There are times that we are surprised that less than perfect people are part of the Church. These people may have done something that shocks and horrifies us. We may have taken offense at their outburst of anger, their craving for control or their unwillingness to work together on a team. God’s people have always been imperfect, but God still uses them. Joseph was a braggart. Moses was a murderer yet he was used by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Samson was a womanizer and King David was a rapist.
The writer of Acts is building the case that the apostle Paul had a questionable past, also. Paul persecuted the Christians. He imprisoned them and was present at their executions. Several years after Paul’s conversion experience, he identifies himself as the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). This self-proclaimed worst sinner was used by God and became one of the churches greatest theologians and most effective missionary.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we can’t use our lack of perfection as an excuse to not do anything. We can’t just sit in pews and say, “We’re not good enough,” when the Holy Spirit begins to stir our hearts. Imperfect people like Moses and David eventually said, “Yes,” to God’s call. God used them to accomplish great things. Just as God will use us when we say, “Yes,” and are faithfully obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.