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


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?


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!