Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.Acts 8:1-4
Stephen the martyr, had just been stoned to death and Saul, who later became an apostle for Jesus Christ, encouraged his brutal execution. Stephen had the shortest ministry, but he did not waste the time God gave him – he fulfilled his purpose. The previous chapter of Acts tells us that Stephen told the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin – the former religious government of Israel, that he saw “Jesus standing at the right hand of God”. Jesus was already ready to receive His good and faithful servant and He honored Stephen by standing up for him. This was the only time recorded in the bible, where God stands up on His throne.
But why did Stephen have to die? Why did God allow the Church to suffer persecution and death? What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it around for good.
Jesus’ command was for His believers to, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”, and to make, “…disciples of all nations…”. At this time the Church was in one area and the Gospel needed to reach the world, so God allowed a temporary evil, to produce a multitude of Christians in the future.
We’re here because of them!
This event is part of the reason why the Church of Jesus Christ is all over the world today. The early Christians were energized by their persecution, death, and grief to preach the Gospel and bring millions of people to Christ. They had the passion of Christ!
Ask yourself, “What am I doing for Jesus Christ?” Is there a co-worker or a friend, who God has put on your heart to tell them the “good news”? Has God called you to be an evangelist, pastor, minister, bible teacher, preacher, missionary, etc.?
What are you not doing for Jesus Christ? Every Christian is called to preach the gospel, to fulfill the “Great Commission”- to share their faith.
Do it Now!
Whatever we are going to do for God, we need to do it now, because time is running out and Jesus Christ is coming back very soon. Once the Church is taken out of this world, we won’t be able to help anybody on earth, and bible tells us that this world will be full of chaos and destruction. God’s wrath will be poured out on all those who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ. There are still many people who need to hear the gospel. Will you tell them?
Jesus says, “Go!”