Summary: What is a Christian to do when God seems to be breaking all the rules? Do we have a real enough relationship with Him to follow Him through every circumstance?
When Things Seem Wrong
Acts Chapter 8
We will continue our study today in the Book of Acts looking at the early church and the lives of some incredible followers of Christ, even WHEN THINGS SEEM WRONG!
Over the last two weeks we have been looking at the ordaining of deacons and the reproduction of leadership that we saw in the early church.
Last week we even saw that the first Christian martyr was not an Apostle, not a Missionary, not a church Father or one of the original followers of Christ – but was a DEACON!
What a fantastic example of what it means to be a Christian.
He was passionate about his relationship with Christ – and this passion cost him his life!
Today as we make our way through Chapter 8, we will be looking at three specific episodes when things are happening that just don’t seem to make any sense.
What are we to do when everything seems WRONG?
Let’s take a look and see what they did in Acts chapter 8.
Acts 8:1-8 1And 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 Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. 5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8And there was great joy in that city.
Though the number of the disciples has multiplied and people are coming to Christ, the world is still rejecting what these followers had to say and are now taking it to the next step and killing them!
We have entered into a time of GREAT PERSECUTION:
1) THE PERSECUTION
Is PERSECUTION a good thing?
Boy, if it “IS” a good thing – I sure would hate to see a BAD THING!
Check it out:
Verse 1 1And 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 Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Verse 3 describes this time period like this:
Verse 3 3As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
People are being killed and imprisoned, hunted down like animals – the Bible calls this a time of havock where the enemies of Christ were entering “EVERY” house.
No one was safe – anyone who called themselves a Christian was at risk of imprisonment and even death!
THIS DOESN’T SEEM RIGHT to me. It doesn’t sound like the abundant life that God promised does it?
John 10:9-11 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
I can see these believers here thinking – WAIT A MINUTE, he promised us an ABUNDANT LIFE, NOT A PRE-MATURE DEATH!
Throughout the ages, the people of God have struggled when things just didn’t seem right!
Take the Nation of Israel for example: after delivering them from Egypt, they went through difficult times!
Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Exodus 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
We really haven’t changed very much from this day and age - we still continue to struggle when we cannot see and understand what God is doing!
However, we must take heart that He does have a plan for us and is accomplishing that plan in our lives!