Acts 21 recounts the story of the trip by the missionary team led by Paul on their way to Jerusalem. For Paul, it would be his final trip to that city.
When they arrived in Palestine, they stayed in the beautiful coastal city of Caesarea. The team stayed in the home of Philip the Deacon or Philip the Evangelist (as he is sometimes called). The Bible tells us in verse 9 that “He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.” The missionary band stayed with Philip and his family for several days.
We are first introduced to Philip in Acts 6:5. He was chosen to be one of the seven deacons. The qualifications for that position included a good reputation, a person of wisdom, and being full of the Spirit (v. 3).
The deacons in the early church were persons of service and were assigned the task of attending to the needs of the poor and the widows.
After the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 7 of Acts, we see almost the entirety of chapter 8 telling of the ministry of Philip. The death of Stephen caused a dispersion and persecution of the Christians.
We find Philip in Samaria evangelizing the capital city. He had a very successful ministry. When Peter and John came to visit and encourage the work, many were baptized in the Spirit. He later was used by God to intercept the Ethiopian who was on his way home after visiting and worshipping in Jerusalem.
With that background in mind about the early ministry of Philip, I would like us to return our attention to Acts 21 and Luke’s cursory mention of Philip’s family. This present situation is around twenty years after Philip began his ministry. In those twenty years, Philip now has four daughters who were also active in ministry through prophesy. Prophecy may include foretelling the future; but it most assuredly includes more “forth-telling” than foretelling.
For most of us who are involved in ministry, the backing of our family is a prerequisite for our service. For me, I would find it impossible to be active in Christian service without the accompaniment of my spouse.
With the testimony of Philip, we see not only the family as a support unit, but also as a ministry team. His family not only provided support for Philip, but they were equally as active. His daughters were active in preaching the gospel.
Ministry is about expanding our circle of influence. That should always begin with those closest to us. Philip shows us (by his example) the dynamic of the fruit and the result and the consequence of that ministry principle.
ChildHope Country Coordinator, Colombia
Our prayer today is that God would allow those closest to us to see our testimony. And by seeing, that they would take the next step and choose to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And beyond that, we can glean from Philip’s example and learn the value of including those in our own outreach.
My prayer for you, as well, is that your life and service and ministry will be strengthened and expanded by this invaluable ministry principle.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.