Philip the Evangelist - Acts 8

Philip the Evangelist

Acts 8:1-40.

Following the martyrdom of Stephen, the church in Jerusalem was severely persecuted, as Saul hauled believers off to prison.  That marked the sudden end of Philip's ministry to Greek-speaking widows there.  He had been one of the seven men chosen to serve tables, but persecution drove him and others elsewhere.

"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them."  Prior to Philip's arrival a man named Simon was looked upon as "the great power of God."  He was a sorcerer, a magician.  At the time the Jews despised the Samaritans.  Nevertheless, Philip preached the gospel, "and the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did."  Even Simon believed, and was baptized.  The great joy of revival filled the city of Samaria.

In the midst of revival an angel spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."  It was a deserted place.  But Philip "arose and went."  In that barren land he saw a chariot traveling down the road.  Next the Holy Spirit said, "Go near and overtake this chariot."  When he drew near, he heard a man inside reading aloud from the prophet Isaiah.  He shouted, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  The man answered, "How can I, unless someone guides me?"  Philip was invited to join the man and sit with him.  The man was reading from Isaiah 53.  "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."  He believed with his heart that Jesus is the Son of God, and was baptized by Philip.

The man was "a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury."  He was a Gentile. He was the first Gentile in the book of Acts to believe in Christ.  Returning to Ethiopia, the message of the gospel of Christ was carried to North Africa.

As quickly as Philip arrived on the scene he disappeared.  "The Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more."  He wound up in Azotus, also known as Ashdod, and from there "preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea."

The next time we find Philip he is living in a house in Caesarea with four daughters.  He has some visitors.  One house guest is a missionary named Paul.  Yes, this is the man who had persecuted the church in Jerusalem, and sent Philip running off to Samaria.  Later the apostle Paul spent two years in prison in Caesarea.  While there he was visited by "his friends."  Read Acts 21:8, 9; 24:23, 27.  What a great God we serve!

 

Father, keep us from being short-sighted, seeing only the events of the moment.  Help us to be open to the leading of Your Spirit, as we go and speak Your living Word.  Thank You for Your direction in our lives.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Conversion of Saul - Acts 9 

 
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Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
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