“And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
We’re gonna be looking at good morning, everybody. We’re gonna be looking at the book of acts chapter eight this morning. Uh, if you want to go ahead and turn there. I don’t have the page in the Bible in front of you, but I guarantee it’s in there. Um, I love singing that song together because it expresses what I think corporate worship is largely about.
I’ve said this lots of times before. I think more than anything else. Corporate worship is a time when we come together basically to say it’s true. He’s real. And that song is basically the apostles creed just declaring. These are things that we believe are true. Uh, it’s true. It’s true Friday. The 1973 landmark decision by the Supreme court known as Roe versus Wade that guaranteed to all women, the right to have an abortion was overturned by the Supreme court of the United States.
This is a monumental change because there is no longer the cover of federal law saying that a woman has the legal right to abort her baby. It is a tremendous and momentous victory for all of us who are pro-life and see all human life as sacred and valuable, including those that are yet unborn. I’d like to pray this morning because as I have been processing this in the last couple of days, there are three things that I have felt constrained to pray about.
And so I’d like to lead us and I’ve written out my prayer because it is, it is what I have been praying and what I’d like to pray over you this morning. Let’s pray
father. We come to you this morning and certainly for many of us, this is a time of praise and gratitude. And there are three things. Lord, I’m asking you to help us with number one, help us remember who overturned the decision. Many will talk about newly appointed justices and new majority on the court are successful politicing while we do not dismiss the role.
These have played, we acknowledge, oh God that you have done this. This decision is overturned by you. and we bow before you the author of life, the one who designs and values each human life, and who has sovereignly enabled this decision to be overturned and lives to be spared father. I also ask that you would help us be humble and kind in our response to those who are hurt, angry and feel unheard in this decision.
God help us not look at this as our side winning, but as life being protected, help us to show kindness toward those that differ. This to us is about a theology of all life being valuable. Lord, let us treat those that differ as having lives of value and dignity as well. And third Lord help us be compassionate and generous in our support of infants.
and moms likely, many of the women most impacted by this decision will be those in the worst economic and sociological circumstances. We’re told that over 85, 80% of them will be young mothers with little financial, practical, and moral readiness to have a child. And though it is a minuscule minority of those who have abortions, there will be women who are the victims of rape and incest and who are now given the incredible challenge of living out a pregnancy.
They did not seek or desire. Lord helped the church of Jesus to look for women who will need support and care, compassion, and potentially financial aid and God in the face of many more children potentially now being born and possibly many more adoptions needed. Help us to be ready to do as the early church did in the Roman empire to rush, to take on the care of the infants, re rejected by people around them.
God, we do thank you for this monumental decision. I praise you for the thousands of crisis pregnancy directors, including ABA and options in our own area for legislators who have fought for the unborn and for the accumulated prayers that you have prompted your people to pray in these last 49 years in Jesus name.
Amen. I invite you to turn with me to the book of acts. We’re gonna look at acts chapter eight. As we jump back into our series, the spirit at work to the ends of the earth. We’re actually at a, a key ju. In the book of acts, we have finished season one, season one is acts chapters one through seven. And just to highlight, you know, what they tend to do in the beginning of a new TV series season, the TV series, they, they do a little bit of a recap here.
It is. Season one was all about the coming of the spirit. At the day of Pentecost, there was bold witnessing and preaching that resulted by the believers and the apostolic leadership. There was an astonishing and continues to be an astonishing numerical growth of hoards of, of individuals have embraced Jesus as the living Christ, the living Messiah, Hebrew Jews, those that are Jews that speak Hebrew or Aramaic and Hellenistic Jews, those that speak Greek, both.
Living in Jerusalem at this time, have both been, uh, infiltrated with the gospel and many of them have come to Christ. The church has dealt with potential conflicts, greed, and showmanship has been shown by some of their number in Anani and Safira. And a long section in chapter five is presented. There has been the failure to care for the Hellenistic Jewish Christian widows while doing so for the Hebrew widows.
And they’ve had to weather the storm of potential conflict and, and sliding there have been healings in casting out demons, continually drawing attention to the power of the living Christ throughout the city and its, and its uh, environ of Jeru. there’s been some organizational structures built in is in the midst of the opposition.
