Summary: Its not the Taj Mahal, its not the Great Wall of China, its not the story of Joan of Ark, its not Shaladin, but its JESUS. THE GREATEST STORY OF THEM ALL
Before the end of the first century A.D. there were only a small amount of people that were called Christians. And as a result of persecution, it is estimated that there were between 25,000 - 60,000 Christians living in Jerusalem. This dispersion resulted in the spread of the gospel message, which would not have been the case had they all stayed in Jerusalem.
"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the Apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went."
"You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from houses to house."
The scattered ones went everywhere preaching the word. They spoke of Jesus to people in the market place, in the street and in their homes.
"But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here."
Did Christianity make an impact on the world?
So effective was the witness of Christians that their opposers said they had "caused trouble all over the world". Their work did not succeed because of the Apostles alone, but by the faithful witness of the church members - the laypeople.
Before Christ was taken up to heaven, He left a commision for His disciples and it is valid for us today also.
Matthew 28:19, 20
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Here is a direct command from Jesus to His followers. He bade them "go" and take the good news of salvation. He was not only speaking to His people back there, but to all His followers to the end of time. He said His presence would be with them "even unto the end of the age". This includes us today. However, with this wonderful privilege comes the responsibility to share Jesus with others.
"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it."
This was the response to the command of Jesus to go into all the world. Today this command is still in effect. The church is not like a club. Its commission is to take the gospel to every nation.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
You see, to attempt witnessing for Jesus without the power of the Holy Spirit would lead to failure. But a born again christian can call upon this power and God is only too willing to supply it.
"We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Every obedient Christian is given the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.
"And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
The gospel message will be preached to the whole world. When all the world has been reached and given the opportunity to accept Jesus as Saviour, God will bring this world to a close. All may have a part, large or small, in telling others about our loving Saviour.
"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
Because Jesus was lifted up on the cross, people were drawn toward Him. His love found a way through to the hardened sinner’s heart. When His followers uplift Him today, unashamedly, people are still drawn to Him.
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with holy angels."
When Jesus returns the second time, there will be no reward for those who have been ashamed to uphold their Redeemer.
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everybody who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."