When Christianity is Threatened

Do you ever feel like the odds are against Christians?  Or that we’re being ganged up on?  It seems like any view or practice can be promoted except biblical ones.  How long will preachers be able to share the Truth freely?  Will there come a day when the gospel is threatened, perhaps banned?  If so, it won’t be the first time.

God has given us a game plan and that comforts me.  Today’s post is one that we must share with our children, our Bible classes, our friends, and our youth groups.  It will bolster our courage.  It will help us get ready for whatever comes.

Text:  Acts 4

The setting:  Peter and John had been preaching about Jesus.  Some influential people were “greatly disturbed” enough to put them in custody.  Then, in front of a large crowd, the two outspoken Christians were put on the spot.  They were asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”  I can envision Peter lifting his chin and raising his voice as he named Jesus Christ and said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved!”  That was all it took.  Let’s see what we can learn from the dramatic events that unfolded.

The Catalyst (v. 13,14)

  • -The people “saw the boldness” of Christians (v. 13).
  • -The people “realized that they had been with Jesus” (v. 13).
  • -The people “could say nothing against it” (v. 14).

The Reaction (v. 17-21)

  • -The influential people planned. “Let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”  Their goal was to make sure that the name of Jesus would “spread no further among the people” (v. 17).
  • -The people “commanded [the Christians] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (v. 18).
  • -The people “further threatened them” (v. 21).

The Solution (v. 19-31)

  • -Determine to listen to God instead of the people (v. 19).
  • -Keep speaking (v. 20).
  • -Glorify God (v. 21).
  • -Talk to God as a united group (v. 24).
  • -PRAY.  Ask God for continued boldness to speak His Word in light of threats (v. 29, 31).
  • -Then ACT by speaking the word of God with all boldness (v. 31).

The Outcome (v. 32-37)

  • -The Christians were united (v. 32).
  • -They had “great power” and “great grace” (v. 33).
  • -The Christians took care of each other (v. 34, 35).
  • -It spurred other Christians to act (v. 37).

When the Christians were threatened, they must’ve been intimidated.  Surely they felt fear. But instead of simply lamenting the fact that those in authority were anti-Jesus, they turned to God, prayed for boldness, and then continued to speak up for Christ.  May Christians today do the same!

“Why did the nations rage,

and the people plot vain things?

The kings of the earth took their stand, 

and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord

and against His Christ.”

(Acts 4:25,26)

Image credit:  Michael Hite
Image credit: Michael Hite
%d bloggers like this: