"Dignified When Disgraced For Christ" (Acts 5:25-42)

Sermon Date: 
Jul 16 2017
Sermon Audio: 

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"We must obey God rather than men!" Acts 5:29b

How are we, as Christians (Spirit-filled believers), to respond when opposition surfaces for faithfully living under our Biblical principles and practices? Are we to resort towards anger? violence? rage? hatred? Should we just keep passive and quiet in order to keep things peaceful?

Our early church apostles are starting to experience fierce opposition from the religious governing authorities. In fact, it became law for them not to teach or speak in this name of Jesus Christ. The apostles eventually found themselves arrested and imprisoned for teaching and speaking about Jesus. How did God respond? He sent a prison break! The angel of the Lord met them in prison and released them! For what purpose? To hide? To keep quiet? No, to continue sharing the full message of this new life in Christ! Now we have a dilemma. Do they obey the laws of men and keep things at peace or follow the Lord's spoken word through this angel and face more persecution?

A highly respected master-teacher of the religious council, Gamaliel, provides quite the insight behind our motives. He states, "If their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

The apostles did receive a severe flogging and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus. They suffered greatly for making Christ known. After such a beating, how would you have responded? Fear? Intimidation? Anger? Rage? These apostles REJOICED! They saw this suffering in disgrace as something counted worthy for the Name. Perhaps next time you feel attacked or persecuted for your faith, instead of feeling rejected, discouraged, or upset, forgive and rejoice for the cause behind your suffering and pain. Adrian Rogers once said, "Persecution in the thermometer that registers your love and courage for the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. REJOICE and be glad, because GREAT in your reward in heaven..." Matthew 5:11-12

When faced with opposition for your faith may you respond in LOVE (kindness, patience, long-suffering, authentic care for the soul of others.) while also keeping OBEDIENT to God's Word. May you REJOICE when found suffering for sharing God's love demonstrated through the very sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ so none may perish but have an everlasting eternal life. Remember, if what you are doing is of God then no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

"We must confront the world now with an ethics to make it tremble, and with a dynamic to give hope." - Carl F.H. Henry.

Amen