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The Expanding Kingdom

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The Expanding Kingdom

LaTonya Johnson

December 3, 2016

Belhaven University

Jerusalem was the first city to hear the Gospels of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection from his twelve well-selected followers. Some of them were known as apostles. Among the followers, apostles, and preachers that preached Jesus’s gospel, the majority of them were Jewish (Acts 1-7). “The day a severe persecution began in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). Among those who went to Samaria, Philip and others continued to spread Jesus’s Gospels to almost everyone they encountered. In the earlier church Philip was called an evangelist (Acts21:8). Philip was also known as the first to take the Gospel out of Jerusalem which made him an important figure in the book of Acts. Phillip also encountered and converted a sorcerer named Simon in Samaria (Acts 8:13). He was approached by an angel that advised him to go further south from Jerusalem to Gaza. One example of this was when Philip encountered the Ethiopians in Acts 8:26-40, where he met a eunuch that he baptized. All of these are just a few moments in time where Jesus’s words were spoken and taught without him being there.

The Conversion of Saul began when he approached the high priests accusing Jesus and calling for his execution. Once Jesus spoke to Saul, struck him down and took away his sight, Saul was led into Damascus where he spent three days without sight.  As we all know that Jesus is forgiving and shepherding, he called on Ananias that was already in Damascus and sent him to Saul, who previously spoke immoral of Jesus. He advised Ananias to heal Saul’s sight that was taken away by Jesus shortly after speaking with him. After Saul’s sight was restored and he was then baptized and joined the disciples in Damascus preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proving that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. (Acts 9:1-22). As the church started to expand and grow again outside of Jerusalem, it brought many different cultures and people together believing in one God and one Savior as Jesus predicted.

Peter’s healing of Aeneas and empathy for Tabitha help spread the Gospel throughout Sharon including Jerusalem’s port city of Vappa, where Peter was to have a Church history changing vision at Simon the tanner’s house. Cornelius, a devoted believer in Christ, went for Peter in Joppa, where Peter realized that many Jewish customs were interfering with the spread of the Gospel that was for Jews and Gentiles alike. The church of Jerusalem then sent Barnabas to Antioch where Saul joined him in his teachings shortly after his conversion.

Although many Jews were opposed to the idea of a non-Jew or a non-Gentile should be allowed to join the church. Acts 10:44, it states “While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word” Paul preached that everyone was allowed in God’s church. Paul and Barnabas both led the Antioch church and were sent on missions to preach and spread the Gospel which led them from Cyprus to the Roman province of Galatia and many other places.

Many Jews opposed Paul’s message of God’s Gospel belonging to everyone and conspired against him but this did not deter Paul. Many non-Christian Jews did not accept his views and insisted that you had to follow their customs and practices to please God. When some people showed up from Judea to Antioch to dispute their teachings a meeting was called, known as the Jerusalem council in which both sides voiced their opinions, soon after Paul set out on another mission to spread the Gospel which lasted about three years. Paul gained many other followers throughout Asia including Athens, Corinth, and Troas off the coast of the Aegean Sea before returning to Antioch. “They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas” (Acts 16:6-9).

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