The confusion there has been also, uh, structures that have been put in place, uh, individuals called deacons or servants. We’re not sure if the they’re the office of deacon, but individuals to ke with the care that the apostles can continue their ministry of studying and preaching the scripture. There has been a growing sense of opposition culminating in the stoning of a prominent member to death in acts chapter seven and season one ends on a cliff hanger.
It leaves them with questions as a church in the midst of this illegal murder, actually of this, of this spokesman for the church named Steven. will the perpetrators be brought to justice who have killed him without legal sanction? Will the religious leaders take ownership for the fact that they have by their passivity have also supported the rabid crowd that has turned into such a violent opposition to the early church.
Will the Christians now be forced to change their behavior, maybe returning to, to their, their, their synagogues as the only place where they can really gather, because they’re, they’re unable to meet in the worship places of the temple. And now we come to season two and season gives season two. Not only gives us answers to those questions, but to many more in season chapter two, it begins in the verses.
I’d like to read to you acts chapter eight versus one through four, which form the intro. To season two, acts chapter eight through 12. Stephen has been killed in verse one of chapter eight and Saul approved of his execution. And there are arose on that day. A great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles, devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.
But Saul was ravaging the church and entering house after house. He dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now, those who were scattered went about preaching the word Lord. We looked to you this morning in our study. God, to me, this passage is such a powerful portion of your word. God in the midst of so much stuff that was going on in the early church to see the sovereign working of God.
There’s so much hope here. There’s so much encouragement here. There’s so much life for those particularly that are here in this room or watching online that are feeling exhausted and worn down and overwhelmed in their Christian journey. Lord, speak truth into our lives from your word. I pray in Jesus name.
In chapter two of, of, excuse me, in season two of chap, which is chapter eight, we see the spirit at work now in the areas of Judea and Samaria. There’s a, there’s a visual, if we can bring that up, is that okay? Basically what you have in season two is storylines. You know, if you watch a TV series, you know, and you’ve got hooked on a series and you’re binge watching, you know, that what happens in most good TV series, the way they keep you is they tell you different storylines.
You know, they’re telling you this guy’s story and all of a sudden it jumps to this guy’s story. And all of a sudden it jumps to this girl’s story. And these are the main characters that are playing it. That’s exactly what happens in acts chapter eight, through 12, there are storylines, it starts with Philip and then it moves to Peter and goes back to, to Saul.
And then it goes back to Peter and then it goes back to Saul. But what it’s doing is showing us through their storylines. What’s going on in this area, as Jesus is through the spirit, continuing to build his church. Now there’s a shocking introduction to the passage where it tells us right here in verse one, and there arose on that day.
A great persecution. We need to understand what’s taking place here. It was an incredibly confusing time for the believers. The Sanhedrin did not take ownership for what happened to Steven. The Sanhedrin did not seek to punish the perpetrators of his death. They overlooked the illegality of the moment.
As a matter of fact, they seem to be the energizing force. Now behind the arrests that are going on throughout Jerusalem, it’s a confusing time for the church. I’m sure there was the question. Where is God? I mean, what’s happening? It’s a frighten. It’s, it’s a disappointing time, so much good. Now everything’s in, in chaos.
It’s a frightening time. Many of the believers will be forced. To flee and locate elsewhere. Families, uprooted kids don’t understand. I mean, becoming Jesus followers doesn’t seem to be paying off for their families. What’s going on. All this is happening is it would be happening for you or for me. But chapter eight is actually the story of the continuance of God building his church.
And as we look on in these early events of all the confusion, disappointment, and fear, we see what God at work looks like. And I like, I’m gonna highlight three things in our, our sermon. And I know I’ve had a long introduction. Don’t panic. Um, there are three things that we’re gonna look at. First of all, when God is at work, suffering is inevitable.
There will be suffering. Secondly, Satan. is persistent. And third God’s mission is unstoppable. The first thing we find suffering is inevitable. We see this in verse two in verse two, it talks about what transpires here and, and devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. After five to six years, Stephen has risen as a champion in the church, as such as a heist Jew, as a Greek speaking Jew, he has a unique position in the church.
He has the capacity as Saul is cuz he also was a Helen, his Jew that came from the area of modern day Turkey. Steven has the capacity to reach those that are coming at the feast days. You know, there’s a large portion of Judaism at this of Israel at this time. That’s not living in P in, in, in Israel, proper modern day Palestine area.
