Summary: 1. Expect Christ's enemies to be energized (vs. 1-3). 2. Expect more souls to be saved (vs. 4). 3. Expect more help from Heaven (vs. 5-10). 4. Tell the truth about Jesus (vs. 7-12).
When Your Government Is Ungodly - Part 1
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 14, 2013
*We still live in somewhat of a bubble here in the Bible Belt. Yes, over the years, much has gone downhill spiritually, but it’s still different here. One of the main reasons goes back to something that happened 150 years ago. It was during the height of the Civil War, and there was an amazing revival among the Confederate troops.
*Henry Steele Commanger put it this way: "One of the most interesting features of the history of the Confederacy was the series of revivals that swept the armies, both East and West, throughout the war. There were a few revivals in the winter of 1861-62. But the "great revival" came in the Army of Northern Virginia in the winter and spring of 1863. Then it spread to the armies of the West. The Rev. John W. Jones, whose 'Christ in the Camp' is perhaps the best history of this great revival, estimates that no less than 150,000 soldiers 'got religion' that year." (1)
*I mention this piece of history to say that if the Lord tarries, our devotion to Jesus Christ can have a powerful impact for generations, not to mention all of eternity.
*But here in the Bible Belt we still live in a bubble. So it seems a little unreal for anybody to oppose Jesus the way we see here in Acts 4. I mean, we may be used to people ignoring the Lord, or not caring too much one way or the other. But to hate, hurt and persecute? -- It may not seem real. But it is real, and it is getting worse by the day.
*So, what should we do when people hate Jesus? What should we do when our government is ungodly? Let’s look into the Word of God and see.
1. First: Expect Christ's enemies to be energized.
*We should not be surprised by their strong opposition. Verses 1-3 remind us that it is going to happen:
1. Now as they (i.e. Peter and John) spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,
2. being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
*Verse 2 tells us that the rulers were "grieved" or "greatly disturbed." They were offended, pained, all worked up, because Peter and John were telling the people about Jesus. Those unbelieving leaders were so upset that they threw Peter and John in jail. They wanted to shut them up.
*Can that happen here? -- Church: I have to tell you that it is happening here like a slow motion train wreck. Our government is growing more and more hostile to Bible-believing Christianity. And there is never a lack of news stores to confirm this fact.
*When it comes to the gay rights agenda, the good news is that 85% of Americans believe Christians have the right to refuse business for gay weddings. That's the good news. The bad news is that Christians are being harassed more and more because of our Biblical stand.
*A Methodist church in New Jersey was sued for not offering its facility for use during same-sex weddings. A judge ruled against the church. A same-sex couple from California sued a Hawaiian bed and breakfast owned by a Christian woman for not allowing them to rent a room. Another bed and breakfast owned by a Christian couple was sued when they would not host a same-sex civil union ceremony. An employee of Allstate insurance wrote an essay online disagreeing with same-sex marriage and was reportedly fired from his job as a result. Catholic Charities was barred from assisting in adoptions in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Illinois because they declined to consider same sex couples.
*Recently, there has been a heated political battle in Texas, as pro-life legislators tried to pass a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks. And just a couple of weeks ago, some of the pro-abortion protestors started chanting "Hail Satan!" in response to the pro-life Christians who were singing "Amazing Grace." (2)
*We could go on and on with stories from all over the country. And of course the opposition to Christianity is exponentially worse in places like China and Iran. So don’t be surprised by strong opposition.
*In John 15:18-21, Jesus said:
18. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.