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1st-Century Secrets for Church Growth - Persecution

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Text: Acts 12:24

Thesis: To note how persecution aided in the growth of the early church.

Introduction:

(1)    One of the least emphasized “secrets” for church growth may very well be one of the most important.

(2)    Let us note how persecution helped the early church grow:

Discussion:

I.                    Reality of persecution

 

A.                 Examples from the early church –

1.      Peter and John arrested (Acts 4)

2.      Peter and John beaten (Acts 5)

3.      Stephen martyred (Acts 7)

4.      Saul’s havoc upon the church (Acts 8, 9)

5.      James killed (Acts 12)

6.      Peter imprisoned (Acts 12)

7.      Paul stoned (Acts 14)

8.      Paul and Silas imprisoned (Acts 16)

9.      Paul’s list of sufferings (2 Cor. 11:22-28)

B.                 Promise from God –

1.      We shall suffer (2 Tim. 3:12).

2.      The prophets before us suffered (Matt. 5:12).

 

II.                 Reason of persecution

 

A.                 Because we are Christians (Acts 5:41; 1 Pet. 4:16)

B.         Because we are transforming the world (Rom. 12:2)

 

III.       Reward of persecution

 

A.                 Respect of people

1.      Peter and John had great boldness (Acts 4:13) and said: “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

2.      Peter and John, after a beaten, went daily in the temple and from house to house (Acts 5:42).

B.                 Doors of opportunities

1.      5000 were added in one day (Acts 4:4)

2.      The word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24)

3.      The Phillipian jailer and his household were saved (Acts 16)

C.                 In the end, we will get our crown (Rev. 2:10)

Conclusion:

            - Will you stand up for Jesus regardless of the cost?

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