Scattered to Spread the Gospel

…and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. – Acts 8:1,4

The early persecutions in Judea promoted the spread of the gospel; hence, when after the death of Stephen the disciples were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles, the result is thus given: “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” So, too, when Herod stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church, and killed James, the brother of John, with the sword; what came of it? Why Luke tells us in almost the same words that Moses had used: “The word of God grew and multiplied.” Those terrible and bloody persecutions under the Roman Emperor by no means stayed the progress of the gospel; but strangely enough seemed to press forward for the crown of martyrdom. The church probably never increased at a greater ratio than as when her foes were most fierce to assail and most resolute to destroy her… Persecution has evidently aided the increase of the church by the scattering abroad of earnest teachers…  

Christian men are sometimes called to leave positions of great comfort and to occupy stations of great hardship. They may account it a reverse of fortune, while God designs it as an appointment to especial service. If they bear Christ’s gospel with them to a people sitting in darkness, that will be great gain in the long run to the church. Your being sent to a village, though you like it not, may be a lasting blessing to the hamlet. Your residing among strangers, when you would far rather find a more congenial home among your own kindred, may be for the good of that neighborhood. Who knows? Where should lamps be set up but in dark places? Where should we have a guard for Christ’s army, but where the enemy is most likely to make the assault? Be patient, then, my brethren, amidst the persecutions or trials you may be called upon to bear; and be thankful that they are so often overruled for the growth of the church, the spread of the gospel, and the honor of Christ. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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