They’re living different places, but they all come back for the feast days. Well guys like Steven have a unique capacity as a Greek speaking Jewish Christian to share the gospel. He’s also a gifted preacher. He’s so powerful in his, in his presentation of truth. That acts chapter seven says they were unable to stop him.
And it is likely, as I mentioned then, because it is the congregation of the Helen, his Jews that is taking Stephen on, which would have been the congregations that the, that the future apostle Paul Saul at this time is a part of it’s likely that Saul was a part of that group trying to, to debate Stephen, but nobody can confound this guy.
He’s a powerful, influential voice in the early church. And he’s gone.
There is tremendous sadness among the believers. It says here there was great lamentation for him. It’s interesting that it was. And of course, Steven is branded by the religious leaders here. That’s why they stone him as a heretic. It was legal to bury a, her, it was illegal to mourn heretic yet. It says they went into a process of lamenting.
Steven Lamentations, uh, mourning for death typically lasted somewhere between 40 and 70 days. This was a dangerous morning. This is a dangerous thing to be lamenting when you’re lamenting. The death of a heretic,
but note who felt the lost most acutely. It says this in verse two, devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. The word devout is only used four times in the new Testament. It is, is all, all usages are by Luke. Uh, he, he loves the word. It’s a word that is pregnant with meaning it’s actually from two words in the original, it means to, um, To take hold well to take hold of the faith with seriousness and theory and thoroughness, Luke only uses this G word of guys that he considers heroes it’s used of, of Simian in the book of Luke, you know, this old guy that was there waiting for, for God’s promise of, of the Messiah who had come.
And he actually has given the gift when Jesus has pretended presented to temple as a boy of actually seeing him, he was a devout man. He took hold of the faith. Well, it’s used that the devout Jews and the day of Pentecost that embraced the gospel and, and, and they had come and, and, and to Luke, these were the meritorious ones that, that had pursued God wholeheartedly and, and understood who Jesus was.
It will later be used in the book of acts of a guy named Ananias. Who is the F excuse me, of, of, of Cornelius, who is the first of the Gentile Christians to believe this was a, this was a term that was deeply meaningful to Luke. And when he calls somebody devout, he means these people are all in. They, they take hold well, thoroughly wholeheartedly.
Yet these are the ones that are sorrowing. These are the ones filled with Lamentations. These are the, are the ones in the midst of God’s building program of the church that are identified of being, uh, sorrowful. They have suffered the loss. They feel the loss of Steven
when God is at work. When God is moving with all the other pieces that are taking place, there will be suffering. That is part of the Christian journey. It’s always a part it’s part of every Christian journey that really wants to be used and walk with God, do Dietrich. Bonoff for made this statement, his classic work, the cost of discipleship and Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who stood against Hitler, a courageous man of faith in the, in the German church.
One of the few really outspoken believers at the time. And he was ultimately a martyr, but he wrote in his tremendous book, the cost of discipleship. He says this, the cross is laid on every Christian, the first Christ suffering, which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.
It is that dying of the old man, which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship, we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death. We give our lives over to death. Thus it begins. The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise God fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ.
And then he makes this statement, which has actually become famous for him. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. And you may say, that’s not really the kind of the eye. And I was looking for a little happier news when it came to church this morning. But if we’re gonna honestly say that we wanna align ourselves with God at work God at work in my day, in my generation, in my town, in my office, in my family.
We’ve gotta say, Lord, I, I. I’m willing to take the call that you invite me to come and die, die to my own desires, die to my own expectations, God, to my own request and, and insistence for my life. There will be things Jesus will ask you to give up. There will be things he asked you to do. There will be things he allows and purposes for your life that you won’t understand.
He will ask you to take up his cross and obey him to change for him. When Jesus called these devout men, he bid them to come and die and where the spirit is at work. It is always in the midst of such people that say, Jesus, I hear the call, come and die, whatever, whatever I am, whatever I have, whatever I want.
I lay it at the feet of your throne. and there will be hard stuff. The beautiful thing of that, any of you could testify who have walked with Jesus for many years and who know the journey of suffering and loss,
you would say he is worth it. What I have in him, what I have come to know in him, there’s not one piece that I would reclaim and say, no Lord, I, I, I, that part, I want back that part, I insists that we, we relive again,
but where God is at work, he is asking for people to say, yeah, I, uh, I’m willing to come and die. The second thing. The enemy is persistent in such a season. This is found in verse one and three verse one, and there arose on that day. A great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. The damn burst on that day, the religious leaders lost control the people because they had lost control of themselves.
