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God's Plan In Action: The Early Church L3

God's Church Is Persecuted

Big Idea: God gives peace and courage in persecution.

Scripture: Acts 5: 12-42

Memory Verse: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -John 14:27 ESV

Word Up!: The Holy Spirit gives peace and courage!

After the Holy Spirit had filled the disciples, in His power, the disciples were doing amazing things. Many people were being healed and thousands of people were realizing their need for forgiveness and were becoming Christ followers. God’s church was growing!

But the religious leaders were not excited! They were determined to stop the disciples from preaching so they arrested them and threw them in prison. During the night, an angel let them out so the next morning when the guards were sent to bring them to trial, they returned saying, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors but when we went in, no one was there!”

Then, the religious leaders heard that the disciples were preaching in the temple. The guards were sent to bring them to appear before the council. The disciples were ordered to stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus. When they heard this, Peter replied, “We must obey God rather than man.”

This made the religious leaders very mad, but Gamaliel, one of their most respected leaders, advised them to leave the disciples alone, saying, “If they are doing God’s work, we cannot stop them and we will be fighting against God!”

Before they were set free, they were beaten and ordered again to stop speaking about Jesus.

Did they stop? No, for they knew that people needed to hear the good news that Jesus is the promised Savior, who died and came alive again so that their sins would be forgiven if only they would believe in Him.