Scattered

COVID 19 Update—Be a lamp.

When the Stay at Home order was first given in March of this year, I was anxious and fearful. What kind of impact was this going to have on me, my family, my work, my church, and our world? I was not prepared for all that would happen. But, I do trust God, don’t I?

God has a way of getting our attention. In the midst of this pandemic, I focused on doing one thing every day–“to just keep going and trust God.” I do not control my circumstances, but I do control my actions in the midst of them. I determine who I trust and in whom I place my faith.

In my daily Bible reading and prayer time, I searched for purpose and meaning to it all. Then I remembered that in the book of Acts “the church was scattered.” I saw lots of parallels to what was going on in my life and in our world. I re-read Acts chapters 6, 7, and 8 and was struck by the boldness of the early church. The church was growing daily, in spite of all that was happening around them. In these chapters of the book of Acts we are introduced to the story of Stephen. At his death, persecution broke out and the church was scattered.

Of course, I would not call the Coronavirus a persecution, but it is a pandemic. It scattered us to our homes. We became isolated and separated. But, the church didn’t close. We are the church. We began to meet as a congregation in our living rooms. We met in groups via Zoom or on the phone. We prayed for each other and checked up on one another. We found hope in the midst of a pandemic! The church was still open and doing His will.

Change is not fun. But ask yourself, what is God wanting us to focus on? Did God allow us to scatter so that we could focus on spreading the Gospel to our families, to our neighbors and to our peers, like never before? Has God strengthened you spiritually? Is He working in the lives of your family and friends? What is God preparing us for, in the days ahead?

Acts 8:1,4 (CSBBible)

1 Saul agreed with putting him to death. On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. 4 So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word.

My Sermon Outline

  1. The Cause for the Scattering – a severe persecution.
    1. The opposition came from the religious leaders.
    2. The Church grew in-spite of the opposition – In Acts 2:41, 2:47, 5:14, 6:7, we learn that the Gospel was spreading.
    3. Stephen Stoned to death – All restraint was removed and Saul led an all-out attack on the church.
  2. The Act of Scattering – Separated, set apart.
    1. They scattered – Some because of grief and some because of fear
    2. They left everything.
    3. Everywhere they went, people were hungry for the gospel, for the truth.
  3. The Action of Those Scattered – They preached the Word.
    1. The Gospel was spread throughout Judea and Samaria
    2. When the persecution started, it moved the spread of the gospel to parts it had not reached before.
    3. One author described the movement as lamps. As each lamp scattered, more lamps were lit.
    4. They left because God called them to be a light in a dark world.

Note: This past weekend, I preached this sermon at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville, LA. You can view the entire sermon on Facebook at facebook.com/pbcministry. Soon, it will be online at video.pbcministry.com/.