It was a pre else. There’s a progression of opposition that’s been going on in chapter one through seven. This chart shows it as you look at this, this chart, uh, go ahead and bring ’em all up and I’ll just walk way through it. First of all, there was a warning given to the disciples. The first time they were brought in this is Peter and John.
The second time they get brought in again, they’re flogged and, and now the line in the sand is, is it’s more intense because they’ve actually gone against what they had said. Don’t cross this line. They continue to preach this time. They’re they’re beaten flogged. Now we see it’s, it’s heightened to the sense of Mardo.
And now in verse one of chapter eight, It’s persecution, not just the apostles, everybody, anyone who walks with Jesus for a while has come to have a healthy respect of the devil. Even though we read of persecution that is done by people, it is clear as we study the new Testament and the book of acts that the power behind the power is the arch enemy of God, Satan and his emissaries.
And if you’ve walked with God for a while, you have grown to have a health respect for the devil. Now, just if you’re here and you’re thinking, wait a minute, are, are you gonna tell me that you actually, I mean, you sound like, at least you have a little bit of you, it sound like you’ve at least graduated from grade school, mark, and you still believe in a devil.
Yeah. But I wanna just understand what I mean by that. I, I don’t believe that the devil has appeared to all of us. I don’t believe the devil is alumni present. Like, God, I don’t think he’s everywhere present, but it’s clear from the scriptures that one third of the angels rebelled with Satan against God.
And that one third has comprised an army that is clearly in the pages of both the old and new Testament in an organizational structure where the devil is overseeing, but he has this entire entourage of, of, of forces. So I would clearly say I would be willing to make this declaration. I would guess none of us have actually had an encounter with the devil himself.
I mean, that’s left for the Billy Grahams and others of the world. Um, we’ve probably never got much below a second or third grade level. I will say. I’m very fine with that. Actually. I have no aspirations to work up the chain
but the enemy is at work. And as he is at work, you find some things out about how he plays.
He works ruthlessly, he works without conscience. He works and he plays dirty
and where God is working, the devil is invariably at work. Okay. So we come to this juncture now at the end of 0.2, and we say, okay, great sermon, mark suffering. is inevitable. The devil is persistent. Is that all you got? I mean, you got anything else? Yeah, here it is. Point three. God’s mission is unstoppable.
What Satan designed for evil Jesus intended for good. Here’s what we read in the latter part of verse one, a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. And they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. The word scattered here is actually the word that, that is it is the literal word in the original is the word depo.
If you’ve ever heard of that, you know that as the word that is used to describe the scattering of the Jews, it began all the way back in, in about 5 87 BC, where, where the Babylonians took the J uh, I’m trying to remember if, yeah, I’m going east. The Babylonians took a lot of the Israelis skies like Daniel and the boys were there, uh, in Babylon.
And when they were freed by God, 70 years later, a lot of them didn’t go back. A lot of Jews stayed there. They had built their lives. They had generations of living there and now Judaism began to get spread. When Alexander gr the great came through the Jews began to follow the pathways that he had opened throughout the whole world for the first time.
And they began to settle in different parts of the world, north Africa, uh, Italy, uh, Europe in it, particularly in Turkey area, as well as going east. They had gone west and it was called the diaspora. It literally meant to, uh, uh, Scatter throughout scatter throughout the world, there had been this Jewish diaspora,
but here’s the interesting thing. This word diaspora is the word scatter is the word is referring to seed. That was how the Jews viewed what had happened to them in their centuries past. As a matter of fact, in one of their writings, second Baruch, it says this, it was talking about this and it talked about the, the scattering of the Jews by God, among the Gentiles was so that they could do good for the Gentil.
This is exactly what’s happening here in acts chapter eight, God is scattering his people. And the striking thing is it’s pictured of scattering seed. The concept is the believers in Jerusalem, which had been growing in their faith in their newfound faith in Jesus, as they had begun to understand truth.
And they’ve begun to witness to their neighbors and began to, to learn how to share the message of Christ as the persecution came, these believers moved on to other places. And what did they become? They became scattered seed in other places in order that new fruit could grow up in the lives of people outside of Jerusalem.
