The Church Moving Toward Her Destiny
March 13, 2005
INTRODUCTION: In Acts, Chapter 8, the church is about to engage her "Unfinished Task" or "Finishing the Task." What is about to begin here is to be continued today.
Victor Hugo wrote:
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world and that is an idea whose time has come." The Gospel of Jesus Christ is much more than an idea. The Gospel is "the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16) It is God's "dynamite" for breaking down sin's barriers and setting the prisoners free.
It is in this text that the "salt" was now leaving the "Jerusalem saltshaker" to be spread over all Judea and Samaria, just as the Lord had commanded. (Acts 1:8) Light was about to penetrate the darkness and bring hope to all setting in darkness. The ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not come without great cost. Stephen has just been identified as the New Testament church's first martyr. To some his death may have seemed senseless. Elizabeth Elliot, widow of another 20th century martyr, Jim Elliot, said:
"To the world at large this was a sad waste of five young lives. But God has His plan and purpose in all things. There were those whose lives were changed by what happened on Palm Beach. In Brazil, a group of Indians at a mission station deep in the Mato Grosso, upon hearing the news, dropped to their knees and cried out to God for forgiveness for their own lack
of concern for fellow Indians who did not know of Jesus Christ. From Rome, an American official wrote to one of the widows, 'I knew your husband. He was to me the ideal of what a Christian should be.' An Air Force Major, stationed in England, with many hours of jet flying, immediately began making plans to join the Missionary Aviation Fellowship. A missionary in Africa wrote, 'Our work will never be the same. We knew two of the men. Their lives have left their mark on ours.'
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