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Sermon #5723

Power in Persecution

A Sermon on Acts 4:23-24


Acts 4:23-24 ESV KJV
When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything …

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Sermon Description

Christians all around the world face varying levels of persecution—some believers are murdered or physically harmed for their faith, while others are merely scoffed at by those who think Christianity is foolish. What can the Christian do to combat this? In this sermon on Acts 4:23–24 titled “Power in Persecution,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how the church can stand strong in the midst of trying times by pointing back to the early church and the examples of Peter and John. First, believers must not compromise their message. After being released from prison, Peter and John continued to preach the gospel even though they had been forbidden to on penalty of death. Second, they must go to God in prayer. It is so easy for Christians to become anxious about what they need to do, yet Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that Peter and John acknowledged that it was God’s problem to handle, not theirs. This brought immense peace because they were choosing to rest in God’s sovereignty by trusting His plan rather than becoming worried about the circumstances. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones unpacks how Christians today can stand strong for the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of persecution.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The passage describes the first persecution faced by the early church.
  2. Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus and the resurrection.
  3. The authorities warned them not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus or face death.
  4. Peter and John reported to the church what the authorities told them.
  5. The church prayed in response. They started by worshipping God and acknowledging His power and sovereignty.
  6. They reminded God that the authorities were opposing Him, not just the apostles. The issue was God's, not theirs.
  7. They asked God for boldness to continue preaching the gospel, not for protection or comfort.
  8. God answered their prayer by shaking the building they were in. This showed His power and comforted them.
  9. The believers were then filled with the Holy Spirit, giving them boldness, clarity, and unity.
  10. They continued preaching about Jesus with power and grace.
  11. We need to pray like the early church did, acknowledging God's power and asking for boldness, not comfort.
  12. True unity comes from being filled with the Spirit, not organizational efforts.
  13. We rely too much on our own inadequate resources instead of God's power.
  14. We need to realize the cause is God's, not ours, and pray for Him to move.

Itinerant Preaching

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.