Church Scattered (v. 1)
The church must stand, but it must not stand still. The only way to “keep the faith” is to give it away. What happened in Acts 8 amounts to God turning the salt shaker upside down. Nothing is more wonderful than the love and comfort of home. If we are not careful we might begin to act like our home church is home.
The great commission was to go into all the world. It seems that even the early Christians needed a little push. Sometimes persecution is just the push we need. Perhaps you know that nature uses its forest fires to thin out the stand of trees as well as to explode pinecones to plant new stock. Sometimes as well, birds carry seed in their stomachs for many miles and then discharge them in new and virgin fields. Sometimes the Spirit of God will use hardship to get us to our next duty station or to break the inertia that has frozen us time and space.
Look at the word “scattered” and think of what that meant. History has witnessed great migrations of masses. None of those migrations took place because people were satisfied or fulfilled where they were. It was persecution that brought the Pilgrims to the New World. They left England and then Holland and then settled in America. America owes a debt of gratitude to these separatists who abandoned everything to set up a city on a hill.
David, the Psalmist said, “it is good that I was afflicted.” It is usually not until many years have passed that we realize that the “scattering” was for our and the good of others. It is never pleasant to experience persecution, but it is often the fires of persecution that keep the church pure and the proves the saint sincere.
Some Samaritan or Ethiopian may come to faith in Christ because we were driven out of some Jerusalem. Philip is a wonderful example of a witness. He was soul sensitive. God only knows how many Ethiopian eunuchs have crossed our path while we were to dull to feel his need.
The next time we feel a little bit scattered, or flustered by the whirl wind of circumstances which unsettle the status quo, let us look around for some soul to whom we can speak of Jesus. Then let us be “caught up” less by the circumstances and more by the Spirit seeking only to be an instrument of His will (39).