And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. [Acts 8:1-4, NIV]
Eddie Rickenbacker was a famous military pilot during World War I. He was credited with shooting down 26 enemy airplanes and was given the title "The American Ace" for his valiant fighting during that war. He was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States government.
Then in World War II in the South Pacific in October 1942, while serving as a confidential adviser to the Secretary of War concerning aircraft, his bomber was forced down. He and his crew spent 24 days on a raft before being rescued. He wrote about this experience in his book, Seven Came Through. Eddie Rickenbacker and his comrades spent many days floating in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. They almost died for lack of food and water. However, one day, almost miraculously, a sea gull landed on their raft. They captured the bird and ate it. It gave them nourishment to last a little while longer, long enough in fact to be rescued.
With a USA population of 320 million, there are over 208- million Americans afloat in the sea of lost souls, faceless people whom the church of Jesus Christ has politely ignored. For the 35% who have had a born again experience with Jesus Christ, only 25% (one out of each four) will ever share the gospel with another person. I sadly say to the 208-million lost Americans, the sea gull of hope is not coming. You have no hope of a believer sharing Jesus with you.
Jesus taught us that hell is total separation from God. It is an eternal dying torment without hope of the sweet relief of death. It is a place of burning fire and brimstone. It is a place of hatred, no friends; everyone is an enemy to the next person. It is a place of torment worse than anyone could imagine, a place never intended for men, women, and youth, but rather intended for Lucifer and his demons. Yet, millions of people are going to this place because Christians, those truly born again, do not care about the lost!
The only way to escape hell, and experience life more abundant is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Did Jesus not say to Nicodemus, "You must be born again"? You see friend, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills! He created the universe! Everything that exists ultimately belongs to Him, but God does not have grandchildren. For you see, you and I do not gain eternal life by our genealogy, only through our birth into God's family. Salvation comes by a birthing process; it is not an inherited right. It is not because your parents or grandparents are saved. You must be born again. God must become your Father. God can never be our grandfather.
I use an acrostic for the word "gospel." If the lost are to be saved, believers must go openly sharing and preaching, everywhere, the love of God. Notice in our Scripture, verse four tells us that those "who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." Now unless you think these were the apostles whom Jesus had trained, let us move back up to verse one. Notice that the Scripture states "and all except the apostles were scattered..."
The Scripture makes it clear, the Christians of the early church proclaimed the gospel wherever they were scattered. The notion that only preachers, pastors, and evangelist are to share the gospel is unbiblical. The fact is that the Bible clearly teaches that you are to be a witness for Christ. Second Timothy 4:5 teaches us that we are to “do the work of an evangelist.” If you are not sharing Jesus, you are being disobedient to the teaching of God's Word!
PRAYER: God, help me to do the work of an evangelist. Forgive me of all the missed opportunities, and grant that my eyes and ears might be attentive to every opportunity to tell others about Jesus Christ. Give me a passion for the lost. Give me a vision of hell, that I may know it is real and seek to help other’s avoid this horrible place. God, help me to understand that I am to do the work of an evangelist at all times, when I feel like it, and when I do not feel like it, in every place wherever you take me. Help me Lord to be obedient in this matter. Amen.