Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Acts 8:4
In Acts 8 the church was being scattered due to persecution. Those who were following after Jesus Christ were being mistreated and harmed because they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. They had come to trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and that ticked off a lot of people, primarily the Jews.
You see, the Jews had been waiting for the Messiah for centuries. They had ideas of what the Messiah was going to be like, how he would change their lives for the better, and this Jesus character didn’t fit in with what they were looking for.
He was the exact opposite of what they were looking for.
The Jews had thought that the Messiah would be a mighty political figure. In their mind, the Savior would be a great and mighty man, a military man. He would be a man of power who would accumulate a lot of attention and would usher in a government that would overthrow Rome. They thought that the Messiah would establish a kingdom where Israel was no longer last in line but was the dominant nation.
So, for a group of people to be proclaiming that this Jesus, who was crucified, is the Messiah, was a highly offensive and triggering claim. Jesus didn’t fit the mold of a conquering hero that they had longed for. So the idea that this man who was born in a stable in Bethlehem, who had worked as a carpenter, and who had not even trained as a Pharisee would be the long-expected Messiah, this did not sit well with many Jews.
Then to throw on top of that that he was crucified, led to many rejecting Jesus even more! These religious people couldn’t fathom the idea of their Messiah being nailed to a cross of wood. That would be blasphemy. Ridiculous.
But the hostility of the religious people of that day didn’t stop the spread of the gospel. Rather, persecution was like fuel on a fire in causing the gospel to spread. The long-expected Messiah’s death on the cross was not His defeat but was the crowning glory of His life. That was the reason why He came. The Messiah going to the cross was the greatest thing in the world, the greatest thing that mankind has ever known, the greatest thing that has ever happened!
That is why these persecuted Christians that were being forced to leave their homes and run for their lives continued to preach the gospel. They had become convinced that is only through the cross that we can actually be saved.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Salvation does not come through being morally good. Salvation is not established by following the Law. Salvation only comes through the perfect substitute and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. These first centuries Christians were convinced of this truth and they sought to make it known to the people they came in contact with.
Let’s Follow in Their Example
Of course, our situation is different. At present, we are not being forced out of our homes and running for our lives under the threat of persecution. In many ways, our current circumstances are of the opposite variety. We have to remain scattered from one another, staying in our homes under the threat of a hazardous coronavirus.
But that doesn’t mean the gospel has to stop going forward. God is not handcuffed by our current situation. He is still on His throne and God oftentimes does His greatest works in the darkest of times. So, although we are not able to gather as a church family right now, and we won’t be able to do so on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, let’s take the opportunity to bring the gospel to where people are at.
And where are many people at right now? They’re online. Many people are scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts just looking to consume what is in front of them. So let’s be the church on the go and bring the gospel to them. Let’s flood our social media accounts with how good our God is. Let’s boast in the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). Let’s not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).
(If you don’t have a social media account send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask me to post it to our Facebook page.)
How to bring the gospel to those online?
- Take a few minutes and think through How Jesus Changed Your Life?
- Get your phone out and record a 90-second video answering that question.
- Post that video to a social media account.
It doesn’t have to be polished and perfect. Remember, God uses the weak things of this world (1 Cor. 1:27) to proclaim His greatness. So ask God for the boldness to be vulnerable, and step out in faith, trusting Him with the results. We want our community to see just how good God is, so shout it from the rooftops!
***Send Pastor Luke a copy of the video too (email@example.com). We would like to put all of them together for the closing of our Easter service this weekend.