Philip was known first for his work as a “deacon” and then as an “evangelist.” In Acts 6:1 we learn that the church was growing rapidly and “widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food” (NASB). In verses 2-3 the twelve apostles said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” This pleased the brethren and in verse 5 we read that they did indeed choose seven men, including Philip. The work of “serving tables” may seem to be unimportant, but serving the Lord in any capacity is needful and a privilege. It still required men that were reputable and Spirit-filled. Philip was of such a character and he no doubt served faithfully, so much so that God was pleased to bless him also with the gift of an evangelist, which we read of in Acts 8:5-13 and 26-40. There is a valuable lesson for us in this. We are to serve the Lord where we are, with whatever gift He has given to us, and in time the Lord may indeed add to our spiritual gifts and broaden our sphere of service. But even if He doesn’t enlarge our service, we should serve Him faithfully with all of our heart with the desire to glorify His name and to be a channel of blessing to others.

In Acts 8:5 we read that “Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” Here we see Philip the evangelist! An “evangelist” is one who “proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ.” Everyone who has been saved can, according to 2 Timothy 2:5, “…do the work of an evangelist.” We know how to be saved and we can tell others how they too can be saved through believing on the finished work of Christ. But there are those, like Philip, who have been called to devote all their time and energy to this work, and Philip was used mightily in Samaria, so much so that we read, in verse 6, “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake.” The gospel that Philip preached was accompanied by miracles and many were healed, and thus he was the means of blessing people “spiritually” and “physically.” The result of this is seen in verse 8, “And there was great joy in that city.”

In verse 26 Philip is called to another area for service, “But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza’” (NASB). Gaza is a desert road. Why did the Lord call Philip to a desert? Because there was one precious soul who had come to Jerusalem seeking light and was returning home to Ethiopia reading a copy of Isaiah the prophet. In verse 29 we learn “the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” Philip found him reading in Isaiah 53, one of the most precious prophecies foretelling Christ’s death on the cross as the great sacrifice for sin. The man asked Philip to help him understand it and in verse 35 we read, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” The man believed the gospel, was baptized and went on his way home, rejoicing in his newfound faith. In verses 39-40 we are told that “the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip” and he was “found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities.” I have often been impressed that Philip was willing to leave the large field of service in Samaria, where multitudes were being saved, to preach to one lost soul. Does not this teach us to be willing to go wherever the Lord directs us, and also the value that God places on one soul? Whether Philip preached to hundreds or to one soul, he was faithful and God blessed his labors. May we learn from and seek to emulate this dear servant of Christ. Let us serve the Lord joyfully and faithfully in whatever He calls us to do and the Lord will surely use us for His honor and glory, and for the eternal blessing of souls! (161.3) (DO)