Jump Start # 2817
Acts 8:4 “Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.”
Restoration preacher, Benjamin Franklin, wrote in 1856, “A little preaching on the Lord’s day will not do the work. The word should be preached every day and every night, as far as possible. We cannot confine our labors to cities, towns and villages, expecting preaching to be brought to us, as work to a tailor, hatter or shoemaker; but we must go out into the country, among the people, and be among the people, and be one of them, as messengers sent from Heaven to take them to God. We are not to confine ourselves to the fine meeting-house, but, when we can do no better, go to the court-house, the town or city hall, the old seminary, the school-house, or the private dwelling, and preach to the people. We must not wait for the large assembly, but preach to the few, the small, humble and unpromising congregation; we must not merely pretend to preach, while we are only complaining of them, telling how bad they are; whining over them, and murmuring—showing contempt to them and all their arrangements—but preach to them in the name of the Lord, remembering that in every human form you see, there is a living spirit, upon which Jesus looked when He died and which is worth more than the great globe on which He walked. No matter how lowly, how humble, how poor and uncomely all their temporal arrangements, you will find on acquaintance, some who love the Lord, turn from their sins, and become jewels in the Lord’s crown of rejoicing. Do not go into the work with a can’t upon your lips, with disheartening words, but preach to them as for life; plead with them with their real danger spread out before your eyes, remembering the reward of him who shall save a soul from death.” (American Christian Review, Feb, 1856).
And, then, there is our verse today, they “went about preaching the word.” The context of our passage reminds us that the apostles remained in Jerusalem. Who was it that was preaching? Likely, the seven chosen in Acts 6 to take care of the widows. They were devout men who were full of the Spirit. Likely, it was those who simply loved the Lord. Most had not been formally trained. Most, if not all, had not spent a summer or a couple of years with an older preacher. None of that happened back then. They were disciples who loved the Lord and loved their fellow man. God used persecution to expand the kingdom. The growth came about from the disciples fleeing Jerusalem. They left and they took with them the message. Away from home, they preached.
As one studies early American Restoration preaching, one quickly recognizes that these messengers preached nearly every day. On Sundays it was in church buildings. But through the week it was in log cabins, under trees, in barns. The gatherings were a family here and there. But, they preached and they preached.
One of the wonderful upsides to the Covid pandemic is that preachers are back to preaching nearly every day of the week. Through blogs, podcasts, emails, texts, videos—God’s word is being taught daily and worldwide. This is something that I hope never ends. It takes incredible work, organization, effort to keep this pace, but the amazing good that is being done cannot be measured. The Lord’s word cannot be kept behind the closed doors of a church building.
And, today, for some many disciples of Jesus, the ability to share the message is easier than it has ever been. With a few clicks on a keyboard, a sermons, blog, podcast, video can be shared among Facebook friends, sent to family members and co-workers. Imagine in a church of 100, if every person, every day sent messages out on social media. Imagine that same 100 sharing the Sunday sermon with everyone in their network. Hundreds, even thousands could be reached. We have it so easy these days.
Every soul is valuable to God. Every soul is precious and redeemable. You might just be the bridge that someone needs to find the Lord. Talking to someone about the Lord, inviting someone to services, sharing a message is never a waste of time. That one soul you reach may in turn reach hundreds.
Go into all the world…