Monday, January 11, 2016

The Church's Response to Opposition


Has been a great movement of the church at this time.  Large numbers are turning to Christianity.

Acts 4 - Peter & John - heal cripple, draw crowd, preach gospel, upset Leadership (temple officials similar to our Supreme Court)

So.... the church as a group experiences OPPOSITION!!
Which is far more than mere unbelief = active resistance (antagonism), open hostility

Why?  What is there about the Gospel that incites such hostility?

The Gospel (Christianity) - in Biblical, practiced form

#1.  is offensive

#2  is intrusive (invasive) (pushy) - we are called to evangelize, have concern about others, and are to spread this good news.

#3.  is exclusive - if Jesus is right and, therefore, we're right, then everyone else is WRONG!!

#4.  challenges treasured beliefs (traditions, practices, lifestyles) - example:  Indian Hinduism - many gods.  However, can't add Jesus to the pantheon of gods.  It is Jesus alone!!!!

#5.  establishes moral restrictions - this the biggest issue in 21st. century America

#6.  claims an authority higher than the state (king, courts, motherland) - example:  Communist China, Cuba, Korea, ROME!!

#7.  incites anger in the Spiritual Realm - Rev. 12:17    John 15:18, 20 - main enemy is Satan and demons that incite this hostility.

So, Peter and John are arrested, tried, warned - NOW

Acts. 4:18-31 - God approved of the church's response.

#1.  A declaration of obedience (to God, Christ)
Sometimes called to Civil Disobedience - BE VERY CAREFUL HERE,
also called to CIVIL OBEDIENCE!! - Rom. 13:1-2 - example:  Christians during Revolutionary War - some opposed to the war on grounds that were to be obedient to the civil authorities even though in disagreement with them.

#2.  (not in the text) An appeal to civil authority - our highest authority is God, but when live in society with rulers, etc, should pursue effort to change what is in opposition to beliefs as well.

#3.  Prayer for endurance and boldness - to speak the Word
Question:  prayer for deliverance????  Example:  Paul's "thorn" prayer - 2 Cor. 12:7-9
Paul prayed for deliverance until it became clear that the answer was endurance.
(result of prayer?  increased boldness led to more conversions led to more persecutions!!

#4.  Recognition of God's Sovereignty.  The Greek word translated "despot" - supreme authority.
Compare Rev. 6:9-10, 11
Power corrupts people, absolute power corrupts absolutely - BUT, this does not happen with GOD as Supreme Authority.

#5.  Submission to God's Sovereignty.  (because not all who recognize His authority, submit themselves to it!)   Big difference between the two.

Question:  If I had to face this persecution, could I endure?
Answer:  "doctrine of sufficient grace" - God gives grace for the trial at hand.  2 Cor. 12:8-9

No comments: