Summary: Used as an introduction before Deacon ordination. It examines attacks against the church in Acts, & how the church responded. Expanded outline.
ATTACK AND COUNTER ATTACK
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus, speaking to Peter said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
How many of you have ever felt the need to claim that promise before? I felt the need to claim that promise when the Lord first called us to start this church. I felt the need to remind myself that this is the Lord’s church. He is the architect of this church. He is the Builder of this church. He is the purpose of this church. It exists for His glory.
I believe that Christians from the very beginning have felt the need to claim that verse because, the Devil has attacked God’s people and God’s church from the very beginning.
This morning, as we think about the church, I would like us to think about some of the many attacks the Devil has made on the church and the many weapons the Lord has used to defend His church from attack.
I. SOMETIMES THE DEVIL ATTACKS WITH ACCUSATIONS
Can you imagine how exciting it was for the disciples and followers of Jesus that day? Jesus was gone and before He left He told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” So they remained in the upper room. They remained. They waited, and they prayed.
Finally, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came on them in power. There was a sound like a mighty rushing wind. Tongues of flame came and rested on each one of them. The Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak in different languages.
As each person spoke, all of the people gathered there in the city were each able to hear them speak in their own languages. I count 15 different nationalities or people groups listed there, not to mention that verse 5 says that there were devout men from every nation under heaven there. All of a sudden, each one of these people, from around the world is able to hear these disciples speak in their native languages.
You would think these folks would recognize that a miracle has taken place, but no. Instead, the Devil tries to place doubts in their minds and tries to convince them that these 120 disciples are drunk.
Is that stupid or what? Since when has being drunk given you the ability to speak in other languages that people can understand? A stupid accusation. Attack.
The same thing happens today. When one member of a family comes to know the Lord and starts acting in a Christ-like manner toward their family members, people start accusing them of being brainwashed. If you come to know Jesus and He changes your life, some of your old friends will say you’ve lost your mind, or that you are crazy.
Society will say that Christianity and Christians are tearing down this nation, when the opposite is obviously true. It is painfully obvious that it is the devout, those living with Christian morals, who hold this nation together. A stupid accusation. Attack.
* The Counter-attack – Acts 2:14-36
How did Peter respond to this attack? He responded with the truth. He showed them the error of their accusation. He also responded by sharing the Gospel with them.
* The result – Acts 2:37 The people were pierced to their hearts. About 3,000 people were saved that day.
Now, the Devil is not one to give up when his first attack fails, so he attacks the church again.
II. SOMETIMES THE DEVIL ATTACKS WITH THREATS
In Acts 3 and 4 we read that Peter and John went up to the temple and while there, that they healed a lame man. The people in the area ran toward them to see what was happening. They were filled with amazement. So, Peter and John started preaching. The religious leaders didn’t like that so they had the two arrested.
- Acts 4:18, 21.
The religious leaders threatened them and told them they couldn’t preach and teach in Jesus’ name anymore.
* The Counter-attack – Acts 4:19-20, 31.
How did Peter and John respond? They said, “We can’t help but talk about our Lord. We can’t help but do what He tells us to do. Verse
* The result – Acts 4:31
The place where they were gathered was shaken and they began to speak God’s message with boldness. Their boldness was increased.
III. SOMETIMES THE DEVIL ATTACKS WITH SIN
The Devil couldn’t stop the church with accusations. He couldn’t stop the church with threats, so next he tried sending sin, sold-out sinners to attack the church from within.
- Explain what happened. How God hates sin in the lives of believers and within the church.