Jesus Warned Us of Persecution

Jesus Warned Us About Persecution

Book of John 15:18-27

We should understand that in all the ages since the Lord Jesus Christ went back home to Heaven to prepare us a place to live, Christians have been persecuted in one form or another. We talk about persecution here in America but in reality, we have never seen persecution like those who live in many other parts of our world.

As Christians we are never to seek the propagation of the Gospel by force. We are to understand that all those in Heaven will be there because they chose to love the Lord with all their heart. Not one hypocrite will be in Heaven.

Not one persecutor of the true Church will be in Heaven unless they repent of their evil ways as did the Apostle Paul.

Paul never forgave himself for persecuting the church even though he had been forgiven of all his sin by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psa 7:10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
Psa 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psa 7:12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
Psa 7:13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
Psa 7:14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.

All unbelievers will see the wrath of God, we can be sure, but those who persecute the Church that the Lord has built cannot escape the judgments of the Lord.

The Lord has prepared for them special instruments of death. To me this is very frightening!

What did Jesus say to us?

*****Joh 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If this world hated all those who are mean, or who are selfish, or who profit from lies, or who are dishonest and who live by immoral standards then the world may be right, but the truth is, evil is not the object of hatred in this world we live in!

This world we live in hates goodness. Too much profit is made in the things of evil for the world to give up on evil and turn to goodness!

Jesus said that all Christians would be hated because we no longer belong in this world, our home is in Heaven. We are the aliens that this world spends so much money looking for!

Heaven is that world that cannot be seen by the greatest telescopes.
Heaven is that world that cannot be reached by the greatest of all spaceships.
Heaven is the world that can only be reached by and through the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Bible remains the bestselling, book in all the world and the Lord Jesus Christ the most hated of all persons in the world.

Today in America, we have a president who claims to be Christian. He is not hated because of what he has done. He is hated because he claims to be Christian along with his wife who also claims to be Christian.

This is what America has become. Our nation which was established upon Christian principles is being attacked by those who want an evil nation and want to be supplied with every evil thing to keep it that way.

This is why the Bible says these things would only get worse.

2Ti_3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Notice it is not because people are being told the truth, it is only because people are being deceived that all these things are happening!

This does not allow for change in the way of the Christian!

1Th_5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

The Lord also did not never say that to be a Christian would be easy.

*****Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

All those of the world are the same as those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because it was our Lord Jesus Christ who taught the real meaning of sin!

Jesus makes it really simple, this world loves its sin to much to give it up!

This world refuses to accept that there is a God and His name is Jehovah!

Those that reject that there is a God, named Jehovah, are all those who are of the world! They are those who are lost, and they are those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Even a blind man can see that this is true!

As Christians these must not be see as strange things that just happen, the Lord tells us all that these things will happen!

The Muslim hate the Christian because they are being deceived.
The Hindu hate the Christian because they are being deceived.
It is the same for all false religions and all those who twist the Word of God into a lie.

Once our Creator is understood then many more will come to Christ to be saved.

This is why it is so important that we not give in to any thing that challenges the Word of God in the Book of Genesis nor any other book of the Bible.

We have the truth, it is not up for discussion with those who reject the truth!

God is not some supreme grandfather, He is God even though He is a Loving God and a Just God!

We must understand that only by the “Grace” of God are we any better than those of this world.

We must also understand, that though we will one day meet the Lord “face to face” we will never be equal to our God.

*****Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

We may never understand Christian persecution, but we should see that it is a test of our character and an evidence of living as a Christian.

We have seen all over the world how Christians have gone to prison before they would deny the Lord.
We have seen all over the world of Christians who have been beheaded before they would deny the Lord.

What will we do when persecution comes our way? We need to ask ourselves this question because persecution could come our way at any time!

We must also understand that persecution is not some test that comes from God.

The world hates believers because they are convicted of their sin.

It is the “Gospel Message” that convicts this world of sin because sin cannot hide from righteousness.

Righteousness is doing things right according to the Word of God.

Joh 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
Joh 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

The world does all these things because the world rejects the true God!

*****Joh 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
Joh 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
Joh 15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

This world hates goodness and it shows more each day!

If the Lord had never come to this earth the world would have been happy to continue on until death and Hell just as it was in the days of Noah.

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

We are fools if we cannot see that the wickedness of man is growing again at a rapid pace.

The children of God again are turning toward the world!

Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

God had promised that He would not send a flood to cover this entire world again and He gave us the “Rainbow” to remember this promise.

When God came to this world in the flesh of Jesus Christ with the message of salvation, He pointed out the sin of this world which would again lead to destruction this time by fire.

As the world hides behind race and poverty, the Lord says there are only two groups of people, the Church and the World.

We see so many of the Church are not as hated because they have become part of the world. The Church is sinking in the sea of the world and may not ever rise again!

We all have to work in the same places, enjoy the same things, and become friends to those who oppose the Lord.

There is still a great gulf that is growing between right and wrong, goodness and evil, and many are not willing to give up the things that the Lord hates.

There is no bridge to cover this division between the two.

There must be a complete separation.

2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co_6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

There is a growing hatred between these two groups.

The Lord Jesus Christ did many things just to prove that He is God and we live in a world that increasingly denies these things because they cannot disprove them!

*****Joh 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
Joh 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Many say they believe the Word of God, but they just cannot believe the Word of God is Divine even though it is!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Jesus then said if we cannot believe that all the Word of God was sent from Heaven, then just believe the miracles that are recorded in the Word of God.

Many do believe that the Word of God is an accurate history of the time of Christ Jesus.

Joh 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
Joh 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Joh 9:32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
Joh 9:33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Joh 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

These enemies of the Lord could not deny the miracles that were seen by so many people, yet many today, still say these things were impossible and that is the whole point.

The Lord Jesus Christ did the impossible, yet He is still denied. We live in a very foolish world!

There is truly no reason for this world to hate Jesus, but it does!

Joh 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
Joh 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
Joh 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Joh 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

We can only deduce that this world we live in is truly ignorant!

It astounds me that our younger generation can believe the lies of the liberal politicians, who have never proven they hold to the truth, yet they can deny Jesus Christ.

Many in this world say they believe in a God but when they deny Jesus Christ, they have denied the only God that exist!

Many today talk of sin and ways to get to Heaven yet they deny the only means to do so!

The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of “unbelief”!

Over and over many will say “I do not pretend to be a Christian and yet in their next breath they will say “But I do not hate God”. How foolish are they who say such things!

Loving Jehovah is the key to salvation!

All those that say they love God but hate or deny Jesus Christ are certainly not trying to please the God they say they love!

Obedience is the first sign of love!

You want to see the face of anger, just mention the name Jesus in a crowd! Makes no sense at all!

Rom 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

We must also understand some things of the Holy Spirit.

*****Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Joh 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

We must clearly understand that our salvation can only happen by the work of the Holy Trinity, the Triune God!

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! Not three Gods but one God in three persons!

Things we cannot deny:
1) God is three persons!
2) Each person is the same God with all the same characteristics and powers!
3) There is only one God!

Any group of religionist that deny the Triune God then are only cults and certainly not Christianity!

The Holy Spirit has a mission and that mission is to draw us closer to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

It was the Holy Spirit who caused the Apostles to remember all the things of Jesus Christ!
It was the Holy Spirit who gave miracle making powers to the Apostles!
It was the Holy Spirit that these Apostles the words to say when they were brought before the government!
It is the Holy Spirit who will teach us the deep things of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who travels with the Word of God to bring conviction to those who hear God’s Word’s!
It is the Holy Spirit that shows our ownership to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

It is impossible for the Holy Spirit to lead us anywhere except to the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is impossible for the true believer to not be endowed with the Holy Spirit!

It is the Holy Spirit that causes us to be a Temple for the Father and His Son to abide in upon this earth!

1Co_6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

It is the Holy Spirit who shows our ownership to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord Jesus Christ will present us to His Father!

When Pilate ask the Lord Jesus, “what is truth”, Jesus Christ was and is Himself the Truth!

It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the strength to overcome persecution!


Let’s Pray!

A Pursued Prey David’s Persecution

A Pursued Prey David’s Persecution

Book of 1 Samuel Chapters 21-30

Last week we mentioned that Saul had ruled for nearly 30 years before these things with David had taken place. We also know that King Saul ruled for a total of 40 years:

Act 13:21  And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, [by the space of forty years].
Act 13:22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

History says that David began his rule in 1011 BC and that King Saul died in 1011 BC.

At the time of this lesson David will be around 20 years old and age to 30 years old.

King Saul spent the last 10 years of his life trying to make the life of David miserable, by trying to eliminate him from this earth.

Saul had tried to use his servants to kill David.

Saul had tried to use his daughters to kill David.

Saul had tried to use his son, Jonathan to kill David.

Saul had tried to use the Philistines to kill David.

Saul had thrown spears at David while David only played music to soothe him.

Saul will take matters in his own hands as the death of David has become a very personal thing to him.

Saul was in misery and Saul made David’s life miserable!

We should be able to see the hand of Satan in all these things!

Let’s begin:

*****1Sa 21:1  Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

Nob is a city of the tribe of Benjamin. This city is where King Saul had had the Tabernacle moved, though the Ark of the Covenant was never returned to the Tabernacle during the time of Saul.

This Nob was near and probably within sight of Jerusalem according to Isaiah:

Isa 10:32  As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

Nob was also about 2 miles from the home town of King Saul which was Gibeah and where the Ark was kept.

Ahimelech, sometimes called Ahiah, was the great grandson of Eli who would have been in his 60’s by this time.

Why was Ahimelech afraid?

David had been in the King’s court for 10 years, we could ask ourselves how would we feel if someone in the counsel of our president, a non-believer, just happened to drop by our church without notice.

So he ask, Why are you alone?

After his meeting with Jonathan, David knew he could not return to the palace of Saul. He had to flee for his life. He was not in his usual attire nor in his armor and he would not normally be traveling the country side alone as he was a target of all the enemies of Israel.

*****1Sa 21:2  And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

David lies to the High Priests.

David did not know who he could trust at this time but he did know he could trust the Lord, "But" David began scheming instead of trusting.

If we would just trust God with every portion of our lives, we would find no need to lie about our

Ahimelech had no reason to doubt these things of David and he did not.

"You may try to lie to save your life but you can never lie and save your soul"!

The prophet Jonah cried out to the Lord while in the belly of that whale and he used these words:

Jon 2:8  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

Jonah knew the mistakes he had made by not obeying God and he truly needed mercy just as David needed at this time!

David was actually joined later in the cave of Adullam with some men that stayed with him so this part could be true.

Like Jonah, David later regrets having lied to the High Priest:

1Sa 22:22  And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.

It would be a good time to point out that as these things develop we will see this Doeg as a "type" of the Antichrist.

We know that the spirit of the Antichrist has lived in all generations:

1Jn 4:3  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; [and even now already is it in the world].

