And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. . . Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. (Acts 8:1,4)
What an extraordinary thing! The newly converted Christians didn’t hide away in houses and caves, but continued to proclaim the Good News. They didn’t cower when they faced opposition and persecution, did they? Luke tells it almost as a matter of fact statement, but what a huge sentence that is. In spite of persecution, they went on preaching.
There was a time, not too long ago, when it was a good thing to be a woman or man of faith. People admired your steadfastness, and it testified to your morals and integrity. Not now. Today, being labeled a Christian can be a derogatory thing. It means you are “unevolved”, stuborn, behind the times, not accepting of others.
Not everyone in our neighborhood, workplace, even in our church, is a Christian. People say the church is dying. I disagree. I think, in the face of public persecution, the sheep are being separated from the goats. We are now being scattereed, just like the believers of the first century. We are now a remnant, and God has aways used His remnant for great and wondrous things. Will we let Him use us?
Today, that which was once only whispered about in back alleys is being proclaimed as the norm by the media, and it is us Christians who are now whispering in the wind. Scattered amongst a growing sea of non-believers, will we stand up, speak up and proclaim the Gospel ? Or will we cower in our pews, shake our heads and lament the world has gone the wrong direction?
Some whisper we are in the end times. They crouch and wait for His coming to take them away from the madness. Is that what God wants from His people? Should we not instead be screaming from the rooftops, and on the street corners, and in the pews about the King of Glory? When legislation after legislation is passed to stifle us from praying in public, and affirming lifestyles the Bible clearly states is wrong, what will be our response? Slink away back to our prayer corners shaking our heads, or be like the first of our brothers and sisters who went on to proclaim Christ risen and left the reception of that message up to God?
This simple, matter of fact sentence in Acts chapter 8, verse 4 convicts me to the core of my being. I have always been one to cower to opposition, and swallow my opinion in order to keep the peace. Perhaps I should leave the peace keeping up to God and not try to control the situation so everyone likes me. instead stand firm and procalim Him as my Lord. Maybe I should no longer be content to whisper prayers in the wind. How about you?