Summary: Background and Introduction: We can change our world:  Because the church belongs to Christ.  Because the Word of God works. 1. We must stand on God’s Word. 2. We must stretch for His Word. 3. We must share His Word.
We Can Change Our World!
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 10, 2012
*I like what Mark Twain said about change many years ago: “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” (1)
*I like that saying, but it’s not always true is it? -- No. Some change is good! This is especially true of spiritual change.
*And Church: The wonderful truth is that WE have the power to change our world! In these verses we see God using His people to change their world. The early churches impact was so great that in Acts 17:6 we see rioting unbelievers crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”
*The early Christians changed their world, and we can change our world today.
-God’s Word shows us why.
 First: We can change our world, because the church belongs to Christ.
*This church and all true Bible-believing churches belong to Jesus Christ. But people tend to forget this truth, especially when the church goes through hard times.
*And the early church definitely went through some hard times. Verse 19 tells us that they were scattered abroad by persecution. It was a terrible persecution that started when Stephen was murdered.
*Stephen’s death alone looked like a terrible defeat for God’s church. He was one of the first deacons, and a shining star in the early church. Acts 6:3 tells us that these men had to be full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom. Acts 6:5 tells us that Stephen was also “full of faith.” And listen to what happened after these first deacons were chosen:
7. . . the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:7&8)
*Stephen did great wonders and miracles among the people. Acts 6:10 tells us that the enemies of the Gospel “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.” But now Stephen was dead. He was stoned to death after false witnesses accused him of blasphemy before a corrupt court.
*That alone was a terrible tragedy to the church. But now the persecution spread like wildfire. Listen to this report from the New Living Translation:
-First in Acts 8:1-3:
1. Saul was one of the official witnesses at the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem, and all the believers except the apostles fled into Judea and Samaria.
2. (Some godly men came and buried Stephen with loud weeping.)
3. Saul was going everywhere to devastate the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into jail.
-Now in Acts 9:1&2:
1. Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath. He was eager to destroy the Lord’s followers, so he went to the high priest.
2. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them -- both men and women -- back to Jerusalem in chains.