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      All At It.

      Tuesday, June 19, 2007

      Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
      preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria,
      and preached Christ unto them.”
      -Acts 8:4, 5.
      “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture,
      and preached unto him Jesus.”
      -Acts 8:35.

      THEY that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.”
      God intended that his church should be scattered over the world. There
      was a tendency in our humanity at first to remain together; hence the first
      grey fathers endeavored to build a central tower, around which the race
      should rally. But God confounded their language, and scattered them from
      Babel, that they might people all the world. Jerusalem was at first the
      central point of Christianity. The church there was highly favored with its
      twelve apostles and a multitude of minor lights; and the tendency would
      have been to keep the center strong. I have often heard the argument, “Do
      not have too many out-stations, keep up a strong central force.” But God’s
      plan was that the holy force should be distributed: the holy seed must be
      sown. To do this the Lord made use of the rough hand of persecution. The
      disciples could not stay in Jerusalem: Saul made them run for their lives,
      or, if they did not, he shut them up in prison; and prisons in those days
      were so foul and noisome as to be the vestibules of the grave. One went
      this way, and one went the other way; and the faithful were scattered.

      In every church where there is really the power of the Spirit of God, the
      Lord will cause it to be spread abroad, more or less. He never means that a
      church should be like a nut shut up in a shell; nor like ointment enclosed
      in a box. The precious perfume of the gospel must be poured forth to sweeten
      the air. Just now we have little of that form of persecution which drives
      men from home. But godly people are scattered through the necessity of
      earning a livelihood. Sometimes we regret that certain young men should
      have to go to a distance; but should we regret it? We lament that certain
      families must migrate to the colonies. Does not the Lord by this means sow
      the good seed widely? It is very pleasant to be comfortably settled under an
      edifying ministry, but the Lord has need of some of his servants in places
      where there is no light. In many ways the great Head of the church scatters
      his servants abroad; but they ought of themselves to scatter voluntarily.
      Every Christian should say, “Where can I do the most good?” and if he can
      do more good anywhere beneath the sun than in the land of his birth, he is
      bound to go there, if he can. God will have us scattered; and if we will not
      go afield willingly, he may use providential necessity as the forcible means
      of our dispersion.

      The Lord’s design is not the scattering in itself, but scattering for a
      purpose. He intended that, being scattered, the saints of Jerusalem should
      go everywhere preaching the word. Upon this I am going to speak at this

      I would call your attention to the translation in the Revised Version, where
      Philip is said to have “proclaimed” the word. The word “ proclaim” is not
      quite so subject to the modern sense which has spoiled the word “preach.”
      “Preach” has come to be a sort of official term for delivering a set
      discourse; whereas gospel preaching is talking, discoursing, and telling out
      the gospel in any way. We are to make known the word of the Lord.

      ... will you please to notice THE NATURALNESS OF IT. That word “therefore,” at
      the commencement of the fourth verse, says a great deal to me. “Therefore
      they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word”-as if
      it followed as a sort of natural consequence, that being scattered they went
      everywhere preaching the word. Does not this show us that they could not
      think of following any other course? They that were scattered might have
      said, “Clearly our duty is to hold our tongues; we have got into great
      trouble at Jerusalem because we preached Christ. We must now look to
      our own safety, and the comfort of our families; and in these foreign
      countries we had better live godly lives, and go to heaven on the sly, but
      we need not again expose ourselves to the dangers of persecution.” They
      did not thus argue. It is not said, “Therefore they that were scattered
      abroad slunk away, and held their tongues.” No, they never thought of

      We do not find that they even said, “This gospel of ours is evidently not in
      accord with the spirit of the age. The scribes and Pharisees all differ from
      us, and we must endeavor to win them by altering our tone.” They did not
      dream of cutting off the angles of truth, nor of inserting pleasant fragments
      of popular thought to please the powers that be; but they set forth “the
      word” in its pure simplicity, and the cross of Christ, which is an offense to
      so many. They never said, “The old gospel did very well when Jesus was
      here; but you see he has gone, and circumstances alter cases, and alter
      gospels, and we had better adapt our teaching to the period.” They did not
      so, because of the fear of the Lord. They did not endeavor to mend the
      gospel, but they went everywhere proclaiming it. They preached the word
      as they received it; they set forth the kingdom as their King had revealed it.
      Ah, dear friends! if you are true to the Lord Jesus Christ you have to
      spread the gospel somehow, and it must be the old, old gospel. You must
      not dare to think of denying the light to those around you. Would you
      leave men to perish for lack of knowledge? Dare you have their blood on
      your skirts?

      These persecuted ones “went everywhere preaching the word.” Why was it
      so natural to them to do it? Their obligations pressed upon them. They
      each one of them said, “I have been saved, and I must see others saved. I
      am bound to tell of the blood of Jesus, and its power to wash away sin.
      The curses of the ages will fall upon me, and the wails of lost souls will
      come up into my ears as long as I exist, if I do not make known the
      gospel.” Brethren God’s way of saving the unconverted is through his
      church; and if the church neglects its work, who is to do it? Our Lord
      means to bring in the rest of his chosen through those who are already
      called; but if these start aside and are untrue to their calling, how is the
      work to be done? I know the work is of God alone; still he uses
      instruments. If you do not tell the gospel, you are leaving your fellow-men
      to perish. Yonder is the wreck, and you are not sending out the life-boat!
      Yonder are souls starving, and you give them no bread! Well, if you are
      resolved to be thus inhuman, at least know what you are doing. You that
      are taking no share in this great work of spreading the gospel are wilfully
      allowing men to go down to hell, and their blood will be required at your
      hands. These first believers dared not incur such guilt, and therefore away
      they went preaching the word.

      - C. H. Spurgeon

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