UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).




Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


Character by Character, Series 4

Lesson 2: Philip the Evangelist

Philip the Evangelist

Scripture passages referenced and linked in this lesson are written out for your convenience on this page.

Philip the Evangelist: “Lover of horses”

A deacon

Acts 6:1-7 (click the link to read the passages)

Philip, who was also an evangelist, was one of those appointed

The twelve apostles, as we saw, were all men who had known Jesus during the time of His public ministry, and were witnesses to His resurrection. Because of this, they had a special place and ministry in the early Church, teaching and sharing with others the things that Jesus had shared with them. As the Church grew, however, the administrative tasks became so great—management of the offerings, distribution of food to widows, etc.—that they decided to appoint seven men (deacons) to take over this work and thus enable them to concentrate on the work of ministry. Philip, who was also an evangelist, was one of those appointed.

For thought and contemplation:

Whether they are called deacons or go under another name, every local church needs gifted people to take over administrative and other tasks so as to free others to exercise their gifts. Spend a few minutes now praying for those who do the administrative work in your church. They need as much grace and wisdom as your minister!

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

Anointed by God

Acts 8:1-8

The basic qualification for being a deacon in the early Church was that he should be a man who was full of wisdom and of the Holy Spirit. We do not know when Philip received his own personal experience of the infilling of the Spirit, but the evidences of that infilling are recorded for us in detail.

they are scattered into different regions round about

When persecution breaks out against the Christians in Jerusalem, they are scattered into different regions round about (see map below) and the effect of this is more widespread evangelism.

When Philip visits Samaria and preaches Christ, many are converted as well as healed—and such is the effect of his anointed ministry that the city is filled with overflowing joy.

many are converted as well as healed

For thought and contemplation:

Some think that we cannot expect evangelistic preaching today to be accompanied by such physical manifestations as were present in Philip’s ministry. Others say that it can happen today, but only with those evangelists who are led into this type of approach. What do you think?

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20, NIV)

Met a magician

Acts 8:9-23

Magicians have existed for centuries. In ancient Egypt, you remember, there were those who duplicated by their magical arts some of Moses’ supernatural signs (Exodus 7:8-12).

there was a magician called Simon

In Samaria, where Philip was preaching, there was a magician called Simon who had built up a great reputation among the people by his practice of magical arts. Philip’s anointed message, together with the supernatural evidence that accompanies it, convinces Simon of the truth of the Gospel, whereupon he professes conversion and is baptised. When the apostles Peter and John arrive and lay hands on the converts to receive the Holy Spirit, Simon offers them money to be given the same power. Simon is sternly rebuked and told to repent of his wickedness which arises from a heart that is not right before God.

Simon offers them money to be given the same power

For thought and contemplation:

Simon Magus reminds us of a certain type of person to be found in Christian circles whose longing is to gain honour for himself—or herself—rather than to do good to others. But no one can have the honour of an apostle without first demonstrating the spirit of an apostle.

“For my own sake… I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” (Isaiah 48:11, NIV)

Led by the Holy Spirit

Acts 8:26-39

The Spirit instructs Philip to run to the chariot

As Philip continues his evangelistic mission in Samaria where he is ministering to thousands, he is bidden by an angel to leave the area and travel south to meet one man—an Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship and, while there, had purchased a scroll of the prophecy of Isaiah which he was reading as he returned home along the Gaza road in his chariot. The Spirit instructs Philip to run to the chariot and ask the man if he understands what he is reading.

takes him on a spiritual journey

The eunuch confesses that he does not truly understand, whereupon Philip, beginning at the very point where he is reading, takes him on a spiritual journey through which he has a personal encounter with Christ.

For thought and contemplation:

Imagine being taken away from a great crusade, where hundreds are being converted, to witness to one man! You would most certainly have to be ‘led’ to do that. Many Christians would fight such a ‘leading’, saying that they were involved in a greater work and it wouldn’t make sense to leave it. How about you?

“…If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it… he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (Matthew 18:12-13, NIV)

Spreads the Gospel

Acts 8:40

he travels northwards up the coast

His special assignment successfully completed, Philip is caught up by the Spirit and returns to his wider evangelistic work. Starting at Azotus (Ashdod), he travels northwards up the coast, preaching in every town until he reaches Caesarea, where he seems to have made his home. Philip’s evangelism embraced both Jews and the half-Jewish Samaritans—this was a major step because “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9, RSV). It marked a turning-point in carrying out Jesus’ command to the disciples to witness “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV)

to the ends of the earth

For thought and contemplation:

Someone has said that “great doors turn on little hinges”. How true. Philip’s mission to the Samaritans was the precursor to the opening of the door to the Gentile nations by Peter. And that—if you are not a Jew—includes you. Spend a few moments reminding yourself of the circumstances through which you became a Christian—and give thanks!

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29, NIV)

A godly household

Acts 21:8-9

Philip, we are told, had four unmarried daughters who lived with him in his home at Caesarea. His wife is not mentioned in Luke’s account and may have been dead by the time Paul and his party – which included Luke – stayed in their godly and hospitable household.

Many years prior to the great outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the prophet Joel had predicted that when the Holy Spirit fell, one of the results would be that “your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28, NIV). All four of Philip’s daughters had received this supernatural ability, and doubtless there were many in the early Church who had cause to thank God for the influence of the home and family of Philip.

For thought and contemplation:

“The nearest thing to heaven”, said Martin Luther, “is a good and godly home.” The converse is also true: the nearest thing to hell is an evil and godless home. Pray for your own home and the homes of every Christian family in your community. A good and godly home is one of the greatest forms of evangelism in our modern times.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1, NIV)

Used with permission: Character by Character compiled by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor Partridge. Copyright © CWR (www.cwr.org.uk).

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