Summary: God has Always had a people.
THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT
TEXT: Matt. 16:15-18.
1. The history of the Lord's church is the history of the church triumphant. It has had its ups and downs, but:
1) It was built by the ultimate overcomer,
"Be of good Cheer I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).
2) and it is filled with people who by following in his steps are becoming overcomers.
2. Many forces both within and without have moved to conquer and destroy the church yet through it all Gods' chosen people marched on the church triumphant.
3. It matters not how severe the persecution is or from what sector it may come through it all God's people know that Jesus said that even the gates of Hell itself could not prevail against it.
I. The church in acts.
A. It began in triumph and rejoicing on the day of Pentecost AD 33 with
the addition of 3,000 souls
B. Acts 2:41 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
C. Acts 2:47 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
D. No sooner had it been born than persecution arose from the outside.
E. At a time when many would have fled in terror, they rejoiced.
F. Then came the threat from within but the church overcame (Acts 5:1ff.)
1. They had lied to the church to gain respect
Acts 5:17-18, 28,29-31.
1. Acts 5:40-42.
G. Acts 6:1 ff Again trouble struck from within Favoritism and cliques.
1. No favoritism no cliques get it out in the open let every member have his say (6:2-3).
H. Then came the martyrdom of Stephen and such a persecution that it
scattered the saints to the four winds finally they had brotbken the
back of this movement. But know "they that were scattered abroad went
everywhere preaching the word.
I. A revolution in evangelism Acts 8:4)
II. Secular history takes up where the Inspired account of Acts leaves off.
A. The Neronian persecution about 2 years after Acts ends.
Describe the tortures. Tacitus
B. The Domitian persecution
1. Emperor worship.
C. Persecution continued through the dark ages and even to today.
1. Missionaries are murdered in Africa, political persecution in India.
D. Even today there are problems to be faced.
E. Cliques, murmurers, complainers, apathetic dead Christians who will not work, false teachers and so on. But the church in spite of it all marches on .
F. Through it all we have continued to persevere and because of the faith
and perseverance of the saints GOD HAS ALWAYS HAD A PEOPLE.
Matthew 16:16-18 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.