Rejoicing in Suffering
November 17, 2020

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,

and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.

At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Acts 16:25-26

This morning I was continuing my reading through the book of Acts. What amazing accounts of the early church’s engagement in culture! Not only their engagement, but the radical difference they made in individual lives and entire communities. How did they do it?

Let me suggest 4 points:

  1. They were sold out to Jesus! They had completely surrendered to the belief that Jesus was the King of Kings.

  2. They listened to Jesus words:

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

  3. They were committed to prayer : They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14

  4. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:4

  5. They devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

  6. They were obedient to the Spirit: Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 3:6

  7. They preached the Word: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19

  8. They challenged the religious elite: “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching …”  Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! Acts 5:28-29

  9. They were not afraid to die for what they believed: But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”  At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. Acts 7:55-28

  10. They traveled in pairs – no lone rangers and were accountable to the apostles. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:2-3

  11. Come what may they rejoiced – even in suffering: Acts 16:25 ff

  12. Being jailed did not prevent them from preaching the kingdom of God. For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! Acts 28:30-31

I’m sure there are many other points that could be added, but I want to encourage you in these unsettled times that ‘nothing has changed!’ As Jesus followers we have the same call. May we all be as faithful as the early church.

Stand Firm Walk Cautiously Live Cautiously

Restoring the Mosaic seeks to strengthen Canadian national unity by educating and informing policy-makers, legislators, and educational leaders with clinical research that will assist them to establish programs and policies that allow individuals with crises in identity to recover wholeness.

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