Today you should read: Acts 8:1-25
Before we go any further today, it’s important to re-read Acts 1:8, one of the Great Commission verses. This verse gives some context to chapter 8.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”—Acts 1:8
In chapter 7, Stephen, directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, gave a defense for his faith. He basically gave a recap of the whole Old Testament to explain that the “Righteous One” came and was crucified. He accused the religious officials of murder, which incited them to commit another murder…they stoned Stephen.
In chapter 8, Saul, who would eventually be called Paul (the one who wrote most of the New Testament), was in full agreement with Stephen’s execution. On that day a great persecution of the church began. Saul began ravaging the church. Men and women were pulled from their houses and beaten and killed because of their faith in Jesus. Because of this persecution, believers in Jerusalem were scattered.
Verse 4 says that those who were scattered went about preaching the word. This literally means that they went about bringing the good news of Christ to people. Philip found himself proclaiming Christ in the city of Samaria. This is a big deal. The gospel has now gone outside of Jerusalem and Judea.
Now, remember Acts 1:8? The disciples were supposed to remain in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Spirit. The Spirit came and they began proclaiming Christ in Jerusalem and Judea. Thousands and thousands began a relationship with Jesus. Then, major persecution began to happen and the believers were scattered. This sounds like a sad situation, except that God used that persecution to spread His kingdom to Samaria. Now, even today, the gospel is still going out to the outermost parts of the earth. God’s plan of gathering all His children throughout the earth is still unfolding. It will not be thwarted. The Great Commission will be fulfilled.
I heard a speaker say, “I have no worries about whether or not the Great Commission will be fulfilled. Look at the book of Revelation…we already know the end results. The Great Commission is fulfilled. Though I have no fears about whether or not the Great Commission will be fulfilled, I sometimes fear that I will miss out on being a part of it by choosing not to share my faith and make disciples.”
God’s plan will not be thwarted, and I want to make sure I don’t miss out on being a part of it. What about you? Who is God putting on your heart right now with whom you need to share the good news of Christ? What steps do you need to take to be part of the Great Commission today?
Posted by: Rich Duffield