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Posts Tagged ‘Philip’

Verses 7-9: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”

Set the time machine of your memories back to 1974-1981: do you remember a game show called “Name That Tune”? Hosted by Tom Kennedy, this game show offered a musical twist to its questions. (Now the show is actually older than this and had a handful of different hosts, but I remember this one specifically.) Contestants had to name musical pieces through a series of rounds and games, but I remember the Bid-a-note challenge: this was between two contestants and had as its clues a spoken Jeopardy-like hint. Based on the hint, the two finalists would bid down how many piano notes of the answer they needed in order to guess the song. The starting bid was seven notes, but contestants could bid down to one note, at which the other contestant would challenge them to “name that tune”. (Now granted, if they stated they could name it in one note, chances are they knew the answer from the clue, not the notes!) In most cases, the contestant winning the bid would have to recognize the song from several notes…just enough notes to hopefully name that tune.

Did you ever go somewhere and didn’t know what people were saying? The obvious example is to travel to a foreign country and not know the native language. If you were in that situation, you had to have an interpreter: one who knew what was being said and could tell you what it means. Paul here is advising the Corinthians that while it’s good to have the gift of speaking in tongues, he urged them to pray to ask for the gift of understanding/translation as well, whether personally or for someone to be there to interpret. Non-Christians would see someone speaking in tongues and conclude they had a gift, but to Christians in church who heard only the tongue being spoken, it was useless unless someone stood up to interpret. (Look up the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27-39 for a good example!)

While the gift of tongues is not commonly heard today, Christians still need to tell others about Jesus. Sometimes they need to give their testimony without “churchy” words. Because, believe it or not, there are still those who seek to know who Jesus is, and we have to tell them in a way they’ll understand. Sometimes, we may need to do it in more than one note!

Something to think about!

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Verses 36-37: “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.””

Ever wanted something so badly, that you couldn’t wait to get it? I have a co-worker who is counting the hours until he gets to go to the midnight debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga. The movie opens this weekend. He’s already said he’ll probably watch it twice, and he has his tickets firmly in possession. I would almost wager that if there’s a crowd of storm troopers around that theater entrance, he’ll be ready to whip out a lightsaber to get in that door! (just joking! 🙂 )He’s not going to let anything hinder him from seeing that movie.

The eunuch had just learned the meaning of the passage he was reading from Philip. Philip used that opportunity to tell him the Good News. Now, the eunuch didn’t want to wait! He wanted to be baptized NOW! As Philip told him, the only thing he needed to do was believe. No plainer profession could there be than the one the eunuch uttered: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

By the way, Philip didn’t hemhaw and say, “Well, you might want to wait until your friends can attend your baptism.” or “Well, they might have cleaner water at the palace.” No, they stopped, went down to the water, and Philip baptized him in Jesus’ name. And again, by divine transport, Philip was gone, whisked away to his next assignment.

So…what’s holding you back today from answering God’s call?

Something to think about.

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Verses 29-31: “Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.”

A few years ago, we were on a Carpenters mission trip to help a church in Dublin, GA, put up a new sanctuary. The church was predominantly African-American; I only mention this due to what God called me to share on this particular trip. I gave the devotional sermon on Carpenter Sunday, and God pointed me to this Scripture and led me to share some thoughts that I wasn’t sure how they were going to be received! As a “fleece” to verify God’s leading, I consulted with the pastor, Bro. Carlos, about what God was leading me to say. He gave me a reassuring smile and said, “I’ll back you all the way, brother.” So I shared this passage and shared some “comments” that might be said today in the same situation by those of less faith, juxtaposed to those statements from the passage. It went something like this:

“Now, did Philip say, “ But God, he’s a government official…I’m not sure I should approach him.” “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
“But God, he’s an educated man, I’m not…will he listen to me?” “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
“But God, he’s black.” What do you think God said? “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

Philip said none of these things; he followed God’s will and joined a man he didn’t know.

By the way, did that Ethiopian eunuch say, “Am I going to let this white stranger in my chariot?” No, he said, “How can I [understand], unless someone guides me?”

Jesus came to die and rise again for ALL men! His gift of salvation is for everyone!”

By the way, that message I was nervous about sharing? It was greeted by “Amen!”, from church members and Carpenters alike.

Jesus wants us to go in His name…He’ll do the rest!

Something to think about.

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Verse 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.”

Imagine you were preaching to crowds; many were coming to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by the apostles. Then, in the midst of this successful ministry, reaching masses of people, the Lord calls you to go minister…to one person. What’s more, instead of being in a nearby locale to where you are now, He says go to the desert…and wait. You and I might be wondering “what did I do wrong? Am I being punished?” Not Philip; he followed the Lord’s angel’s instructions without question or doubt. There, he was about to have an encounter that would be most memorable.

You never know when God is going to give you an assignment you weren’t expecting. One December, while my family and I were stopped in Auburn, we ate at the local mall. While getting some Chinese food, the Oriental young man behind the counter asked me, in broken English, about what did Christmas mean. I politely explained that there were two differing reasons for the holiday…the secular one that includes Santa Claus, and the real reason: the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this earth, come to live as a man and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, dying for us and rising again. Then he asked something that was about as direct a question as I’ve ever gotten: “who is this Jesus?” I did my best to witness to him and to tell him; I even left my wife’s pocket New Testament with him and instructing him to start reading in John. We couldn’t stay long unfortunately, as we were travelling…but I did contact a local church in the area to seek him out. You never know when God is going to give you an assignment…are you ready for yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Verse 13: “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.”

When I was younger, I used to enjoy watching pro wrestling on TV with my father and with my brother. Now, of course, being an impressionable youth (read: naïve!), I thought the action was real, as well as all the bouts were unscripted. I’d follow along with the “story” that a bad guy had turned into a good guy, had teamed up with the good guy to take on opponents, only for the former bad guy to treacherously revert to being bad again in a match, bushwhacking the “unsuspecting” good guy. I thought that the bad guy had really repented of his “evil” ways and had become good. After all, his coming over to the good side seemed so “genuine”. Yes, I was naïve as a boy. 🙂

Here we have Philip in Samaria, preaching and spreading the Gospel. A magician of some renown named Simon began to see the miracles that Philip was performing in the name of Jesus Christ; what’s more, he heard the Good News that Philip preached. He too, “believed” and supposedly became a convert and “continued with Philip”. I was reminded of something that is best stated in my New Testament commentary: quoting the Holman New Testament Commentary on Acts, page 122: “Remember that the word believe does not always mean saving faith in the New Testament (John 2:23-25; Jas. 2:19).” The verse in James is just what came to my mind, when James speaks of some believing in God…James reminds them “good for you! The demons believe in God, too…and they tremble!” We’ll see Simon’s true colors when Peter and John come to town in the next verses.

Make sure you’re not a “bandwagon” fan, jumping to the side of the winning team just because all seams popular and happy. Make sure your belief…is genuine and for the right reasons. Remember…others are watching, so let others see Jesus in you!

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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