Philip as Missionary

Philip as Missionary

Scripture: Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Acts 2:44-47
Date: 09/05/2015  Lesson: 10
"What should our attitude be toward those who are facing religious persecution, even if we don't agree with their religious beliefs?"

Winsome Witnessing by Gary Gibbs

Winsome Witnessing by Gary Gibbs
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very special welcome to our friends joining us across the country, around the world, and also a special welcome to our online members who are joining us every week studying together. I'd also like to welcome the Granite Bay church members and also a very special group of individuals who have joined us for the next four months. We have the afcoe program that is starting here at the Granite Bay church. A number of our afcoe students are here today.

A very warm welcome to you. I know some of you have traveled some long distances to be here - all the way from south africa and, I understand, madagascar - so welcome. Good to have you here. Well, before we get into our lesson for today, which is lesson #10 - Philip as a missionary - I'd like to let our viewers know about a free offer that we have. It is entitled the Savior and the serpent.

We'll be happy to send this book to anybody who calls and asks. The number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #798. That number, again, is -788-3966. Ask for offer #798. The book, again, is entitled the Savior and the serpent.

We'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. This morning I'd like to invite darrin dee to come join me here on stage. We just recently - the Granite Bay church just recently came back from a Mexico mission trip in ensenada and we're going to try and show a video here in just a few moments, but before we do that I have a few questions. Darrin, you're involved in helping to organize and lead out with the mission trip down there. What were you folks doing in Mexico? Well, praise God, we had an opportunity to go down to ensenada.

It was our first international mission trip as a church. We had an opportunity to do a vacation Bible school, a construction project, as well as a medical/dental clinic. Now, later on today, for those of you who are here and also for our friends wanting to join us, we will be streaming our mission report program at 2:00 this afternoon pacific time and we'll have a much more detailed report with some great stories. But you want to share with us just something that stood out in your mind as a result of this mission activity. You know, what stood out in my mind was the bonding that happened as a result of this mission trip between the church members.

There were a lot of new church members who went along or some who've been around and we just haven't had an opportunity to get a chance to meet and get to know better because we're growing so rapidly and we really got an opportunity to spend time together and grow together and I think we learned a lot about ourselves individually also. And, most importantly, we got a chance to see the incredible blessings that the Lord provided on ourself, on our group, and, hopefully, had an opportunity to see - shine - have Jesus shine through us to the people down there that we were ministering to. Amen. Absolutely. I've heard a little bit about the report so far and I'm looking very forward to the full report this afternoon - again, 2:00.

Those of you who can be here, come join us. At this time we're going to see if we can show you just a short little video clip of some of the things that were happening a couple of weeks ago with our mission trip in Mexico. So the Granite Bay church was really excited because we had conducted two prior mission trips and we wanted to do another one. So that's when we decided to consider an international mission trip. And so we contacted the conference that oversaw the ensenada territory and we came out and looked and when we got here we saw that, immediately, the territory was ripe for a mission trip.

We just come down here to reach out to the community in hopes that we can uplift everybody around. It's just been a pleasure to have my whole crew here and everybody and all the friends from our local area back home. Definitely the community has been very responsive. They are very happy, they are very blessed by being here and they were thankful that we were able to come and help them out. So here we are communicating with them just with the language of love, so to speak, so that we can do what's best for these children and reach them.

And, really, our whole focus and our goal here is for these children to see Jesus in all of this. Amen. Well there's just a little taste of the mission report. You'll have more this afternoon - 2:00 we'll be giving you a much more in-depth experience of what happened down there. Just some wonderful testimonies.

Well, at this time, we're going to begin our study of lesson #10. It's entitled Philip as a missionary. But before I invite Pastor Doug to come forward, let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you that we have this opportunity to study the Bible. We invite the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds as we look at these great Bible characters and how they had a passion for sharing the Gospel with others.

May we also be inspired to do what we can, to share the Gospel with others. Bless our time together, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. I'd like to invite pastor doug to come forward and lead us in our study today. Thank you, Pastor Ross, appreciate that. It was very exciting being on that mission trip and just seeing how all the different components of ministry came together.

There was publishing ministry happening. There was medical ministry that was happening. There was children's ministry that was happening. There was evangelism that was happening. And there was construction - two by four ministry - that was happening.

And so, all of that together, it really had a wonderful impact on the community. I want to welcome again - to our friends who are part of our class that are watching and the members - the new afcoe class - welcome to the Granite Bay church. And we're continuing our study dealing with the subject of biblical missionaries. Today, in particular, we're talking about Philip. Now we'll explain which Philip in just a moment, because that's actually part of the lesson, but we start with a memory verse and the memory verse is from acts chapter 1, verse 8.

