June 7, 2020
The early church enjoyed a very short time of relative peace after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. During that time the Apostles preached, and many people came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Believers shared their possessions. All this would change when Stephen, a leader in the early church, was stoned and martyred. The persecution quickly became so great that the church was no longer able to meet in one place but was scattered all over the Roman Empire. This was likely the scariest, hardest, and best thing to happen to the young Christian church.
When they scattered, the message of the Gospel scattered. The way of life associated with Christians scattered. Eventually, this scattering would reach to the ends of the earth.
We find ourselves in a time when we feel scattered due to COVID-19. Churches have been forced to meet in smaller groups, use online services, and open up their homes for fellowship rather than relying on the church facilities. While these steps are hard, could God be doing something similar to scatter the current church for the advancement of the Gospel? What can we learn from the first century church about how to do this well?