I have often heard people get mad at the devil when bad things happen, but who do you get mad at when bad happen because of what God does? Or for that matter, how do you know whom to blame when something bad does happen? Following the day of Pentecost, the believers enjoyed daily fellowship meetings, sharing meals in each other’s homes, good preaching by the apostles, and prayer meetings. My church fellowship would call this revival. Yet, it all fell apart quickly because of a persecution. If this were my church, people would be praying against the devil. Many would pray, in faith, believing for deliverance from God. And still, the persecution persisted and the believers were forced to flee.
Often, the devil gets the blame for what God does. God was behind the persecution that scattered the church from Jerusalem.
God was behind the suffering
In my experience, when a church experiences a revival, people flock to the church to experience the good things that happen. They want to be a part of the miracles, the music, and the message of an “alive” church. Such churches increase in attendance rapidly. The pastor of those churches gains great standing within his circles. Then, after a few years, the revival seems to stop, the church decreases in attendance, and the pastor moves on to another flock.
The point is, God doesn’t want his followers remaining in one place in large numbers. He wants them to “going into all the world…” But, his followers want to congregate in large numbers. So, God has to prod them out of the nest.
This may not sit well with you. In chapter 8 of the book of Acts, a respected, Spirit-filled church leader was killed. Church members were thrown into prison. To escape trouble, Jesus’ followers abandoned their homes and became refugees in other countries.
The hard truth is, without God allowing painful things to happen to his people, they would not move out on their own.
God was behind the scattering
There is an old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
Philip was one of the people who fled. In Jerusalem, he was a man full of the Spirit who preached the gospel and brought healing to the sick and demonized. In the countryside, he was the same man who did the same things.
Among people of low class, he preached the good news. To the powerful, he preached the good news.
People of low class were healed and delivered. The powerful was baptized.
It makes sense that God wasn’t looking to build a mega-church in Jerusalem. He wanted everyone everywhere to be part of the interconnected church.
God was behind the salvation
Many, many people heard Philip and believed on Jesus. Even the sorcerer converted to faith in Jesus. Demonized people were delivered. Sick people were healed. The treasurer to the queen of Ethiopia believed on Jesus.
So, who do we blame for bad things happening to the believers in Jerusalem? For that matter, who gets the credit for the salvations?
We who follow Jesus should think long and hard before pursuing the building of a mega congregation. It would make sense to look to where people most need salvation and pursue them. Otherwise, we may be looking for answers as to why our revival has ended and bad things have caused us to leave our lives of blessed comfort.