It is a fascinating word. It’s a fascinating concept that those who are scattered in verse four here in chapter eight, are described as those who were scattered. When about preaching the words, not talking about the apostles, they’re the only ones that don’t go. We assume that’s one of two reasons. One, because it was preeminently, the Hellenistic Jews that went, or because the apostles were held in such reverence by people, the J the, the religious leaders didn’t dare go after them.
We don’t know which is true. It actually will be the, the civil leaders in acts 12 that go after the disciples next, but it wasn’t. The mucky mucks was the average, Joe, the average Mary, that, that were spread and, and were, were, were disenfranchised from their own home relocated. But they went out and they were the ones that were sharing in conversations with their newfound neighbors, the message of Jesus.
They became seed.
This is exactly what Jesus predicted would happen. Here’s what he said in acts chapter one, verse eight, which is the theme of our whole series. But you’ll receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and in Samaria. This is what acts chapter eight through 12 is portraying the movement of God outside of Jerusalem, into the surrounding region of, of, of Judea and the Northern area of Samaria.
What happened is the devil overreached himself. The wind of persecution that swept through Jerusalem did not extinguish the flame of the church. The wind spread the flame that God was at work in 1949 in China, when the communist took over, they defeated the nationalist army of China. One of the first things they did was go into a, a, a overt persecution of any, uh, outsider, any foreigner, particularly those that were missionaries at the time, there were 637 China inland missionaries, the founder of China and Lu mission was a guy named Hudson Taylor, a wonderful man of God.
They had ministry all over China. There were churches that had been started. All this going all 637 missionaries in China were either, um, killed. um, as happened with a guy like Eric Little, have you ever seen chariots of fire? Um, or they left, they had to get out. It seemed a season of utter disaster for the growth of the church in China.
And yet of those 637 China inland missionaries within four years, 286 of them had been redeployed in other parts of Asia and Japan at the same time. Over the next 30 years, the church in China was estimated to have grown 30 to 40 times larger than it had ever been under the ministry of the missionaries.
What Satan designs for evil God intends for? Good. This is the picture that we are reminded of in acts chapter eight. He’s a big God. He’s a, a kingdom building God. But if we don’t think this was confusing time for the believers, we’re not really reading the text. This was confusing. This was frightening.
This was unsettling. I mean, this is their families. They’re trying to take care of their kids have questions. They don’t know how to answer, but we look back with them and they would have done it in years to come and say, yeah, but all the time, God is at work intending for good that which was designed for evil.
The second thing we find is who Satan sent to persecute Jesus, Jesus recruited to serve him. I want to just read you. I think I have a number of the passages. It says in verse two here in chapter eight, that Saul. Was ravaging the church, William Barkley, a Greek scholar, and written a lot of commentaries well respected in his analysis of Greek words says this word ravaging actually means to act with brutal and sadistic cruelty.
Saul was the attack dog of the religious establishment against Christians. I wanna just read you a little bit of what he did, uh, in his own words throughout the book of acts, I’m just gonna hit him real quick. In acts chapter nine, verse one, Saul was still breathing, threats and murders against the disciples of the.
In acts 22, verse three through five. Saul says it this way. I’m a Jew born in Tarsis in Silesia, but brought up in this city, educated the feet of Gaia that’s Jerusalem, according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, as you all are this day, I persecuted this way to the death binding and delivering to prison, both men and women as the high priest and whole counts of elders can bear me witness verse 19.
And I said, Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue, after another imprisoned and beat those who believed in you, he actually went into the synagogues and would do a public beating there in the midst of, of others. Those that had been identified as followers of Jesus in acts 26. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priest, but when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blast femme and enraging fury against them. I persecuted them even to foreign cities in Galatians. He says it this way is the last one for you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism. How I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.
I wanted to destroy this thing. I was the arch attack dog, trying to take it down. I went with all of the power and authority of the leaders of Israel
and Jesus in acts chapter nine, appears to Saul and makes this remarkable statement to him. I am Jesus who you are persecuting. I love that thought. He doesn’t say this I’m Jesus whose church. You’re persecuting. That was true, but he says, so you’re persecuting. My people it’s persecuting me. You come after my people, you come after me.
