The Scattered People Shall Preach the Gospel
Pastor Ock Soo Park | Good News Gangnam Church
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every- where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” (Acts 8:1-5)
WHAT DID THE CHRISTIANS DO AT THAT TIME?
For the last few years, there have been various persecutions and difficulties in our church. During that time our hearts did not fall into worries, instead we turned our hearts to the side and continued to preach the gospel.
At the end of Acts chapter 7, Stephen is killed and in entering chapter 8, a great persecution was against the church in Jerusalem and with the exception of the apostles, all were scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria as devout men carried Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him. And as Saul made a havoc of the church entered into every house haling men and women committing them to prison. Such great suffering came upon the church.
What did the Christians do at that time? They did not try to hide nor did they fall to sadness and despair. Acts chapter 8, verse 3 is the narrative of Saul’s
persecution and in verse 4 it states, “therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” These were people who knew God and the secret of the gospel. They knew the truth that when they go through difficulties, they cannot escape Satan’s attacks just because they hide from it. Therefore, they boldly turned to preach the gospel instead.
Perhaps all the prisoners thought that the two men hadgonemad. Buttheywerenotafraidandsadin worry, rather from the moment they boldly praised God, God began to work.
PAUL AND SILAS PRAYED AND SANG PRAISES UNTO GOD
In Philippi, Paul and Silas were persecuted and imprisoned because they casted out a demon from a demon possessed woman. The magistrates tore off their clothes and after they were beaten, they were jailed with their feet placed in stocks. In this situation, Paul should be disappointed, worried, afraid, and discouraged.
“God, if you are with us, how could this happen to us? When can we leave this jail? What should we do now?”
But Paul and Silas were not discouraged or fearful or in sadness. In the Bible it says, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” (Acts 16:25) It is not that Paul and Silas quietly prayed and sang praises, but they raised their voices loudly to pray and sing praises so that all the prisoners could hear and blow them away. Perhaps all the prisoners thought that the two men had gone mad. But they were not afraid and sad in worry, rather from the moment they boldly praised God, God began to work.
“GOD, IF I PURSUE AFTER THOSE WHO STRUCK THE CITY, WILL I OVERTAKE THEM?”
When David dwelled in Ziklag, he once went out to war and when he had come back to Ziklag, the women and children who remained behind were taken captive and the city was burned down that they couldn’t find a place to rest. David and the men who were with him wept and they wept again. As they lost the power to weep, their hearts were dying and they were losing their strength. Right then, David searched for God. “God, if I pursue after those who struck the city, will I overtake them?” God answered David, “Pursue, for thou shalt
surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” David, who should be sad and despairing in front of such terrible circumstances, turned to God and then amazing power appeared. Right away, he led the men who were with him and began the pursuit.
Among the men who followed David, 200 men stayed behind because they were so faint that they could not cross the Brook Besor and 400 men followed David. At last, they came upon the camp of the Amalekites and from twilight to the evening of the next day, for 36 hours, they fought without rest and they struck down the Amalekites and recovered their wives and children and recovered all and took many possessions as spoils.
ALTHOUGH IT WAS HARD, THE WORK OF GOD WAS GREATER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN EVER BEFORE
In everyday life, if hardships appear then you have to be careful, if you’re poor then you have to be meager, if you have problems then you have to be sad and worry. But the Bible does not say that. People who belong to God, when in difficulty they provided relief and provided funds for the gospel. When they suffered because of persecutions and afflictions, they boldly preached the gospel.
In order for God to work inside us, we must repudiate worry and fear from our hearts, and the heart of God must be filled in our hearts. When Paul prayed and praised God in the Philippian jail, his heart was filled with God’s heart, and the amazing works of God arose. Also in Acts chapter 8, when people in Jerusalem departed to avoid persecution and traveled all around preaching the gospel, their hearts were filled with God. And as it continued, great works of God began.
Today, the saints, instead of placing God in the temple of their hearts, fill their hearts with the pleasures of the world, possessions, or the desires of the flesh. That is why even when they have a lot of money, they are still miserable, and although they may have a high status, problems arise because of it.
