And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. —Acts 8:1

Up to this time the church did not move out of Jerusalem to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20) or to be witness beyond Jerusalem to “Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But through the martyring of Stephen, Saul sought to further destroy the church. It was through this persecution that broke out that God used to move the church outside of Jerusalem. All the believers “scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” as the Lord desired. Only the Apostles remained in Jerusalem.

God uses many situations and circumstances to further His plan. Persecution in the context here was used so that believers would carry the “seed” of God’s Word to Judea and Samaria as the Lord desired. There are those, like Saul in this situation, that think they can destroy the church when all they are doing is causing the storm of persecution to blow seeds of the Word to other parts of the World. There they will take root and grow and the church will continue.

There are those who are concerned that the church will continue in the next generations. I have no concern whatsoever about that. Jesus will continue to build His church in this world until the end of time. The church may ebb and flow in various parts of the world, but it will continue. Just because the church does not flourish in one area does not mean it is not flourishing in another area. Now, we surely would like to see the church flourish in our area and have a major impact in this world. May it be so! But we have to be faithfully about what the Lord God Almighty wants us to be faithfully about. Are we spending to talking with Him (prayer) , are we spending time listening to Him (His Word), are we spending time sharpening each other up (fellowship), are we spending time taking the gospel to the lost (witnessing) and is all this motivated out of our love for God and for our neighbor? May it be so!

These scattered believers in the context of the verses above “preached the Word everywhere they went.” Wow, may we do the same!

Dear Father, may I share Your gospel with those around me. May it be so today and for the rest of my life and be done in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in authority of Your Son, Jesus.

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