simple message of hope for the people to hear. He preached the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, men and women were baptized into Christ.
The early disciples heard a message of the kingdom of God and the name of Christ. Examining the context of what men preached, it is clear the message was to turn the hearts of men to the kingship of Jesus Christ. Preaching the kingdom is preaching the king. Every kingdom must have a lord or sovereign ruler. The people clearly understood the meaning of the kingdom as they lived under the rule of the Roman Empire. There was no democracy in Rome. Caesar was the sole ruler of the empire and had all authority. Preaching the kingdom of God impressed upon the people’s minds that Christ was the sole ruler with all authority.
Every kingdom has a royal covenant or laws that bind the kingdom together. The subjects of the kingdom are required to follow those laws in accordance with the authority of the king. All rights and privileges are contained within that law with measures of security, protection, and blessing. Philip preached the kingdom of God with the covenant of Jesus Christ. The people of Samaria heard the evangelist outline the conditions of entrance to the kingdom. They listened to the word of God, believed the message of the kingdom, understood the authority of the name of Jesus Christ, and men and women were baptized for the remission of sins. Kingdom preaching.
Philip would be amazed at what he would hear preached today. It seems everything but the kingdom of God is the message of the pulpit. Social issues dominate the message of many in the religious world. Politics are often heard from the wooden pulpits of human wisdom. Fun, frolic, and entertainment are the more acceptable modes of preaching. Philip preached the kingdom of God because the gospel is about kingdom preaching. The one who comes to Christ must first accept the authority of God’s Son to rule over their lives. God’s kingdom is not a democracy but a monarchy where the authority only comes from the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus was given all authority by His Father. He rules in the kingdom of God. His word is law. When preaching does not come from the law of Christ, it is a false kingdom with failed promises.
Kingdom preaching involves many things. Philip went to a city most despised but needed the gospel as much as anyone. The evangelist did not segregate preaching to one brand of people. He knew kingdom preaching was needed for all people. Philip did not go to Samaria to impress the people with miracles. Salvation did not come through the many miracles done by the evangelist. Kingdom preaching is where the hope of eternal life would come. Philip told the people about Jesus Christ, His rule, authority, love, sacrifice, and commands. This is the message of kingdom preaching. To be a citizen of the kingdom, one must obey the will of the Father. The name of Jesus Christ was the authority. When the people heard kingdom preaching, both men and women were baptized. Why? Kingdom preaching is about washing sins away, which can only be done in the waters of baptism. Obedience. Authority. Acceptance. Preach the kingdom.