*****1Sa 21:3  Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.

This question simply means what food do you have? David requested 5 loaves of bread but then said whatever you have will be enough.

*****1Sa 21:4  And the priest answered David, and said, There is no "common bread" under mine hand, but there is "hallowed bread"; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.

David had presumably made arrangements for some of his own followers to meet him after he had escaped from King Saul, so he was not alone.

We can understand that anyone with David would also be considered an enemy of Saul and would have also left all their own possessions behind.

David had made a hasty escape.

What is hallowed bread?

God had given this command to Moses that concerned the Tabernacle:

Lev 24:5  And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.
Lev 24:6  And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.
Lev 24:7  And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Lev 24:8  Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
Lev 24:9  And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.

The only time this "hallowed bread" could be considered "common bread" would have been after it was replaced each Sabbath.

This bread was to be eaten by the Priest of the Tabernacle.

Jesus explains this when He was asked about it by the Pharisees:

Mat 12:3  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Mat 12:4  How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

By the laws given to Moses it was unlawful for the common man to eat of this bread!

"But by God’s law of love", when the house of God which teaches eternal life cannot be used to sustain physical life then that would be the greater sin!

AND, Jesus adds:

Mat 12:8  For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

It was to be clear to these young men and they needed to understood where this bread came from and it’s use.

It should also be clear to the Church!

The House of God’s single most important purpose is to reach out to the lost and we cannot do that by turning our back to them!

And the saved must keep in mind that Jesus Christ is our Lord seven days of each week not just on the days we worship!

*****1Sa 21:5  And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.

We can see that David and this group of men had been alluding Saul already for 3 days and by the hand of God this was the time that was to be set aside by men to stand before the Lord.

Exo 19:15  And he said unto the people, "Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives".

Once that bread was removed from that Table that was built for that purpose, "it then became common bread"!

That bread that was intended to "shew a type of eternal life" became a bread that "sustained physical life"!

Jesus said:

Joh 6:48  I am that bread of life.

When we studied the Tabernacle we learned these things:

1) The Table for the "shew bread" was in "type" Jesus Christ in the flesh.

2) Being completely over laid with gold reminds us of Jesus Christ continuing and everlasting "deity".

3) When Jesus Christ became man, He also became "The Living Bread of Life".

4) Being made from fine flour speaks of "the perfection" of Jesus Christ.

5) This bread "was baked" which gave it life, we cannot live on flour and the baking of the bread shows us that our everlasting life came only after Christ death on the Cross.

6) This cake of bread would have been punctured just before the baking and we know that the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ was punctured 5 times on that cross.(5 the number for "Grace")

7) That bread was hallowed bread "reserved for the priests" but everyone that is filled with God’s Holy Spirit, is truly God’s priesthood.

David was filled with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit remained with him throughout his life.

When the Holy Spirit fills each believer he then becomes a priest:

1Pe 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up "a spiritual house, an holy priesthood", to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

It would have gone against the Word of God to deny David this "hallowed bread"!

Our "Hallowed God" came to this earth to save the "Common people"!

*****1Sa 21:6  So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.

David had not needed to lie!

That bread was given to David was to teach us that the preservation of life is more important than some ceremonial rules and regulations of any religion!

Our one and only job after salvation is the lead the lost to the Lord so that they can be saved!

The need for "Grace" will always replace the need for "Rituals"!

Rituals are laws or works!

God teaches us:

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  "Not of works, lest any man should boast".

There is not one part of the Old Testament that will not lead us to Jesus when we study it out!

But Satan always also has his servants in the house of God!

*****1Sa 21:7  Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.

Now let’s watch Doeg:

Doeg was a servant of Saul, and Edomite, and was Saul’s head shepherd and a fake proselyte of Judaism!

We learn a lot about this man Doeg in this verse but let’s see how David described this man in a song written about him:

Psa 52:2  Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Psa 52:3  Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
Psa 52:4  Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
Psa 52:5  God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
Psa 52:6  The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
Psa 52:7  Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.

[Compare this to the description in Ezekiel 28]

*****1Sa 21:8  And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.
1Sa 21:9  And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

We must not interpret David’s haste to be away from Saul as an urgency to about the work of the Lord for we would be wrong in doing so!

David was running to save his own life and was making many mistakes while doing that. We should say that David was sometimes in a panic himself and in great despair.

David probably knew that the sword of Goliath was at the Tabernacle and he made up another lie.

Remember David kept the laws of God!

The High Priest pointed out that David knew of this sword.

It was kept in the Tabernacle as a monument to the defeat of Goliath, giving glory to David rather than to God who had given David this victory.

We Do Not Need Idols In Our Church!

We can never place any symbol of God in our house of worship that could cause that object to be worshipped.

Our only trophy is the Holy Spirit, that lives is inside our bodily Temple and can only come to us in the name of Jesus Christ.

David would show this same stress that resulted in great sin several more times in his life.

Every Christian makes mistakes and the Holy Spirit will lead us to repentance if we are truly saved!

*****1Sa 21:10  And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
1Sa 21:11  And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
1Sa 21:12  And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

David does not make good sense at this time but he was disappointed with his nation!

David wrote the 34th Psalm later as he reflected back on this time.

One verse says this:

Psa 34:18  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Israel may not have accepted David as the new king but the Philistines were very aware that David would be the king of Israel.

David later wrote a Psalm about this incident and one of those verses has these words:

Psa 56:8  Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

David realized again that only the Lord could deliver him from the hands of Saul and from all his enemies:

Psa 56:13  For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

*****1Sa 22:1  David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.

The cave Adullam is about 13 miles west from Bethlehem. It is located on a hill about 500 feet high and there are numerous caverns there.

