Summary: A sermon examining how to keep on when trouble comes your way.
Perseverance In The Midst Of Persecution
Kayla Mueller was a young woman who traveled to Turkey in 2012 to assist Syrian refugees. After some time she entered Syria with her boyfriend and was captured by ISIS. She was forced into marriage to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Following this she was enslaved, raped and tortured for many months. Through all she endured, Kayla Mueller consistently refused to deny her faith in Christ. In February 2015 Kayla was killed while in captivity. Her testimony of steadfast faith and perseverance in the midst of horrific circumstances serves as an example to others. She is not the only one... there are multitudes of Christians all over the world who are willfully facing extreme persecution as a result of their Christian faith.
We often take for granted just how blessed we are here in America. It is true that our religious liberties are increasingly under attack but we have it much easier than most of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
It is a fact that if you attempt to live for Christ persecution will come. Our adversary will attack those who seek to be productive for Christ.
When we (as a church) seek to move forward for God... when we attempt to have an impact outside of these walls, you can rest assured...trouble is coming!
Satan will use every resource at his disposal to stop you from living a godly life. Paul tells us in - 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. - The way I read this verse it seems that persecution is a guarantee for those who seek to be faithful to their Master. If that is the case (and it is) then we must be ready to persevere in the midst of that persecution.
Perseverance is defined as "steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success".
Paul told Timothy to "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2 Timothy 2:3) Enduring hardness refers to facing hardship, suffering affiliation and enduring trouble. As followers of Christ, we WILL encounter troubles that will test our faith. It is important that we are ready and determined to move forward in the face of oppression and difficulty.
In Acts chapter 4, some of the Lord's Apostles found themselves facing a time of persecution because of their work for Jesus. We can learn a great deal from how they responded to the persecution they encountered. I would like to walk through this passage and preach on the subject "Perseverance In The Midst Of Persecution.
In Acts 3:1-11 Peter and John encountered a lame beggar at the temple gate. The man asked them for some money. Peter told the man that he had no silver and gold to give him. But what Peter had was far better, he looked at this man and said "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. The man's legs received strength and he began "walking and leaping and praising God". - After this, all who were present were astonished. A vast crowd gathered together at Solomon's porch. Peter seized the opportunity to preach repentance and salvation through Christ to these people and as a result many of them came to faith in Christ (Acts 4:4) As we arrive at Chapter 4 trouble arises for the Apostles.
- This story serves as an example for believers throughout the ages. When you work for Christ, you must be prepared for opposition! This fact is seen in verses 1-3. Let us consider:
I. THE TROUBLE THAT WE WILL ENCOUNTER - Persecution is defined as "hostility and ill-treatment, because of race, political or religious beliefs."
As a church, if we seek to advance the Kingdom of Christ ...troubles are on the way. As Christians when we seek to grow closer in our walk with Jesus...difficulty will arise. When we obey God's call on our lives we can rest assured that ....persecution will come!
- In verse 1 we see:
A. THE SOURCE OF OUR TROUBLE - v1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
The Apostles were calling these people to repent and be saved. Peter boldly preached that Jesus was the way of salvation. This did not sit well with the religious rulers in Jerusalem so they came against Peter and John. There are 3 groups mentioned in this verse:
1. "The Priests" - these men possessed hostility for Jesus from the beginning of His ministry.
2. "The Sadducees" - they did not believe in the resurrection and Peter was preaching that Jesus died and rose again.