Abbotsford – November 24, 17, 2015 – Acts 12:20-24
Have you ever been scorned for your faith in Jesus Christ?
It’s quite possible you have, whether at school or at the workplace, or in your neighbourhood. But has your life ever been endangered because you are a Christian? If you have grown up in North America, quite likely not. Let’s face it, for the most part we Christians in North America seem to have had an easy road. We don’t really understand what persecution is because we have not experienced it in our context. Yes, we have all had difficult situations in our lives: we experience great hurt, pain and suffering. Ironically, our extravagant freedom to follow Jesus has left many of us with a lack of faith, especially in difficult times.
We start off this third section of the Acts series with the early church believers being scattered from the city of Jerusalem. As we study the next few chapters, we will see that though the church was being ravaged, God was working through the scattering of believers to spread the gospel “…in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b).
Our last series in Acts ended with the stoning of Stephen, a believer who was killed for his faith. From this point on, we see a movement of the gospel spreading beyond Jerusalem, into Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth. The death of a faithful servant kick-started the movement of the gospel message and created a ripple effect of evangelization. The devil thought this was going to shut the mouths of the believers in Jerusalem…. little did he know that it provoked the spread of the Good News with the scattering of the people into different lands.