Acts 8:1, 4 (HCSB)
On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all
except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria . . . So,
those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news.
Everyone Evangelizing Everywhere
Even before he was converted on the Damascus Road, the apostle Paul was used to
evangelizing the lost. “What?” you say, “How could that be? I thought only Christians
could evangelize.” Well, it’s true; in the providence of God the unexpected often takes
place. We must not limit God. Listen to what Luke wrote:
In the original, verse 4 reads, “those who were scattered abroad went everywhere
announcing the message of good news” (or “evangelizing” – the Greek is
euaggeliezomenoi). And, as the context shows, Paul was a part of those who did the
scattering. One way God evangelizes is through persecution.
Today, there is persecution of the church throughout the world. Andrew Brunson is an
example. We have been praying for his release (as we should), but in the meantime we
should ask God to enable him to win some Turks to Christ. Remember how God used
Paul and his companions to reach the Philippian jailor and his family for Christ and how
the Pretorian Guard heard the message because of Paul’s trial in Rome (Acts 16:31-34;
Notice in the text of Acts 8:1-4 how it was “all except the apostles” who went
everywhere evangelizing. Up until then the church had been bottled up in Judea. But
God scattered the laymen who were part of the church to evangelize in all of those
places where they went. The task was not left to the apostles alone, although they were
the ones to whom the Great Commission was given (Matthew 28:16-20).
Should persecution come to America, scattering believers, they should know that God is
providentially providing opportunities to evangelize. And they should seize them. But
they (you) should not wait for such an “opportunity.” You and the members of your
congregation should not have to be driven to do evangelism—it should be the desire of
everyone to evangelize as the result of the present freedom that they enjoy. Your task is
for everyone to evangelize everywhere!