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Who Do You Think You Are?: Growth in Spite of Opposition, Acts 8

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Last Sunday, Pastor Alex York continued the sermon series on Acts:  "Who Do You Think You Are?" with a message on Acts 8:  Growth in Spite of Opposition

Before beginning the sermon, Alex talked about knowing his grandfather when Alex was a small child.  Shortly after his grandfather died, Alex went to Vacation Bible School and that was where he accepted Christ. 

He reminded us that our Jungle Safari Clubs are hugely important.

And he also tied the story of his grandfather's death into the message.  Both demonstrate Romans 8:28, that God can bring good out of anything.  His grandfather's death was not good, but God used it to pull Alex to Christ.

Romans 8:28 was also true for the early church.

There are two realities about hardship:

1.  Hardship will come.

2.  No matter the hardship, God can bring good from it.

In Acts 8, there's been a tipping point, and the church had begun being persecuted.

We looked at Philip, Saul, and Peter.  All of them demonstrate the same four points:

1.  No one is beyond the reach of grace.

2.  God uses real people.

3.  Faith + Obedience = Blessing

4.  Growth comes in spite of opposition.

Philip:  Acts 8:1-40

The word "scattered" used about the church is the same word used for scattering seeds.  The Christians spread like dandelions.

The eunuch Philip met couldn't worship with the Jews according to the Levitical law.

But God reached him.

Philip obeyed and went where God told him to go.

God used persecution to spread the gospel.

Saul:  Acts 9:1-31

God appeared to both Saul and Ananias.  Ananias obeyed boldly.  Saul began preaching immediately.

Saul is a great example that no one is beyond the reach of grace.

God uses real people, like Ananias.

God used Saul despite opposition.

How responsive are we to the Holy Spirit?  Are we listening?

Peter:  Acts 9:32-11:18

Another two-way situation:  God speaks to both Peter and Cornelius.

God's grace is for everyone, even Roman soldiers.

Cornelius obeyed quickly, summoning Peter.

Peter seems to need to hear everything 3 times!

While Peter was thinking about it, the men from Cornelius arrived.

Faith + Obedience led to Blessing.

The Jews in Jerusalem said, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."

Peter was an epic failure, but God used him.

Growth comes in spite of opposition.

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

Who Do You Think You Are? Studies in Acts Week 4

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Last Sunday, Deen Salami continued our sermon series in Acts, "Who Do You Think You Are?"

We looked at Acts 5:17-42 and Acts 6:8-8:1.

Aversion - Jewish officials were jealous of God's movement.
 
First - emotional response. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Any supernatural things were stamped out.
 
Second - they tried to deny their role in Jesus' death. Gamaliel stands up and says that if the movement is from men, it would die out, but if it was from God...it would be bad. But they had the apostles flogged out of spite. The apostles leave, rejoicing.
 
Adversity - the emphasis was on the resurrection. When the angel tells them to go back to the location of their arrest and teach, they do it, regardless of the suffering.
 
Endurance is important. Jesus endured the cross for us, so we cannot go around our adversity. We will feel intense emotions of anger and vengeance, but instead, we must rejoice.
 
Advancement - how do we maintain the attitude necessary to move the gospel forward? The apostles were public about it, and rejoiced with suffering. However, what happens when we're put on our own?
 
Example: Stephen. He was a Hellenistic Jew, he did a bunch of miracles, the Jews tried to argue with him, but they lost the argument. They brought charges against Stephen of blasphemy and trying to abolish the law.
 
Stephen gives the apologia for himself. It's about how God's chosen vessel is rejected, and the people move to idolatry. The Sanhedrin got angry, Stephen had a vision of heaven. The Sanhedrin then went and stoned him.

 

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