Sunday, August 17, 2014

Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through the Alphabet - P}

P is for Philip

Acts 8:5-6 - "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did."

When we think of the 'big name' preachers of the New Testament, often Paul and Peter come to mind. They were such 'larger than life' characters, full of great stories and amazing exploits. Paul is responsible for the earthly authorship of about 1/3 of the New Testament. Peter walked on water. They are both amazing examples of true Christianity.

Another man comes to mind when I am thinking of an amazing example to follow though, and that is Philip. One thing I can relate to with Philip is that he had four daughters who shared in his ministry. (Acts 21:8-9)

I love to read about the faithfulness of Philip - how he would go anywhere on a moment's notice and preach and share the Gospel with anyone who was seeking after it. Another thing we see from Acts 8 is that Philip preached to the Samaritans. Many people would not go minister to them because of past prejudices, but Philip did a great work for God among them and saw many saved. 

One of my favorite New Testament stories is when the Ethiopian man was riding through the desert reading the Scriptures, and in his heart, he was questioning God about what he was reading. God sends Philip there, and Philip immediately runs to the Ethiopian man's side. He did not question God or have concern for his own safety - he just made sure to mind the Spirit's leading and do his part. 

Of course, we know that Philip used the opportunity to preach the Gospel to the Ethiopian man, who trusted Christ as his Savior, and excitedly chose to be baptized immediately. This was a man who was very wise and a great leader among men, yet God used humble Philip to show him the true way of salvation. As soon as Philip was done, and the encounter was over, he was taken away to his next task, and the Ethiopian man went home rejoicing, a better man because of what Philip shared with him.

Acts 8:26-39 "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

I like to ponder on the simplicity, humility, and obedience of a man such as Philip. He was very devoted to the ministry, and we can read about him throughout the book of Acts. He was known for his faithfulness. He was not too self-absorbed in his own life to overlook any opportunity for the Lord to use him to preach the Gospel. He ministered to those that others would not go to. I think the Lord sent him there because he was so willing to do whatever God asked, and I'm sure there are many people in heaven today because of the faithfulness and willing spirit of this one humble preacher.

Like Philip, I wish to be always looking to the needs of others, and looking for opportunities to minister to those who are hurting or seeking after God. I want to be open to the call to go wherever, and to whomever God sends me, to share the Gospel. I am looking forward to seeing God bless those humble efforts!

Ben and Me

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