Theme: Worshiping God- The Holy Spirit Builds the Early Church
“Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”
For many followers of Christ, the name of Jesus cannot even be spoken in public and Christian worship may be restricted or forbidden. Learn about and pray for the persecuted church today.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
The early church faced a difficult first challenge. Persecutors like Saul attacked believers, put them in jail, and they even killed some of them. Saul spoke “murderous threats” (Acts 9:1) and made evil plans against the Lord’s disciples. But Jesus changed Saul’s plans and chose him to become one of his greatest missionaries. With his name changed to Paul, he preached across the Roman Empire, over 10,000 miles, and even appeared before Caesar. As a “chosen instrument,” Paul proclaimed the Gospel “to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” While in prison, Paul wrote 13 letters that are in the Bible today, so he continues to proclaim Jesus’ name around the world. As you read more about the stories of Paul, think about how Paul was a persecutor and then was persecuted and even put in jail for his faith and work for the gospel. You don’t need to travel to other countries or write lots of letters like Paul did to be a missionary. Have you ever told someone else about your faith? If not, think about why you haven’t. If you have, what did that person say or do when you told them?
Want to dig deeper and learn more about Paul’s missionary adventures? Check out some of his stories in Acts 17: 16 – 32, Acts 19: 21 – 40, and Acts 21: 27 – 36. Luke ends the book of Acts with Paul’s arrival in Rome. From Rome, the gospel would be proclaimed throughout the world.