Monday, February 29, 2016

Following Philip

Acts 8:25-30 - Philip = one of the 7 "deacons".  Eunuch = no Jewish heritage, but had either embraced Judaism or was on the brink.  Had been to temple to worship.  No more record of who he is, but according to the church fathers, he became the father of the church in Ethiopia.

Reading from Isaiah - scroll written in continuous script:  no spaces or capital letters or punctuation.  Therefore, read aloud.

With proper form should read:
children's laughter
needs a tan
opportunity is now here

Acts 8:30-36
Acts 8:37 - this verse not in NIV - it did NOT appear in oldest manuscripts.  Usually in a footnote.
Acts 8:38-40
Acts 21:8-10 - Philip now known as "the evangelist"

Acts = historical narrative, BUT, there are practical life lessons within the historical narrative -
1 Cor. 10:11-13

I.  Philip's instructions
The messenger = angel, Holy Spirit, Both!!!
The message - clear - specific - personal

Question:  How was the message relayed?  verbal?  visible?  Answer:  Don't know.  Doesn't say.  Compare with the prophets - messages received by various means

Question:  Is the same mode of communication available today?  to me?
Answer:  YES!!!  BUT....
1)  this is God's prerogative  (not our choice)
2)  this is the exception (not the norm) - God generally does not do it this way. 
Compare to miracles:    many back in early church days, not as prevalent now.

Our part = 1) be open (receptive)
  But          2)  be critical - don't be a stupid, naive Christian.   1 John 4:1   Matt. 10:16
                 3)  don't fear "I don't Know" - uncertain does NOT mean unfaithful!!!
                 4)  read and heed what He has already said.  (and IS saying ... through His Word and the Holy Spirit) - Heb. 4:12

II.  Philip's Message
On one hand - it's not recorded
BUT, Acts 8:35 - "Good news about Jesus"
The Ethiopian Eunuch needed more than "God loves you".  He needed a CAT
       Content - Rom. 10:14
       Assent - verbal
       Trust - internal surrender, submission - Rom. 10:9-10
On one hand, cannot Know his heart, However, he made the request!  Example:  Pentecost/Jailer

III.  Philip's Ministry  - "the Evangelist"
Philip clearly was Called - Gifted - Responsive - Successful

for which of the above is Philip responsible??? - His calling?  His gifts?  His success? 
Philip was responsible only for his RESPONSE!!

As with Philip, so with you and I.
IF you are a Christian, you have been:
1)  CALLED - to Christ to MINISTRY - Eph. 2:8-10
2)  GIFTED - enabled to perform ministry - 1 Cor. 12:7
4)  SUCCESS - apparent effectiveness, visible, measurable outcome = God's business
Example:  Holy Spirit's work/ hearer's response.  It is clear that how effective our ministry is not up to us.  There may be no evidence at all.

Philip was called to a responsive people.  Contrast Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses!! - Preached for years to hard-hearted, stiff-necked people with no results at all.

Philip = open, submitted, responsive ..... FAITHFUL in whatever asked to do.

No comments: