Summary: IN THIS SERMON CONCERNNG BEING SCATTERED ABORAD, WE SEE,THE PERSUCTION OF THE BELIEVERS.THE PARTING OF THE BELIEVERS, AND THE PREACHING OF THE BELIEVERS.
Several years ago Billy Graham preached in the first London Crusade. The response was so great that all of England was affected in someway. The common man who had almost forgotten the church flocked to hear Billy preach about JESUS.
Many ministers were saved while others repented of having neglected the preaching of the Word. However, some of the more liberal churchmen were very disturbed about the kind of preaching Billy did and the people he reached. They saw it as a cultural set back for the church. A spokesman for the liberal churchmen was quoted as saying "Billy Graham has set the church back 200 years." When Billy Graham was told about the man’s comment, he replied, "If I have set the church back 200 years I am very sorry because it was not my goal or intention to set the church back 200 years. In fact, if I have set the church back 200 years I have failed." You see the goal of the Billy Graham Association is to take the church back 1900 years. If we only take it back 200 years. . .we have failed.
The New Testament age occurred some 1900 years ago. I want us to take a look at how the early church witnessed. It is my desire for us to recapture that early commitment and spirit.
On the day of Pentecost, God put the fire of the Gospel into the heart of these believers.
They were commanded to take this fire everywhere even unto the ends of the earth.
The book of Acts is an outline how they carried this fire. Chapters 1-7, in Jerusalem, Chapters 8-12, in Judea and Samaria, and Chapters 13-28, to the ends of the earth.
I-NOTICE THE PERSUCTION OF THE BELIEVERS: 1A
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;
Now these are strange words to us for we are accustomed to people praising the Church in general.
I read about a preacher who was traveling in Florida who said, the sign in motel where he stayed read, Our Town Is Proud Of Our Churches.
A-We See It Predicated By The Saviour: Mark 10:30
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
We say we believe the Bible, we believe the words of Jesus. Well sometimes its truths are true but they are not pleasant.
Jesus made it very plain that it would not be easy to follow Him. He didn’t promise us a walk in a rose garden but here in this Scripture, he promised we would have persecutions.
John Wesley was riding along a road one day when it dawned on him that three whole days had passed in which he had suffered no persecution. Not a brick or an egg had been thrown at him for three days. Alarmed, he stopped his horse, and exclaimed, “Can it be that I have sinned, and am backslidden?” Slipping from his horse, Wesley went down on his knees and began interceding with God to show him where, if any, there had been a fault. A rough fellow, on the other side of the hedge, hearing the prayer, looked across and recognized the preacher. “I’ll fix that Methodist preacher,” he said, picking up a brick and tossing it over at him. It missed its mark, and fell harmlessly beside John. Whereupon Wesley leaped to his feet joyfully exclaiming, “Thank God, it’s all right. I still have His presence.”
In ancient Rome, crowds by the tens of thousands would gather in the Colosseum to watch as Christians were torn apart by wild animals. Paul Rader, commenting on his visit to this famous landmark, said, "I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, ’Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?’" Rader continued, "I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Paul’s heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome." Those early Christians "lived on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back."
B-We See It Pictured By Stephen: 2
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him”
Stephen, must have been a tremendous man of God. Not an apostle. Not a preacher. He’s a deacon. But, he spoke with such unction and such power, that they were not able to withstand the wisdom by which he testified. And because of his preaching, they stoned him to death.