persecuted church

Persecuted Church – The Wrath of Saul

Bible Study Lessons: Acts 8:1-8

persecuted churchCan a persecuted church still grow? With all that’s happening today, this message from the Bible gives us hope.

The wrath of Saul didn’t stop the gospel. In fact, Saul helped to spread the word about Jesus’ salvation to other parts of the world.

What about today? Even though Christians are being chastised and even killed for their faith, God can work through these difficult times.

And yes, I believe that Christianity will grow because of the persecution. I also believe the 21st century can be our finest hour – if we can get over fear and talk about Christ to others.

The Wrath of Saul and the Persecuted Church

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.

And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.

But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.

The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.

For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.

So there was much rejoicing in that city. – Acts 8:1-8 NASB

Wrath of Saul Helps Spread the Message of Christ

After Stephen was stoned, Saul and others began a nightmarish persecution of the church. But, Saul didn’t anticipate what happened next.

Truth is, God can work in any situation. This short passage from Acts shows how the Christians were driven out of Jerusalem into Samaria and Judea.

This is a chilling fulfillment of prophesy promised by Jesus. He said in Acts 1:8,

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.”

Even though there was great suffering brought about by the wrath of Saul (later Paul) the gospel of Christ was spread across the land. The church grew and we can see today there is no slowing down.

A Footnote about Phillip

I was confused too. The Phillip mentioned here in Acts was not the apostle. Phillip was a Jew who happened to speak Greek. He was one of the 7 deacons chosen to distribute food to people of the church. You can read more about this program in Acts 6.

Bold – Or Living in Fear?

If you live in America as I do, it’s hard to imagine what those early Christians faced. In some regions of the world, the same fate is facing our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We may never face the threat of death because of our faith.

Jesus asked us to be bold in our belief and use opportunities to tell others about what He did for us. But, many times we let fear stand in our way.

Are we afraid of death? No. We’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable or maybe we’re afraid of being embarrassed when we talk about our Lord.

Isn’t that a bit silly?

What Did Jesus Do?

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”141438050X” locale=”US” src=”http://www.makingchristknown.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/51fbaoKqML.SL160.jpg” tag=”bobpardphot-20″ width=”107″]The answer to many of our fears lies in the thought of what Jesus did for you and me.

He didn’t just feel uncomfortable. He willingly suffered beatings, humiliation and ultimately went to His death on the cross so that we could live life eternally with Him.

What are we willing to do?

Love in Christ

– Bob

If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16.

Read Today’s Verses Here:

New American Standard Bible

New King James Version

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