Biblical Examples Of Conversion
– Acts Eight


   In Acts chapter eight we begin to observe the spread of the gospel into Judea and Samaria. Jesus had said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) As this chapter begins we learn that Saul was present giving his approval to Stephen's death. The death of Stephen was the beginning of the third Jewish persecution. Saul was prominent in this persecution. He drug Christians from their homes and put them into prison. (Acts 8:3)


   This persecution led to the church being scattered. "They that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." (Acts 8:4) The apostles remained at Jerusalem and other Christians went every where preaching the word. Persecution must never keep us from our work, but it can possibly cause us to work somewhere else.


   Those that know the gospel and have Christ in their lives cannot be put to silence. "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them." (Acts 8:5) Many Samaritans believed and were baptized. Simon was among that number. Peter and John went to Samaria and  passed  on  spiritual  gifts  by  laying  on of hands. Simon tried to buy the power to be able to do the same. Peter told him that his heart was not right in the sight of God. He encouraged Simon to repent and pray to God for forgiveness. 


   Following the great events in Samaria Philip was told to go down on the road from Jerusalem and Gaza. There he met the treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. The man was reading a passage from Isaiah 53 but he did not understand what he read. He invited Philip to teach him concerning this Scripture. Philip proceeded to preach Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35) When they came to a certain water, the eunuch desired to be baptized. Upon a simple confession of faith in Jesus he was baptized into Christ. The eunuch came up out of the water rejoicing as a saved man. Philip came up to continue to preach Jesus to others. (Acts 8:39-40)  


   The third Jewish persecution – Acts 8:1-4: Saul consented to Stephen's death. He led a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. The persecution that followed the death of Stephen caused the church to scatter to Samaria and Africa. The church is now forced to do what it had been reluctant to do. The church is now forced to get the gospel out to the surrounding areas. During the persecution the apostles remained in Jerusalem.


   It is amazing to observe the difference in what people do. Observe: (1) Devout men buried Stephen and lamented his death, while (2) Saul made havoc of the church, putting men and women in prison, and (3) The scattered disciples went everywhere preaching the word. Christian men and women were persecuted to prison and to death. No Christian is exempt from persecution and sometimes it is wise to flee.                                             


   The conversion of the Samaritans – Acts 8:5-25: Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ and the gospel of His kingdom. (Acts 8:12) Signs and wonders confirmed the message Philip preached. As the gospel was preached many obeyed the gospel and the Lord’s church grew rapidly. Jesus had sown in Samaria and now Philip reaps a harvest there. (John 4)                                  


   The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ centered in the message of His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and His eventual return to receive the obedient! Salvation from sin comes through obedience to the word of God. The result of preaching Jesus is always (1) Faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ (Acts 8:36), (2) repentance from sin (Acts 3:19), and (3) baptism for the remission of sins. (Acts 8:38-39) People that obey the gospel become the most joyful people on earth.      


   Philip preached things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. Those that believed were baptized both men and women. A man named Simon believed and he was baptized. "He continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." Upon hearing of the conversion of the Samaritans the apostles sent Peter and John to impart to them spiritual gifts. Simon tried to buy this power with money. His heart was not right with God!


   Was Simon converted? The Bible says, "Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." (Acts 8:13) He did exactly what the other Samaritans did. Simon is an example of how fallen Christians can be restored. He was told to “repent” and “pray.” (Acts 8:22) Christians that sin will be lost unless they repent and pray to God for forgiveness.


   Christ is preached to an Ethiopian – Acts 8:27-35: This account is the story of a preacher (Philip) and a sinner (the Ethiopian). When God said “go,” Philip went to do the will of the Heavenly Father. Philip was ready to teach and the eunuch was anxious to learn. He preached Christ to the man from Ethiopia. Conversion is produced by conviction that comes from hearing the word of God.       


   “Jesus” was the message that Philip preached to the Ethiopian.  We must also open our mouth with boldness and speak clearly and the message of Jesus. We must preach to people that Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah, and that He is the only person through whom we must be saved.


   The Ethiopian obeys the gospel – Acts 8:36-40: God is concerned about the redemption of one lost soul. The Lord uses people like Philip to convert other people like the Ethiopian. A part of conversion includes baptism into Christ. You cannot preach Jesus without preaching baptism "into Christ."                                                    

   The manner of baptizing in the early church was to bury the whole body in the water. The Book of Acts contains several cases of conversion. When all the case are studied we learn that those that were saved: (1) heard the word of God, (2) believed the salvation message about Jesus, (3) repented of sins, (4) confessed Jesus as Lord and Christ, (5) were baptized (immersed) into Christ, (6) received forgiveness of sins, and (7) received the ordinary gift of the Holy Spirit. The gospel of Christ, promptly and cheerfully obeyed, leads to rejoicing. The Ethiopia man rejoiced because his name was written in Heaven.       


   Are you willing to do whatever is necessary to go to heaven? Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16) Truth must be heard, understood and obeyed in order to bring salvation.  After man obeys the gospel he must remain steadfast in his service to God. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (I Corinthians 15:58) Once you learn the truth of God's word hold it with all your strength and heart.