If you have your lesson you can read it out of your lesson. Acts chapter 1, verse 8 and we read, "but you will receive power" - now you're supposed to say that with me. Ready? "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in samaria, and unto the ends of the earth." And I think it says in the King James, 'the uttermost parts of the earth.' So this is really talking about mission work and, in particular, the mission work that God did through Philip. Now there are several great commission statements that you find in the Bible. These are the statements that really identify what is the mission statement for Christians.

You know, different Christian organizations sit sometimes for hours and days and they process what is their mission statement and sometimes you have slogans. You've got - like when you think of nike, what was their slogan? Just do it. Just do it. See? You guys know that. And different corporations have their slogan and they've got their mission statement, which is a little different.

We have one at Amazing Facts, but I always said, 'how can we possibly improve on the one Jesus gave us?' And it's really Matthew chapter 28 - matter of fact, some of you are going to read a couple of these for me. Who has Mark 16? You'll do that in just a minute. Matthew 28:18, "and Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" Just a few minutes before I came in here to teach, I was visiting with one of our associate pastors out in the foyer and he said, 'there's an individual that's interested in baptism and wants to know if you'd baptize him.' And I thought, 'why wouldn't i?' And I said. 'If that's not part of the job description of a pastor, what is?' And, you know, that's our Marching orders.

'Go therefore, teach and baptize.' And so - but you'll find these mission statements of Jesus several places. We read one to you just a moment ago in acts chapter 1 - that was our memory verse. Now there's another one. Go ahead, read please acts - I'm sorry, Mark 16:15 and 16. And he said to them, 'go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" Notice it says, 'he who believes and is baptized will be saved but he that does not believe will be condemned.' So there may be some who are saved that were not baptized because those who do not believe are condemned. But he wants us to believe and be baptized and, also, it says 'go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.' All the world - every creature. Now does that mean we're supposed to preach to the vegetables and the birds? It's talking about every human creature. You find another example of one of the mission statements - Luke - Luke 24:46, "and he said to them" - this is after Jesus rose - "'thus it is written, and thus is was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.

'" So it's supposed to be preached to all nations beginning in Jerusalem. And then you go to John 20 - John's is not as clear. The - you know, you've got the one from Matthew, Mark, John, acts - they all have a mission statement there, but John puts it this way - Jesus said - John 20, verse 21, "so Jesus said to them again, 'peace to you! As The Father has sent me, I also send you.' And when he said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, 'receive the holy spirit.'" And so this is our mission. He says, 'I am sending you as The Father sent me.' Now, you know, did you catch anything interesting in common about all five of these statements that we just read? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and acts - these great commission statements? When were they given? Before or after the resurrection? After. All of these are given after the resurrection, before the ascension - during that 40-day period.

It was a lot clearer to them. And something else that at least two or three of them mentioned, in particular - does God tell them not only what to do - does he tell them where to start? Yes. He says start where? Jerusalem. Jerusalem, which happened to be - where was the Holy Spirit poured out? 'There were dwelling in Jerusalem at that time, devout jews out of every nation under heaven.' You know what that means? God wants you to begin where you are. He wants you to begin - some people say, 'I want to be a missionary.

I'm going to go to some foreign country and do mission work.' You don't have to go to ensenada, Mexico. Everybody, when you come to Jesus you want to - 'who is my neighbor?' Whoever you encounter that day is your neighbor, is what Jesus basically said in the parable of the good samaritan. So we're all to start where we are. Alright, let's go to Philip the evangelist - that would be our first day in our study. And you can read in your lesson, the word 'Philip' - it means 'a lover of horses' and it comes from a couple of Greek words: 'Philippos', which means 'love'.

You know, the word 'phileo' is one of the words for love - philadelphia - that's where the pope's going in September - the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia was one of the churches that you find in the messages to the seven churches. 'Phileo' and 'hippos' - now, if someone called you a hippo, would you take that as a compliment? Because you think of a hippopotamus, but a hippopotamus in Greek is a water horse and so Philippos was a lover of horses - hippo is horse in Greek and so that's where the name comes from. There were several very famous Greek Kings by the name of Philip, one of them being The Father - Philip of macedon was The Father of alexander the great. I think, technically, he was Philip the second of macedon and so it was a very common name.

So I say all that because in the new testament you're going to find three or four Philips - one was a really bad guy, herod Philip. You remember herod antipas took his brother's wife who was Philip - he was in charge of the country to the north. Had a couple of good Philips and one of them was an apostle. He was from bethsaida. He was the one who went to nathaniel and said, 'we have found the Messiah.

' And you also find him referenced a couple of times in the Gospel of John, Philip the apostle. Our study today about Philip the evangelist is not Philip the apostle and so - and let me just give you a couple of reasons why we know that. So the first Philip is Philip of bethsaida and you find him in John 1, verse 43; John 12, verse 20, and it says, 'he was of bethsaida, the city of andrew and Peter.' The second Philip is the one that you find who is ordained as a deacon. He first appears there in acts chapter 6 and they call him a servant - I think in the lesson it calls him a waiter, but I think they did more than just serve tables or distribute the bread. And how do we know, when we read in acts chapter 6 and it says, 'now Philip went down to samaria' - how do we know that that's not Philip the apostle? Because it tells us about the deacons and then suddenly it talks about Philip.

