The book of Acts is a page-turner! It moves quickly and there is so much going on it’s hard to put down. It shouts victory from beginning to end and yet whenever you have success for God, you have opposition from the enemy.
Few people in the West have experienced religious persecution. We may endure some insults and occasional retribution of some kind, but it would be very revealing if persecution like what’s happening here to the early church, was put on the 21st-century church. How many would quickly defect? These early believers fled the city, but they did not defect. The death of Stephen seemed at the time to be a defeat for the church, but it resulted in great victories for the Lord. Never give up when the enemy seems to be winning. It may be your finest hour of victory! The persecution became the catalyst for “Judea and Samaria.” There had been a centuries-long hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, but that did not deter Philip. Always remember that God has a missionary heart that beats for the whole world. He doesn’t see color, half-breeds, or Gentiles. He sees lost people in need of rescue – and so should we! We must get rid of any prejudice and see every person from every race and culture as a candidate for the gospel.
It was the average, everyday believers who shared the gospel to the Samaritans. They didn’t have the mistaken notion that evangelism is the job of “professional” Christians. Wherever they went, they talked to people about the Savior. Some, like Philip, were gifted to preach to crowds, but everyone was a witness. The fact is, you have a mission field through your contacts that no one else has. Will you be faithful to go? Press on! Pastor Brian Richard