Summary: We’re going to look at a man named Philip •Philip is what we might call a "minor character of Acts" •We know great characters of Peter and Paul. •When we meet Philip: -Not a professional missionary; great evangelist; powerful preacher -Just an o
Available to God
(or, “What to do before your call”)
Philip in Samaria (Acts 8:1-8)
1982 was a momentous year in my life. After 12 yrs. of school and 4 yrs. of college, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. It was a wonderful accomplishment.
•Unfortunately, like many college graduates my goal up to that point was to have a good time and get the degree along the way;
•Suddenly that awful prospect loomed in front of me: I had to get a job! A horrifying thought.
•I had majored in Psychology, and one of my friends, also a Psych major told me that “BA in Psychology like a BA in unemployment” (without a master’s degree...);
•So I began considering graduate school of psychology; but I was kind of bored with my undergraduate work, most of which had been experimenting on rats.
•I decided I would take a year off. But during that summer someone suggested I take a few seminary classes. That’s a good idea. Everyone can use a little Bible.
•And so I went to seminary. I really enjoyed it. I began to think, “Maybe God wants me in full time Christian service”
•And I began to observe the men and women around me. Many spoke of their extraordinary life-changing call to ministry. Dramatic call. Earthshaking. Damascus Rd experiences.
•I didn’t have a call like that. So I studied and I waited for my call. Nothing.
•Friends in seminary said they were called to preach, burning in their heart. I had no burning in my heart (except perhaps the morning after eating too spicy food).
•I had heard stories of great men’s calls. dreams and visions; men in grip of sin, who God called; John Newton (African slave trade- Amazing Grace)
Don’t get me wrong. I was a Christian. I truly wanted to serve God. But I didn’t know where I should go, or what I should do. Missions? Pastor? Teacher? Involvement in church?
Have you ever wondered about God’s will in your life? What would God have me do?
This morning I want to deal with this question.
I called this message “Available to God” : But I could have called it: “What to do before your call.” How do you prepare for a life of service to God?
Now some of you may be saying, "This message isn’t for me, for 17-25 yr. olds."
•I’m established in business; Retired.
•But you don’t get off that easy. After all, God wants all Christians to be available to him. History is full of Christians in their 50s, 60s and 70s who were called by God to be serve him. People in established careers that God calls.
•I was amazed when I got to seminary. It was full of engineers and businessmen, even doctors and lawyers, whom God had called.
I don’t know what God may be calling you to: Maybe helping out in an established ministry around here (teaching or Awanas, or men’s ministry, or youth ministry; DVBS); maybe starting a new ministry. Maybe short term missions; who knows, maybe full time Christian service.
•Whatever it is, this message is for all Christians who are open to God’s will.
We’re going to look at a man named Philip
•Philip is what we might call a "minor character of Acts"
•We know great characters of Peter and Paul.
•When we meet Philip:
-Not a professional missionary; great evangelist; powerful preacher
-Just an ordinary “Joe Christian” like you or me
-But a person available to God; and so an example for us
•Three principles from Philip’s life on "What to do before you’re called." Or, How to live a life available to God.
When we first meet Philip he is simply a name in a list, but an important name.
•Turn to Acts 6 while I remind you of context:
•Exciting days in the early church.
•Growing like mad. Day of Pentecost, Peter preaches a powerful sermon, and 3,000 are converted; by Acts 4 there were 5,000.
•Spirit of love and caring: sharing possessions, meeting needs.
•Sure there is persecution (Peter and John, then all apostles), but this only strengthens the church.
Suddenly, however the honeymoon is over, an internal problem arises.
•Conflict between two ethnic groups, the Greek-speaking Jewish Christians and the Aramaic-speaking Jews the locals, born and raised in Palestine
•The poor widows of Greek-speaking are being ignored in the daily distribution of food
As we saw two weeks ago, the apostles come up with a solution.
•They are called by God to preach the Gospel and they cannot leave that calling.
•So they propose a committee of seven men to oversee the distribution of the food.
We looked at the first man on that list last week.
•His name was Stephen, the first Christian to be martyred for his faith.