Summary: This sermon focuses on the first persecution of the church and helps us understand how to deal with difficulty today
* When something big happens, new people come out (i.e, winning the lottery)
* There’s both a positive and negative reaction when God does something big (he just did something big in the first church)
* Jesus warned that persecution and adversity would occur (John 15:18-19)
* Text: First persecution of the church
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFICULTY WE’LL FACE (v. 1-4)
1. Difficulty comes from several sources (v. 1)
A. The priests: "Don’t interrupt the rituals."
B. Captain of the temple guard: "Don’t challenge authority."
C. The Sadduccees: "Don’t do what’s never been done."
* All three attitudes still exists in the church today and can cause a different kind of difficulty to exist as a church attempts to reach its community with the Gospel.
2. Difficulty arises for a specific reason (v. 2)
* All three groups had an issue with their AUTHORITY being challenged
* When the authority of Satan over the world is challenged by the church, he will send adversity
* When the authority of some church members is challenged, they will cause adversity
3. Difficulty cannot stop God from expanding the kingdom (v. 3-4)
* A common pattern in Scripture: When persecution increases, so does the kingdom and the church!
* Because this pattern occurs, should we yearn for persecution to occur so that God can grow his kingdom through his church?
DEALING WITH THE DIFFICULT (v. 5-31)
1. Be filled with the Spirit, not the flesh (v. 5-8a)
* Peter needed to be filled with the Spirit because God’s reputation was at stake
* The same is true for the church today
2. Proclaim the truth (v. 8-12)
* Just as Peter proclaimed the truth, so much the church proclaim it today
* The truth (Jesus Christ; his word, etc.) is the only potent weapon we have
3. Remain obedient to God (v. 13-22)
* Obedience at all costs
* They were obedient because God was all they had; he was their priority
* Ecc. 12:13
* We must commit ourselves to being obedient...even when it’s not easy, when it costs, when it requires a sacrifice, and when it’s unpopular
4. Rally with the family of faith (v. 23-30)
* They went to the family of faith because they had a common purpose.
* They went to the family of faith because they had the same desire.
* They went to the family of faith because they were selfless.
* Ecc. 4:12
5. Continue with the mission (v. 31)
* 1 Cor. 15:58
* We cannot continue unless we first start!