The Ministry of Stephen and Philip
Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenist, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business, but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit and Philip… Acts 6:1-5.
Stephen and Philip were two of the original deacons in the ...view middle of the document...
Stephen’s ministry was conducted among Greek-speaking Jews, some of whom were not open to the Gospel of Christ. He is described as being full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and full of grace and fortitude. In Acts it talks about the Synagogue of the Freedman disputing with Stephen. Not being able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke they resorted to slander. He was falsely accused of blasphemy and was put on trial. All who sat in the council, looking at him steadfastly saw his face as the face of an angel. And these were the ones sitting in judgment of him, and they could see his face as that of an angel.
We know the outcome of Stephen, he was stoned to death. After Stephen’s death, there was a general persecution of the Church at Jerusalem and many Christians fled to escape it. Philip fled to Samaria, where he preached the Gospel to the Samaritans, a group who had split off from the Jewish people about six centuries earlier, had intermarried with other people, and were considered outsiders by most Jews.
Philip was selected as a deacon, a servant of tables and widows, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, a preacher of the gospel in Samaria, a performer of signs and miracles and much more. As a deacon, Philip may have served tables, but it is unlikely that the requirements of his calling were restricted to delivering soup and sandwiches. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, he served his brethren through a posture of service and the function of a gift given to the church for its building and perfecting.
Philip was a disciple living worthily of the calling with which he was called. It just happened that he was fulfilling his calling, exercising the gifts he’d been given, and building up others in the church. His gifts and abilities were not requisite of ecclesiastical offices; they were requisites of service to the church of Christ.