The Powerful “Therefore”
In the first few chapters of Acts, the Book of the early church, we learn how God was doing great works in Jerusalem through the apostles and other believers. Acts 6:7 (NKJV) records that “Then the Word of God spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem…”
However, when Stephen, a disciple full of faith and power, rose up to perform great signs and wonders among the people, he was accused of blasphemy and was brought before the Jewish ruling council. There, Stephen gave a brave and substantial speech standing up for his faith. This hugely enraged the council that they stoned Stephen and he died.
Upon Stephen’s death, what happened to the believers can be seen in Acts 8:1, 3 & 4 (NASB/NKJV) –
1 …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.
3 As for Saul, he began ravaging the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.
The believers met not with an ordinary persecution, but a great persecution, as the Bible tells us. They were not able to remain in Jerusalem anymore without facing the great risk of imprisonment or even possibility of losing their lives. They had to literally flee for their lives.
Up until this point, all the believers were worshipping together in Jerusalem under the leadership of the apostles. Now, they were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria but the apostles remained in Jerusalem. In this short period of time, the believers lost contact with their leaders, togetherness as a church and the safety and security of all that they had been familiar with. It certainly looks like a grim situation they were in. They could have complained that God had forsaken them and thought now that they were no longer together with all other believers they could not be effective in preaching the Gospel anymore. They could also say among themselves that the previously growing church was not going to survive after this great persecution. These all seem like very probable lines of thought the believers could have as a result of all that had happened to them.
But how did the believers respond?
Acts 8:4 tells us, “Therefore, those who had been scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.”
I love how the verse begins with ‘Therefore’. It tells us that as a result of being scattered, for that reason, the believers went everywhere preaching the Word. They had been driven out of all that they were comfortable with. They had been driven into Judea and Samaria where the Gospel had been hardly preached then. And therefore, as a result, for that reason, they went everywhere preaching the Word!
This is how you and I as believers and disciples of God should always conduct ourselves. You are the only Christian in the family? Therefore, preach the Word! You are but one of the only few believers in your workplace or school? Therefore, preach the Word! You are facing struggles in your relationships or finances? Therefore, preach the Word!
As disciples of Christ, no matter where we are and what situation we are in, we must carry the knowledge of the Gospel with us and share the precious love and truth of Christ in every place. It is not where we are at that matters. It is what we do at where we are that matters most to God.
In a sense, you and I have been scattered throughout various regions. We belong to different families, work in diverse organizations, go to different schools, live in diverse communities and nations, visit different grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops – these are where we have been scattered throughout. And we are to be like the believers in Acts 8, go everywhere preaching the Word.
It is through this group of early Christians being scattered throughout Judea and Samaria that the Gospel reached many towns and villages of these previously unreached regions and countless lives came to hear and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“Therefore, those who had been scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.” (Acts 8:4) Let us live out this powerful ‘therefore’ statement in every place we are at and in every situation we are in. And see how God uses you and me to make a huge difference in this generation!
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that when Your people obey Your Word to preach the Gospel, You cause all things to work out for the glory of Your Kingdom. I thank You that when Your disciples stay united and committed to carry out The Great Commission, You make us a formidable force that must shine light and bring Your salvation to this world. Steel my heart, O Lord, that in the face of any situation, I choose to proclaim Your Gospel and share Your goodness. Let it be that as a result of all that I am going through and where I have been placed, I go about preaching Your love and salvation to every one. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”