Over the years Acts 2 => 9 has been the picture of the early church and has been combed through very carefully for “how it should be done”. I have always thought that Stephen was stoned and the Apostles were beaten because the Devil hated the Church. I have taught and heard sermons on “having everything in common”. I have also heard sermons on how those practices border on Communism, and God was just stopping the problem from growing. It is truly amazing how we can turn a coin and see true stuff on both sides!
I will not argue either of those points but add this thought into the mix. First, we need to
look at Acts 1:8 where Jesus reminded the disciples to witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world. Now, we look at Acts 8:1 when the persecution started and the disciples were scattered from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria. I am thinking that Jesus had to “turn things around” and get the disciples to go out and start witnessing. I have a feeling that the Church had gotten too comfortable with how everything was working and was not thinking about “going out”.
They had resources, Leaders, a power base to work from (Jerusalem), and the example Jesus had given them when they were with Him (they had a common purse). (See the topics in Week 4.) I think the Beta Program had and was working in Acts 5 and 6 but everyone was comfy and did not want to leave Jerusalem.
Jesus used what the Devil meant for harm to move the Church into spreading the Gospel.
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