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The Early Church: Our Example in Persecution
If you look around, you will see we are in the early stages of state-sanctioned Christian persecution in our nation. I know it seems inconceivable that our government, which mints “In God We Trust” on our coins, would now come after the church, much like the Nazis did in the 1930s. But believe it or not, it is happening right before our eyes. Just look around.
And since we have all grown up in a world devoid of religious persecution, at least in the West, we are seriously unprepared for what will soon come our way. Just how unprepared are we? Consider the fact that many Christians today blindly believe God would never let a righteous nation like ours, or a faithful church like ours (as strange as it sounds to even say the words “righteous” and “nation” or “faithful” and “church” in the same sentence), suffer anything remotely resembling persecution. Remember, the best-selling book in the Christian market over the last decade promises God wants you to experience Your Best Life Now! And if you are discerning, you will understand that only those who are lost and going to hell are experiencing Your Best Life Now! Sobering, isn’t it?
So if this assessment is true, what are we to do? In fact, the church is so unprepared we don’t even know which way to turn.
But there is an example for us in Scripture. There is a detailed account of ordinary believers, just like us, who lived under persecution and suffered under occupation and yet turned the world upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6).
And that account is found in the book of Acts.
What We Can Learn From the Early Church
What were these early believers like? How did they think? What was their mindset? What motivated them each morning to rise and suffer another day? What was the source of their power that enabled them to flourish and thrive even under trying times? Why did God use them to turn the world upside down, and yet we find it hard even to make a difference in our own families and with our close friends? How committed were they to their Lord? And how did their commitment impact their lives and the lives of those around them?
What did they have that we don’t? Answer: Nothing. We have far more than they ever did. But what did they believe that we don’t? Answer: Much. More than you can imagine.
In this message, we will look at some of what made them who they were and allowed the Lord to move through them as He did. And we will, by comparison, see if maybe we lack some of what they had.
Together we will examine some of their key beliefs and convictions to try to find a way back from where we have fallen (Rev. 2:5). So join us as we discover the passion and reckless abandonment to the Lord that defined the early church as revealed in the book of Acts.