This was a low point in the life of David and he wrote Psalm 142 of the time he spent in this cave:

Psa 142:6  Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

We have now seen three times that much of the music of David was written at low points in his life "but he always knew who to turn too"!

We can also see that the attitude of David’s older brothers had changed, and all his family came in support of him.

Spiritually this makes us aware that as Christians who honor the Lord Jesus Christ we must also share in His rejection and in His suffering!

Luk 9:22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me".

As Christians we will suffer in this world but the Lord will be with us every step of the way!

*****1Sa 22:2  And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

We should notice that these men were not lawless bandits, "they were all victims of King Saul’s oppression". Some of these first 400 became some of the 30 of David’s mighty men and this group of men became the backbone of David’s army.

David understood the battles that were coming and that he would have to defend himself but his parents were to old and they were now also targets of King Saul.

*****1Sa 22:3  And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

We begin to see why the Bible was arranged in the order that these 66 books are when we see scriptures as this one.

The King of Moab was also an enemy of Saul and Israel.

David was the great-grandson of Ruth the Moabitess of which Jesse was the grandson. The Moabites at this point had no grounds to be against David as the word was spreading that he was also an enemy of Saul.

In fact it would be a good time to be on good terms with the future king of Israel.

David understood that he would one day be king of Israel but he did not yet know the time that would take place.

*****1Sa 22:4  And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

The "hold" was probably the stronghold David used in Moab and near the border of Judah and was not the same as the cave of Adullam.

*****1Sa 22:5  And the prophet Gad said unto David, "Abide not in the hold"; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.
1Sa 22:6  When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

Gad is a prophet of God that joined with David while he was on the run and must have stayed close to him his remaining days.

Gad later wrote a book that may have even been called the "Acts of David".

1Ch 29:29  Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, "and in the book of Gad the seer",
1Ch 29:30  With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.

This is all we know of this book but if Ezra completed the books of Samuel, then he certainly knew these things of Gad.

Gad, along with the prophet Nathan, also assisted in arranging the music with David in God’s House and was known as the King’s Seer, referring to King David.

2Ch 29:25  And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, "and of Gad the king’s seer", and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.

As a Seer, Gad had visions from God of what was going to happen and he advised David to return to Judah.

It would be hard for David to be a witness for the God of Israel if that God could not protect David in the land of Israel!

It was Judah that needed to know David and it was not fitting that the future king of Israel could not trust God’s ability to keep him safe in his own land!

We can see King Saul had nothing else on his mind but the destruction David and he was waiting for any knowledge of him with his spear in his hand ready to kill David himself.

Saul craved another opportunity to cast that javelin at David!

*****1Sa 22:7  Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
1Sa 22:8  That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

As Saul got the word that David had again entered into Israel, this time with an army, he gave this challenge to his own tribe Benjamin from which he had chosen most all his national leaders.

Saul felt like all of Israel had conspired against him and he challenged his own tribe to prove their loyalty because he said, "I am still your king and David is a nobody who can do nothing for you".

This gives us another picture of how far King Saul had sunk into depression, nearing insanity.

Saul said the proof of these things is the fact than none of them had told him about his son Jonathan, who had conspired with David allowing him to escape.

Saul again shows his fear of David!

*****1Sa 22:9  Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.
1Sa 22:10  And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

Doeg seizes on this opportunity to be more than just the head shepherd for King Saul. and now tells him how he had witnessed David with the High Priest.

Doeg makes it seem that the High Priests had also conspired against the King by not only providing weapons and food but had also inquired of God for David which did not happen.

Keep in mind that Saul had already been informed by Samuel that the Lord had rejected him as king as we follow what takes place.

*****1Sa 22:11  Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.
1Sa 22:12  And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
1Sa 22:13  And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Saul repeats what Doeg has said about the High Priest.

We also need to keep in mind the phrase "all thy father’s house" is the house of Eli.

What did God say to Eli?

1Sa 3:12  In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.

God said there would come a time that all of Eli’s family would be destroyed and there would be no more priests come from that family line.

We can see that God did not use Saul to do this evil but that God knew that this would happen.

God could have stopped these things from happening but He had already said He would not do so.

Ahimelech was innocent of these things that Doeg said and we can see his response:

*****1Sa 22:14  Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
1Sa 22:15  Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

The High Priest, like everyone else, had witnessed David how he had been faithful to the King.

Ahimelech reminded Saul that David was indeed still his son in law.

Ahimelech knew that whatever Saul had commanded David had obeyed.

Ahimelech says I had no reason not to believe what David had said and was not involved in any conspiracy against King Saul!

Ahimelech denies inquiring of the Lord for David and this had not been necessary as both David and Saul had already been informed of God’s Will.

So, What did King Saul do?

*****1Sa 22:17  And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.
1Sa 22:18  And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

The army of Saul knew this was wrong but Doeg murdered 85 members of the house of Eli, leaving only Abiathar left of the house of Eli.

Not only that but Saul destroyed the city of Nob!

If we see Doeg as a "type" of the "Anti-Christ" then we can see Ahimelech and those priests as a "type" of the Church.

Ahitub means "brother of goodness" but Ahimelech means "brother of the King"!

*****1Sa 22:19  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

King Saul had failed to obey God to destroy King Agag and the Amelikites but it seems Saul had no problem with all these that were of the Tabernacle of God, God’s House!

Sounds a whole lot like the world we live in now!

David spent the next 10 years evading King Saul and certain  death!

