Until the death of Stephen, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was mostly confined to the area of Jerusalem. But through this tragic event and time of great persecution of the saints, God stirred up the church and the Bible say’s in Acts 8:1 that “….they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
This, to some, would seem to be an end; but, God used the death of Stephen as a starting point, a time in which was ripe for the spreading of the good news of the risen Christ. If we keep reading,
Acts 8:4 says,
“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”
These men and women set out with a message of salvation on their hearts and in their spirits; a saving message that was meant for all to hear, and as they went out, they boldly spoke this truth. Gods plan was set in motion and the harvest of the Kingdom of Heaven was now being planted among all men.
As Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15,
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
These men and women were the first missionaries, the first to be sent to plant, grow and build the body of Christ – His church.
What is it that these believers preached? Why did they preach it? And where did they preach it?
Acts 8:4 tells us that they preached the WORD. They declared the good news of the risen King and salvation in His glorious Name. They spoke of His birth, His teachings, His life, His death, His resurection, His ascension to the right hand of God the Father, His promise of eternal salvation. They declared that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
These men and women that spread from north to south, east to west, took this message with them and preached to all who would hear because they believed it. How can anyone who believes in the message of our Savior not preach it’s truth? Paul summed this up beautifully in 2 Corinthians 4:13,
” And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ” I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,”
There was an urgency to preach the Gospel. Each one of these men and women knew they had to go out and preach the truth of the Gospel because they knew that without it, without belief in the risen King, those without the truth would surely perish; as John 3:36 says,
” He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
They themselves had heard the good news, they themselves had received the promises of their King and knew Him as their Savior. Their lives had been forever changed in witnessing the Glory of God and they themselves had tasted His goodness, His mercy, His love. What else could they do but follow His command in Matthew 28:19-20,
” Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In our world today there is an urgency to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, too announce the good news of the promises we have in Him. I encourage you today, brothers and sisters…Preach The Word