“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)
Philip Preaches in SamariaActs 8:4
But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.
God has given two great commissions to His people, both of which would require worldwide effort to accomplish. Both, however, were so resisted that God Himself had to step in and force His people to be obedient.
Immediately after the great Flood, God gave the following command:
Genesis 9:1Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.
This was an extension of the Edenic mandate given to Adam in the beginning, a commission to fill the earth and exercise dominion over it, under God
Genesis 1:28Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Noah’s descendants, however, decided to stay in Babel and said
Genesis 11:4Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
As a result of this rebellion,
Genesis 11:8, 9 the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city.That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
Over 2000 years later, the Lord gave His disciples another great worldwide commission.
Mark 16:15And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone
Then followed the coming of the Holy Spirit, and soon
Acts 6:7So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.
But they remained in Jerusalem, instead of spreading out to“the ends of the earth”
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Therefore God once again intervened, and
Acts 8:1Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.
Persecution Scatters the Believers
A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.
Then, finally, began their full obedience to the great commission, for “they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word,” and eventually
Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,