Acts, Chapter 8 - Saul Persecutes the Church
8 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
- Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him (Stephen) to death
o This is why did nothing when they laid their coats by him to stone Stephen
- And that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem
o The evil leaders went into their rage and killed Stephen
o When it was over, they continued in their rage “on that day”
- And they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria
o All the Christian believers split (because they were afraid of these evil religious leaders and that they may be killed too)
o Except the apostles (notice they didn’t run; they remained in faith)
- Some devout men buried Stephen
o And made loud lamentation over him (loud wailing noises)
o They obviously weren’t afraid of who saw them either
o They were devout (devoted to God, strong in the word and in the Spirit)
- But Saul began ravaging the church
o Entering house and after house (it was extreme and personal)
o And dragging off men and women (it was violent)
o He would them in prison (he would imprison them)
o This shows the hardness of Saul’s heart and zeal against Christians
§ He was sincerely wrong!
Philip in Samaria
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
- Therefore (because of this great persecution in Jerusalem)
- Those who had been scattered went about preaching the word
o All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (so the persecution caused the Word to spread) 😉
- Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them
o Samaria was full of half-breeds (half Jews and half greeks)
o The Jews hated the people in Samaria (they thought of them as dogs)
o So this was a place the Jews were not likely going to go
o Philip does not see them as dogs; he sees them as God’s children (valuable)
o So he goes preaches there (it was certainly safer then Jerusalem at the time)
o But I like the fact that he kept proclaiming Christ in-spite of the persecution
6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.
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