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STUDY THREE 13/08/2010

ACTS|OF|THE|APOSTLES 1. The Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:1-11) 2. The Holy Spirit for Us (Acts 2:1-41) 3. Handling Hostility (Acts 4:1-22, 5:17-32)

MAIN IDEAS 1. God has promised that when we believe in Jesus we will also face hostility, rejection and suffering for Him. 2. We must face hostility, with the bold, Spiritinspired proclamation of the gospel. 3. We can suffer

HANDLING HOSTILITY Acts 4:1-22, 5:17-32

Pray and Read Acts 4:1-22 and 5:17-32 In 2009 a £140,000 advertising campaign was launched by atheists in the UK, which sought to deny the existence of God and condemn Christianity. Slogans such as, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" were displayed on over 800 buses across England, Scotland and Wales. Have you ever experienced hostility, rejection or suffering as a Christian? Yes? No? Have one or two people share from your group.

In the two passages that we read, we see how Peter and John and the rest of the apostles were seized and imprisoned on several occasions by the Sadducees. Why did the apostles face such hostility from the Sadducees?  (4:2) They proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus.  (4:10) They healed a cripple in the name of Jesus.  (4:12) They proclaimed that Jesus was the only way of salvation.  (4:18, 5:28) They taught in the name of Jesus. "God wants you to have a good life, a life filled with love, joy, peace, and fulfilment” - (Joel Olsteen) Discuss this statement. Do you agree or disagree?  God DOES NOT want his children to have a life on earth simply filled with love, joy and fulfilment.  As his children we must also SUFFER.  *N.B. You do not have to clarify this point; you can simply lead it into the next question, where the answer lies.


In the two passages we can see that the apostles faced much hostility, rejection and suffering. However, is this relevant to us any longer today? Refer to the following passages. What is God’s plan for all Christians in this life? And why is this so?  Luke 9:22  MAIN IDEA: WHEN WE BELIEVE IN JESUS WE MUST ALSO SUFFER FOR HIM.  Philippians 1:29  If we are to live godly lives we will be persecuted.  1 Peter 2:21  If we want to follow Jesus we must also follow Him in suffering.  2 Timothy 3:12  We are called to suffer because Jesus suffered first, for us. 

SUFFERING AS A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST IS INEVITABLE!

Who does Jesus say that Christians can expect to face hostility from? Refer to John 15:18-19  The world hates Christians because they do not belong to the world but have been chosen to be out of the world.  What does the world mean?  Non-Christian family, friends  The norms, values and attitudes of society  The Devil Look at the two passages again. When faced with hostility how do the apostles respond? How are Christians to model this today?  The apostles continued to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour to all.  (4:19, 5:29) The apostles sought to obey God rather than men.  MAIN IDEA: CHRISTIANS TODAY MUST FACE HOSTILITY, WITH THE BOLD, SPIRIT-INSPIRED PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL. Suffering was a significant part of the all the apostles’ lives. In fact, eleven of the twelve apostles were martyred (killed) for their faith. Read what Paul tells the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 4:10-13. How are Christians to deal with rejection and suffering?  Realise that we are fools for Christ (v.10) and that we are the scum of the earth and the refuse of the world (v.13).  (v.12) When we are cursed we BLESS, when we are persecuted we ENDURE, and when we are slandered we ANSWER KINDLY. In light of what you have learnt today, why would anyone want to be a disciple of Christ? Refer to the following verses:  Titus 3:3-7 PERSONAL REFLECTION  We have been saved by the grace of God  Philippians 1:21 through Jesus.  Matthew 5:11-12 Who or what do YOU follow?  Life is completely about Jesus, “To live is Christ”.  MAIN IDEA: WE CAN SUFFER BECAUSE WE HAVE “Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny A SECURE HOPE (ASSURANCE) OF ETERNAL LIFE himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save IN HEAVEN. his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-25) Closing Prayer For a Mark Driscoll sermon on Hostility and Suffering go to:

http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/trial/suffering-to-worship


3. Acts (Handling Hostility) Leaders Notes