Missional Men: Philip

In Acts 6:5 we see Philip listed as one of the first deacons of the church. He was seen as a man that was filled with the Holy Spirit and he was appointed to serve the church. Philip was not only a deacon, but he was also known for being a great evangelist. Philip was a deacon in the church that set an example of living a missional life. We read more about Philip in Acts 8 where we learn several things about this missional man.

                Persecution did not stop him. In Acts 8:1-5 we see the church was facing severe persecution. Saul (who later became Paul) went from door to door looking for Christians to have them thrown into prison. This persecution forced the believers to scatter to other places. It is important to make note here how God scattered the church for the sake of the Gospel. They were told to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. However, the days following Pentecost they all stayed in Jerusalem and enjoyed their fellowship. As they started being persecuted, they were forced to go outside of Jerusalem. Sometimes God allows us to be persecuted to force us to be missional. As the church was scattered, they preached the Gospel every where they went. One of those faithful believers was Philip. He went to Samaria and preached Jesus to the Samaritans. The persecution did not stop Philip from preaching the Gospel. Someone who is living a missional life will not allow anything to keep them from sharing the good news of Jesus. The more a missional person and a missional church is persecuted, the greater boldness they have to preach Jesus. You and I will be persecuted for our faith. It is inevitable. If we are going to be missional people, we cannot allow persecution to keep us from preaching the Gospel.

                He was a change agent. Verses 6-8 of Acts 8 show us how Philip changed Samaria through his preaching. Many people came to faith in Christ and unclean spirits were cast out and it brought great joy to the whole city. The place was not the same. Those who live a missional life are change agents. Sometimes we don’t like the thought of change. We get comfortable with the way things are and we are satisfied with the status quo. However, God is a God of change. He does not want us to stay the same. His desire is that we would be transformed by the Gospel and live a life on mission that transforms the lives of those around us. There are many unclean spirits in our world that need to be cast out. There are many lost people that need to be saved. If we are going to be missional people, we must be change agents. We must live in such a way that changes lives.

He would not sell out. In Acts 8:9-25 there was a men named Simon who gets saved under Philip’s preaching. He was a false teacher and a sorcerer. He deceived the people of Samaria. But, when he saw the reaction of the people to Philip’s preaching, he too became a believer. Peter and John heard what was going on in Samaria and they came to check it out. When they arrived, they began to lay hands on the people, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and received great power. Simon saw this as an opportunity, and he attempted to give the apostles money so that he could have the power to give people the Holy Spirit. In verse 20, Peter says, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with money.”  Philip, Peter, and John could have taken the man’s money for themselves. But, they did not take advantage of the situation. They refused to sell out. Michael Combs had a song called ‘not for sale.’ It tells the story of an opportunity to sing secular music and become very famous. Here are the lyrics to that song:

What happened to that Preacher, Who used to Preach so strong.
What happened to that singer, Who used to sing our song.
The Preacher’s out selling Amway, That singer’s now singing country.
They sold out what is right for what is wrong.

What happened to the church, That used to be on fire.
What happened to the voices, That sang in the heavenly choir.
Oh, The Church has now grown dead and cold,
The choir is silent, Cause nobody goes.
They sold out to the world and their own desires (Listen To Me)

This heart belongs to Jesus, Cause he saved my soul from Hell.
This heart belongs to Jesus, This heart is not for sale.
Not for sale, Not for sale, No way no sir.

Well a man from California, Called a few months ago.
He said boy with your talent, We can make a lot of dough.
I said thanks for the offer it all sounds swell.
But I belong to Jesus, And I’m just not for sale.
Not for sale, I’m not for sale, No way no sir.

Well, If you’re living for Jesus, Friend, They’ll come a day.
That old Devil’s gonna try to get you some way.
He’ll try you, And temp you, with his lies straight from hell.
Just say I belong to Jesus, And Devil I’m not for sale
Not for sale, Not for sale, No way no sir.

I belong to the Lamb Of God,
He purchased me with his precious Blood,
I don’t need popularity, I’d rather have what he gave to me.
I belong to the King of Kings,
He’s my hope, He’s my joy, He’s my everything.
I belong to the Lord God Almighty,
I belong to the one who gave his life for me.

I belong to the Lamb of God,
He purchased me with his precious Blood,
I don’t need popularity, I’d rather have what he gave to me.
Some sold convictions for compromise,
Some have sold the truth for a pack of lies.
Some have sold testimonies for fortune and fame.
I just want to Glorify and Magnify his name.

This heart belongs to Jesus, He saved my soul from Hell.
This heart belongs to Jesus, Oh this heart is not for sale.
Not for sale, Not for sale, No way no sir.
Not for sale, I’m Not for sale,
I’m not for sale, No way no sir, I’m Not for sale,
I’m Not for sale.

My friend, don’t sell out to things of this world. You are an ambassador of the Kingdom of God to this world. You live for a higher purpose. You have a responsibility that is higher than yourself. Stay faithful. Tell people about Jesus. Don’t sell out!

                He was obedient to go. In Acts 8:26-29, Philip is instructed to go out to Gaza in a desert and there was a man from Ethiopia that the Spirit of God lead Philip to. Philip did not complain, he did not question, he just went. When God tells you to go, then you must go! A missional man or woman is sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and they are obedient to go when God says to go. There are times when God will lead us to certain people and places. There are no accidents with God. He is sovereign and He places us in certain places and circumstance for a reason. He gives us the Holy Spirit who speaks to us in a still small voice and impressed upon our hearts what we should do. A missional people are sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and when they are led to do something, they are obedient.

                He was knowledgeable of the scriptures. In verses 30-35 Philip approaches the Ethiopian and starts with the scripture that he was reading and preaches Jesus to him. Philip was very knowledgeable of the scriptures because he was able to take any passage and share the Gospel. Someone living a missional life is one that is knowledgeable of the scriptures and is able to weave the message of the Gospel into every scripture passage.

                He was focused on leading people to salvation. Acts 8:36-38 tells how Philip led the Ethiopian to the Lord and baptized him. In everything that Philip did. In all his travels. In his obedience to the Lord. In his conversation with the Ethiopian. It was all about leading people to Jesus. Philip’s whole life was wrapped up in bringing lost people to salvation. It’s what he lived for. Missional people are those who live with a single purpose and that is to bring the world to Jesus.

                What are living for? Are you living to bring others to Jesus? Are you living a missional life?

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