Sermons

Summary: You will find that doing God's work, in God's way, will bring God's provision.

Facing Opposition

Text: Acts 5:17-42

Introduction

1. In episode 5 of the A.D. series, we see how even in the midst of persecution, the apostles of the early church continued to be obedient in declaring the Gospel. They faced opposition from the religious and political leaders of the time, many were thrown in jail on multiple occasions, and some were martyred for their faith.

A. Yet, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians experienced boldness, declared truth, and received empowerment through God's grace. They weren't focusing on the present circumstances full of discouragement, questions, and impossibility.

B. Their focus was on God. As a result, men and women were saved, healed, and witnessed many miracles.

C. The mission of spreading the Gospel to all the earth was unstoppable because it was part of God's salvation story that has been written and continues to be written.

2. Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place relates an incident which taught her this principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck.

A. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances.

B. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted.

C. She finally succumbed. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference.

D. It was several months later when they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.

3. When facing opposition you will find that...

A. God Will Come To Help You

B. God Will Open Up New Doors

C. God Will Do The Unexpected

D. God Will Give You Reason To Rejoice

4. Let's stand together as we read Acts 5:17-42

Proposition: You will find that doing God's work, in God's way, will bring God's provision.

Transition: When faced with opposition you will find that...

I. God Will Come To Help You (17-25).

A. But An Angel Of The Lord

1. The scene is this, the Apostles had been in the Temple at a place called Solomon's Colonnade, where they had preached the word. As a result, people were saved, healed, and delivered from evil spirits. How dare they, right?

2. Well believe it or not, this did not set well with everyone. Luke tells us, "The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail."

A. Once again the Sadducees, including the high priest and his close friends, were upset.

B. This time they were "filled with jealousy" ("indignation," KJV). The Greek word (zēloō) can mean zeal or enthusiasm in a good sense, or it can mean the worst kind of jealousy.

C. It is not hard to see how the word is used here. It also implies a divisive spirit and a zeal for their teachings against the resurrection of the dead.

D. We can be sure they hated to see the crowds gathering around the apostles.

E. They were probably jealous also because the name of Jesus "rather than theirs... was being proclaimed."

F. Their jealousy caused these Sadducees to go into action: arresting the twelve apostles and throwing them into the "public jail."

G. "Public" here is actually an adverb meaning publicly. That is, this was done with a crowd looking on.

H. Apparently the priests and Sadducees had become desperate. This time they dared to risk the disapproval of the crowds (Horton, Acts: A Logion Press Commentary, 123).

3. But you cannot stop an unstopable God. In vv. 19-20 we read, "But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”

A. The Sadducees, who did not believe in angels and "who believed all history was the result of human decisions[,]... were in for a surprise."

B. During the night "an angel" of the Lord opened the jail doors, took the apostles past the guards without their knowing it, and told the apostles to go and take their stand.

C. They were to continue speaking in the temple to the people "the full message" (Gk. panta ta rhēmata, "all the words") of this "new life," that is, the words that are life-giving to those who believe.

D. The gospel is more than a philosophy or a set of precepts. It, through the work of the Holy Spirit, gives life (Horton, 123).

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