How the Church Stands in the Midst of Opposition

The church will face opposition.

Jesus made this plain. He warned His disciples about impending persecution and opposition. He knew the opposition would come, and He prepared them for the future.

Jesus warned His disciples that if the world hated Him it would hate them also. He prepared them for persecution but assured them that He had overcome the world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Acts four shows how the early church faced opposition and used the opposition as an opportunity to spread the good news. What did they do?

First, they lived lives of obedience to the Spirit of God. This brought them into favor with many of the common people. As Peter and John stood before the Jewish religious leaders, they were found blameless other than having preached that Jesus is the Christ and that God raised Him from the dead.

When we are pure of heart, we place ourselves in a position to stand firmly before those who would oppress us and harm the message of Christ.

Second, they spoke as the Spirit led. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter preached a strong, coherent, and clear message about who Jesus was and what He came to do. Often we seem to assume that the Spirit’s message is unintelligible when actually it is clear and to the point. When we speak in obedience to the Spirit, we speak God’s Word in God’s power.

This is exactly what Jesus told them would happen. In the face of opposition, they should depend on the Spirit to give the right words to speak.

Third, they used their opposition as an opportunity to tell the truth of God’s work. The Sanhedrin was the most powerful religious and political body among the Jews. Peter used their opposition as a way of telling the truth about Jesus.

The leaders had missed the truth about Jesus. Peter used their opposition and persecution (Peter and John were jailed for a night) to show them the truth.

We can do all of these things. We can live lives of purity, and we can clearly and perceptively tell who Jesus is and what He came to do.

In this world, we will have persecution, but Christ has overcome the world and has prepared us to use our hurt for His glory.

 

 

3 Comments


  1. Lonnie Wascom
    Jun 11, 2018

    Spot on! Sometimes I think we forget the fact that the early saints were counter-cultural. Sometimes I think we are too prone to want to live on “main street” and have the dominant culture pat us on the back. Sometimes I need to be reminded that when the leaders of the dominant culture told Peter and John to cease speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus, Peter said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20) Thanks for reminding us of the need and how to stand in our day because opposition is here and more serious opposition is coming.


    • Waylon
      Jun 11, 2018

      Thanks, Lonnie. We all need to think soberly about the “more serious opposition is coming” part.


  2. James L. Atchison
    Jun 11, 2018

    Liberals are determined to stamp out Christianity from American life.
    Recently a left-wing activist group in Georgia banned a high school football coach from praying with his team before and after games.
    Now one professional athlete is opening up about backlash she faced for being serious about her Christian beliefs.
    Soccer player Jaelene Hinkle is a devout Christian who came under fire for her faith.
    Hinkle excelled enough to be a member of the dominant women’s national team, but declined an invitation to the team last year over the unilateral decision for the squad to wear a jersey promoting the radical homosexual agenda.
    Hinkle is undoubtedly a good and supportive teammate, otherwise she wouldn’t have been invited back to the national team. However, she didn’t feel she should be forced to endorse a lifestyle that clashes with her faith. This episode shows just how pervasive left-wing politics are. It’s just understood that all players should wear the jersey. The team should’ve allowed players to wear a voluntary patch in lieu of a mandatory jersey.
    For her “sin,” Hinkle was not invited back to the team this year, and was booed by “tolerant” Portland fans in the National Women’s Soccer League.
    To her credit, Hinkle stood up to the abuse and said she would make the same decision because of her Christian faith. Her stance didn’t demean or belittle anyone. She simply didn’t want to promote someone else’s beliefs that came into conflict with hers.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. — Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)