Wednesday, July 8, 2020

When Persecution Strikes| Lessons From The Early Church

This message was shared by  Shoma P at Word Of Grace via zoom on July 5th 2020. to listen to the audio please click here.

When persecution strikes
In our Christian walk, we will face different kinds of persecutions. We may be mocked by our friends, taunted by our own family, the promotion might be withheld etc because of our faith in Jesus. What should be our response in such circumstances?

Recently a man named Kanthe Mudu was attacked and murdered by a group of armed men for his faith in Jesus. He and his family had faced threats to their lives and had survived one violent attack on their home two years ago.  After hearing the men at the front door, Mudu knew that their lives were in danger and that the men had bad intentions. Mudu then told his wife, that he might be killed but encouraged her to remain strong and never to give up her faith in Jesus even if they killed him.
This was the response of Mudu when he was about to be persecuted. Even at the last minute of his life, he encouraged his family to hold on to their faith in Jesus.  Now let us see how the apostles responded when they faced persecution.

 Our Scripture for today is Acts 5:17-42

The high priest and the council became jealous of the apostles who did many mighty miracles in the name of Jesus and so got them arrested. The apostles were set free by the angel of the Lord and were instructed to continue to preach in the temple courts. In this passage, we see the response of apostles in the time of persecution.

1. Always Obey God
      Acts 4:19
In every circumstance, we should obey God and not men.
Acts 5:20-21 NIV
20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”
21   At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles.

Acts 5:28-29 NIV
28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
The High priest had strictly commanded the apostles not to teach in the name of Jesus. But what did the apostles do? They obeyed God and not men.

Acts 4:19 NIV
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!

We should always obey our leaders, parents and people in authority. But not when they ask you to do something which is displeasing in the eyes of the Lord.

2. Always seek to preach the gospel
Acts 5:28 NIV
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
Even after being strictly warned not to preach, the apostles preached the gospel in the temple courts and filled Jerusalem with the true doctrine. They did so because they knew that this is their main purpose in life.

Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus before ascending instructed the apostles to preach the gospel and make disciples in His name. We too are supposed to seek every opportunity to preach His love to whoever we meet, to our colleagues, to our neighbours, relatives, milkman etc.

      As a homemaker, I don't get to meet much people in the week but before going down for a walk I pray for an opportunity to preach and God has always been faithful and brought me, people, to whom I could share His love.

3. Always rejoice in the suffering for Christ.
Acts 5:40-41 NIV
40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.     
The apostles after beaten up rejoiced for the suffering in the name of Jesus.
James 1:2 NIV
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God's word says we should always rejoice in every circumstance.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten with a rod and kept in jail with feet tied. But even under these challenging circumstances, they chose to pray and sing hymns to God as they counted it all joy to suffer for His name.

To conclude, in our Christian walk we will have many kinds of persecution. But we should always obey God and take every opportunity to preach the new life and rejoice in the suffering for His name.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto 

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