The church faces their first external challenge, persecution. Up to this point, things were going well. Even with the high council threatening them, God was showing up, even freeing them in prison. When Stephen does, there is not divine intervention. And the high council is emoldened because Pilate does not take action. And they have a new champion, Saul, who fearlessly attacks the Church. This leads to the scattering of the believers. Until this time, they were meeting together regularly. Their fellowship is broken.
But what should break again makes them stronger.
First, they turn persecution into purpose, and their scattering into sending by preaching the Good news. There is never a good or bad time to preach. Every time and place is for sharing Christ.
Secondly, it is everyone. Though Philip takes the stage, everyone does what Philip is doing.
Thirdly, they are overcoming their bias. Jews walked around Samaria. Philip makes Samaria a place of mission. And it probably took someone like Philip who himself knew something about being mixed (bi-cultural).
Fourthly, they rejoice in middle of the persecution because they see that even persecution served the purpose of God!
Let’s take everything that happens to us as useful to the preaching, take on the responsibility of ministry, and be open to serving the neglected.
- Share a difficult experience that turned out to be a blessing. Any difficulty you are going through today?
- Who are the marginalized the church is neglecting? We are neglecting? How can we reach out to them?
- What are some of the joys in being part of the New Life Church plant?
“Lord, I am here because I have been sent. I rejoice in your purpose”