Take a few minutes to read Chapter 8 of the Book of Acts. Notice how Philip is a man of God and of good character. He is the only man in the Bible to specifically be called “the evangelist” (Acts 21:8).
A MAN WHO SERVED OTHERS
We first read about Philip in Acts Chapter 6. He was one of seven men chosen by the Jerusalem church to help meet practical needs. Philip began to serve God by helping feed poor widows. He served because the church and its leaders asked him to do this work. Philip did not think himself above working in this way. He was willing to humbly serve and to learn.
If you want God to bless you, begin where He has placed you. The Bible states that Philip was one of a group of seven men who got a reputation for their faith, their wisdom, and their spiritual power in the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:1-6). This was said about Philip as his qualification to work to serve meals to widows!
Philip worked hard at his job, meeting practical and spiritual needs. Seek to work diligently in the church or ministry into which God has placed you. Be alert to people’s needs around you. Serve the men or women that God has placed over you, just as Philip served the apostles, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem. Strive to excel in your service and to be a diligent worker; as you do, God will increase you and move you into greater areas of responsibility (Matt 25:21; Luke 16:10).
PHILIP: MAN OF PRAYER
The Book of Acts states that Philip went north to Samaria. Why did Philip go to a strange city? The Bible tells us that he went because of a great persecution that had begun in Jerusalem. Philip likely would have spent time praying and listening to God, and asking God where he should go to preach. Philip also likely prayed for the sick because the Bible tells us that many were healed.
A GODLY CONCERN FOR THE LOST
Philip was moved by God to preach to the Samaritans. They were very different than the Jewish people Philip knew. Philip went to a foreign people, those who hated his own people, to tell them about Jesus. Philip had a godly concern for the lost Samaritans. They needed Christ, too. He went because Jesus sent him. He went to tell others about Jesus Christ. He went because he knew God’s concern for these lost people. What mattered to God mattered to Philip. Philip developed a heart like Christ’s own heart, very likely by praying and listening to God in prayer. But Philip didn’t just pray, he acted. He went to preach.
THE MESSAGE PHILIP PREACHED WAS SIMPLE
The Gospel itself is a clear, simple message. God created us and loves us. We are separated from God because of sin. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in the form of a man; He died on the Cross to forgive our sins and restore us back to God. Then Christ was buried and rose up from death and the grave. Sin and Satan’s power were destroyed. Jesus Christ lives today and is all-powerful. Jesus wants you to believe in Him and give your life to Him. Judgment awaits those who reject God’s Son; eternal blessing is for those who follow Him.
This is a powerful message; it is a message that works to change people. It touches the hearts of hard people and gives hope to the ones in darkness. Telling people they ought to be good is not the Gospel. Men and women cannot be good on their own; they need the power of Christ in their lives to fully overcome evil and to live right.
Tell people that Jesus is powerful and can take away all of their sins, their shame, their guilt. Jesus can make a new man or woman out of them (2Cor 5:17). He can give hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak (Isa 40:29; Rom 15:13). He heals the sick and gives us what we need to live this life for God.
The Gospel is a good message, full of hope and promise! As a good evangelist, Philip knew how to preach a simple message that made sense to those who listened – and many were saved.
MIRACLES WERE GIVEN TO PHILIP
Miracles, signs and wonders should be part of the evangelist’s ministry. The Bible says that great miracles took place when Philip preached (Acts 8:6,7,13). The people saw miracles and signs that caused them to pay close attention to Philip’s words. “And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did” (Acts 8:6).
A sign is a supernatural act from God that reveals Him as real and powerful. Though signs and miracles are promised to every believer in Christ, evangelists in particular often have signs and wonders as they preach the Gospel (read Mark 16:15-18).
An evangelist was recently preaching in a jungle village. He told the people God had sent him with a message. He told them How Jesus suffered and died, and rose again on the third day; and that Jesus offers forgiveness of sins. Then the evangelist said, “To prove to you that what I say is true, we will now pray for sick people, and ask Jesus to heal them”. He began to pray for the sick and they were healed. A witch doctor repented and fell to the ground as the demons were cast out in Jesus’ name. When the people saw these things, they believed on Jesus. Over twenty village men received Jesus Christ that day!