It was a difficult and an uncertain life and the most important thing we need to realize as David eventually did himself was the fact that the Lord was with him during all this time!

David was on God’s training ground because it is God that sits on the throne in Heaven!

Jesus teaches us with these words:

Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

And He adds for us to remember:

Psa 56:3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

David learned this and we need to learn this also!


Let’s Pray!

The Product Of Persecution

The Product Of Persecution

Book of Acts Chapter 8

With the death of Stephen, persecution increased for the church in Jerusalem. The religious rulers of Israel wanted to totally eliminate Christianity!

So what was the product of this persecution?

The Word of God began it’s journey to the uttermost parts of this world!

No matter how things appear to us, it is God who who sits in control of this earth and the things that happen on this earth.

We should never forget this verse:

Rom 8:28  And we know that “all things” work together for good to them that love God, [to them who are the called according to his purpose].

The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ is much, much, more than an idea or some new religion that can be stopped!

The “Gospel” is the Power Of God!

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: [for “it is the power of God unto salvation”] to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ is the “Doctrine of Christianity” and those that believe and have faith in the “promises” that God makes to each believer shall be saved.

You see Satan is “forced” to remove his hold on those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that “oppose themselves”; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the “acknowledging of the truth”;
2Ti 2:26  And that they may “recover themselves” out of the snare of the devil, [who are taken captive by him at his will].

Let’s begin:

*****Act 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. [And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad] throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

The Church at Jerusalem had grown large by this time. It began with those 120 and in addition to those 3000 early converts we know of at Peters sermon we just recently studied over 5000 more were added and women and children were not even mentioned.

They were called a great multitude of believers who were in one heart and one soul.

It is said that they multiplied greatly “But” they were all staying in Jerusalem!

What had God commanded?

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

They had not even started to do this. So, we can see that God allowed some things to happen. We will soon see that they indeed began to scatter and they first stayed close again which was Samaria.

We can see that God’s “will” will be done!

We can be willing participants or unwilling participants but God will see that His Word is fulfilled!

A church that is willing to send and support missionaries to wherever God sends them may grow and remain large enough to provide that support!

BUT, a church that is not willing and refuses to support those that are called of God and the Men, God has chosen, has little purpose for remaining in great numbers and if they will not even work in their local community there is little need in that church existing.

We can see what this leads to:

Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17  [Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked]:

And we know that this is the direction that the church is headed in our day!

It is more efficient for the church and more Christ honoring, for members to be scattered and form new churches in other areas where they are more needed!

But is was not the right time for the Apostles to be scattered!

Here again we can see that God preferred the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem and protect the flock at this time.

The Bible teaches us:

1Pe 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, [but being ensamples to the flock].

*****Act 8:2  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, and is usually accompanied with cries of grief. We should have this expression every time a man of God is called home and Stephen had fulfilled his purpose set forth of God and “only his body” went into the ground awaiting the resurrection or what we call the “Rapture of the Church”.

2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The soul of Stephen had departed out of this world. The interval between death and the resurrection, is a state of absence from the body, during which time the soul exists in a separate state “with the Lord” and the body in a state of inactivity and “sleep” waiting on the resurrection when “both will be reunited together again” but in a glorified body as that of the Lord.

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are “asleep”, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, [even so them also which “sleep” in Jesus “will God bring with him”].

*****Act 8:3  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Saul was a young man full of zeal about his religion:

Php 3:6  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Gal 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that “beyond measure” I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Gal 1:14  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Saul went into every dwelling where it was reported that a Christian lived and into every house where they gathered and physically dragged these believers out into the streets and then into the prisons.

It can be said that “making havoc” would be like treating these believers as “the filth of the world” especially of Jerusalem.

*****Act 8:4  Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

And what were the results of this persecution?

It would still be wrong to believe that God caused this persecution but it could be said that God allowed this persecution to take place.

Our God is a righteous and a God who is also Holy!

AND, These believers that were scattered abroad went preaching the Word of God!

The Greek word “diasperio” used for the English word “scattered” means to “sow throughout”.

These believers of the early Church in Jerusalem were “God’s spiritual seed” and “persecution” was used of God to “plant this seed in new soil” so it could bear fruit!

It is in the best interest of every house of God to be sure to teach the entire truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which should also include all the Old Testament.

Because every child of God must be “rooted and grounded” in the entire truth of God’s Word!

Col 2:6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Col 2:7  “Rooted” and built up in him, and “stablished” in the faith, as ye have been taught, “abounding” therein with thanksgiving.

*****Act 8:5  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Philip’s glad reception in Samaria is proof of all these truths!

Most of these Samaritans, [with no disrespect], were a half-breed people, a mixture of Jew and Gentile. This was brought about many years earlier when the Assyrians had captured the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.

In 732 BC many of these of Israel were deported into foreign lands and many Gentiles were imported who then inter-married with the Jews that were left behind.

These Samaritans openly opposed the Jews!

It is interesting to note that Israel, gained possession of Jerusalem and most of the old remnant of Samaria during the Six Day War of 1967, which at that time the nation of Jordan “had claimed but were not a part of”.

The nation of Jordan was never the owner of these lands as they belonged to “Israel”.

It should also be noted that Jordan, no longer had any power of this region which we now call the “West Bank”, but they ceded that land “that they never owned but just claimed” to the Palestinian Liberation Organization or the PLO. This happened at two times in 1988 part A and 1994 part B.

Jordan had no authority to do these things and the PLO had and has no right to claim these lands!

The true owners, “Israel” had regained their land in 1967!

