The Honeymoon is Over &
Healthy Ways to Handle Persecution
Acts 4 & 5
Once the "rulers and elders" saw that Peter and John had healed the lame man, they questioned them and then threw them in prison. They were "astonished" because they realized that Peter and John were "uneducated, common men" and they recognized that these men had been with Jesus.
Persecution is a negative reaction to the incarnate presence of Jesus among His people. There is something about the name of Jesus! Often, when we fear persecution, our gut reaction is to pray for safety or removal from the situation. As we spend time with Jesus and grow as disciples, our prayers change to, "God, glorify Your name!" It is about Him and not us.
Here are some healthy ways to respond to persecution:
1. Abide (4:14-22) - They lived life together with Jesus. Apart from Him, you
can do nothing. Everything starts here.
2. Pray (4:23-28) - They prayed together.
A. Trust in His Sovereignty - nothing happens apart from Him
B. Pray for boldness more than for protection
3. Practice Generosity (4:32-37) - There was not a needy person among them.
4. Fear God and not man (5:1-21) - This should be focused on the gospel.
Everything else is secondary to the gospel.
5. Walk in Obedience (5:21-40) - Don't be asleep in the light.
6. Rejoice (5:41) - They rejoiced for being persecuted for their faith. They
believed in Him, not religion.
7. Keep the Momentum (5:42) - Even when the opposition came, they kept doing
what they had committed to do in Christ.
Persecution has served the church well throughout history. Let's be ready for it when it comes.
To Discuss Today:
1. Why do you get out of bed every morning? How does the gospel factor into your answer? Can you "preach" the gospel to yourself this week? Try it now.
2. Over the last year, when have you been tempted to "fear" man instead of God? What does it mean to "fear God"?
3. In what ways are you "asleep in the light"? Have you ever had a time when you know the Holy Spirit has convicted you to do something, but you didn't do it? Why?