One reason - well let me give you three reasons I think we know that we're specifically going to be studying about a Philip and it's not Philip the apostle. It's Philip the deacon. For one thing, you read in chapter 6, after it talks about picking the deacons, it tells then about the exploits of stephen and how he's martyred - it goes into the life of one of the deacons. Then you go into chapter - well, chapter 7 is part of stephen's sermon - then the next thing it talks about is now, Philip. Why does it bring him into the story? Philip the deacon.

Luke is telling what those who were ordained as deacons - what they are doing now. They ended up doing a lot more than serving tables. One is the first martyr in the church. He was a preacher - filled with the Holy Spirit. His death Marks the end - he's more than a deacon - his death Marks the end of the era of the 490-year prophecy - very important - then one of the deacons Marks the beginning of an era of evangelism.

And another reason we know it's not Philip the apostle - let me give you a couple of verses here. If you look in acts chapter 8, verse 1, after the death of stephen, "...at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and samaria, except the" - who? - "The apostles." Philip was one of the apostles. He stayed in Jerusalem. So when it says 'Philip went down to samaria', it's telling which ones went to samaria - it's not the apostle. And if that's not enough evidence for you, go to acts :14, "now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that samaria had received the Word of God," - this is under the preaching of Philip - "they sent unto them Peter and John:" so the apostles were where? They were in Jerusalem.

They stayed. See, they picked these seven deacons to help distribute food during times of peace, when the church was exploding with growth. This is during that three and a half years after Christ died. But when the great persecution arose, after the stoning of stephen, the church scattered everywhere, including the deacons. It was not safe for them to do what they had done before.

They didn't need them to serve tables so they went out preaching; but the apostles stayed in Jerusalem. So we're talking about Philip. I just wanted to make a strong case. Something else interesting you're going to find, and this is in your lesson from sketches from the life of Paul. Philip, who became an evangelist, also became a good friend of Paul after the conversion of Paul.

It's interesting, Paul kills Philip's good friend and associate deacon named stephen. They then become friends shortly after the conversion. How thoroughly must they have been Christians to forgive someone who had killed a friend. Not only that, they become very close. I want to read you a quote from page 204 - sketches from the life of Paul - by the way, that's a great book.

"It was the violent persecution of Saul, the pharisee, that had scattered the church at Jerusalem and destroyed the effectiveness of the organization of the seven deacons. Their work in Jerusalem was over at that point," - that's why they went out preaching - "and resulted in his pursuing the same calling to which Paul later gave his life. Precious hours were these that Paul and Philip spent in each other's society. Thrilling were the memories that they recall of the days when the light, which had shown on the face of stephen, upturned to heaven, as he had suffered martyrdom, flashing its glory upon Saul the persecutor, bringing him a helpless suppliant at the feet of Jesus." So it talks about this friendship of Philip and Paul. Now, you know where you see that again later? In the last part of your lesson where it talks about 'Philip the host' - and you know who he's hosting? He's hosting Paul in his house.

So they had become good friends. Alright, let's go ahead and talk about that section waiting on tables. So turn in your Bible to acts chapter 2. We've got a lot to cover in our study today. Acts chapter 2 and it tells what brought about the need - no, I'm sorry - well, yeah, yeah.

We're going to talk about we need - acts chapter 2 - somebody's going to read for me, in a moment, acts 4:34 - you'll do that, okay, hafdis. So I'm going to read acts 2, verse 43, "then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles." We'd expect the signs and wonders through the apostles - make a note of that. "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." You know, periodically we get a phone call at the radio program - maybe even once a month we get a call. Someone will call on the Bible question, they'll say, "what does the Bible say about Christians, in the new testament, paying tithe?" And "we know they had tithe in the old testament, but we're not under the law anymore, so do we have to pay tithe?" And it's like they're thinking, 'well, because we're not under the law, we don't have to worry about giving ten percent.' I say, 'I agree.' I say, 'we're under the new testament: we're to sell everything we have and to lay it at the feet. But if that's too much for you, you should at least do tithe.

' And so I say, 'do you want the new testament?' I mean, 'tithe' I tell them, 'is kindergarten for the Christian. It's a very simple ten percent of your increase.' I said, 'but if you're a spirit-filled new testament Christian, let me read what they did. So which do you want?' They say, 'well, tithe sounds pretty good.' And so, we send them the lesson on tithe that Amazing Facts carries. But listen to the dedication: it says, "no man said that ought that he had was his own but they had all things in common." Almost sounds like a Christian form of communism. "And they" - don't quote me on that - "and they sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all as any had need.

" Now they didn't do it through compulsion, they did it voluntarily. That's the difference between socialism - "so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people." Until the persecution started, everybody was impressed with the Christians. "And the Lord was adding the church daily such as were being saved." Go ahead, read for us acts 4 - I think it's 34 and 35. "Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." You know, I've read somewhere that the same outpouring of the spirit that led to this complete sacrificial spirit among Christians, will be replicated again before Jesus returns. And you wonder, will the outpouring of the Spirit lead to that spirit of sacrifice or will a willing spirit of sacrifice lead to the outpouring of the Spirit? It seems like here and acts chapter 2 the Spirit was poured out and then they had that spirit of sacrifice, but it's going to happen again.

We probably ought to start practicing now what it means to deny ourself for the cause of God. I was reading last night, a book about uriah smith and how sacrificial the people were in the birth of our particular church. When they needed a printing press, you know, people would sell their possessions to give money to buy a press to get the word out to others. I mean, there's a great spirit of sacrifice. They obviously had that back then.

We need it again. And look at how the church grew when they had that. God blessed their efforts in cooperating with him. Acts 6:1 - now we're going to talk about where the actual deacons were picked - acts 6:1 - now in those days, when the number of the disciples - when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the hEllenists," - that's the jews by the gentiles and, in particular, the Greek gentiles - "because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution." There were some poor and, you know, the Bible says, 'do not neglect the widows and the orphans' and some of this collective offering that they - they gathered - this sacrifice - it not only went to help sustain the apostles as they were preaching and teaching, but it went to help the poor in their group. You remember Jesus assigned Judas the job of being treasurer and he had the bag for the poor.

It wasn't just for them but Jesus' group was actually giving to the poor. So now, you know, it isn't very long, it talks about them all having wonderful love for each other and then there's grumbling because there's some neglect that's happening there. "Then the twelve summoned the multitude" - and said, 'look, we can't - we can't be arbitrating the potlucks. We've got, you know, we're trying to reach the world.' - And he said, "it is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables." This is not a good use of our calling and time. "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

" You know, part of very - it's a crucial part of management if you want to grow a business. A business or company is often birthed by a handful of people, sometimes in a garage, and they're doing everything. And then as it grows and they want to increase Markets, sales, and manufacturing - all these things - if they try to keep doing it all themselves, they're going to get bogged down. And I know, when I first joined Amazing Facts over twenty years ago, I came to Amazing Facts from being a pastor of a small church and those that are listening that have been pastors of small churches, you kind of need to cover everything if it's a real small church. I mean you get used to - I mean, you're special music, cradle roll - you're doing a little bit of everything - and you take that mentality into a growing church, like when I came to central or when I got involved with Amazing Facts - and people had to pull me aside and say, 'doug, you've got to delegate these things because, for one thing, you're going to burn yourself out.

For another thing, it's just not going to help the organization to grow and you've got to stop micro-managing and let it go. You know, let other people - empower other people - and then when you do that, you just see how - how it grows. And that's what the apostles were saying, 'look, we need to - we need to delegate.' Didn't Moses have to do that? Do you remember when jethro came and after he - they came with the people out and they got the Ten Commandments? Finally jethro meets up with them in the wilderness and he sees his son-in-law. Jethro must have been an old man too, because Moses is over 80 now. He sees his son-in-law sitting from sunup til sundown being a judge - a mediator - and disputing all these - can you imagine having two million people with cattle? You remember the arguments between Abraham and lot and the arguments between Isaac and Jacob and their cattle? And can you imagine two million people with cattle and all the different disputes and family problems they were having and Moses - you could just see him at the end of the day just worn out and jethro said, 'you've got to delegate.

You can't do this.' Part of Christian organization is to empower other people with different gifts to do the different responsibilities and especially so that the proclamation of the word and prayer are not neglected. That's what Peter said, 'it is not meet that we leave the word of God.' And you know how many times evangelism has been stalled because the church gets so bogged down with internal management? They have no time for evangelism. They have no time for prayer. And these are priorities, Peter says. "Therefore brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the holy spirit and wisdom, that we might appoint over this business.

" Now what do you think the chances are - these are the same things that Peter says when he said, 'we need to replace Judas' in acts chapter 1. Find someone who went with Jesus from the beginning. It wasn't one of the twelve apostles, but he was a regular disciple. And they picked one from" - mathias - "from among those two men." Now, again, he says, 'pick seven who are full of the Holy Spirit, they're well-grounded.' These may be - these seven that were chosen may have also been in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out. It doesn't name them all so we don't know.

