Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thursday - Acts 8 - Inquisition, Persecution & Revival

IMILAR to the way that God commanded Adam and Noah to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth in their era, Jesus commanded His disciples to proliferate internationally through worldwide evangelism (Acts 1:8). Contemporarily this is called missions. Without pointing a finger or placing blame, it seems that the early church was centralizing and just staying put in Jerusalem. So, God allowed some interference in the Jerusalem church. The interruption served to spread the believers out a bit (Acts 8:4). You might recall that God (in order to spread humanity out) divided the language of the world during the days of the tower of Babel. In this case, He used Saul. After he participated in the execution of Stephen, this zealous (but unregenerate) Jew continued to harass Jesus' disciples (Acts 8:1). With arrest warrants in hand, Saul literally went from house to house in Jerusalem hauling disciples to prison for their faith in Christ (Acts 8:3). He succeeded only in causing the preaching of the gospel to expand further than it had previously.

Now, although Stephen was dead and buried, God was not done with His work. Another deacon picked up the baton of evangelism and preached the gospel just as boldly. His name was Philip. Philip became an evangelist; much like Stephen had been (Acts 8:5). He preached in Samaria, which was what God wanted (Acts 1:8). There, many believed the gospel (Acts 8:6). Yet, God called Philip away from the droves of converts in Samaria and sent him down into the desert of the southwest to witness to just one man (Acts 8:26-27).

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