Before the preaching John Powys reported back about his visit (together with his wife, Sharon), to England. They also visited some KSB centres in Germany where they witnessed God’s working, especially amongst the youth in Europe. They received wonderful opportunities to preach in various churches and in a youth detention centre. The meetings were in South-East England. John said that there is a secularisation of the nation that is very evident and two generations have grown up without Christian values. He thanked everyone for their prayer support.
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 Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
Those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word. Saul persecuted the Christians and his hatred for them increased daily. So it is always that a decision in your life will grow – if you choose for God it will grow and likewise if you allow sin in your life. Eventually that sin will cause you to do something which will even astound the pagans. If you claim to be a Christian and you do not grow, you are dead. Saul thought that he served God, but he was wrong – it was with a deceptive zeal. Are you maybe full of “zeal for God”, but it is only your own ideas which you are zealous for and the Lord is not in it?
The persecution scattered the church, but that only caused the Word to be spread . Satan should have acknowledged his failure long ago, yet he continues to attack God’s people. It has been aptly said that “the blood of the saints is the seed of the church”. Satan’s persecution only fulfilled Jesus’ command that they should spread the Gospel.
Some commentators say that the ‘devout men’ who buried Stephen were not disciples, but Jews who were becoming favourable to Christianity – secret disciples, like Joseph who buried Jesus.
God sovereignly controls the affairs of men. The darkness only make the light shine brighter. These Christians did not grieve the loss of their houses and possessions, but rejoiced in persecution as true Christians. They looked at the eternal reward. Are your possessions still your idol? Do you cry at your loss of earthly possessions? Then you don’t serve God. These Christians spread God’s Good News wherever they were scattered.
The Lord, just before He ascended commanded his disciples to go to “Samaria, Judea and the ends of the earth.” The area of Samaria had a long history of racial tension between them and the Jews. But the persecution caused them to reach out to Samaria (vs 5), to the very people who were despised by the Jews. When Christ entered my life, my lack of interest for the blacks changed into God’s love for them. My heart burned for their salvation and I went into their huts to tell them of the Good News – God sending His only Son to save and deliver them from their sins.
You say that you have Jesus and yet you do not tell others about Him? Then you have the wrong Jesus – a dead Jesus. Justin Martyr was led to God on the beach when an ordinary Christian came and told Him of Jesus, because he could not keep silent about his Treasure. An ordinary, true Christian led a man to God whom God could use mightily! Your life must manifest Him. You are bad if you profess to be a Christian, but you do not manifest Christ. Which Jesus have you found, if you cannot show Him to others? Do not claim to spread the Gospel if you just talk about Christ, but do not live Christ for others to see.
Historians tell us that the early Christians spread the Word in whatsoever occupation they found themselves – colleagues to colleagues, slaves to fellow-slaves and even to their masters, etc.
Is Christ’s Gospel driving you? Do you have time for sport – tennis, rugby and cricket matches, but no time and urge to spread the Gospel? Then you are a heathen. Do not be deceived, discern between the sheep and the goats, lest when Christ returns you’re shocked to find yourself cast out! Take this word and apply it to yourself seriously to see if you are a true Christian or not.