Summary: Church History filled with events of persecution and death of the believers in Christ. God allows the Church to go through many difficulties with a greater purpose of His eternal plan.
Acts 8:01-03 Persecuted Church Expands
8:1 Church and Persecution
8:2 Church and Burial
8:3 Church and the Persecutors
Acts 8:1 PERSECUTION
Church History filled with events of persecution and death of the believers in Christ. God has permitted His chosen people to be persecuted and to go through several disturbances. God allows the Church to go through many difficulties with a greater purpose of His eternal plan. Immediately, they couldn’t understand the disadvantages and let down by God. But later the church history pens it as a great adventure of the disciples of Christ. It was the expansion plan of God for His Church. Now God has taken the Gospel to the lands of Judah and Samaria through the faithful. Apostles had not scattered, or they were not touched or persecuted by the persecutors. Mostly, history has the same treatment to the Church leaders, the grassroots workers, and the humble believers targeted.
Acts 8:2 DEATH AND BURIAL
Jesus told them that whoever believes in Him shall not die. But the Church has witnessed the death of Stephen. They understood that death is inevitable to all, and the flesh has to go through this exercise to enjoy the heavenly abode and bliss forever. Godly men dared to stand at the crisis with the Church, and they buried Stephen. Church had deeply mourned for Stephen. Mourning is no sign of the unbelievers, but, mourning without hope of the resurrection is grieving the Holy Spirit. Burial is always an honorable event in Christendom.
Acts 8:3 PERSECUTORS
Luke introduces Saul as the persecutor of the Church. He has shown Paul as a violent man with the attitude of atrocities, and in the name of God and religion, he has done all evil things to believers of God. The conflict of expression of devotion to God led to the extent of extinction of the believers in Christ. He dragged off men and women of faith and put them in Prison. Luke presents to us a gruesome terrifying act. The Church had depicted as an Orphan and a Powerless community. Jesus told his disciples that they would face tribulations, but, they never understood until they had gone through these experiences. It is painful to read these lines of narration that numerous saints had died for the Gospel, even though their names not recorded for us.
1. Are every persecution or disturbance to the Church is permitted plan of God?. If yes, do we need to protest
against them, and make representation to the Government and international forums?
2. Can Church go for an alternate concept of Burial, i.e. Cremation?
3. What is the difference between Saul and present-day Persecutors?
(For more studies on the Book of Acts of the Apostles, please refer to the series...)