Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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Introducing Philip the Evangelist and Qualifications for Leaders

August 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Seven men were selected to oversee the care for the widows in the Greek-speaking wing of the early Jerusalem church. This study looks at the qualities of those called as leaders for that task, (as should also apply today to men raised up in the church). Our study will include a brief overview of Philip’s mission in Samaria.

The days of the choosing of the seven were hard times – famine, heavy taxation from Rome and exploitation by wealthy Jewish landowners (James 5). The community of the faith cared for their truly poor and needy. Isaiah 58 shows the fast God has chosen and is exemplified in the early church. Seven men were selected to take care of the widows. Their qualifications were as follows:

  1. Men of good reputation
  2. Men full of the Spirit
  3. Men full of wisdom

These qualifications are similar to those given when Jethro counseled Moses to find men who would help him bear the load of shepherding the congregation in Ex. 18. Moses is advised to choose:

  1. Able, gifted men, who
  2. Fear God and
  3. Hate dishonest gain

Going back to Acts, we find that persecution came at the time of Stephen’s martyrdom, which God used to further His purpose and strategy to take the gospel beyond Jerusalem. Philip takes the lead proclaiming the word to those living in Samaria. Like Stephen, and the apostles before him, Philip preaching is accompanied by signs and wonders.

In this study our journey through the Acts of the Apostles reaches a new turning point, as the gospel begins to go out beyond Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria. We continue next week with a fuller look at Philip’s ministry in Samaria (8:4-40), leading to the next two major developments: the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-31), and Peter’s ministry at the house of Cornelius (9:32-11:18), both of which (together with the scattering that takes place with Stephen’s death) set up the Gentile mission that will be launched from the church in Antioch-Syria (11:19-26; 13:1-4).

Tags: Sermons

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