In our passage today, we see the early church go through their most difficult season as a great persecution arose after the execution of Stephen. But despite the persecution, and despite being scattered, verse 4 says “those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” Persecution, imprisonment and death did not result in people renouncing their faith. It did not lead people to quit or stop. Rather, we see Christians sharing the gospel, the very message that was the source of their suffering, to those who they met as they fled Jerusalem. How important could this message be? How important is the Gospel to you? The early church was in great lament because of persecution but as they continued to remain committed to the Gospel even in the face of death and imprisonment, their commitment produced a great joy that spread across not just the city of Jerusalem but the whole region. As you step out in your commitment to Christ, and build into the community of Christ, it will lead you to become a supernatural witness for Christ where even the trials and sufferings in our lives will produce supernatural joy.
In today’s passage, we won’t find the word compassion. But we find ourselves in a familiar passage where we see some people who were neglected in the church and where the apostles decide to appoint seven trustworthy men to address the needs on their behalf. This passage is famously remembered as the appointment of the early church’s very first deacons. But as we look at this passage today, I hope to impress on your hearts to examine if your lives truly reflect that of compassion. A compassion that is at the core of the Gospel. I pray that today’s message would convict you that the heart of compassion is at the heart of being a true Christian and stir in you a true heart for compassion that leads to action.
How are we to respond to crisis and conflict? Let us not cancel. Let us not avoid. Let us not quit. But let us trust in God’s sovereignty and pray for boldness as we act in faith. A new day has come. By His resurrection, the son of God shines like the dawn of the new day. This is the story that must stay with you. This is the story that will steady you. We have lots of chances of turning back. We may have already turned back at so many points. But let’s not turn back any longer. Let’s keep going, because we know what we are holding on to. That in the midst of it all, Jesus Christ has risen, that he is reigning, and that he will return. That He is worth fighting for. He is worth dying for. He is worth living for.