When our mission was young and going through hardships, I increased our gospel preaching seminars by 30 percent and guided them. When we boldly preached the gospel, God worked amazingly. The works of the gospel arose in Swaziland and the King received salvation. I met the president of Zambia and received land, and the work of God arose in Benin through the change that came upon the former president Boni Yayi. As he was taking office as the president, he called upon us and as he gave us land and supported us in many ways when we were in difficulty. He gave us such happiness. Also in Kenya, I met the president and preached the gospel and I was able to speak to him about the education of the youth in Kenya. In Uganda, the president asked us to educate the youth of his country. And as the gospel was preached to many of the island nations in the Southern Pacific, the works of salvation continued.
I saw many times how saved brothers put away the gospel to follow after money only to be ruined. No matter how difficult, if we preach and serve the gospel, God fills our hearts and God allows our lives to overflow with his grace and blessings.
For the past two years, we were in great difficulty. In the history of our church, we had a very difficult time. But the works of God that arose in the past year were greater and more beautiful than ever before.
Through the Christmas Cantata Tour, amazing works continued, and as the Mind Education began, many universities in the world welcomed and opened their doors to us.
PEOPLE OF FAITH DO NOT LIVE BY THE METHODS OF THE WORLD
When I think about these things, I know that the way of God that the Bible speaks of and the way that Satan teaches us are completely different. Satan gives us the thought, “When in difficulty, be careful and hide and you have to keep your mouth closed.” But the people who know God, when great persecution arose in Jerusalem, they rather traveled all round preaching the gospel. It was then that the amazing works of God arose.
Just because we are in difficulty, if we cower and hide, the difficulties increase, and if we become stingy because we’re poor, then as much as we are stingy, we go deeper into poverty. On the other hand, if we witness of God when we are in difficulty, our hearts become filled with Jesus; and while we are poor, if we offer a little money to God, happiness arises in our hearts and from then on, I can see that God fills us with the abundance of money. This is the secret that the Bible tells us.
In reading the Book of Acts, people of faith did not live by the methods of the world. When Peter raised the lame man at the gate of the temple called Beautiful, he did not reveal his glory, but he preached the gospel. It seemed that persecutions were coming, but they prevailed over all things and with the power of God, they were able to fill the whole land with the gospel.
People follow the normal thoughts that Satan gives; they follow their thoughts as their hearts lean in the direction to hide when in difficulty or become stingy when they are poor. But the Bible tells us something completely different. I saw many times how saved brothers put away the gospel to follow after money only to be ruined. Oppositely, no matter how difficult, if we preach and serve the gospel, God fills our hearts and God allows our lives to overflow with His grace and blessings.
IN CLOSING THE YEAR 2016,
AS I LOOK BACK UPON THE PAST YEAR
Let’s look back carefully upon our lives. When we lived for the gospel and gave our time and money, did we become impoverished? Were we in hardship? No, we were not. It was then that all our suffering and sadness ended. If we became stingy because we were in hardship and became quiet because of persecution, then the more we live this way the more our hearts fall into hardships. The world that the Bible speaks of is different than the one that is unfolding in the world. When Elijah asked the widow of Zarephath to bring him a morsel of bread, with a humanistic heart she would not be able to bring it to him, but through the eyes of faith, something completely opposite happened. If she brings him the bread, it may seems like she is losing it, but she receives the abundant blessing of her flour bin being completely filled with flour.
The people of God do not just receive blessings. In times of difficulty, they went forward fighting. They were thankful to God and praised Him and they lived for the gospel. The greater the hardship, the more they were thankful to God, and the busier they became, the more they preached the gospel and prayed to God.
In closing the year 2016, as I look back upon the past year, when I compare, “The life when I lived for myself as opposed to the life of how blessed I was when I lived for God,” we can know the difference right away. If we forsake the methods of the world, and when afflictions and problems come, if we live for the gospel, and in difficulty we give abundantly for the gospel, God will bestow upon us greater grace and blessings.