Suffering for Christ’s Sake

Acts 5:17-29, 40-42
Lesson 7 -- fourth quarter 2012
October 14, 2012
Christian Light Publications

Preparing My Heart

The established Jewish leaders had no intention of yielding to the insisting, persisting force of God’s message to them. They rejected the oral message of the disciples. They resisted the living message of the miracles.

I shake my head in amazement at their hardened hearts. Then I wonder what I must do to stay firm in the faith while keeping my heart tender toward God.

Making the Bible Personal

How can I know if God wants me to change my view on some point of truth?

What principles of disobedience-without-defiance should anchor as well as guide my stand for truth?

Does God ever expect me to be quiet and lie low instead of bringing “unwelcome attention” to myself and other believers?

Should I be doing anything now to toughen me for persecution later?

What is my threshold for rejoicing?

When do I engage the opportunities to “teach and preach Jesus Christ”?

Reviewing Basic Truths

God goes with His people through glory and through shame.

Defying God also requires defying reason and sense.

Christians should rather suffer shame for Jesus’ name than shame His name.

No command voids or supersedes God’s.

Applying God’s Word to Me

Section omitted from free version; purchase entire quarter as PDF or for Kindle.

“Speak…all the words of this life.” I wonder what they spoke in their effort to meet the mandate. We know they didn’t cease “to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” But what were all those “words of this life”? Whatever they were, they immensely displeased the Jewish leaders, who resorted to threats, prison, and beatings. The apostles, having been told by an angel to speak, humbly replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

I need that reminder. Sometimes I leave unsaid certain aspects of the message of Jesus. At times I withhold all the message of Jesus. And do I ever hide Jesus Himself? Makes me wonder why I would not speak of Jesus and His words.

In our day, aren’t certain elements of truth best left unstated? Well, maybe not best (we might amend), but certainly safest. Wait! How could I say that?! Just how “safe” does this sound to you?

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Matthew 8:38).

Well, we need to know the truth. We need to stand on the truth. We need to live the truth. We need to declare the truth. Sometimes, though, that is inconvenient. And sometimes, that may even pose a danger to us.

And what about our hearers and those who could become our hearers? We owe it to them to present the Gospel truth, even when that is to them an unwelcome or inconvenient truth. How else shall they experience freedom?

“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).

“Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Lesson, click here: Stephen’s Martyrdom.

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Make sure these things are so: Examine the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). And above all, love God!