And then it names them - two that stand out to us are stephen and Philip and it says they set them aside. Verse 6, "whom they set before the apostles and when they prayed they laid hands on them." That means that they gave them some authority. They especially appointed them to a work and asked for God's Spirit to be put upon them. And when they did this organization, you know what the result was? Verse 7, "the Word of God spread," - why? Because the apostles were out preaching the word again, they weren't serving tables. "Then the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

" And so, in the time of Christ, that would have been headlines. And so not only were the people spreading, but even in the priesthood. Can you understand why great persecution arose? When even among the priests, they began to convert. There were pharisees and there were scribes that were converting - even sadducees, which were the hardest - they were the liberals - they didn't believe in the Spirit or angels. Even some of them probably converted.

And the devil was so threatened - then you read about a great persecution arising. Stephen is out preaching. He's filled with the Holy Spirit - he does evangelism - he's doing mission work. That's a good lesson for us. Even before the persecution arose, did deacons only serve tables? You know, in our churches today, when we pick deacons - I'm speaking generally.

This church is an exception. We think, 'who has the gift of lawn mowing?' 'Who has the gift of carrying chairs - setting up and taking down chairs?' But while they did those things, you notice the deacons were very involved in mission work. Elders, when we often pick elders in our churches, what do we think? 'We need more people to say the prayer for the offering.' 'We need more people to say the prayer.' But, biblically, elders were really the pastors. They were - they were preaching. They were teaching.

They were nurturing. They were giving Bible studies. They were conducting the sacred ordinances. Matter of fact, we just got done with the general conference meeting and one thing that everybody voted was, without going into the gender issue, everyone voted a statement of theology on ordination that said there is biblically no difference between pastor and elder. Biblically, they were doing the same thing.

And so the deacons were doing evangelism back then, which makes us wonder, 'what about regular members? Shouldn't every member have a passion for soul winning?' Amen. Alright, so stephen goes out and he's teaching and preaching. That leads us to our next section, Philip in samaria and so we're going to go to chapter 8 at this point and I want to just read to you - oh, we'll start with verse 5 - it talks about the - death of stephen that Saul, later known as Paul, was making havoc of the church - great persecution arose - and then read verse 4 - acts 8, verse 4, it says, "therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word." Now, you notice what persecution does? Was it all bad, what persecution did? See, now Jesus said, 'I want you to go preach the Gospel in all the world' - beginning where? In Jerusalem. They did that, the Holy Spirit was poured out, and then he said 'I want you to go to Jerusalem.' What was next? Samaria and Judea. Samaria.

Judea. The uttermost parts of the earth. And so what do we read? By the way, they went in Judea even before. And it says in - if you look in verse 5 - "then Philip" - now which Philip is this? Well, we just found out about one of the deacons named stephen, this is the other deacon named Philip. "Then Philip went down to the city of samaria" - well, we know it's Philip because it says 'the apostles abode in Jerusalem.

' "And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." Now this is a deacon performing miracles - "for unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city." Now don't lose your place in acts - I want you to go to Mark - Mark 16 and I forget what verse, but I'll tell you in just a minute - Mark 16 - okay, if you look in Mark 16, verse 17, "and these signs will follow those who are apostles" - is that what it says? It says, "these signs will follow those who believe." Any believers here? Amen. "These signs will follow those who believe. In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents;" - that doesn't mean like the snake handlers - you go on a snake safari and you pick up snakes to prove you have the Holy Spirit. What that's talking about is when Paul was bitten by a serpent in acts, it says he took the beast up - when he lifted up his arm it was hanging off him, but it didn't hurt him.

It's just saying, 'if you're bitten by a serpent.' They used to actually put snakes - the way that they would try and kill people back then - they didn't have guns. They didn't have assassins and snipers - they poisoned people. They might put a serpent in your bed or something - in your sleeping bag - to bite you or something like that. And it says, 'if you're bitten with serpents, they won't hurt you. If you drink any deadly thing it will by no means hurt you.

You'll lay your hands on the sick and they will recover.' Now some people have dismissed this part of Mark, but you look in acts and it's showing the fulfillment of it. These are the signs and wonders that were following Philip, not just apostles - them that believe, Jesus said. Now we don't see a lot of this today, but this happened after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When God pours out his spirit again, will we, once again, see biblical signs and wonders among God's people? Yes. I believe it.

Well, we need to be doing now what the apostles did then, before the Holy Spirit was poured out. You know what they did? They were of one accord and they prayed and they fasted and they studied the word. And as they prepared their hearts, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, they were ready to receive it and then signs and wonders followed. Alright, we're back in acts chapter 8, "and there was great joy in that city." It says he went down to samaria. Now when it says he went to samaria, you know, there really was no city named samaria at that time.

