Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 6 of 6: Persecuted People
Scriptures: Acts 5:12-42
This message was offered Sunday, 5/27/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.
Why do we come to Jesus? What are we looking for?
- Life, everlasting life
- Meaning, purpose, to be part of something greater than ourselves
The same was true for the earliest followers of Jesus
This is what it looks like when the people of God are on Fire, Full of the Holy Spirit, faith-full in word and deed
- V 12 Many signs and wonders- People are experiencing transformation, healing, deliverance on such a scale it must be God. The city was different because of the love and good works of the faith-full.
- V 12 All together- working together as Body of Christ
- V 13 Held in high esteem- known in the community, reputation for love and good works both in Jerusalem and the surrounding towns
- V 14 More than ever believers were added to the Lord. The first followers were making disciples of Jesus Christ. They were fulfilling the great commission. (Matthew 28:16-20)
When you come to Jesus are you looking for adventure? Are you reading to join Jesus in healing the sick, bringing good news to the poor, releasing the captives, battling evil, and changing the world?
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord’s prayer also includes “Deliver us from evil.” There is a cost to fully following Jesus. When you battle evil, it’s going to fight back.
A story of the brave Christians in Cuba
Verse 13 says, “None of the rest dared to join them.” Even though the Christians were doing great things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though they were respected by the people, it was still dangerous to publically associate with the Christians.
17 Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, 18 arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.
There’s an old question to check your commitment to Jesus. “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” There was no doubt Peter and the Apostles were followers- preaching, teaching, healing, caring for the poor. They were loud and proud. They were battling evil and evil is going to make them pay, first by imprisonment.
God provided for their escape. Did they run, no! Even though they were just arrested, they kept preaching and teaching publically.
Reading Acts 5:19- 28
Jewish leadership is jealous of so many people coming to faith and the Christian’s high regard of the people. The Jewish leadership is scared. They fear the crowd will believe Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, that they killed him, and the crowd will now stone them for it.
In verse 28, the apostles are accused of filling Jerusalem with their teaching. What would it be like if Sarasota were filled with the teaching of Jesus? Siesta Key?
What kind of effort would that take? Every single one of us equipped to share the gospel, testify, pray with people, invite people. Every single one of us, and all the other Christians in town wanting to do it, brave, courageous. Every single one saying, “This is the most important thing I do because this has eternal consequences.”
Reading Acts 5:29-39
They take a stand for Jesus then they start sharing the Gospel with the Jewish leadership! The leaders’ main mission is to protect the word of God, the temple, the worship of God from false Messiahs. Gamaliel reminds them that if Jesus is the Messiah, what the apostles are doing cannot be stopped. You could actually be fighting against God. If not, it will fail and fade.
Here we are over 2000 years later still following Jesus. The Gospel did not fail or fade. This gives us the courage to share it. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
39b They were convinced by him, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home, they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
Why do we come to Jesus? What are we looking for?
- Come to Jesus for the adventure
- Come to Jesus. Take up your cross. Suit up, warrior. Get in the game.
- Come to Jesus. Battle evil. Change the world.
Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it’s risky. There is a cost, but it’s of God. If it’s of God- nothing will be able to stop it.
Renewing our Commitment to Christ, His Mission, and Church
1. Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
2. Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
3. Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?
4. According to the grace given you, will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy Church and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world?
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.