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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
Philip, Don't You Believe
(Luke 6:12-16)

Pastor Delbert Young
(video audio page)

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE Philip, Don't You Believe (Luke 6:12-16)

Luke 6:12-16 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

What higher honor could be given anyone than to be selected personally by the Lord Jesus to do what these men did? They were called, chosen, and given the highest honor ever given to humans -designated apostles of the Lamb.

We've studied Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Those four made up team one. Remember, there are three teams of four. If God's called you, God designated you to a team. Today we are going to look at team two, led by Philip.

We don't know a lot about Philip. His name is Greek Philippos {fil'-ip-pos} meaning "lover of horses." He grew up and lived where Peter grew up in Bethsaida {bayth-sahee-dah'} meaning "house of fish." One would think Jesus would scour the earth to find people for this astounding task. Instead, he finds a group of fishermen and their neighbor buddy and says, "That'll do."

Where did Jesus find you? He didn't go to the ends of the earth, did he? He knew exactly where you lived. He knew who your friends are and went to where you were. There he called you to follow him. Or do you think you found Jesus?

John 1:43-44 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. FINDING PHILIP, he said to him, "Follow me." Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.

Andrew and Peter actually came to find Jesus after John the Baptist identified Jesus as "the Lamb of God," but Jesus went on a mission to find Philip. This is the first disciple we are told Jesus specifically went to find. Jesus wanted Philip in his group. The next verse says,

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "WE HAVE FOUND THE ONE Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

Jesus found Philip, but Philip said, "We have found the one..." Which was it? Did Philip find Jesus or did Jesus find Philip? There is always the question of did we find the Lord or did the Lord find us? We see both here. I want to help us understand how this works. We know Jesus found Philip, but Philip thought he found Jesus.

The fact is according to the, at that time, over nine-hundred year old prophecy of Daniel called the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Dan 9:24-27), it was time for the Messiah, the Christ to come. The people were looking for and waiting for him. That's why some thought he could be and asked John the Baptist if he was the Christ (Joh 1:19). That's why when John the Baptist pointed Jesus out as the Lamb of God, Andrew had no problem checking Jesus out and then finding Andrew's brother Simon Peter telling him, "We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ)" (Joh 1:41). In a similar manner, Philip said, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote." It was time for Jesus to come.

We all think and say something like, "I found God," when the truth is, it was time for Jesus to come into our lives. We, like Philip, think we found God. No, that is bad theology. When it's time, God will find you ready or not!

John 6:44 "NO ONE can come to me unless THE FATHER WHO SENT ME DRAWS HIM, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 15:16 You DID NOT choose me, but I CHOSE YOU and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last.

The sovereignty of God is always at work. There comes a time in our lives when it's time for Jesus to come. Events unravel and situations happen making us want and need God in our lives. That's God's drawing sovereignty at work. In reality, Jesus wanted us in his group, found us, chose us, called us, and if we were smart, we followed him.

So, when you observe someone asking questions about God or church, recognize Father is drawing them and Jesus is calling them. It's happening all around you and you will recognize it if you look. It could be your child, your co-worker, a friend, etc. Take a moment. Try to give or get them answers, but also do what Philip did. Tell them to "COME AND SEE." Realize Jesus wants them in his group.

John 1:46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "COME AND SEE," said Philip.

We'll talk about Nathanael next time, but Philip said, "Come and see." Nathanael was confused and had questions. He responded to his friend and came.

Jesus said to Philip, "Follow me" and Philip did. Do people always respond that way to Father's drawing and Jesus' calling? I wish, but sadly no. This is when people reject Jesus. I'm thinking of a young man I've known for years. One day he called me and asked if he could come by my study and talk. He came by full of questions and confusion about life. Many times when people are confused about life, it is Father drawing and Jesus calling. I answered his questions, explained what was happening inside him, told him God had some special designated plans for him, prayed with him, and he left. He hasn't been back and is not serving God to this day. Knowingly, he rejected Jesus and that is a bad thing to do.

There are other times I watch the drawing and calling happen and people do like Philip and Andrew. "We have found the Christ." Is Father God drawing you? Is Jesus calling you? He wants you in his group. Do you know someone Father is drawing and Jesus is calling? Tell them to "Come and see," and watch God work.

So, we begin learning about Philip. We learn Philip was searching for the Messiah. Father God was drawing Philip. When he felt he found the Messiah and Jesus said, "Follow me," Philip did. We learn Philip had some influence on people. Philip told his friend Nathanael about Jesus and Nathanael came to Jesus too. That's what happens when people have a real experience with Jesus. They bring their friends and family to Jesus. Most of us came to Jesus because a friend or a family member invited us to "Come and see." It's those times, when our heart is hungry for God, we bring people to God. It's so important to keep our hearts hungry for God. Other's salvation, say your children's or your friends, could depend on your inviting them to "Come and see."

We are told of a time when a huge, huge crowd came to hear Jesus teach in the wilderness. There were five-thousand men, so who knows how many people total there were.

John 6:5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, HE SAID TO PHILIP, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?"

Why did he ask Philip? We are told why.

John 6:6 He asked this only TO TEST HIM, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Will Jesus "test" us to see how we respond? The test wasn't so Jesus would find out what Philip would do. Jesus already knew both what Philip would do and what he would do. The test, as always from the Lord, is to show us what we will do.

John 6:7 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Jesus didn't ask Philip how much it would cost. Jesus asked, "Where shall we buy bread..." Philip had to already be thinking about this. I mean, "Eight months wages..."? Why did he say "eight months wages"? How do you come up with "eight months wages" unless you were already thinking and you're one of those people with a temperament always figuring what appears to others, the negative aspects of things. These type people are very analytical and pragmatic always thinking rationally ahead. Their minds are always spinning and calculating. Do you know people like that? Some of you are like that. Some want to do something spontaneous, but Mr. or Mrs. Pragmatic lets you know you don't have the money to be spontaneous.

What would eight months wages be anyway? Let's make it simple. Let's say $500 a week times 4 weeks a month times 8 months = $16,000. Philip said something like, "$16,000 would not give each of them a snack." Philip was calculating away.

Years ago, we had an elder much like that. He was a great person, but was always figuring the down side of the cost and throwing out the "what if." I would come up with what I thought was a great adventure to minister to people, but he would always say, "But..." "What if..." "Do you know how much that will cost?" With my being a young pastor, I thought he was being negative toward me. I learned it wasn't that way at all. He actually wanted to do it, but didn't want it to fail and was protecting me and our church. My wife is also like that. She forces me to think things through a little more than I'm comfortable doing. That's Philip. It wasn't he didn't want to feed the thousands. He was rational. There was no way to feed the thousands. Philip was a very rational person.

Philip said feeding them is impossible to do with our present resources, which is exactly what the elder would tell me... until he learned what Philip will learn. A key aspect of any leadership, but especially spiritual leadership, is the possible, not impossible. It never seemed to cross Philip's mind that God could make this possible.

John 6:8-9 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

As we've learned, every time we see Andrew, he's bringing someone to Jesus. Andrew had a glimmer of the possible. He didn't want to make a fool of himself so he added, "But how far will they go among so many?" Andrew knew something. Why even bring the boy if he didn't suspect something?

Facts and figures stretch the faith of the Philips, but did Jesus need Philip? Oh yes! I needed that elder and I certainly need my wife. I'm certain I came up with some really goofy ideas from which he protected me. However, he learned that if I really felt to do it and pushed, God would bring someone and multiply the fish and loaves to make it all work. Of course, Jesus multiplied the two fish and five biscuits into more than enough to feed those thousands of people. Jesus was transforming Philip.

