In our walk through the Book of Acts, this week we made our first visit to the recurring theme of persecution. The reality we will soon find is that the Book of Acts church was a church well experienced in persecution.
Last week, we explored the reality that persecution is often part of God’s plan for the church. Jesus himself said that if the world hated him, it would definitely persecute those who follow him. Even though we hope and pray to be spared from persecution, we realize that there are several very positive benefits for Christians to experience it:
1) Throughout history, persecution has caused Christians to spread out throughout the world, thus taking the message of Jesus everywhere.
2) Persecution helps clarify the Christian’s relationship with the world, reminding us that this is not our home.
3) Persecution helps us clarify our relationship with God. It tests our motives for following him–do we live our lives for ourselves, or for him?
4) Persecution helps us clarify our relationships with one another. Hard times shed light on the extent to which real love exists between us.
5) Finally, in the pressure of persecution, we have the opportunity to experience the grace of God’s presence in great measure. And when God’s presence comes, it brings great joy!
Please join us as we continue our study of the early church as described in the Book of Acts. This message was taken from Acts 4:1-22.
Over the next few weeks, we will be taking some time away from Acts to focus on Jesus death and resurrection through the Easter season.
We gather each Sunday at 5 PM. You are invited to join us for our Easter celebrations, or when we resume our study in Acts on May 1 with Acts 4:23-31.