Samaria was the capitol of the ten tribes of the northern kingdom. During the time of the apostles, samaria, what we call samaria is - you know, a lot of things happened - ahab was the King of samaria - it was destroyed by hyrcanus, one of the Jewish Kings long before the time of Philip, but herod the great rebuilt it and he gave it the name of sebaste. But the jews, still out of rebellion, called it samaria because it was the place of their former headquarters for the northern kingdom but, technically, that was not the name of it anymore. Okay, moving along - and it's telling you everything's going wonderful but then you read in verse 9 - I'm in acts chapter 8, verse 9, but - now, when you're hearing a story about wonderful things happening - devils cast out, people healed, great joy, but - what does that tell you? That three-letter word - what's going to happen next? We're going to have a problem. But - does the devil just stand back when God's pouring out the spirit? Devils are being cast out, people are being healed.

The word is being preached - you can almost always wait for it. The devil's going to try and stop it. It doesn't last for long and he tries to stop it. "But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city" - is sorcery biblically a good thing or a bad thing? - "And astonished the people of samaria, claiming that he was someone great," - might have been claiming that he was like one of these messianic incarnations - there were many popping up during that time, that's why they didn't believe in Jesus - or some didn't - "to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'this man is the great power of God.' And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized" - he believed and was baptized but he had not given up his old ways completely - "and he continued with Philip," - he starts following Philip around. He wants to know - now he had been using sorcery and magic and tricks to deceive the people and he's wanting to know - he sees Philip casting out devils and doing these wonders and miracles. He's going, 'how's he doing it? I've got to figure this out. Where's his power coming from. If I could only have that power.

I've been using magic and tricks and slight of hand. He's got the real thing. Wow, what I wouldn't give for the real thing.' And he thought maybe it was like something, you know, you trade with magicians - you pay them a little bit and they say, 'alright, I'll show you what the secret is.' And he saw the miracles that were done - notice - "now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them." That's one reason we know that Philip, who's preaching as a deacon - because when they're wanting them to be baptized - if Philip was an apostle, he would have just done it, but - or be filled with the Spirit, rather - he would have done it but they're sending now for two of the chief representatives to pray the samaritans. You realize this was a difficult step. They were struggling about taking the gentiles - the jews to the gentiles - taking the Gospel to the gentiles.

Samaritans, you know, they at least believed the books of Moses, so for them to receive the Holy Spirit they said, 'we'd better send for Peter and John. They wanted some authority. So Philip was still just the deacon. And when they "prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit for as yet he had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 'give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'" Now the church could have gone the wrong direction right then - to think that you could buy or sell - you remember when naaman tried to pay for his healing and Elisha said, 'I won't take a penny.' And when gehazi thought that was a bad decision he said, 'yeah, we'll take something for it.' He got leprosy. You cannot pay for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Joseph's brothers tried to pay for the gift of food. He put it back in the bags.

He wouldn't take the money. You cannot pay for the gift of God. That's a principle through the Bible. "But Peter said to him, 'your money perish with you,'" - in Hebrew - or Greek, actually, it's a pretty strong term - "because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God." You can't give the Holy Spirit to anyone because you still don't even understand the basics. You think it can be bought.

"Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you." Can thoughts be sins? It says 'even the thought of your heart' - pray that you be forgiven for even thinking this - "for I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity." And Simon, when he heard Peter come down, you know, Peter didn't mince words, did he? Not too many pastors talk like that anymore, do they? You hear Paul - the Holy Spirit comes on him and he tells another Simon, 'you child of the devil. How long will you pervert the ways of God?' And that man's struck with blindness. We need more boldness. "Then Simon answered and said, 'pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me." He repents and we never find out what happened with him. Let's hope that he repented and he became a humble apostle and he understood the truth - or a humble disciple, rather, and understood the truth.

But he was using what? Sorcery. Now, you know, we've got a verse on that. How does the Bible feel - someone's going to read Deuteronomy 18:10 - can we get ready for that right away? Go ahead. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer." How many of you have met people out there in our secular world, that sort of co-mingle a little bit of Christianity with a little bit of witchcraft and sorcery and they just sort of think that they're all powers and that they're all good. You ever run into that? Yeah, I do - it's amazing.

Alright, you know, we need to hasten along because we need to make sure and get the Ethiopian baptized before we're done. And so you go to acts chapter 8 and you can read - go to verse 26. So after this great revival that takes place, "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." Why would the angel tell you to go to the desert? Has God often led his people in the desert before? To save them or save someone else? And, you know, Elijah went to the desert, Jesus went to the desert. Go down and without questioning, like Abraham, he tells him to go and he says, 'I'll go.' "So he arose and went." - But Lord, I'm having such a great evangelistic experience in samaria, why leave this? He said, 'I want you to go. You may not understand why but just go.