Let’s continue:

Philip was one the seven chosen men and what we now call a Deacon but after the death of Stephen and this persecution, he fled to Samaria probably in fear of his own life.

Here Philip preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That word “Christ” means In Greek, “The Anointed One or “The Messiah”.

It seems even many of the Church of today reject that Jesus is the “Christ” or Jesus is the “Messiah”, God in the flesh!

The “lost” cannot be saved if they reject this truth!

*****Act 8:6  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

When God calls someone to go to a specific place of ministry, God will also soften the hearts of those in that place He is sending that person. We will see this over and over again in our study of the Book of Acts.

We can also see that God had given Philip some of those powers that only the Apostles had. All these powers and gifts of these sort, disappeared at the death of the Apostles and only God Himself uses these powers today and most of them go unnoticed.

Salvation did not then nor will it ever come from a miracle or a wonder!

Salvation can only come from the heart of that once lost person!

*****Act 8:7  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Act 8:8  And there was great joy in that city.

Nobody can ever be saved simply because of some miracle!

These people paid more attention to the Word of God that Philip was preaching than they did the miracles that came about through him!

When Philip mentioned that he had left Jerusalem “because the hatred showed to him”, he was probably received with open arms in Samaria and his message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought great joy to these people.

Maybe not all of them had forgotten that day Jesus had stropped by and converted that woman at Jacob’s well.

Joh 4:7  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

While the church in Jerusalem was suffering misery because of persecution, Samaria was having great joy!

*****Act 8:26  And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

We have skipped many verses to stay with the theme of this lesson but that does not mean they are not very important.

Peter and John “had been sent” to confirm Philip’s work.

This would be the first steps in removing the walls of separation between the Jew and the Samaritan!

We see that Peter and John had been sent as messengers of the Gospel and not in any function as a ruler.

Not one Apostle was regarded or elevated above any of the other Apostles!

And by this time of this verse, Peter and John had returned to Jerusalem and shared, with enthusiasm, the good news that God also would save those that were lost in Samaria.

The Bible says that the truth is:

Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that “whosoever” shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But while revival was going on in Samaria, Philip was called of God for a more important task.

There was a single individual on his way home that was under conviction by the Word of God and needed to be shown how to make application of God’s Word.

We must realize that no angel has ever experienced God’s “Grace” therefore, they can never bear witness of what it takes to be “Saved”!

1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; [which things the angels desire to look into].

The angels desire to know the salvation that “Grace” provides and also the feeling of the “indwelling” of the Spirit but they will never know these things on a personal level.

But they do have great joy for everyone of God’s creation that does when they see the pleasure on God’s face.

Luk 15:7  I say unto you, that likewise [joy shall be in heaven] over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Gaza was the southern most city “of Israel” and a route between Syria and Egypt. This road was well traveled by visitors to Jerusalem.

*****Act 8:27  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Act 8:28  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

As we witness for the Lord we should also realize that God will direct us to the right person at the exact right time.

This eunuch was a man of great authority and that word “Ethiopia” is given to us to tell us that this was a black man.

This is one of the places where God shows us that the Gospel is for “whosoever” and through this man the “Gospel” would be spread to this area of the Gentile world as well as all others.

That word “Whosoever” means exactly what it says!

Not only was this man black but being a eunuch for whatever reason, which could have been his own choice but probably not, he could have “never” been accepted into Judaism and though he was allowed to worship in Jerusalem, he would never have been accepted into the family of God “by the standards of the Law”.

AND, it would be hard to question a man’s love of God who had traveled more than 200 miles alone to worship Him.

In “type” this man represents all people who are religious, and read the Bible, and seek the truth “but do not know the saving faith in Jesus Christ”.

Philip had been among the first to go to Samaria and now he was of the first of Jerusalem to witness to the outside world!

*****Act 8:29  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

It had been an angel of the Lord who had directed Philip to this location in Gaza but now the Holy Spirit was giving Him direction to lead this man to Jesus.

Joh 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, [he shall testify of me]:

It is the Holy Spirit that leads every believer to where God sends!
It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is to be preached upon arrival to that place!
It is the Holy Spirit of God that brings conviction to that one that hears the Word of God!
It is “faith” in God’s Word that brings Salvation!

The Word of God is already in this chariot with this man and he is reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. “There was no New Testament at this time!”

*****Act 8:30  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest
thou what thou readest?
Act 8:31  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

This Ethiopian was reading the Word of God out loud and God had already prepared this man’s heart to receive a Christian witness and God had specifically sent Philip!

When we obey the leading of the Holy Spirit we can be sure that God has gone on before us to prepare the way!

This man was reading this passage:

Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

*****Act 8:35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

All the Old Testament scriptures relate to Jesus one way or another!

The Bible says of our Lord:

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

This Book of God had been written in Heaven long before it was given to men by the Holy Spirit!

Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.


1Pe 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1Pe 1:20  [Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world], but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ Jesus came into this world specifically to do the will of God!

And what is the will of God?

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world [through him] “might be saved”.

Isaiah 53 describes our Lord as the willing Sacrifice for all sinners even to the point of “loosing all His human rights”!

And it takes the Holy Spirit to open our minds to this truth!

*****Act 8:36  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Act 8:37  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

This verse clearly shows that baptism is to take place only after the “saving faith” of the believer.

It is not enough for a lost person to desire salvation!

Everyone must understand God’s plan of salvation!

AND, It must come from the heart!

Jesus said:

Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, [and understandeth it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Jesus Christ is the “fulfillment” of the prophesies of the Bible!

