Phillip’s Blessing

November 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized, Wisdom | Leave a comment

My nephew Phillip asked me to present a blessing at his graduation service on Friday.  What follows is the summary of that talk:

            Phillip, I’ve known you almost all your life, so when I first pondered giving a blessing for this service, I thought back to one of the first times I was with you.  Your parents went to a conference and left you and Teresa to stay at our house in Alamosa.   You cried for the first twenty-four hours, and I had no idea how to handle that.  Things between us have improved dramatically since then.  Actually, I didn’t have to think long, since I have been preaching through the book of Acts, I thought immediately of a man in that book who’s name is almost the same as yours – Philip (that is Philip with one “l” instead of two).  So my blessing and prayer for you is that you will be like One-L Philip in five specific ways.

            First, the Bible Philip was a man of fullness (that word has two ls).  The first time we meet Philip is in Acts 6:3.  There was need for more leaders in the young church, so the apostles said, “Select from among you seven men of good reputation full of the spirit and of wisdom.”  Philip was full of the Holy Spirit.  The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is given to those who genuinely trust in Jesus Christ (John 7:37-39; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Thess 2:13).  So Philip was one who had a genuine trust in Jesus, and it was evident in his life.  We’ve seen in you evidence of a genuine trust in Christ, and I pray that the Spirit would be even more evident in your life in the days ahead.

            Philip was not just full of the Spirit; he was also full of wisdom.  You’ve often demonstrated a wisdom way beyond your years.  I know in your own family devotions, you often have wisdom searches.  You’ve spent a lot of time in Proverbs and know that book better than I do.  You know “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov 1:10)  I define fearing God as coming to him on his terms rather than on our own.  Many people try to come to God on their terms, but they miss who he really is.  When you come to God on his terms, then he gives you his direction and he becomes your resource for everything.  My prayer is that you would have a wisdom that not only knows right from wrong, but knows God intimately and finds all your direction and resources in him.

            Second, One-L Philip was a servant.  The position he was chosen for involved serving tables.  The church was growing; food was being distributed to those in need, and they needed help serving the tables of the Greek widows.  Table service is not easy work; it takes a servant heart.  I have seen in you a heart to serve.  I’ve seen it with your siblings; I’ve seen it in the way you help out when you’ve stayed at our house; I’ve seen it most recently in how you help your grandparents.  May your heart to serve grow bigger in the coming years.

            Third, the Philip in Acts was bold (one l in that word).  Particularly, he was bold in obedience.  The next time we see Philip is in Acts 8 and he is demonstrating this bold obedience.  In verse 5 “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ.”  Considering the history between the Jews and Samaritans, this Jew going to them was a very bold move.  In verse 7 Philip confronts unclean spirits, heals diseases and then addresses a sorcerer.  That is great boldness.  His proclaiming Christ resulted in a huge revival, and right in the middle of leading that revival, God told him to leave.  “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (v.26)  Then Luke adds for emphasis, “This is a desert road.”  It wouldn’t make any sense to me – leave a city where many are coming to know Christ and go out into the desert where no one is.  But Philip boldly obeyed what God told him to do.  When he was on that desert road, he saw the chariot of “a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure.”  The Spirit said, “Go up and join this chariot.”  A person doesn’t suddenly approach a royal caravan, but Philip boldly did just that.  Then he was bold enough to talk to the official in the chariot.  All these bold steps were taken because God told him to do those things.  We see that bold obedience in you.  If you were to tell someone all that you did for your ALERT program in Texas, they might think you were crazy, but you did it in obedience to God.  May that boldness to obey God only increase as you grow.

            Fourth, Philip was knowledgeable (two ls) in the Bible.  He proclaimed Christ to the Samaritans, who had part of the Old Testament and were looking for a Messiah – a Christ.  He had to know the Bible to do that.  But more telling is his conversation with the Ethiopian on the desert road.  That man was reading the scroll of Isaiah, and we’re told that Philip began with that very passage of scripture and preached Jesus to him.  He knew his Bible well.  I remember the first year I was in Thornton and working with the AWANA program in our church.  You and James were visiting one week, and the six or eight boys in AWANA complained about how much we were making them learn.  I told them they didn’t know the Bible at all, and then presented a challenge.  I told them our two visitors knew the Bible better than all of them combined.  I went through the AWANA books asking questions, and you soundly defeated them in that challenge.  You’ve always known the Bible well for your age, and I pray you would continue to grow in your knowledge of God’s Word.

            Finally, One-L Philip was an evangelist (one l).  The next, and last, time we see him is many years later in Acts 21:8; he is living in Caesarea and is called an evangelist. He is the only person in the Bible given that title.  He would share with anyone without prejudice: Samaritans, Ethiopians, Romans (Caesarea was a Roman city).  Phillip, may you have a love for all people and a willingness to share the good news of Jesus with them.

            Phillip, you are a man with God’s Spirit in you; may you be a man full of wisdom and knowledge; a man with a servant heart and a passion to share Christ with all; a man who boldly obeys God in everything.

            Uncle Glenn

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