A Model Believer - Philip


And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. - Acts 8:26-40

These verses are at the end of a passage of true revival. Philip was preaching in a big way, and multitude after multitude were turning Christ. To the human eye, it would seem that Philip was exactly where he needed to be. Things were going well. People were getting saved. But God had other plans for Philip, and those plans included leaving the crowd and going to witness to one man. Philip's response to this change of plans is what makes him a model believer for each of us.

1. He was so in touch with God that He heard when God spoke. I don't know about you, but when I feel the nudge to do something, I often have to wonder if it's God speaking or my flesh. Does God really want me to stay home and write, or is that just what my flesh wants? Was it really God's voice that I heard? According to the passage above, Philip didn't have any such problem. When God spoke, Philip knew exactly who was speaking and jumped to obey, which leads us to our next point.

2. He obeyed immediately. Philip didn't argue with the Lord. He could have. He could have said, "But Lord, look at the good work I'm doing here. These people are really listening to me, and they're getting saved. There's more work to do here. Surely, You don't want me to leave all these people so that I can go win one man. It just doesn't make sense." It probably didn't make sense to Philip, but he obeyed anyway. Without complaint. Without argument. Without trying to rationalize the decision. God directed, and Philip obeyed.

3. He was anxious to do God's will. When God gave Philip instructions, not only did Philip obey, but he showed an eagerness to comply. The Bible says that he ran to the chariot. When was the last time we were so excited to do God's work that we ran to accomplish the task?

4. He was prepared with the Gospel. When the Ethiopian eunuch asked for help in understanding what he was reading, Philip was ready with an answer. He was studied up and prayed up. He was acting in the power of God and knew that God would supply the words needed to win this soul to Christ. Not only did he have to be willing, but he had to be prepared. He had to know what he was talking about. Do we?

5. He was persistent. At the very end of the passage, we see where Philip is caught away and "transported" to another place. So, what does he do then? Simple. He does the same thing he's been doing all along. He picks up right where he left off--preaching the Gospel. He never misses a beat. He knows what he's been called to do, and he's persistent in seeing that it gets done.

There's a lot more that could be seen about Philip, but there was enough in just this one passage to fill a post. Philip was not perfect. He made mistakes just like the rest of us do. But Philip had some character traits that we would do well to imitate. It could mean the difference between finding joy in the journey or being weary in well-doing.