Laymen, Pt. 2

(Part 2 of 2)

Philip was a layman surrendered to Jesus Christ… He was connected to God’s power, the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). He was full of faith. In other words, he had a strong grip on the gospel message, and he was full of and led by the Holy Spirit. Philip was the only man in the New Testament that was called an evangelist. Acts 21:8 says, “We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him” (KJV). He wasn’t “supposed” to be an evangelist; he was a Spirit-filled table server. Note also that these verses identify Philip as with “the seven,” not with the twelve. Philip was one of the most used men in the book of Acts. He was God’s man of the hour when that opportune hour came; surrendered laymen can be God’s men or women of the hour in our generation too. You may think that you are a nobody, but if you have a strong grip on the gospel message and you are full of the Holy Spirit, God will use you. It’s easy to sing “I surrender” in times of praise and worship, but when God gives you an opportunity that arises during a crisis, do you use that opportune time to speak, to go, or to give? Are you surrendered then? Philip’s name means “a lover of horses,” which implies a love of the race set before him. Guidance for your life can come through set circumstances. Philip didn’t complain about being persecuted; he used it. The evil that Saul was involved in became the instrument for the beginning of a missionary work. Most of our guidance came from opportunities that we did not plan. Saul was converted soon after the scattering. When the news of the revival in Samaria through Philip’s preaching came to Jerusalem, Peter and John were sent by the twelve to baptize them in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-16). Revivals are often birthed by the Spirit through dedicated laymen. After preaching through Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem (Acts 8:25). In Acts 2:5, Peter addressed the crowd in Jerusalem that was comprised of people from every nation under heaven.

Philip was sensitive to the Holy Spirit… Acts 8:26-38… Philip was sent by the angel to go towards Gaza. The angel didn’t have to beg Philip to go; he obeyed instantly and met a great man of Ethiopia. It was another crisis opportunity, another “seed” moment. Philip was fulfilling a prophecy given in Psalm 68:31, that “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God” (KJV). Philip didn’t plan this opportunity, the Lord did. Psalm 25:12 reads, “Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose” (NLT). Moffatt’s translation reads, “Whoever reverences the Eternal learns what is the right course to take.” This Ethiopian took the message to his queen and the Abyssinian church was founded in Ethiopia. Philip’s story continues in Acts 8:39-40. After the water baptism of the Ethiopian ambassador, the Spirit caught Philip away and took him to Azotus (the Greek name for Ashdod) and Philip preached the gospel there. Some twenty years later, Paul and his co-workers were on the way to Jerusalem, and they came to Caesarea and to the home of Philip. Acts 21:8-9 records the story… “And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy” (KJV). Paul tarried there many days. (These verses record that Philip had four daughters who prophesied. Women received the gift of the Spirit too; some of the greatest missionary work ever done was accomplished by women preaching, healing, and teaching.)

Philip began as a layman… who was connected to the power of the Holy Spirit. He was a man who made the secular work spiritual, a man who acted at the moment of opportunity. He belonged to the seven and not to the twelve. If you stay surrendered, you too can remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Pastor George Belobaba

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