Acts 5:12-42 | Andrew Murch | The ongoing mission of the Spirit-filled church simply cannot be stopped. In this passage we see that following and obeying God is always worth it, no matter the consequences we will face. The high priest and the Sadducees are corrupt leaders who are now jealous of a genuine move of God. These spiritual leaders would have worked their whole lives only to gain a false authority and power and watch their influence slip right out of their hands as they oppose God and his Spirit. As the pressure increases against the apostles and the believers they never falter from the mission they have been sent on. As a result, they are once again sent to prison and they are once again delivered from it. This text reminds all Christians that following Jesus will lead us to tough decisions, difficult situations, and even persecution. In a world full of gray areas and compromises, the church stands firm on truth no matter what. When we do face trials of various kids, may we have the courage and boldness to say it is a privilege to be counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.
Rise of the Resistance
October 30, 2022 • Andrew Murch • Acts 5:12–42
November 20, 2022 • Andrew Murch • Acts 8:1–4
Acts 8:1-4 | Andrew Murch | This section of Acts comes to a close with a person who is going to play an important role throughout the rest of the book. In the shadow of Stephen's execution, we are introduced to Saul, who "approved of [Stephen's] execution" (Acts 8:1 ESV). By the hand of Saul, the Church enters a brutal season of persecution. However, God has not finished his work of establishing his Church.
The Witness Stand
November 13, 2022 • Andrew Murch • Acts 6:8–15, Acts 7
Acts 6:8-7:60 | Andrew Murch | In this moment, the Christian movement receives its first martyr in history, and it launches an all-out “witch hunt” for anyone who would believe the same way as Stephen. We are introduced to Saul who is the primary mover in this persecution, and the church is launched into a new era of being hunted. This pivotal moment in the story of Acts continues two of the themes already established. The first is that the only proper response to the preaching of Christ is belief and repentance, which the religious leaders refused. The second is that as the church is persecuted it will only grow all the more. These two things are still true for the global church today as the message is shared in numerous languages and cultures.
The Small Stuff
November 6, 2022 • Gavin Hesse • Acts 6:1–7
Acts 6:1-7 | Gavin Hesse | As the gospel spread throughout the Jewish world, many Hellenists responded to the good news. The Hellenists were Jews who spoke Greek (instead of Hebrew), so the obvious language barrier in the church was likely the cause of this oversight. But as we see in this week’s text, a need in the church is an opportunity for the church to respond. While the word “deacon” is never used in this text as a noun, in verse 2, we see the verb “to deacon” (or “to serve”). This passage in the foundation for the office of deacon in the church, a group of leading servants who help carry out the practical needs of the church. These needs range from children’s ministry to media oversight, from caring for the facility to making sure widows have the food and help that they need.