Some of you are that way. Is Jesus testing you to see if you will lean to your own understanding or trust him? I've pondered the test aspect of this story. What else could Philip have said? How about, "Lord, there's no place that even has that much bread. You will need to do a miracle if you want to feed them." What is God testing you about? Jesus wants to do something we think impossible in our lives, but we are reasoning it out. You need to stop being so rational and pragmatic. Say, "Lord, you are going to have to do a miracle. I know you can and I'm ready." Then step back and watch God take little and make your miracle.

It was during the time of the last Passover. Jesus was in Jerusalem and, as normal, people were all around him wanting to see and talk to him and even the more after he raised Lazarus from the dead. Proselyte Greeks came to the feast and wanted to talk to Jesus, but couldn't get to him.

John 12:20-21 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. THEY CAME TO PHILIP, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."

Getting them to Jesus would seem like a simple request, right? But, these were gentiles. Philip's mind worked very precisely, analytically, and pragmatically. He didn't know exactly what to do. He needed to check the manual on Gentiles and Jesus. I mean, Jesus told them to only go to the household of Israel, but then Jesus ministered to the Samaritans. "I don't want to mess up here. What do I do with these Gentiles?" "What's the rule on this? It's not in the manual. I know what to do! I'll take them to Andrew. He'll know what to do with them. He brings everyone to Jesus, so I won't be blamed if it's wrong."

John 12:22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew AND PHILIP in turn told Jesus.

Philip was a by the book person, but also we note a "little" prejudice in him. Should there have been a question at all if these Greeks should see Jesus? No. Most people are not prejudice, seriously prejudice, or are a "little" prejudice. How about you? How do you feel about a different skin color, a different race, a different religion, etc? How about a person of very low income and bad dress? How about a homosexual person? Would you need to check the manual before you brought them to Jesus?

It was the last Passover meal and Jesus was hours away from crucifixion. Talking to his apostles he said,

John 14:6-9 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." PHILIP SAID, "LORD, SHOW US THE FATHER AND THAT WILL BE ENOUGH FOR US." Jesus answered: "DON'T YOU KNOW ME, PHILIP, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

This was very discouraging to Jesus. There sat Philip in the presence of God, but was figuring a way it wasn't God. "After two years of training, teaching, testing, observing miracles, casting out demons, and a day in day out relationship, Philip, how can you possibly say, show us the Father? Where have you been?"

John 14:10 DON'T YOU BELIEVE that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

"Philip, haven't you heard the Father in my words? Haven't you seen the Father in my works? Don't you believe?"

John 14:11 BELIEVE ME when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

"Philip, get out of your rule book and BELIEVE. Stop attempting to figure everything out and BELIEVE ME. The miracles and the evidence are overwhelming. If you can't believe that I am of God then at least believe the evidence. Your analytical pragmatic mind can come up with no other explanation. 'Show us the Father...' What do you think I've been doing?"

Amazing! For two years, Philip gazed into the face of God, heard the words of God, and watched the hand of God, but wanted to see more for it to be ENOUGH. When is it enough? When is it enough for you and me? Too many times we "think" too much. We figure too much. We are right in the midst of God, but figure out some way that we aren't. Philip's mind kept him back from experiencing all he could with God. His facts and figures and reason damaged his faith.

How about you? Do you have to figure it all out? For example, when someone talks about being filled with the Spirit, do you believe or do you question tongues, prophecy, and deliverance? When God says give, do you question and pull out your calculator and say, "It's going to take me eight months of labor to get to where I can do that." When someone needs healing, do you question if healing is for today, or should you pray for them? Jesus says, "Don't you believe?"

Jesus transformed Philip. Philip believed. Faced with death because he would not deny and recant his Lord, Philip was tortured with steel rods driven through his ankles and thighs as Philip was hung upside down. Philip said dying, "Do not wrap me in a linen wrap for I am not worthy to be wrapped as was my Lord."

Philip is one of the twelve most important people in the entire world. The Lord transforms and uses people like Philip every day. He's working on you right now.

 

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