And then:

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and “hearing by the word of God”.

And then:

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, “thou shalt be saved”.
Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

*****Act 8:38  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and “they went down both into the water”, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

It is obvious that these verses refer to a “complete immersion” into the water used for this baptism!

If we recall the time of Noah we know that the world was repopulated by his three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth.

God has now reached out to the descendants of Shem which is the Jews.

God has now reached out to the descendants of Ham, this Ethiopian and those with him.

God in our next chapters God will reach out to the descendants of Japheth, the Gentiles, through the Apostle Peter and then the Apostle Paul.

ALL, These things began to happen because of the persecution of the early Church!


Let’s Pray!

Persecution In A Hostile World

The Persecution Of A Hostile World

Book of Acts Chapter 4: 1-14

Many people always ask why do we suffer from persecution and we really should have only one answer even though there may be some other reasons.

Jesus teaches us these words:

Mat 10:22  And “ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake”: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

It is a fact that most all true Christians do good in this world we live in “But” even that good that is done is looked upon as evil in most of the world today.

Even in this latest tragic hurricane in our north our own president put down the good of the churches and asked people to work through the Red Cross. The Red Cross does a good work for the most part but they cannot put people on the ground as quick and as efficient as the local church.

BUT, It is a fact that any demonstration of the power of God makes this lost world uneasy!

The preaching of Peter had caused many lost souls to come to know the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But this same preaching that had brought many to salvation had inflamed the priestly authorities of Judaism in Israel.

The Sadducee were the ruling party at that time and they absolutely rejected resurrection in any form and especially any resurrection of a Messiah.

It is also a fact that this world’s religions reject the truth of God coming to Earth in the form of a human.

Most all religions believe that any Messiah will be some resurrected human from the past.

So, They could not allow the disciples of Jesus Christ to go unpunished.

Remember what Jesus had said:

Mat 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: “I came not to send peace, but a sword”.
Mat 10:35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mat 10:36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Of course that sword is the Living Word of God!

At this time the high priest and his followers were answerable to the Roman authorities for anything that even sounded like a disturbance.

Any gathering of people that might suddenly erupt into a riot or a revolution could take away their limited power and prestige given to them by Rome!

Their answer to this problem was to try to stop the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

As we left off last week the Temple Police and the religious leaders were just about to lay their hands on Peter and John.

Let’s continue where we left off!

*****Act 4:1  And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Act 4:2  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

It should be very obvious to us all that it was not only a ruling government that led to the persecution of the Lord Jesus but it was the religious rulers of that day. These were the enemies of Jesus Christ when he walked on this earth and these were the enemies of the apostles as the early church began to grow and then we can add on to that the ruling governments.

These authorities tried in every way to stop the spread of the Christian faith just as they still do today!

Many lost souls were being saved by the preaching of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The church could have been stopped dead in its tracks if the world could only have produced the dead body of Christ.

We can be sure that they made great effort in trying to find the body of Jesus.

They could not find the “physical” body of Christ so they took steps to eliminate the “spiritual” body of Christ!

Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

These apostles had witnessed the Lord Jesus ascending into Heaven. They had spent 40 days walking and talking with the resurrected Lord.

They knew for a fact that no one would be able to find the body of Christ because it was not on this earth!

This gave them the boldness to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ AND This was also one of those infallible proofs that Luke writes to us about.

This enemy would surely have produced that body of Jesus if it were possible for them to do so.

Christianity would have never even got started!

The apostle Paul put it this way:

1Co 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1Co 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

If you believe that Jesus did not raise from the dead, then you are still on the threshhold of hell if you are still alive and everyone that has gone before you is in Hell already!

*****Act 4:3  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

Peter and John were placed in jail that day for simply preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It had only been 3 hours since God had used Peter in the healing of that lame man and had preached a sermon that would cause these to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

Peter and John and entered the Temple in time for the three o’clock prayer time and it was now evening time probably six o’clock.

*****Act 4:4  Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

If anyone that calls himself a preacher needs an outline for a sermon they need to take advantage of this one preached by the apostle Peter.  At least 5000 souls were saved that day. These were true converts.

These were Jews who had recognized that the fulfillment of Judaism is in fact, Christianity.

*****Act 4:5  And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
Act 4:6  And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

We see this time that there was no midnight court for these Apostles and this is because of those 5000 new Christians and “one miracle receiving man” who had spent 40 years being lame.

You know it is just as great a miracle for even one lost soul to be adopted into the family of God.

This court was essentially composed of the family of the High Priest. The Jewish religious system had become so corrupt that the offices were passed from one relative to another without regard or the Word of God.

None of these men were not descendents of the tribe of Levi.

In fact history tells us that Annas was deposed from the High Priesthood by Rome and he was not about to allow that to happen to those of his family! Caiaphas his son-in-law was next appointed High Priest and at least five of Annas’s sons held the office of High Priest at one time or another.

In 1994 near a hidden valley in Jerusalem the stone burial ossuary of Caiaphas was actually found in the tomb of Annas.

These were real people and at a real-time at this time of the apostles and the beginning of the early church and not some made up story by these apostles!

*****Act 4:7  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, [have ye done this]?

The first thing we should notice here is that these religious leaders had acknowledged this as a miracle even though they tried to make it seem a minor thing at this time! (this thing)

The second thing we should notice is that these religious leaders had acknowledged that this miracle was done by Peter and John, the Apostles of Jesus Christ! (ye or you people)

In other words, “who do you think you people are to come into the Temple with this stuff”

The view of Judaism at that time was that all illnesses and afflictions were caused by demons!

