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Summary: This sermon focuses on the first persecution of the church and helps us understand how to deal with difficulty today

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* 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)

* Luke 12:11-12

* 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

* John 16:13

* 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!

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