A CALL TO THE LOST!
Friday, 14 June 2019
Acts 8 : 1-25
Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. -Acts 8:5
Chapter 8 of the Book of Acts is a significant turning point where the gospel is taken to the Gentiles. It is interesting to note that the pivotal figure here named Philip, is not the Apostle Philip. In Acts 8:1 – it says, at the time of the great persecution “they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles…” So the Apostles remained in Jerusalem (including the Apostle Philip mentioned in Acts 1:13). However, we see in Acts 6:1-6 that the Apostles chose seven devout men “ of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” to serve on the tables ( i.e. food distribution) and one among them was Philip. He is further mentioned in Acts 21:8 as “Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven...” Now, distinguishing between Philip the Apostle and Philip the evangelist – it is the evangelist Philip that was powerfully used by God to preach the gospel in Samaria, then to the Ethiopian eunuch and later to preach the gospel along the coastal plain from Azotus to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).
When Stephen was martyred, Philip arose! He was not terrified by the atrocities unleashed by Saul (Acts 8:3). When the seven were chosen to serve on the table, the qualification set by the Apostles were: good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. The laying on of the hands on the seven (Acts 6:5) was not for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, since they were already filled. However, that laying of hands set them apart for the service of the Lord! They are the first group of people set for a specific task in the New Testament church. But you see the task assigned to the seven was to manage food distribution! Since Philip was already filled with the Holy Spirit, we must assume he would have heard the solemn commandment of the Lord in Acts 1:8 “ But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
In the list of seven men given in Acts 6:5, the first name is of Stephen – who like a roaring lion spoke the truth of the Word with boldness and startled the religious leadership. He was martyred. The next in queue is Philip – look at him boldly rising to the occasion and taking the mantle from Stephen ignited by the Spirit of God going to a place where no Jew would ever want to go!! Samaritans were looked down by the Jews and they hated each other. The Jews of that time travelling to Galilee would avoid Samaria! But the gospel message transcended the first century barrier between the Jews and Samaritans. The Spirit of God created a fellowship of believers out of the hate that existed. [NKJV – Study Bible]
Philip was a true disciple of Jesus – when he was selected for a job that was not really gospel preaching, he was faithful in whatever was entrusted to him. In God’s right time, the door was opened divinely and Philip did not wait for any more confirmation – he understood the need after Stephen’s martyrdom, he understood the urge of the Holy Spirit within him, he understood the loving command of His Master and Saviour – and he stepped out to go to a city where the people hated by his community stayed. When Philip was willing to obey the leading of the Spirit of God and defied the traditional barriers of caste, God started working miracles through his preaching. He proclaimed Christ to them (Acts 8:5) In Acts 8:6 we see that they heard him and saw the signs he was performing.
Dear brethren, it is not the signs and wonders that matter, but if you and I are willing to get off the familiar surroundings truly following the leading of the Spirit, God is still willing to work. There are billions in this world yet to know the Lord. Are you willing to submit your life to Him?
“LORD Jesus, as I submit myself to You,
help me proclaim You to a lost world that needs You!
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