In their view it would take an exorcism to remove those demons and this could only be accomplished by qualified spiritual leaders or else by a follower of the devil as we know that Jesus had been accused of.

Mat 12:24  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

This Sanhedrin council realized that these two Apostles were only fishermen and could certainly not have any such power.

*****Act 4:8  Then Peter, “filled with the Holy Ghost”, said unto them, [Ye rulers of the people], and [elders of Israel],

The power of regeneration can come only by the Holy Spirit and only through the Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

To question the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ is “Blasphemy” and this riled the Holy Spirit within Peter!

And Christ Jesus fulfilled one of His promises to His Apostles which was:

Mat 10:19  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Mat 10:20  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

We must realize the more we go about the work of God, the more spiteful will be the servants of Satan!

If we take our stand on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will empower us!

Notice the eloquence of Peter at this time that is shown to the national leaders of Israel. This shows the wisdom of God that is given to the Christian!

*****Act 4:9  If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Act 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Keep in mind that Peter and John were only fishermen and not educated and trained lawyers.

The Word of God teaches us:

Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

And also:

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, [to stand].

Peter’s first emphasis was that they were being questioned “for a good deed”.

Peter and John had done nothing bad, nothing evil nor anything immoral and it was not a Sabbath’s Day.

They had been used by the Holy Spirit to bring life to a man that had been lame for 40 years. This man had been a beggar all his life and to God’s glory he had been preserved until this very day of his healing.

There can be no doubt that in those 40 years these same elders and the same rulers had seen this man many times and had probably provided an “alms” to him.

Peter then said if you want to know by what means this good deed was done then let it be known to you all and to all the people of Israel that it was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

There can be no doubt that these words pierced the heart of these non-believers.

They had thought that they were finished with the prophet from Nazareth but now these fishermen were telling everybody that Jesus of Nazareth was still alive.

Since the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead then Peter’s statement was almost a declaration of war to them.

Peter made it known that it was these religious leaders and these elders of Israel that had caused Jesus to be crucified, but it was God who had raised him from the dead!

It was that same power of resurrection that had brought new life to this lame man!

*****Act 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Here again we see that Peter knew that Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism and not some new religion but this is still rejected by the practicing Jew!

We should also remember that this same Peter had once been so fearful in his life that he had denied Christ Jesus three times.

It had taken a major transformation which was the fact that Peter knew beyond any question that Jesus had triumphed over death and had now energized him by His indwelling spirit.

Peter quoted the same Scripture that Jesus had earlier:

Psa 118:22  The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
Psa 118:23  This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

This “image of the stone” was not new to these men who were experts in the Old Testament scriptures. They knew that the “rock” was a symbol of God.

Deu 32:4  He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

The Sadducees used only the five books of Moses but the Pharisees used most all the Old Testament of that time.

We know that the Jews still stumble over this “Rock”!

Rom 9:32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Rom 9:33  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

This is the stumbling stone that God has laid at the feet of the Jew and also at the feet of the world.

You see for Jesus was not just any Stone, “He is the Corner Stone of the Church” just as He is also the Savior of the Church and This World!

*****Act 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This is one of the clearest statements that can be found anywhere in the Bible that sets forth the only way of salvation!

Only Christ Jesus can save!

It is Christ Jesus that created and sustains all things!

Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Jesus had made this very plain Himself!

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

We can see that these Apostles “clearly believed” the gospel of Jesus Christ!

We know that this truth may be offensive to non-Christians but we must continually and consistently make it clear in our witness to them in an act of love for them.

For without Christ Jesus we are lost and bound for an eternal Hell!

*****Act 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Many, if not all of these same men on this council had been at the  false trial of Jesus. Remember this day of Peter and John was probably not much than two months since Jesus was crucified.

They had seen the witness of Jesus and sitting before them this day they were seeing men that resembled the Lord Jesus Christ in many ways including their boldness!

Being with Jesus will yield a greater wisdom and courage than this world offers!

There are many things the Holy Spirit provides to every believer:

Isa 11:2  And the “spirit of the LORD” shall rest upon him, “the spirit of wisdom” and “understanding”, “the spirit of counsel” and “might”, “the spirit of knowledge” and “of the fear of the LORD”;

We that believe, can live happier and more productive lives with the knowledge of Jesus than we could have ever lived with any great wealth of this world or with the education that this world provides.

These men that were accusing these Apostles of Jesus Christ were of the most educated and certainly of the most wealthy in Israel.

But they had been silenced by God’s people!

Suddenly the accused had become the accuser!

Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

It should be to all of us “our goal” for people to see Jesus in us!

These religious rulers of Israel had thought that they had gotten rid of Jesus but they could see Jesus in these Apostles and in all who believed with all their heart!

Jesus said:

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

*****Act 4:14  And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

All this time they could see this once lame man standing with Peter and John with personal knowledge that they had witnessed a miracle!

All arguments are silenced when there is a direct evidence of the power of the Gospel!

What Peter’s speech could not do the witness of this once lame man accomplished!

All this time this council had not been seeking the truth.

They were seeking a way to avoid the truth! No matter what God does in this world we live in, some people simply will not learn or accept!

What they did think is if they just left thing alone, Christianity would soon pass away from the scene but it did not because the truth “is always the truth”.

Christianity exploded from this day onward!

The name of Jesus was in the minds of everyone in Israel and would be scattered around the world by persecution!

This world can only do what God allows it to do to God’s people!

And what God allows will further prove His Word is True!


Then let us pray with them!