Summary: Stephen had just been stoned, and the church again is faced with persecution but to the extreme order. They the church was being persecuted by the persecutor of persecutors, a man by the name of Saul.
THERE’S NO STOPPING THE MISSION
There is a story told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up with. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that happens as being (positive or negative) remarking for the positive “This is good!”
One day the king and his friend went hunting, and the friend loaded and prepared the guns for the king. This day the friend had apparently loaded a weapon wrong, and when given to his friend the king, the gun blew up in the kings hand and blew his thumb off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, “this is good!” To which the king replied not for you and sent his friend to jail.
About a year later the king again went out hunting and was in a area that he knew he should not had been in, and was captured by some Cannibals and was taken to the village to be eaten. They tied him to a stake and gathered wood and placed it around the stake to make the fire for roasting. And as they came near to light the fire someone noticed his thumb was missing. Being superstitious as they were, they untied the king to let him go because they would never eat anything that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.
As the king was returning home, he was reminded of the event that had cost him his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend, and he immediately upon his return went to his friend’s cell and said “You were right,” “It was good that my thumb was blown off.” and he proceeded to tell the friend what had just happened, and apologized to him for sending him to jail. But the friend did not respond the way the king thought a pardon man should, because instead of his friend saying thank you his friend replied “No,” “Now, This is good!” And the king wanted to know what he meant by saying “Now, this is good? How could this be good being that I sent you my friend to prison for a year?” So the friend replied, “If I had not been in jail for miss loading that gun, I would have been with you, and we both would have been eaten.” -SermonCentral Illustration
This illustrated story let’s us know that regardless of how bad things appear, we can always look for something good to happen from it.
Stephen had just been stoned, and the church again is faced with persecution but to the extreme order. They the church was being persecuted by the persecutor of persecutors, a man by the name of Saul. Who will later be renamed Paul. According to the text in verse 1 Saul consented the death of Stephen. In chapter 7 verse 58 you would find out that when they cast Stephen out of the city to stone him, the witnesses laid their garment at a young man’s feet, and that young man was Paul. You see according to the law of execution, the first persons that was allowed to toss the first stones had to be the witnesses or accusers of the one that is being stoned. And Paul was there to make sure that all things were legal according to the law.
So in the text we find a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. And the persecution was so great that many of the followers of Christ left the city and was scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. So come with me as we witness these determine men that stayed behind as they let the religious authorities know that There is No Stopping the Mission.
First of all, verse 1 shows us that...
1. THEY WERE WILLING TO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARMS WAY (v.1)
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.(KJV)
The text let’s us know that many were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, but as for the apostles, they stayed in Jerusalem. You see the reason the apostles did not leave the region was because they realized that in order for their mission to be accomplished, they had to face the opposition that stood in the way of them accomplishing the mission of the church. I know that some of you might be tired of hearing about being committed, but if you would only take a page from these men of God that was committed to the cause, you would understand the importance of being committed. These men would have done anything including to lose their lives, they would have lost it for the cause of Christ. Today we are not asked to die for the cause, but the bible does tell us in Luke 9:23 that we should “deny ourselves, and take up the cross and follow Him.” James Baldwin an Afro-American poet once wrote. “Nothing can be faced until it is changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” and how true this statement is. People are always saying that somebody aught to do something about this or that, but never realize that they can be that somebody. Our Sunday School program was about Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights struggle. What would have happened if Dr King would have said “somebody aught to do something” we would not be enjoying the freedom we have now. So the apostles were committed to face the opposition of the mission at hand. And everyone else had left the region to escape the persecution of the followers of Christ, but the apostles stayed there to further the mission.