Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

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