-The First Evangelist to the Gentiles-
As the number of disciples were increasing, it gave rise to extra needs of the first church. The church at this time was entirely Jewish. Greek speaking Jewish widows needed help for there was no one to care for their needs and this became the responsibility of the church.
The first apostles were responsible for the spiritual growth of the believers in teaching and preaching to them the Word of God. Added responsibility caused concern for the spiritual and the physical ministry.
The church elected seven men for the distribution of food amongst the widows, then they were ordained by the original Apostles as deacons. All seven of these men had been chosen by the people and were wise and full of The Holy Spirit, and the Apostles were free to go on with their ministries.
One of these seven deacons to serve the church in Jerusalem was Philip, a Greek speaking Jew. He was a careful student of The Word of God, and could explain teachings clearly. Jesus' last words to his disciples were to take the gospel everywhere, but all were reluctant to leave Jerusalem.
The Apostles boldly stood against the Jewish Religious Leaders, as these leaders claimed only they had the authority of God and they began to expell those who believed that Jesus was sent from God, as their Messiah, from the Jewish Temple, for they themselves had rejected Christ. They also persecuted them and their families, confisgating their homes, leaving them without residences.
Most of the Pharisees had became Christians and the Judean Conservatives began to imprison followers of Christ in the Temple prison and sometimes handing them over to Roman Authorities who were not very interested in Jewish Religious matters.
The persecution from the Jews against the followers of Christ did not harm the growth of the Church or harm the News that Jesus is The Christ. Because of the stoning of Stephen by the Jewish Traditionalists, many disciples fled throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee fulfilling the commission of Christ.,
Philip was one of the first to preach the gospel outside the boundaries of Jerusalem, to obey Christ's Command. The scattering of the disciples, because of their expulsion from other Jews, helped spread the Gospel of Christ.
The Apostles stayed in the Church at Jerusalem. To escape from Jewish persecution in Jerusalem, Philip fled to Samaria. The last place a Jewish person would want to go would be Samaria because of old-age prejudices.
Philip preached the Word of God in Samaria. The crowds had heard him preach and saw miraculous signs. Many demon spirits came out of numerous people, they saw many paralytics and cripples healed through The Name of Jesus, by The Power of The Holy Spirit. This caused great joy amongst the people of Samaria and they believed of Christ's resurrection and of His Sonship of God, The Father. Many Samaritans were saved, and bought into the Kingdom of God.
A sorcerer, who had done many wonders through magic in Samaria, had convinced the people he was the Messiah, but once the Samaritans heard Philip preach the Word of God, they rejected Simon's power and turned to Christ and His Power, The Holy Spirit, from The Living God.
Because the Samaritans responded to Philip's preaching in large numbers, the news reached Jerusalem and two of the Apostles traveled to see if the Samaritan's belief was real. The Apostles laid their hands upon the believers for them to receive The baptism of The Holy Spirit and found that indeed God accepted non-Jewish people in this New Covenant of Grace. They were warmly welcomed into the Family of God.
An Angel of The Lord appeared to Philip in Samaria and told him to go to the desert highway that lead to Gaza, on the way to Egypt, from Jerusalem. Philip was obedient to the Command of God.
As he started on his way, he met an Ethiopian Eunuch, from the upper Nile region, an important Official, treasurer of the Ethiopian Royal Family. Foreign Rulers and Leaders would sometimes offer sacrifices to other nations Temples to gain favour with each nation's governmental ministers. Many Jewish traders had business with Ethiopia. The Eunuch was in charge of all the treasure of Queen Candice, The Queen mother, who was responsible for performing certain occupations that had to be done, but the reigning King was too busy to attend to most of them, so it was her duty to carry them out.
This Official had gone to Jerusalem to worship for he was a non-Jewish God fearing person, and on his way home he was sitting in the back of his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah. The scroll which the foreigner had was a very expensive article to have in his possession. God fearing Gentiles (non-Jews) would travel to Jerusalem to worship, even though they could only enter the outer court of The Temple, hoping for a glimpse of the inside.
The Holy Spirit instructed Philip to go near to the chariot and stay near it. Philip asked the foreign Official if he could understand what he was reading, and offered to explain the meaning of the passages. The verses he was reading in The Book of Isaiah, were regarding what was to happen to The Messiah that God would send. Philip explained how that they had been fulfilled in Christ during the Passover Celebrations. The prophecies of Christ are all in the Old Testament and Philip was able to explain the passages the Official needed to know about Christ, being the One sent from God. As they traveled along the road, the Official was convinced by The Holy Spirit's prompting that Jesus was The Way the Salvation, to be reconciled with God. The Eunuch Official ordered his chariot to stop by one of the pools of water along the highway and asked Philip to baptize him into God's Family, for he wanted to belong to The Kingdom of God.
As they came out of the water, The Holy Spirit suddenly whisked Philip away and he found himself about 19 miles from Gaza for The Holy Spirit had supernaturally transported him. He preached to every town and village until he reached Caesarea, a non-Jewish city, which was 60 miles from Gaza.
The Ethiopian Treasurer brought Christianity into another government and ruling realm, which was the beginning of the witnesses to the ends of the earth as Christ commanded.
Philip settled in the City of Caesarea. He also had four daughter who were prophetesses. They were given supernatural gifts that were for empowering the church and for the building up of The Family of God with scriptural Truths.
Other women as well as Philip's daughters were active in the church and participated in God's work.
Twenty Five years later, Paul, who had become a friend, was his house guest, the very man who lead the persecutions and pushed Philip, as an enemy, out of Jerusalem for the Jewish Traditionalists had now, like Philip, become a preacher, teacher and evangelist to the Gentiles for The Knowledge of Christ.
Philip witnessed all his life to the Truth of The Gospel of Christ. The conversions of the non- Jews which had begun by Philip, the Evangelist, had been continued on throughout the Roman Empire by Paul and his helpers.
The whole Bible helps us learn about Christ. Whatever gift you have, offer it to God in use for service to Him. God finds various uses for those willing to be yielded of His use.
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Managed by Stefan Kreslin,Last updated 21 April 1997