Faithlife Sermons

Fire Spreads

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Attention Getting: Have you ever used a flapper, a tow sack, or stomped on a grass fire? I have, and I learned that there is a right way and a wrong way. A flapper looks like this: (show slide). If you take it and lean way back like you are casting a fishing line and then slap it down on the fire, you do NOT get the desired effect! Instead of putting out the fire, it shoots sparks in all directions and can spread the fire.
If on the other hand, you drag it across the fire, it smothers the flames.
Textual Segment: In this morning’s text, , we see the Jewish leaders, and Saul in particular, start persecuting the church. This leads first to the believers scattering across the region. However, as they go, the preach the gospel and it leads to the church becoming churches through multiplication.
Relational Segment: We need to be as dedicated to following our Lord. We need to keep the faith and obey even when times get tough for us and we need to be intentionally engaged in proclaiming the gospel as we encounter people.
NKJVNow 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. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
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If on the other hand, you drag it across the fire, it smothers the flames.
EX: Through trying to smother the church, Saul and the other persecutors ended up spreading it.
They used the death of Stephen as a springboard to begin persecuting the Christians in earnest.
NKJVNow 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.
Persecution against the church at Jerusalem
NKJVAnd devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
They sought to stomp out the Christ followers
It had been threatened before when the disciples had been warned to quit preaching the name of Jesus
Now the Sanhedrin directly attacked the church.
NKJVAs for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
NKJVTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
Specifically, Saul made havoc of the church
His brutal tactics:
Entered every house
None were spared from his hostility
The rage against Stephen’s sermon spurred him on to seek others and he went door to door to find them.
Probably invaded suspected house churches where believers would be meeting.
Dragging off men and women
He arrested both men and women
Again, his zeal to stomp out Christianity was on full display.
Committing them to prison
They were put in prison
Believers scattered.
All but the apostles fled Jersualem to the surrounding regions.
They remained in Jerusalem.
What they meant to bad, actually accomplished the work of God.
The young church left the nest and sent out emissaries to neighboring towns.
These believers who were scattered went preaching the word, which we will now examine
AP:
AP: God turned the bad circumstance into something good
NKJVAnd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
1. Remember that God is in control.
1. Remember that God is in control
Nothing which happens on earth surprises Him!
IL:
He isn’t tripped up by our actions and attitudes
2. He has a plan and is working it out in this world.
Just has He turned the negative of persecution into an opportunity to reach more people, God can turn our seemingly “bad times” and use them for greater good.
He may be working to move us.
He may be working to prune us.
He may be doing anything!
Our challenge is to:
a. Keep trusting Him
b. Pray and seek His face
c. Keep doing His will as He reveals it.
NKJVTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
NKJVTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
NKJVTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.
EX: The gospel spread as they preached everywhere
EX: The gospel spread as they preached everywhere
EX: The gospel spread as they preached everywhere
When the church was persecuted, they scattered
That is what happened when the church was persecuted.
NKJVNow 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.
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Perhaps some were pilgrims who had become believers on the day of Pentecost and they returned home.
They scattered
Perhaps believers moved back home
Perhaps some fled to family and friends in other towns.
EX:
Others may have run as refugees.
When the scattered, they:
Preached the Word
NKJVTherefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
They shared the gospel of Jesus!
They shared the gospel of Jesus!
Though they were on the run, they still carried the gospel everywhere they went.
The preached Christ and repentance of sins
They were carrying out Jesus’ last words:
NKJVBut you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
NKJVBut you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
AP: We too are supposed to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.
NKJVGo therefore and make disciples of all the 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.” Amen.
Going:
As we go through everyday life and interact with others at work, at home, in our hobbies, etc.
We are to be:
Making disciples
Baptizing Them
Teaching Them
IL: BEARING WITNESS In court, bearing witness is telling the truth about what you've seen and heard. John the Baptizer was doing the same about Jesus. If we witness, we can tell others about something the Lord has done in our lives, whether relating to Salvation or some other matter of His provision. We can witness to others about His healing, His sustenance (He gets us through things), His grace, etc. The purpose of bearing witness about Jesus is so that others may find Him and believe to eternal life. 'Wit-ness' literally refers to having a knowledge about something, and we need to share what we know about Jesus!
In court, bearing witness is telling the truth about what you've seen and heard. John the Baptizer was doing the same about Jesus. If we witness, we can tell others about something the Lord has done in our lives, whether relating to Salvation or some other matter of His provision. We can witness to others about His healing, His sustenance (He gets us through things), His grace, etc. The purpose of bearing witness about Jesus is so that others may find Him and believe to eternal life. 'Wit-ness' literally refers to having a knowledge about something, and we need to share what we know about Jesus!
Application: Do we bear witness of the Light? Note that the purpose of both the testimony of the Apostle John and John the Baptizer was to bring people to believe in Jesus. Are we doing this?
Witnessing is literally telling others what the Lord has done and who He has been in your life. What has He done in your life? How can you tell others?
(by Sterling Franklin on Oct 12, 2010, https://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/sermon-illustration-sterling-franklin-stories-evangelismthelost-77258?ref=TextIllustrationSerps )
As we scatter from this place, let us also bear witness to Jesus by proclaiming His gospel.
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