a. Matthew 5:10-11
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
1. What should make us rejoice in persecutions?
2. Have people insulted or spoken evil of you because of Jesus?
3. How did you feel?
4. Who else has been treated this way?
b. John 15:18-23
18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.
1. How should we expect to be treated?
2. Why does the world hate us?
3. What makes people feel guilty when they see us become disciples.
c. Acts 4:13-22
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.
16 "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it.
17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.
22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
1. What made Peter and John so bold?
2. Has any one tried to stop you from teaching, speaking or worshipping Jesus?
3. How have you responded?
d. Acts 5:17-29
17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.
18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.
20 "Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin--the full assembly of the elders of Israel--and sent to the jail for the apostles.
22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported,
23 "We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
25 Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people."
26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.
28 "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!
1. Jesus was persecuted out of envy.
[ Mark 15:10]
knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.
The apostles were arrested out of jealousy.
2. Why will we be persecuted or slandered?
3. By whom?
4. What was the apostles' reply when they were told to stop?
e. Acts 5:40-42
40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
1. What made the apostles happy?
Let verse 42 be your theme today and every day.