Acts 21: 4-9

Written by kathleen on Jan 03, 2016 in - No Comments

Acts 21:4-9

All in the family (2 examples)

When Paul arrived in Tyre, the boat stopped for seven days to load and unload cargo.

4 And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem.

The Greek word translated “finding” means Paul was “diligently searching out, and looking for” disciples.

 5 When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. 6 When we had taken our leave of one another we boarded the ship, and they returned home.  

We don’t know how large a crowd there was but what a witness it must have been to the people there at Tyre to see the believers bowing in prayer together on the beach.

The same way it’s a witness whenever you pray before your meal at your favorite restaurant. Like the believers in the early church, you can witness even through prayer.


With the fast growing change in society values and the description of what a family is and consists of is a far cry from what is seen here in our text.

Consequently the influence this culture has is influencing the way families interact and plan their days; what their priorities are; even to the point of trying to find “TIME FOR GOD!”

With the pressure of keeping up; It seems more and more that people and their relationship with Jesus is becoming more and more compartmentalized to the point where He will “FIT IN” only when it is most convenient.

Being part of a “tourist state” we can see an area that has become a misconception among many believers; that is when they’re out of town on vacation or business, it’s a good time to take a break from church. But then they wonder why they end up fighting on their vacation, why they’re angry with their family, why things don’t work out right.

So from the text today; maybe we should follow the example of the believers on the beach.

When you are traveling or vacationing, find a fellowship to attend; God will honor you’re effort and you’ll be amazed to find special brothers and sisters wherever you go.

These disciples took their families with them on this vacation to be with Paul, to listen to Paul, and to pray for Paul. Spending time together as a family centered on the things of the Lord.

Sometimes I hear people say, “We don’t go to church on Wednesday night because it’s “family night” or “family time”—as if coming to church as a family, hearing the Word of God, driving home discussing what was said, and praying together doesn’t qualify as “family time.”

You see the things happening in our culture which are not all bad things; still are undermining the family unit and ultimately discrediting what the Bible says about the family structure.

I believe it’s an unfounded argument in this day of emphasis upon the boundaries of family to say that “family time” and “church attendance” are mutually exclusive!

There’s nothing you can do that will be more beneficial to your family than to come to church.

As a family that has been born again saved by the grace of God there is nothing as important as to live out our faith every day and to draw closer to the Lord as a family; especially with a time of family worship. This will create the strongest family bond possible!

7 And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. 8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

I would love to have seen the face of Philip when he answered the knock on his door! You see, twenty years earlier, Philip’s colleague, Stephen—another one of the original seven deacons was martyred, and with his death unleashing a great persecution of the church.

Who was the one behind the stoning of Stephen? Who was the one who voted for it in the Sanhedrin? Who was the one who held the coats of those who threw the rocks?

It was the guy knocking on his door. Paul was the one who, in a very real sense, brought about the death of Stephen.

Paul was the one who caused the persecution of the church, which drove Philip to Caesarea. And Paul was the one who was knocking on Philip’s door.

I wonder what Paul and Philip said when they first encountered each other face-to-face. I would like to think they embraced each other, realizing that which was behind them was hung on the cross of Calvary.


Philip was a dedicated worker in the church (Acts 6), a dynamic preacher in the world (Acts 8), and now a devoted father in the home.

In the family of Philip, we see a family that was focused, a family that was valuable for the kingdom, a family that provides a wonderful example for us!

At this time, Philip was living in the seacoast city of Caesarea—an incredibly beautiful spot on the Mediterranean coast of northern Israel.

Philip’s wife is not mentioned in this passage perhaps because she was quietly behind the scenes. It is also very possible that at this point she had died.

Others suggest that Philip was deserted by his wife—something that happened frequently in the days of the early church, when rabbis encouraged the spouses of those converted to Jesus Christ to divorce their mates ——  therefore he may have been a single father!

What we do know is that Philip’s was a house of hospitality and spirituality.

Even though there were four daughters and perhaps cramped quarters, Paul and his company enjoyed being there. It was a good place to be.

Caesarea was dominated by Gentiles, and was a very morally permissive and wicked beach town.

Yet Philip’s daughters were singled out as being pure and virgins.

Not only the purity of Philip’s daughters are mentioned but it also includes their way of life; Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 7:34 that the word “virgin” not only meant sexual purity but spiritual reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations   (they had great piety)

Philip’s daughters were not self-righteous prudes, but young women who were completely devoted to God and because of that; His Power was very evident in their lives. They were blessed with a special gift of prophesy.

First Corinthians 14:3 tells us that prophecy consists of words of edification to build up, words of exhortation to stir up good works, and words of comfort to cheer up.

Philip’s daughters were women who were not gossiping, arguing, and fighting and getting caught up in some kind of drama that would bring dissension —their lives were all about building up, stirring up godly attributes, and cheering up those around them.

Philip’s daughters were experiencing one of many promises God had given the church from the day of Pentecost through prophsey.

Joel 2:28 “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (That is still happening today!)

Like Philip’s daughters; the single person can live a life of purity caring only about the things of the Lord;

Being single gives the advantage of not having to be concerned about caring for a spouse or family.

There is great freedom within singleness to serve the Lord!

How vital it is in these days that we stress within our families the importance and the blessing of purity.

Our kids are being taught in public schools and through the media that freedom of choice is the key as it relates to abortion or sexual preference along with so many other things.

I believe in the freedom of choice: the choice to please God by your thoughts words and actions! Just like the choice to come together sexually outside of marriage or not!

Once the choice is made to disregard and be disobedient to what the Bible says; there are no other choices—not logically, morally, or ethically, for it all becomes justification for sin and is in opposition of scripture!

There’s a connection between the hospitality of Philip’s house and the spirituality in Philip’s house.

Philip in chapter 6 was a dedicated worker in the church. In chapter 8, he was a dynamic preacher in the world. Here in chapter 21, he is a devoted father in the home not only by focusing on his family, but by seeking first the kingdom of God with his family.

After two examples in this chapter of  spiritual family involvement there will still be some who will say “we can’t come on Sunday” because it cuts into family time” You know were involved in our kids sports and they have practice on Wednesday and games on Sunday.

As a result of church absence, the church is becoming less and less spiritual, less and less hospitable all in the name of “family time” and “family values”

Consequently, we are seeing our kids grow up who are drifting away from the Lord and church (85% by college age) partly because parents are not setting priorities and examples like Philip did about seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

I know this text is focused on families as in Husband & wife & children; BUT: remember Philip could have been a single father!

So for some of you who are greatly concerned about family and who does God have for me to spend my future with;

And you’re all worried and concerned and keep looking around to see who God has for you; apply the same scripture: seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.

God will take care of you. Put God first, that’s the whole idea.You don’t have to worry about the issues of life if God is first.

He knows what you need, and He’ll take Him first; His kingdom and then life and family will be in balance care of what you need. He’s a loving Father, He cares for you. Just seek Him first!

Single or not; if there are other things that are top priority in your heart and mind, then your life and family will be out of balance.

You’ve got to have God at the top; seeking Him, His kingdom, His righteousness.

Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your life. And then your relationship with your family!

Then as a family as you seek first the kingdom of God, like Philip, you’ll see your family walk in purity and power enjoying the blessings that come with an obedient life with Jesus.