Saturday, January 03 2009
I am sure that there is not a Christian in the world that would want to face persecution. The Apostolics of North America cannot understand the persecution that the first church faced. In the seventh chapter of Acts, we read of the stoning of Stephen. Why was Stephen stoned? Simply, because he preached Jesus. This is something that we take for granted and do on a daily basis. After Stephen was murdered, the church faced persecution and there are two verses that describe the persecution and the results. It is the results that I find interesting. It is found in Acts 8...
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
It is amazing to see the chronology of the events leading up to the conversion of Paul. It appears that God used persecution of the church to force the first Christians from Jerusalem to everywhere to preach the Word. They did not give up nor hide, they simply moved while continuing to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have often heard that the persecution of the church is like stomping out a fire. You cause it to spread. I am not advocating persecution nor desire it anyway, but perhaps the lesson to be learned is that if we do not preach the gospel to the whole world fervently and with passion then God has historically and scripturally used persecution to move it along.