' "So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under candice the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet." - Oh, you ever run into one of those very unique opportunities? Now this is interesting because you'll find one of the biggest battles that was ever fought in the Bible, was a battle fought between the jews and the Ethiopians, did you know that? You can look in 2 Chronicles 14:9, "then zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots," - it's the largest army numbered in the Bible - and God miraculously gave the King of Israel - the king of judah victory in that battle. But there was some long-standing struggles between Ethiopia and the Jewish nation. You remember why was miriam upset with Moses? Because he had married that Ethiopian.

And so now, God is telling one of his evangelists, 'I want you to go and talk to this Ethiopian eunuch.' Now whether he was technically a eunuch or not is hard to know because the word eunuch was used both to describe those who had gone through that medical procedure to make sure they would not bother the King's harem, like Daniel was made a eunuch, but the eunuch also was a broad term that was talking about people who worked in the palace in administrative capacity. And so it's probable that this fellow fell in that category because, biblically, a eunuch was not allowed in the temple. Did you know that? And this man has just come from worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem. So he was probably an administrator. He's a treasurer.

He's got great resources at his disposal and he's on his way back home. He's a believer in the true God. You know, all the way from the time of Solomon when the queen of sheba - that country was the same country as Ethiopia - had gone back down there with the knowledge of the true God. Her whole quest was to find out about the wisdom of Solomon, which was the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. She took it back.

Many were converted, and that's when the knowledge of jehovah was down there. The Scriptures were down there. The truth, in Ethiopia, goes back to 800 years before Christ. And so, he's coming to worship, but they don't know about Jesus. So that's why the angel said, 'look, we need someone to take the message down there.

He's already on his way. If you could preach to him and give him a Bible study before he goes, he'll take it with him. Perfect - perfect opportunity. So at a 50-mile trip the angel took him on. So he arose and - he arises and he goes.

Matter of fact, someone, I think, has a verse in psalm 68:31 that foretold - who - did anyone get that one? You'll have that - we'll have you read that in just a second here. And so it says that Philip goes down and he sees him reading. He's reading from the prophet Isaiah. "'Do you understand what you're reading?' And he said, 'how can I unless someone guides me?' And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him" - in the chariot. This is the first example of picking up hitchhikers in the Bible.

That's why I do that - to witness. "The place in the Scripture which he read was this:" - have you ever had one of those amazing experiences where you read something in the morning and you find it's the very thing you need to give someone later in the day? Or have you ever sat down next to someone and you're giving a Bible study but you don't know where everything is in the Bible but you open your Bible to the very spot that they're - they're needing to hear. I've had hundreds of experiences like that. What a perfect place for a Jewish believer to be reading in his Bible the Messiah's prophecy that you find in Isaiah 53 when you run into your first Christian. Boy, talk about timing.

There was no other place in the old testament that was better suited to begin a Bible study to introduce Jesus than those verses. And so he's reading that because he wants to take the Gospel down to Ethiopia. And so he read, "he was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth." And the eunuch says to Philip, 'I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?' Then Philip opened his mouth," - what a great question! - "And beginning at this Scripture," - starts where he is - he "preached Jesus to him." How long that went - it might have been hours riding along. Somewhere along the way he says, 'oh man," - his heart is burning within him - he says, 'I believe it. I want to be baptized in the name of Jesus.

' He says, "if you believe with all your heart, you may." They go by a body of water - we don't know if there was a pond, an oasis - they could have been pointing - the road from gaza down to Ethiopia went by the mediterranean - they could have pointed to the ocean. It might be one of the cases in the Bible for saltwater baptism. And he said, "here is water. What hinders me?" He said, "if you believe with all your heart" - Philip baptizes him, he comes up out of the water, the man's rejoicing and - poof! - Philip is gone. This is a case in the Bible of a human being beamed, for lack of another word, from one place to another.

Philip suddenly finds himself walking on the road up to caesarea. God told him to go down and because he went that long way into a desert, at the Word of God, God said, 'look, I'm not going to make you walk the whole way back. I'm going to give you a lift.' Wasn't that nice? God'll make your - it's like when Jesus got in the boat when the disciples were rowing during that one wind storm. It says, 'when he got in the boat they were at the destination where they were going. He beamed them halfway across the ocean to the shore.

He doesn't always do that for missionaries, but this man, knowing that - when Philip disappeared, what did it do for the faith of the Ethiopian? He thought Philip was an angel. He said - and he was so excited. So God not only did it for Philip, he did it for the Ethiopian so he'd go, 'it was a message from God.' And he went on his way rejoicing and he took the Gospel to Ethiopia. This was foretold. Go ahead, read for us psalm 68:31.

"Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." This very event, that the Ethiopians would also come to God, was foretold. Do you know that as late as 700 ad, the people in Ethiopia were still believing in God. Matter of fact, they were keeping the - well they still do today - what I meant was they were keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. Yeah, I've got it here - "in 1604 jesuits went to Ethiopia prohibiting subjects of the catholic realm, upon the severest penalty, from observing Saturday any longer." That's a quote from geddes' church history of Ethiopia. It's also in gibbon's decline and fall of the roman empire.

