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Persecution Begins

Book of Acts: Be the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Even in persecution stand your ground of faith

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It may not be easy

There are things in this life that are not easy
(insert illustration; college) - put in a slide to illustrate it.
Being a Christian is not easy either is it?
Luke chapter 14 speaks of counting the cost (see Lk14:28)
Need to summarize Lk14
inviting and loving the disadvantaged (vv.12-15)
Pick up your cross, count the cost and follow (vv.25-33)
Luke 14:28 NASB95
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
Then Jesus in another place gives the Apostles some words of encouragement even in the midst of trouble (Jn16:33)
John 16:33 NASB95
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
In our passage tonight, as we look at an overview of Act4 persecution begins this being
Our passage tonight comes on the heals of the healing of the lame man (Act3:10, 9)
Acts 3:10 NASB95
10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Now there is a great disturbance
They could not deny what they were seeing
Acts 3:8–9 NASB95
8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God;
Tonight as we go though this passage we will see
Persecution begins (vv.1-12)
Persecutions demands (vv.13-22)
Persecutions results (vv.23-31)

I. Persecution Begins

The arrest (Act4:1-4)
Acts 4:1–2 NASB95
1 As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 4:3–4 NASB95
3 And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
There was a great disturbance within the priests, the guards, and the Sadducee's because of the preaching of the resurrection from the dead of Christ.
Arrested and jailed overnight (v.3); for the other problem besides the preaching on the resurrection is people were believing, after hearing the message, and the men who believed grew to be about 5,000 (talk about church growth)
The preaching of the resurrection can be further seen (Act23:8)
Acts 23:8 NASB95
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
The appearance (Act4:5-7)
Acts 4:5–6 NASB95
5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.
Acts 4:7 NASB95
7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”
Standing before the rulers elders, scribes, high priest and those of high priestly descent.
What was the challenge (v.7)? - by what power, by what name? - did not deny that the miracle happened (lame man) but under whose name, and by what power.
The response (Act4:8-12)
Acts 4:8–9 NASB95
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,
Acts 4:10–11 NASB95
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone.
Acts 4:12 NASB95
12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Think about what are they being judged for? - healing a sick man? For doing a good deed? - have you ever been judged harshly for doing a good thing? If not, you may one day and you should be ready, prepared for it.
As to the name they wanted, He tells them (v.10) Jesus Christ the Nazarene, you know the stone that was rejected (v.11) for then that all important verse (v.12) there is no other name
Parallel passage about the crucifixion (Act2:23, 36, 3:14-15)
Acts 2:23 NASB95
23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
Acts 2:23 NASB95
23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
Then there is
Acts 2:36 NASB95
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Acts 3:14–15 NASB95
14 “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
But God raised from the dead (Act2:24, 34, and again 3:15)
Acts 2:24 NASB95
24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
Add to that
Acts 2:34 NASB95
34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand,
Cornerstone passage comes from (Psm118-32)
Psalm 118:22 NASB95
22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
No other name passage has parallels too (Mt1:21; Jn14:6)
Matthew 1:21 NASB95
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
John 14:6 NASB95
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

II. Persecution: The Demands

Let’s look at the counsels Response
What they saw (vv.13-18)
Acts 4:13–14 NASB95
13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.
Acts 4:15–16 NASB95
15 But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
Acts 4:17–18 NASB95
17 “But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
They saw the boldness (confidence) of Peter and John (v.13)
They saw that they had been with Jesus (v.13)
They saw the healed man with them (v.14)
They perceived they were uneducated men, that had been with jesus and had with them the man they had healed in the name of Jesus and they could not deny it and they had nothing to say in reply.
What the counsel reasoned
The miracle, they could not deny it, it was evident to all
It was impacting and convicting and people were believing
They wanted to stop the spread of this any further and that leads us to:
What the counsel did
Commanded them (v.18)
What the Apostles did (vv. 19-20)
Acts 4:19–20 NASB95
19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Who are we to heed (listen to) you or God (v.19)
We cannot stop (v.20)
So the question on who they should heed is really a rhetorical question isn’t it. For the accusers would agree listening to God was vital.
Another good verse to consider (Act5:29)
Acts 5:29 NASB95
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Notice in (v.20) what was said (other scriptures used (Act2:3, 2, 32))
Acts 4:20 NASB95
20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
They cannot stop speaking about what they have seen; and heard (Act2:3, 2:2, 2:32)
Acts 2:3 NASB95
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
They saw tongues as of fire
Acts 2:2 NASB95
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They heard a noise like a violent rushing wind
Acts 2:32 NASB95
32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
They were witnesses of the resurrected Christ!
What the counsel did next (vv.21-22)
Acts 4:21–22 NASB95
21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
They let them go (v.21) after threatening them
The people were glorifying God so the counsel had to be careful (Act3:9-10)
Acts 3:9–10 NASB95
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
So, we have seen the arrest, the appearance and the response now this leads us to the results.

III. Persecution: The Results

Peter and John, the return (Act4:23)
Acts 4:23 NASB95
23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
They went to report all that had been said to them (Act4:18)
Acts 4:18 NASB95
18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Have you ever been asked, told, commanded not to speak the name of Jesus or of your faith? If not, you maybe told that sometime, be ready for it.
Peter and John the prayer (Act4:24-28)
Acts 4:24–25 NASB95
24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples devise futile things?
Acts 4:26–27 NASB95
26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “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,
Acts 4:28 NASB95
28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.
They addressed the Lord of all creation!
Who spoke (prophesied) through servant David (Ps2:1-6)
Psalm 2:1–3 NASB95
1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!”
Spoke of the nations in an uproar, and they take a stand against the Lord’s anointed (Jesus) who was yet to come.
Psalm 2:4–6 NASB95
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
But God had a plan,according to His predetermined purpose to instill His King
They pray for boldness; to have confidence (Act4:29-30, 5:12, 15-16)
Acts 2:22 NASB95
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
Acts 4:29–30 NASB95
29 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
boldness, confidence in the face of the threats. To heal, to show signs and wonders at their hands as servants of Jesus
Acts 4:33 NASB95
33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
Acts 5:12 NASB95
12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.
Acts 5:15–16 NASB95
15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
The answer to the prayer (Act4:31) 4:32
Acts 4:31 NASB95
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Place was shaken, they were all filled and spoke boldly!
So in the midst of the beginning of persecution they were of one accord praising God and prayed to continue with boldness and God heard them and responded to them.
Concluding this
They were warned, but they heeded not
The response was continued fellowship (Act4:32)
Acts 4:32 NASB95
32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
The answered prayer gave them power, gave them a new boldness.
May we have the same attitude they had if we face persecution at any time, may we respond with fellowship, prayer and boldness!
(Be bold today: Lead to invitation) (insert invitation slide)
(end recording)
(insert exit slide)
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