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Summary: Peter and John rejoiced because they were persecuted for the Name of Jesus ... do we act the same today?

Worthy to be Persecuted

Acts 5:17-42

Introduction

- Set the stage:

-- Church was beginning to see full assault persecution

-- Peter and John were willing to be bold; to continue proclaiming Jesus

-- (Last week) Ananias and Sapphira give us great insight into integrity

-- We see that even in the face of negativity, nevertheless they continued

- Today we examine the church’s response to persecution

- There is a lot of scripture to look at today so we will take apart in pieces

- Read Acts 5:17-24

Point 1 – Maintain Obedience to the Message

- Jealousy really raises its head here (again) and causes quite a scene

-- The bible tells us that the high priest, the pompous & religious, were jealous

-- What were they jealous of? THE ATTENTION IS NOT ON THEM!

- Even Ananias and Sapphira showed us this last week; we want to be noticed

-- It is in our human nature to desire a pat on the back, to desire credit for things

-- The high priest was the head religious figure and it was “all about him”

- They were arrested, thrown in jail, but look at what God does in the midst

-- v19 – NO ONE opened the doors for them … or us … but the Lord!

-- His ability to open doors for all of us is something of great strength here

-- This is the promise we have, even when we’re struggling He isn’t

- The angel them commands them clearly, “GO!”

-- Matthew 28:19-20 tells us the very same thing, to GO and MAKE disciples

-- But for Peter and John, they needed to be reminded once more to GO

- This is Acts 1:11 all over again! “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

-- APP: So, after their correction, they go to the courts at dawn at teach

- But, look at the Sanhedrin – they show up for work and they’re gone

-- The disciples had left the jail, which was still locked, and this challenged them

- Now, there is an important lesson here, when you’re a jailer you’re responsible

-- If someone escapes, YOU take their place; or pay with your life!

- In v24 when they are “wondering what this might lead to” there’s more here

-- They are not just worried about an insurrection; but about their own necks

-- It is YOUR job to keep the prisoners in place, and failure means your life

- TRANS: For us, the good news is God does not leave us to worry “what now”

- Read Acts 5:25-32

Point 2 – Serving God is what Matters

- Now, we see where boldness really comes into play and we have to apply it

-- Being bold for the Lord doesn’t mean that we are foolish or blind about things

-- But that we follow intently the directions and charge God has given us

-- This is where the rubber meets the road in our lives … Who do YOU serve?

- In v25 we see that these men are simply obedient; without pause/apology

-- This obedience demonstrates they do not worry about man; but serve God

-- Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

- APP: We do not serve mankind; but a God who has control over everything

- In v28 we see humanity’s charge to Christians today … STOP TEACHING

-- Stop talking about, stop proclaiming, stop witnessing … just stop!

-- What we must get is that persecution is NOTHING new, it’s routine

- APP: When the world tells us to stop we are to not be arrogant, but obedient

- You can even recite v29 if you like (re-read), “We must obey God …”

-- The God we serve; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob commands us (v30)

-- YOU killed Him … but we testify to His resurrection and salvation today

- THIS is where Christians fail – it’s NOT about us and our wants (see v32)

- Life is about Jesus; what He can do and has done; and we testify of Him

- TRANS: However in the face of persecution there is God’s reward

Read Acts 5:33-42

Point 3 – Being Worthy is Reward Enough

- The Sanhedrin’s anger comes from the truth; it doesn’t feel good to be corrected

-- They were called out in their OWN sin and this alone enraged them

-- It’s like someone telling you that you are blowing it – we do not like it

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