So up to 1,604 years after Christ, they were still Sabbath-keeping Christians in Ethiopia and there are still some today. But the church began to forbid them to do it at that point. Where did that primitive Christianity, how did it reach Ethiopia? The first point of contact was that treasurer who brought it and shared it with the queen, candice, and it began to spread among the people down there. Just a moment left where we can talk about the - the last point is Philip as the host and a father. You can read in acts 21 it talks about Philip again.

We're jumping much deeper into the book of acts. Now twenty years have gone by. "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto caesarea." Now that, evidently, was where Philip stayed. Remember, it says that after he baptized the Ethiopian, he was found on the road walking towards caesarea. I've actually been to caesarea.

It was named after the wife of caesar - or dedicated to her by, I think, herod the great did that. There's a big - it's still there today - they've got a big semi theater you can stand out in the middle and you can speak and it's built with such perfect parabolic shape that someone at the top can hear you speak in a normal voice in this big amphitheater. It's an incredible spot. So he moved to that city and, evidently, twenty years later, Philip is still there. He met a gal, evidently, got married, had four daughters, and he began to become a leader in the church there at this port city that's on the intersection of three continents and so it was a great place for him to set up headquarters as an evangelist.

And he was a good father and a good host. It says, "we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist." Do we have to doubt who that is? He was the great evangelist, "which was one of the seven." Makes it very clear - "and abode with him." Now this man, you look at verse 9, he had four virgin daughters who prophesied. That's a fulfillment of the prophecy that you find in acts - well, it's in Joel chapter 2, where it says 'I'll pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.' So if we're wondering what is meant by that, you find an example of that in acts chapter 2 when the men and women are filled with the holy spirit and they're sharing the Gospel in other languages, you find an example of that here when the daughters of Philip did also prophesy. They are sharing and the word 'prophesy' doesn't always mean that you're foretelling the future, it means that you are teaching, you're preaching, you're proclaiming, you're giving Bible studies.

Whether their prophecy was specifically among the women in their community, it does not say, but what kind of father do you have to be to have four girl prophets? You've got to be a good father. He was a good evangelist and where did his evangelism begin? At home. You know, we never give amram and jochebed enough credit. Amram and jochebed had three kids that were all prophets. Miriam, aaron, and Moses.

Two of them were priests. The boys were priests, but all three were prophets. And so Philip and his wife, they were a good family. They did mission work in their family and beyond. Well, we have run out of time for our study on Philip, but I think we got through the bulk of the lesson.

And, for our friends who are watching, if you did not hear at the beginning, we have a free offer we'll make available. It's a book called the Savior and the serpent. It's actually a very encouraging book about those great statements of Jesus of Moses being lifted up - Christ being lifted up in the wilderness - as Moses lifted up the serpent. And so we encourage you to ask for this. We'll send it to you.

You can even read it for free online. If you do get one, share it with your friends. Thank you for studying with us. God willing we'll be together again next Sabbath. God bless you.

Amazing Facts changed lives. Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church - catholic church in manilla - and before a big cross and I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself, and also my family. And I said, 'Lord, I would like to follow you all the way.' At that point I seemed to be happy, externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible - we don't study about the Word of God, we pray the rosaries. We also, at the same time, study the lives of the saints and also our founders and the encyclicals of the pope, and the virgin mary. And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience - the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved.

So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box saying, 'father, forgive me. Since my last confession was last week - since then I have committed the following sin including the root cause, 'why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again?' And still, for 21 long years I struggle and I struggle and I struggle. I realized that I was totally empty. I was totally helpless and hopeless and so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life. I was working for five years as dean of the university of saint Augustine college of nursing in iloilo city, one of the islands of the Philippines.

After five years I received my commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to the United States. It is because my sister needs my help. As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss, seraphin, he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the 'millenium of prophecy'. As I was listening to pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast and my mind - I am able to grasp the truth that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life - that I have been seeking for so long.

My personal relationship with Jesus - I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world, but he is my personal Savior. He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin - from the mirey clay. Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts - I owe to them.

the Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this 'millenium of prophecy'. My life has never been the same. It has given me that peace - that joy that never - I have never tasted in my life. Now I am set free to be able to work for him and to follow him. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming.

Watch Amazing Facts television by visiting 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can view amazing facts programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Why wait a week? Visit 'aftv.org' - it's that easy. Nothing is more important than coming to Jesus and going for Jesus. Have you got plans this fall to bring a soul to Christ? Plan to attend the heroes of faith evangelistic program uplinked from lansing, Michigan from October 2 to October 10.

Plan now to attend with your family and friends and learn from the past how we can be heroes of faith today. Go to theheroesoffaith.com to find out how you can register your home or your church. Make an eternal difference in someone's life. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com.

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