An Eyewitness Promise in Peace or Persecution

ENGLISH

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. — Acts 9:31

From the beginning of Acts until chapter 9, almost all of the persecution that believers withstood was instigated by Jewish religious officials. If we back up even to the death of Jesus, we note that even his crucifixion was instigated by religious officials who politically pressed the Roman Governor at the time.

And so, in this text, we discover that there is a time of peace that sweeps across the countryside for believers. This gives newfound momentum to these disciples. And based on what we have read so far, this is probably a result of Saul's conversion.

In fact, Saul's conversion is the most prominent evidence for the resurrection. Just consider this. If you wanted to prove a risen Savior and it isn't impossible to find any material evidence, what would be the very best evidence? Well, it would be the eyewitness testimony of a person who had seen him risen. Even better, it would be someone who hated, despised, arrested, and killed those who proposed that Jesus had risen from the dead. And in Saul, we have that man. And even though religious officials attempted to arrest and kill Saul for a while, they had a real conundrum on their hands with him. Remember, Saul knew their tactics, was very well-educated, was excellent at a debate, and even more was a Roman citizen, which gave him certain rights of protection. So religious officials were really stuck in a conundrum here. And thus, we have a time of peace for Christians that will last around 7 years.

Once in a while, God will give a believer or believers a time of peace. Peace from propaganda, fear, hate, oppression, and violence. During these times, we should celebrate and enjoy our season of peace. But as the writer notes here, during these times, we should build, continue in the fear of God, live in the Spirit, and emphatically proclaim the gospel message with a sense of urgency. To some degree, it was the spiritual persistence of Saul and others about the message of the resurrection that led to this time of peace.

But keep in mind, peace will not last forever. In fact, in 3 chapters (which is about 7 years later), there will be another persecution. This one will be driven by political and religious influence. What's going to happen is a new Emperor (Claudius) takes power who will appoint a King in Judea (Herod Agrippa) who will align himself with a Jewish agenda to increase his popularity and power. And at this time there will be a new rise in Christian persecution.

Now I will leave it for you to decide where we might fall on this timeline?

Regardless. I have a more personal question to ask. Set aside the events of our country and world for a bit. Consider this: Are you presently experiencing a season of peace, or are you in a time of persecution?

Either way, know this. God is with you in both seasons of peace and times of persecution. These followers in the faith are eyewitness testimony that God will never leave or forsake you.

ASK THIS: Are you presently experiencing a season of peace, or are you in a time of persecution?  (Share this below and let a brother pray for you)

DO THIS: Trust that God will be with you, just as others who have gone on before.

PRAY THIS: God, be with me in peace or persecution.

PLAY THIS: Guilty — Newsboys.

SPANISH
FRENCH
AFRIKAANS
DUTCH
CHINESE

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28 thoughts on “An Eyewitness Promise in Peace or Persecution

  1. Eddie Ackerman says:

    I feel mostly at peace. There are difficult people in my life, in-laws, but the persecution is not present in my life and my household, friends, church family, and coworkers are all pretty closely aligned to the mission of Jesus. Some of my coworkers, and especially my in-laws, don’t fully control their tongues, which is the biggest point of contention in our relationships, but none of them are attacking me for my beliefs because we all have similar foundations for our beliefs.

  2. Cory B says:

    I feel mostly at peace. The closer I am to Him, the more intentional I am. When I’m intentional I seek Him and I turn to other brothers. The world seems to be spiraling downward and people are constantly judging and persecuting others. That’s not my job and He doesn’t need my help. I have faith and trust His will is being done.

  3. Todd Norman Ringness says:

    For me, this a season of unmatched persecution for sure, because I believe that something significant and very unrighteous is going on all around us. But I will not forsake Jesus my King and what He reveals and Lord I do pray this is merely a season but nonetheless I’ll serve You until the end! God bless you my brothers!

  4. Brad Pluth says:

    Hey Vince, Brad from Grace church Thursday night, just listened to our second Devi with my son! Thanks for sharing!

  5. John Krumm says:

    I had to really come to grips with this one. I looked this up:
    Definition of persecute;
    1: to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict
    specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief
    2: to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (such as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : PESTER

    After reading this I do honestly think I fall under #2. For many years I have been pestered persistently, one thing after another, time after time. Only by God’s most faithful grace has He kept me in His love and ushered me into peace in these storms. Many things and situations have fallen from my life here on earth, so much that it doesn’t look anything like it did 5 years ago, even 10. Even now I am in a place as to what should my response be and where is it going to take me? I can rest in and fall into His will, and Holy Spirit will never lead me away from His plan for my life

  6. Dennis James says:

    I have been in heavy spiritual warfare, many trials this past two weeks. I don’t feel it’s persecution per-say, but difficult none the least. Make no mistake, But then I have also experienced the peace of Christ as many of you have prayed for me over the past couple of weeks and I thank you. Christians are being persecuted and we need to cover our Brothers and Sisters in prayer.

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  7. David J says:

    There is alot going on in this crazy world, but I believe God is in control. I am a peace. Thank you Lord.

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  8. Thomas Sells says:

    I am reminded to soak in Gods peace each day even during the time of decent and struggle. Thank you for that reminder!!

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  9. Trent C Rakes says:

    Covid is going through my church. I have just gotten over it. So we are all being separated (as we get sick and services are decreased). I am tired of paying bills and fighting kids and fighting life in general. I know Jesus should be my hope, strength, and joy and everyone should see that as a witness….. but I just want to crawl in a hole and wait to die. So angry and unhappy.

    • W. James Anderson says:

      Thanks for your honesty Trent. Life feels like repeated punches in many places at times. Bring all that to God. Just the way you posted it. Sometimes all we can do is the next step towards Him and a solution. We may not feel anything but He brings Hope. It shows up. Continually go to Him and you’ll notice that your burden lessens and you have this new thing….a lighter heart. I call that Hope man. Baby Steps🌺💀🌺

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  10. Walter says:

    Feels like a season of persecution with a sense of peace. Because I know God is with me and gives me the strength.

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  11. rick says:

    This should be a time pf peace…one thing keeps me away from total happiness. So I ask this..why do I focus on this one thing? God help me see how Blessed I am.

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    • Trent C Rakes says:

      I have this struggle as well. If I may share a scripture you are likely already familiar with…..
      Phillipines 4:8 Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.

      Count your blessings and it will help to take focus and time for frustration away from that 1 thing you speak of. God bless and good fortune, brother in Christ.

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