Why can Christians experience persecution and endure all types of suffering yet still be bold for Jesus? We see at least part of the answer to that question when we look at how the early church responded to such events. We learn that we can experience persecution and suffering and stay bold because Jesus has given us a family, we have access to our loving Father through prayer, God wrote a book, God is sovereign over all, Jesus is continuing his mission through us, and, because Jesus was destroyed on the cross for us, he has made us indestructible. In Christ, sin has been taken out and nothing can eternally harm you.
Acts 4:23-31 23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, bothHerod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
1. Was there anything from Sunday’s Sermon or the Big Idea that had an affect on you or was new? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
2. What stands out to you in Acts 4:23-31 and why?
3. How have you seen people in our culture edit the Bible? Why is it important to understand the authority of the Bible, the fact that God wrote it, not man? How have you edited the Bible before; or, how are you still editing the Bible?
4. Which one of the reasons Christians can stay bold in spite of suffering/persecution most stood out to and why?
(1) Jesus gave you a family, (2) you have access to your loving Father through prayer, (3) God wrote a book, (4) God is sovereign over all, (5) Jesus is continuing his mission through you, and (6) Jesus has made you indestructible.
5. Spend some time praying with and for one another.
Your sin is the real problem. And in Christ, your sin has already been dealt with on the cross. Do you know that Jesus died for you? Do you know what that means? In the end, because of Jesus, no amount of suffering can truly, eternally harm you. Because of Jesus, the presence of God through the Holy Spirit comes not to destroy you, like you deserve; it comes to fill you and strengthen you for your joy and God’s eternal glory. By grace from and faith in Jesus, he makes you indestructible.
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- Pastor Brett’s Sermon Notes Acts 4 23-31 PDF
- Community Group Discussion 10.22-23.13 PDF