1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.

3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ [ there.

6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.

7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.

8 So there was great joy in that city·

25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."

27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,

28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.

29 The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.

31 "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.|

32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." [ ]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?"

35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" [ ]

38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Intro. (i) Illust - take packet of flower seeds, admire picture, look inside for flowers - then speak of need to sow seeds. Analogy of Word of God, Gospel cf 1 Peter 1:23 ÎYou have been born again not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.â

ii. Quote: Tertullian (164-200AD): ÎKill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust. The more you mow us down, the more we grow, for the seed of the church is the blood of the Christians. Every single drop of our blood springs up, in some thirty, in some sixty and in some and hundred-fold.â

i. Stephen was the first martyr whose death triggered off the dispersion of the believers in Jerusalem and to Philipâs becoming the first missionary in his stay in Samaria.

ii. Scattering of believers cf v8 like opening packet and scattering seed on earth NB word used contains this meaning and gives us Îdiasporaâ, a technical word for groupings of peoples in exile. Without persecution, Îpacketâ would have remained unopened, because enough Îflowersâ already in Jerusalem garden, i.e. Church numbered several thousand people by this time, so no motivation to go out and plant seeds in the desert of the rest of Judaea and especially not in Samaria - despised religious half-breeds.

"They, remembering our Masterâs rule (when they persecute you in one city, flee to another), dispersed themselves by agreement throughout the regions of Judea and of Samaria; not so much for fear of sufferings (for Judea and Samaria were not so far off from Jerusalem but that, if they made a public appearance there, as they determined to do, their persecutorsâ power would soon reach them there), but because they looked upon this as an intimation of Providence to them to scatter. Their work was pretty well done in Jerusalem, and now it was time to think of the necessities of other places; for their Master had told them that they must be his witnesses in Jerusalem first, and then in all Judea and in Samaria, and then to the uttermost part of the earth (ch. 1:8), and this method they observe. Through persecution may not drive us off from our work, yet it may send us, as a hint of Providence, to work elsewhere."(Matthew Henry)

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