Acts 6:8 to 9:31 is a very exciting stage of development for the Early Church as persecution forces most of the church out of Jerusalem into the “regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles” (8:1). We must remember that God’s plan and purpose for the church is never thwarted or stalled by what the enemy does. In fact, God uses difficulties and trials to advance what He wants accomplished. In chapter six, a complaint results in seven men full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit to be selected to oversee the needs of widows. From this seven, Stephen proves to be fearless with a solid understanding of Scripture so he is able to confront opponents of the gospel.
Again we are amazed at God’s plan to stop a man who was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (9:1). Stopped by “a light from heaven” (9:3), Jesus turns Saul into one of the most powerful tools to advance God’s plan for the church. These examples remind us that God will not and cannot be stopped by any scheme of man or Satan.
As you study this section of Acts, look for those “Key Principles” that must be applied in the church today. I have listed a few below without the Scripture reference so you can find where they are in these chapters.
· The Old Testament is used to prove the gospel and bring conviction to the heart.
· God does not live in buildings made by man, no matter how beautiful they seem.
· One man with an obedient heart was led by the Spirit so he could share the gospel with a man in whom God was already working.
· Baptism followed immediately after faith in Christ occurred.
· Preaching the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit is possible right after conversion and does not require formal education or degrees.
There are many more “Key Principles” in this section and I trust you are pursuing this study and finding joy in doing so. Solomon counsels us as to wisdom; “seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures” (Proverbs 2:4). In a similar way, Paul says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
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