You’re going after my movement. But ultimately it’s coming after me of me, Jesus pursued Saul and drew him into his family, drew him into his service. It was such a shocking, unexpected unlooked for experience that three years after Saul had embraced Jesus Christ as savior. And of course the word was out.
He had preached publicly everything, uh, uh, in the Northern up in Damascus was in the Northern city that when Saul wanted to come and meet with the apostles, nobody wanted to meet with him. It says they were scared of him. They thought he was, is another ploy. I mean, this was a, this was the master manipulator.
It’s the guy that beat people, came into synagogues and grabbed. That’s a Christian, that’s a Christian beat them publicly front of their families. This is the guy that, that was responsible at bringing them in and they were condemned to death. And now he says, well, you know, they’re thinking, oh, he’s got a new method.
Now he’s gonna pretend he’s one of us.
There may have never been a more unlikely candidate for the family of God than this man. You need to remember that as you pray for your kids, you need to remember that as you pray for that friend, that you’ve been praying for 50 years and it just seems it can’t happen.
There are four things I’m closing with this that we can be confident of from this passage. This is free. It’s not in your notes. Number one, we can be confident of Jesus protection. The devil is going all stops against the people of God here yet. If there is one thing we see as we look at the book of acts, as we see, as we look at the, the, the totality of scripture is that nothing gets through the protective surrounding shield of God, but what God allows, yes, the opposition is coming from saying, yes, it is not God that is sending this persecution, but God allows what he purposes to allow.
There are going to be things in your Christian journey that God allows. And you’re gonna say this can’t, it’s not possible. There are gonna be moments when you feel an attack that is so dark and frightening that you’re going to realize what it means that the devil is the devil. What I hope it will do for you is what I know it has done for me.
There have been moments in my Christian life
where I never felt so vulnerable, so fragile, so fearful and so helpless in, in, in the face of, of evil directed my way. God saw me through that, but I realized that every day the devil has a desire to do that to me, that it wasn’t like the next day. The devil said, ah, you know, that was Mark’s turn. I’m gonna try some, you know, now I think he’s okay.
You know, he said, that’s been, we’ll go try somebody else every day. Every moment he desires to take you out. Do you know that if you belong to Jesus, the fact that he hasn’t is because there is one that is protecting you every moment of every day, you don’t have the goods to stand against the power of darkness.
We can wax confidence and find confidence of Jesus protection. The second thing we can be confident of Jesus’ love how much, much Jesus love you. That when the devil wants to seek to hurt, when the devil seeks to hurt Jesus, it is to do harm to his children. I mean, that’s how somebody would do it to you, right?
They go after your kids. How much must God love you that the greatest assault of the enemy and, and, and, and that, that Jesus is the soul soul. You’re not ultimately persecuting my children. You’re ultimately persecuting me. You’re hurting me as you attack my people. We can be confidence. Third of Jesus control what the devil intended for evil God intended for good.
This is always the purpose and plan and design of God. And right now some of you are saying, I see no good. I see only darkness. I see a overwhelmed. I, I, I, I,
what is intended for evil? God is willing to use for good. That’s the beauty of being able to lean into God and say, God, I don’t know how I’m gonna make it through this. I don’t know what you’re doing in this. I, I mean, why in the world would you take Steven? He’s like our number one guy for the illness use and they come four times, three times a year.
They come here and, and he’s the perfect guy to take the gospel to them. How can this be good? Well, God says I got more going on here than you see the fourth thing. We can be confident of. Jesus’ ability to conquer hearts. Jesus vanquishing of soul gives every parent hope for every child. Even those many, many years into hardened rejection of the gospel.
Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop crying out to God. Don’t stop believing. He is the heart conquering savior and and he proves. With a guy named Saul. Let’s pray together this morning, Lord,
we worship you. But we see in this passage as you, we see a big God, we see a protective God. We see a God that is able to use even scary things and overwhelming sadness and, and things we don’t understand, but to believe there is more going on that we understand right now, we see you pursuing a soul and Lord, it makes us cry out for the souls in our lives.
We want them so much to become Paul. and it renews our vision to pray that way and believe you for that. So Lord, take this simple four verse passage and your hearts to wanna be your people to wanna respond, Lord. Yes. If you say to me, I invite you to come and die. We say, yes, you’re worthy of it
in Jesus name. I pray. Amen. Now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord. Thank you.