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SF887 - The Positive Power of Persecution (Acts 8 1- 8)

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Acts 8:1-8

Introduction

At first glance, Stephen’s death may seem pointless.  His ministry seems to have ended in failure.  Not only was he killed as a heretic, but his death triggered the first full scale persecution of the church.

While the persecution seemed to be negative in reality, it was a positive event.  Stephen’s death lead to the first great missionary outreach of the early church.

The church finally begins to take seriously Jesus command in Acts 1:8

Acts 1:8 (NASB) 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Here, Luke tells us of the murderous intent of persecution, and the marvelous effect of persecution.


1A.      The Murderous Intent of The Persecution  (8:1-3)

1B.      The origin of the persecution  (8:1a)

It all began with the murder of Stephen.

It fulfilled to prediction of our Lord.

John 15:20 (NASB) 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

John 16:2 (NASB) 2“… an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

2B.      The result of the persecution  (8:1b-2)

The dispersion of the disciples

Ø      They finally obeyed the Lord’s command

Acts 1:8 (NASB) 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

The commitment of the apostles

Ø      The apostles stand firm in Jerusalem

The example of Stephen

Ø      Stephen is seen as a martyr and example for all Christians.

3B.      The magnitude of the persecution  (8:3)

The persecution was devastating

“ravaging, lumainomai;” to destroy, to ruin

The persecution was non-discriminating


2A.      The Marvelous Effect of the Persecution  (8:4-8)

1B.      The lost were evangelized  (8:4-7)

The gospel was preached  (8:4-5)

“preaching, euangelizo;” to announce the good news.

Ø      The good news is that Christ died was buried and rose again on the third day.

Ø      By His death we can be made right with God.

They were convicted by what they heard  (8:6a)

“giving attention, prosecho;” to hold to, attend to

They were convicted by what they saw  (8:6b-7)

Ø      They saw the power of God manifested in Philip’s life

Ø      The world is looking for the manifestation of the power of God in our lives

John 8:12 (NASB) 12Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB) 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15“nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.


2B.      The Lord was glorified.  (8:8)

When the gospel is preached, lives are changed and God is glorified!

Psalm 144:15 (NASB) 15How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

Application

1.         Identify the cause of the persecution; be certain it is originating for the right reasons.

2.         Seek to determine God’s purpose in the persecution.  Ask, Lord what are you trying to teach me.

3.         Submit to God’s purpose and depend on God’s power in the midst of the persecution.

4.         Commit to bring glory to God despite your personal pain or loss.

5.         Rejoice in the results of the persecution, even when you may not fully see or understand them.


THE POSITIVE POWER OF PERSECUTION
Acts 8:1-8

Introduction

Acts 1:8 (NASB) 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

1A.      The Murderous _________________ of The Persecution  (8:1-3)

1B.      The __________ of the persecution  (8:1a)

John 15:20 (NASB) 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

John 16:2 (NASB) 2“… an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

2B.      The ____________ of the persecution  (8:1b-2)

The dispersion of the _______________

Acts 1:8

The commitment of the _____________

The example of ______________

3B.      The ________________ of the persecution  (8:3)

The persecution was ___________________.

The persecution was ______________________.

2A.      The Marvelous ___________________ of the Persecution  (8:4)

1B.      The ___________ were evangelized  (8:4-7)

The ____________ was preached  (8:4-5)

They were convicted by what they _________  (8:6a)

They were convicted by what they ________  (8:6b-7)

John 8:12 (NASB) 12“…I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB) 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15“nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

2B.      The ___________ was glorified.  (8:8)

Psalm 144:15

Application

1.      Identify the cause.

2.      Seek to determine God’s purpose.

3.      Submit to God’s purpose/depend on God’s power.

4.      Commit to bring glory to God.

5.      Rejoice in the results.

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