PERSECUTION - A BLESSING OR A CURSE
Pastor Bob Paquet
Adapted from a sermon by John
Hamby, "Attacked Again" (www.sermoncentral.com)
Acts 5: 13-16
THE IMMEDIATE RESULTS OF PERSECUTION
1.The deaths of
Ananias and Sapphira increased the evangelistic success of the
2. The apostles continued to minister in miraculous
ways and reap an evangelistic harvest
3. The fear that resulted from the death of Ananias and
Sapphira caused the unbelievers to
be unwilling to pass themselves off as believers.
4. The church did not lower it standards in order to
win the lost
5. The church’s growth did not slow down.
McArthur states well the church's current situation,
stands in sharp contrast to the masses of uncommitted, even
unsaved, people that feel
comfortable in the church today.
of churches to preach
holy living, and to discipline those who
don’t live that way,allows sinners and hypocrites to remain
in the church, convoluting its direction,
sapping its power, robbing it of purity and marring
(John McArthur. The McArthur New Testament
Commentary: Acts 1-12 ( Moody Press: Chicago, 1994).p. 162.)
Truth will always result in confrontation and
persecution by the "religious" establishment
THE INSTIGATOR STRIKES AGAIN
Satan - First he attacks from without - then from
When that doesn't work
its outside again
THE DANGER OF THE TRUTH 5:17-28
A. THE TRUTH IS SEEN AS
A DANGER BY
THOSE WHO STAND AGAINST
The word translated
“indignation” is the Greek word zeloo and
can mean “zeal or eagerness”
in a good sense or it can mean the worse kind of jealousy as
it is here.
Why was the establishment upset?
1. The teaching
of Christ's resurrection was in conflict with the teachings of the Sadducees
2. The apostles defied their authority
3. The apostles denounced their spirituality -
because they had crucified the
they had sinned and needed
4. The apostles were a danger to their domination
of the people
TRUTH CANNOT BE STOPPED (21-26)
An opportunity was provided for God to
display His power
THE INDICTMENT (vv.27-28)
1. The Apostles
were accused of "filling" Jerusalem with
2. The Apostles were accused of intending
"bring this man’s blood upon us (them)”
priest had conveniently forgotten that he and his associates
had said to Pilate,
“his blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25).
The high priest thought that the apostles wanted to
have revenge because of the death of Christ
The Apostles wanted the Holy Spirit to convict them that they might repent and be forgiven
II. DECLARING OF THE TRUTH 5:29-32
A. THEY DECLARED THE
TRUTH BY OBEYING GOD (29)
B. THEY DECLARED THE
TRUTH BY CONFRONTING SIN (30)
C. THEY DECLARED THE
TRUTH BY EXALTING CHRIST (31)
D. THEY DECLARED THE
TRUTH BY A WILLINGNESS TO BE WITNESSES (32)
III. DEALING WITH THE TRUTH
and churches will make waves, and
the world and Satan
will retaliate with persecution. To convicting preaching
there are but three possible
reactions, violent hostility, indifferent
indecision and saving acceptance." (John Hamby)
A.VIOLENT HOSTILITY TO
THE TRUTH v. 33
either brings repentance or rejection.
Repentance brings forgiveness and reconciliation with God and man
Rejection often brings anger.
If the gospel we preach is not convicting enough to
ever make anyone angry then it is not sufficiently
convicting to bring anyone to salvation. (John Hamby)
INDECISION ABOUT THE TRUTH vv. 34-39
Worldly Advise or Godly
Gamaliel's advise was
really only good worldly advise. It sounds like sound
reasoning, but it is not.
1. He classified Jesus as just another rabble-rouser.
2. He assumes that history always repeats itself
3. He had the mistaken idea that if something was
not of God it always fails,
experience tells us that is not always so
4. He assumed that it is possible to be neutral
and his message and it is not!
“He who is
not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with
Me scatters abroad.” (Matthew 12:30)
He was right in that he
asserted that “if something is of God you can not overthrow
it” v. 39.
Tragically Gamaliel did
not make a commitment to follow Christ. Instead, as far as we
died waiting to see whether the Christian movement was
really of God.
THE CALL OF
THE GOSPEL IS TO RESPOND TO GOD'S INVITATION TODAY
(2 Cor 6:2, Heb. 3:7,
IV. DECISION ABOUT THE TRUTH 5:40-42
1. No man can stop us from proclaiming the gospel.
2. No one stop the
spread of the gospel, not even in
countries where Christians are being persecuted and killed.
3. Persecution promotes preaching and the truth
4. We should never be
ashamed of proclaiming the gospel. Because it is the power of
God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
And what is the gospel?
It is that Christ Jesus
died on the cross, bearing our
sin and suffering its penalty as the Lamb of God who takes
away the sin of the world. This Jesus now freely offers us
hear the gospel, either they will repent and receive Christ,
or they will reject him, refuse
be forever separated from Him.
you hear and understand the gospel, you must make a decision,
either to receive or to reject, the decision is yours.
NOW YOU HAVE HEARD - NOW YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE
his commentary on the book of Acts, R. Kent Hughes
tells the story of Aida Skripnikova, a
who was born in 1941 in Leningrad. “In the
1961 Aida came to know Christ as a
and with her new faith came the impulse to
with others. Aida purchased some postcards
beautiful picture by
Claude Lorain representing a
harbor at sunrise, (chosen perhaps as a
symbol of the
spiritual sunrise she had discovered) and
a poem on the reverse side. The poem
perception of life and the need to find
God. The poem
was entitled: ‘Happy New Year! 1962.’”
Our years fly past
away by life.
the earth, is so transient
it comes to an end.
will you give your creator?
you, my friend, beyond the grave?
question while light remains.
to give an answer for everything.
not on this earth forever.
you will break
links with this world!
HE IS TO BE FOUND.
her postcards and stood on the Nevski
is the Leningrad equivalent of Fifth
York City) and handed out her cards to
was, of course, arrested. In April
tried by a Communist court. She was
Leningrad and lost her job as a lab
was arrested again in 1965 and was
a labor camp for a year. In 1968 she was
and was sent to a labor camp for three
(R. Kent Hughes, Acts: The Church Afire,
Crossway Books, 1996], 86-87).
think inspired Aida Skripnikova? Perhaps
the fifth chapter of the book of Acts
by what the angel told the apostles
them from prison, “Go, stand in
and tell the people the full
new life.” Perhaps she took note of
were arrested, tried, and flogged,
on their release they went right back to the
and “never stopped teaching and
good news that Jesus is the Christ.”