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The Scriptorium

"Gossiping the Gospel"

These folks were filled with Jesus. Acts 8.5-8

Scattered Seeds: Acts 8 (2)

Pray Psalm 33.1-3.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Sing Psalm 33.1-3.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!

Read Acts 8.1-8; meditate on verses 4-8.

Preparation
1. How did the Gospel spread?

2. Where did the believers take the Gospel?

Meditation
Only the apostles, and probably a small contingent, remained in Jerusalem (v. 1). The people “were all scattered” in all directions. Were they chased out of Jerusalem, or did they simply flee before they could be arrested? (The verb could just as easily be translated “scattered themselves”.) If the religious leaders in Jerusalem hoped their problem had at last been solved, they were in for a rude awakening. Michael Green (Evangelism and the Early Church) says these dispersed believers went everywhere “gossiping the Gospel.”

These believers had Jesus on the brain and in the heart. “Why are you fleeing?” “Because we love Jesus!” “Who’s Jesus? I thought He was dead?” “Well, let me explain…” And so forth. They talked about Him as they were going here and there, just as He had commissioned them to do (Matt. 28.18-20).

Throwing aside all ancient prejudices, Philip, following the example of Jesus (Jn. 4), went among the Samaritans to proclaim the Good News. Were there people in Samaria who had remembered Jesus’ visit, not that long ago? Perhaps. At any rate, the harvest was substantial, both because of Philip’s preaching and because of the good works done in Jesus’ name. Good works and good words go together in carrying out the ongoing work of Christ. The result? Joy all around!

Gospel seeds were being flung into the wind of the Spirit, and Kingdom fruit abounded.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Philip, like Stephen, was a faithful man chosen to be a deacon to serve the Hellenist widows. Now his Personal Mission Field was expanding because of persecution; he was broadening his sphere to Samaria. As the people were “scattering themselves” there, and to the ends of the earth, they were carrying the love of Christ with them. They probably traveled light in earthly goods (Mk. 6.7-9), but carried weighty works and words about Jesus to a hungry and needy world (Acts 3.6).

Philip, through the power of the Holy Spirit, healed those who were possessed by unclean spirits. He also cured the paralyzed and the lame (Acts 8.6, 7). His courage did not lag because of the outcome with Stephen. He boldly went forth to do the same works, not allowing the fear of coming to the same end deter him.

Peter wrote to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in other cities these words of encouragement and guidance:“Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when Christ returns” (1 Pet. 2.11, 12 TLB).

And the writer of Hebrews reminds us also, that this is not our home. He said of the people of the Old Testament that “they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” And that now they “desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11.13, 16).

God understands our heartfelt desire to be a part of a family, with a home, and a country. He will fill those needs with Himself and with the plans that He has for us (Jer. 29.11). He gave us the Church for family and fellowship, and He gave us Himself as our tender and caring Father. We have hope for a better day and a perfect home in eternity with Him. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14.2, 3).

God’s scattered are secure. In Him we find home. “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose” (Ps. 20.4), as you are scattered for “gossiping the Gospel” into your Personal Mission Field.

For reflection
1. How will you scatter seeds of the Gospel today?

2. As the Gospel continues to go forth, it travels on the good works and good words of Jesus’ witnesses. How does this help you in thinking about your Personal Mission Field?

3. Why is it so important for our here-and-now mission that we keep our then-and-there home always in view?

For the voice of the gospel, which was heard heretofore in one place only, doth now sound everywhere; in the mean season, we are taught by this example that we must not yield unto persecutions, but rather be encouraged unto valiantness; for, when the faithful flee from Jerusalem, they are not afterward discouraged either with exile or with their present miseries, or with any fear, that they degenerate into slothfulness; but they are as ready to preach Christ even in the midst of their calamity as if they had never suffered any trouble. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Acts 8.4

Pray Psalm 33.8-12.
Pray that the salvation of the Lord may go out from His churches, as His people “gossip the Gospel” throughout their Personal Mission Fields.

Sing Psalm 33.8-12.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.

He nullifies the nations’ plans; forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand – the chosen people of the Lord.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all of the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, then download the worksheet and get started. Our monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop is chock-full of helpful suggestions for doing the ongoing work of Christ day by day.

Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, then download the worksheet and get started. Our monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop is chock-full of helpful suggestions for doing the ongoing work of Christ day by day.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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