PHILIP IN SAMARIA
Although the believers in Jerusalem were heavily persecuted, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ continued to expand. Philip, one of the seven leaders who was chosen by the apostles to help in the distribution of food in the church in Jerusalem, went to Samaria and continued to preach the gospel. Many Samaritans listened to the message and saw the miracles that God was doing through Philip. God healed many who were sick, and those who were possessed by the unclean spirit or demons were delivered. As a result, there was much rejoicing in that city (Acts 8:4-8). One of the lessons that we can learn from this story is that persecution cannot stop the spreading of the gospel. The reason is that it comes from the hearts of people and the Holy Spirit empowers it.
We have seen how the enemies of God tried to persecute God's church, but they couldn't stop the church. The more they persecute the church, the more it grows. Jesus told Peter about the church in Matthew 16:18, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The rock in this verse refers to Jesus. The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, Himself. He is the one who strengthens and encourages us when we go through persecution. Philip continued to preach the gospel, heal people, and cast out demons from people who were possessed because the power of God was working in and through Him. Many religious people protect their religion, but not so with Christians. God protects His church and His children.
Let us not be discouraged when we see persecution against Christians, but we need to praise God because, through persecution, the church matures and grows. God allows persecution because there are times that God uses persecution to purify His church. It is through persecution that we learn to persevere in our faith and reveal our true faith in our Lord Jesus.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through carefully and meditate on the questions while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speak to you) Why does God allow persecution against His church? Can persecution stop God's church? What should I do when I am persecuted for my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for being the foundation and the protector of your church. Nothing can stop your church from spreading to save people who are lost in their sins. No matter how this world tries to stop your Word from spreading and tries to stop people from believing in you, this world will fail because you are the God who is in control of everything. Please continue to give me the courage to stand for my faith and tell others about You. In Your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.