Saul Persecutes the Church
1Now Saul approved of putting Stephen to death.
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 for the apostles. 2Some devout men buried Stephen, and …
1And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria, except the apostles. 2And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, …
Is Christianity really a fact? Was it founded like other religions or are its roots anchored to something eternal? The world asks many questions about Christianity and thankfully God's inerrant word teaches the Christian. Listen to “The Book of Facts” as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens Acts 8:1–5 and teaches of God’s actions in history. Christianity exists because of what happened in time and space with the primary events being the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Scripture does not end the account there but promises the Spirit to indwell His own. This coming of the Holy Spirit was a true event that enabled the church to faithfully and boldly proclaim the gospel to the whole world. Those who seek to disconnect the Christian message from the actual historical facts are actually distorting and rejecting the true message of Christianity as it was taught by Jesus and the apostles. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches in this sermon, the rejection of the facts of Christianity is also the rejection of the truth revealed in Scripture. The world’s greatest problem is its sin and coming judgement of God but through the gospel, all who believe will be saved.
- The passage introduces the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria.
- This spread was the result of persecution against the church in Jerusalem. The persecution caused the Christians to scatter and spread the gospel.
- The passage focuses on Saul, who was persecuting the church and imprisoning Christians. Despite this, the gospel continued to spread.
- The spread of Christianity from Jerusalem was in fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy that the gospel would spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
- The spread of the gospel despite persecution demonstrates God's sovereignty over His enemies. God used the persecution to further His purposes.
- The passage illustrates the spiritual conflict between God and Satan, between good and evil. The persecution was Satan's attempt to thwart God's work, but God overruled it for good.
- To understand Christianity, we must understand the historical facts of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Christianity is based on historical events, not just teachings or ideas.
- Many people approach Christianity as just another teaching or as a means to solve personal problems. But Christianity is the result of historical events and spiritual realities. We must start with the facts of what God has done in Christ.
- The meaning and significance of Christianity can only be understood in light of the spiritual conflict between God and Satan. The physical world is influenced by spiritual forces.
- God's victory over His enemies is certain. Despite opposition, God will accomplish His purposes. The spread of the gospel cannot be thwarted.
The Book of Acts
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.