There are many other examples of these kinds of signs and miracles. In Africa, in a Muslim village, a group of women were given permission to tell the Gospel. There had been a severe drought for several years. Each time the evangelist spoke, it began to rain! Everyone in the village, even the chief, admitted that God was sending a blessing because of the rain.
Evangelists tell the Good News and miracles often happen as they pray and speak. Jesus said, “signs will follow those who believe” (Mark 16:17).
As an evangelist, you can ask God for miracles, and pray until they begin to come. Pray for the sick in Jesus’ name as you preach, and trust God to heal people.
So many miracles and signs happened in Samaria that the entire city knew about it. The Bible says the city was full of joy (Acts 8:8). Wherever the Gospel goes there is joy and gladness. When the Gospel is preached and believed, sins are forgiven and new life is given. That is God’s miracle power at work! Oftentimes, there are additional miracles, such as sickness and disease being healed, demons cast out, and people delivered and transformed. The Gospel is powerful!
Not long ago, an evangelist preached in a certain city and a little boy who was deaf and dumb was healed as they prayed. His mother went back to her neighbors, friends and family and they all saw that he could hear and was beginning to speak. The next night the crowd was much bigger, and the mother stood on the platform and told how her son had been healed. That night many more surrendered their lives to Jesus, including the little boy’s mother. After the Gospel message, the Lord gave many other healings. Many people believed because they saw the little boy healed, and the crowds grew each night. Hundreds of people were saved in three nights! This is similar to what happened when Stephen went to Samaria!
PHILIP WAS OBEDIENT
Jesus knows where people are ready to hear the Gospel. He sent Philip to Samaria. Then Jesus sent Philip away from very successful evangelistic work to speak to one person in the middle of the desert.
Acts 8:26: “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert.”
An evangelist must spend time developing sensitivity to God’s will and desire, and then obey God’s leading. Good planning might have told Philip to stay in Samaria, where he was getting good results, and many were receiving Christ. But the Lord spoke to Philip to go and speak to one man.
We can learn important lessons from this story. We must obey God. He knows best. God knew that the Ethiopian who met Philip would believe and take the Gospel message back to his country in Africa. He was an influential man (an official in the court of the queen). This one man was important to God. Bringing him the Gospel was strategic. The Ethiopian could speak to a nation, and God sent an evangelist to speak to him.
An evangelist must be humble, just as willing to speak to one person as preach to a large crowd. Speak to the outcasts, to the seemingly unimportant, even to one. One person ignored by the world may be very important to God. God may be choosing a new Christian leader of influence when he sends you to one person.
Evangelists must be obedient to the call God has placed on their lives even when it is difficult or when no one understands. To obey God’s instruction is vital for an evangelist. Obey God’s command to go and preach even if others talk against you, or it doesn’t seem to make sense to you. God is wise and powerful and blesses those who obey Him.
READY TO GO
An evangelist must be ready to go wherever God sends him. God may send him to a strange and new place. God often sends us to people unlike ourselves. The Samaritans were not like Philip. It may have been strange and uncomfortable for him. The Ethiopian was not like Philip. But Philip was ready to go when God called. Evangelists must be ready to sacrifice and to go when God sends them.
One evangelist tells how he went to many villages to preach the Gospel. In some villages he was beaten; in others he was shut out of the houses. But still he went. Many people chose to believe in Christ. What would he say to Jesus if he had not gone to the villages and the people had not heard the message? Many people today around the world are perishing without the knowledge of Christ because no one is there to share the Gospel with them.
This evangelist praised the Lord that God had counted him worthy to suffer for Jesus – and praised God that so many would now be in heaven!
Suffering rejection, hardship and evil response from people is sometimes part of the evangelist’s calling. Every believer will face persecution when desiring to live in godly obedience (2Tim 3:12). But God will help you, protect and guide you, and give you great satisfaction and reward in the midst of hardship.
Philip had true success.
Because Philip obeyed God and preached the complete Gospel, many people were saved. Every Christian must obey God. Don’t look for success in the eyes of people; instead, always try to please the Lord.