Lessons from the Early Church: Power in Persecution

Rev. Dave Middlebrook

5th November, 2017 ()

Bible Text: Acts 5:17-42; John 15:18-16:4 |


As the Holy Spirit equipped the early church there were healings, powerful speaking, bold witness, and many became followers of Christ. At the same time opposition from the religious authorities began to grow, just as Jesus had predicted in John 15&16 "They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God". In Acts 5 and beyond we see the level of persecution, started in Acts 4, gradually increasing. However we also see a power shift; the shift is from those who humanly were considered in positions of power (the religious leaders) to those who appeared to have no influence and power (poor, uneducated, homeless, vagrant preachers), the apostles. In Acts 5 we see the apostles continuing to 'obey God rather than man' (v29). The apostles directly accuse the religious leaders of killing Christ, but also say that they too can receive 'forgiveness of the sins of Israel' (v31) thanks to what Christ has done on the cross. In the centuries since we have often seen the power of the spirit equipping people and growing His church in times of persecution. Today we need to have the same courage (v29), as we are in the same conflict (v33), the gospel should not be compromised (v30), as it offer comfort (v31) to all, and we leave the conclusion (v39) to God, as we too ceaselessly (v42), should stand up for Jesus.

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