Steps to Participation in an Expanded Mission

Acts 7:1-8:25

B) God's Expansion Program to Extend to His Kingdom (Acts 8:2-25)

God had every intention to expand His kingdom as detailed in Acts 1:8. If God's people were not going to go as commanded, then He would make them go. This is the difference between motivation persecution (chiefly done to move God's people) and confrontation persecution (chiefly done because the gospel is clashing with the enemy).

Below is seen the three different kinds of evangelism: E1, E2, and E3. They are tied into God's great expansion program to take the gospel to every culture around the world.

E1: Same culture, same language
E1: Gospel in Jerusalem: Origin (1:12-8:3)
E2: Different culture, same language
E2: Gospel in Samaria and Judea & Samaria: Transition (8:4-11:18)
E3: Different culture, different language
E3: Gospel in the Uttermost Parts: Expansion (11:19-28)
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. (Acts 8:1). So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. (Acts 11:19)

The leaders finally catch on!

Did the persecution have to come? We don’t know for sure. If the apostles, however, were more deliberate to fulfill Christ’s mission (apostle means ‘sent out’), perhaps it would not have been needed.

The apostles in the end did recognize God’s work. They sent a delegation to respond to what God was doing in Samaria. Remember that the reaching out to others up to this point was still limited to the Jews only even though the district was widened to Judea and Samaria.

The giving of the Holy Spirit by the apostle shows that the church in fact did have authoritative leaders. Even though the gospel could spread through laymen, God was using this situation to instruct everyone and especially the Jews who although they could accept this transition to neighboring Jews will have much more difficulty with the oncoming expansion.

What is God doing in our midst?

   • Do we believe God wants to work through us?

   • Who do we evangelize to?

   • Who does God want to reach out through us?

   • How dedicated are we to be God’s instrument?

Resolve: I will choose to advance the Gospel rather than having to be prodded by my circumstances.

Acts: Other BFF Articles

Acts                Introduction and Outlines
Acts Map:       Paul's 1-2 Journeys

Acts Map:       Paul's 3 & Rome Journeys

Acts_07_        Stephen's Defense

Acts_8.2-25    Persecution & Evangelism
Acts_8.14-24  Simon & Gnosticism

Acts_8.25-40  Ethiopean Eunuch

Acts_9:1-22   Saul the Terrorist

Acts_8-9        Perspectives on Conversion

Acts_10:1-48:       Intersecting in Time: Vision #1
Acts_10:9-16        Vision #2 Peter

Acts_10:17-48      The Meeting that Changed History

Acts_10:34-44      The Christian Historical Message

Acts_13-14           Paul's First Missionary Journey

Acts_13:1-3          Sending Out Missionary Church

Acts_13:4-12        Power Encounter in Cyprus

Acts_13:13-50      Gospel Message in Antioch

Acts_13:51-14:28 Other Missionary Stops

Acts 20:28-30       
Detecting Error in the Church

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Paul J. Bucknell