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Disruption and God’s Intervention!

Disruption and God’s Intervention!

The New Testament Church had gone through persecutions and disruptions but through it all, God intervened with amazing results and kept them glorifying God.  Our disruptions are nothing compared to what they all went through, and yet, God is our help, and He is ever present in all our troubles to deliver us and to help us glorify the Name of our Lord!

Here are five major persecutions of the New Testament Church in its initiation:

First Persecution!

The Sanhedrin came against the apostles: “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’... So, they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:5-7, 18-19).

Daily fellowship and prayer were their strength: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (teaching) and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).

The Result of God’s Intervention - Many souls were saved: “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 4:1-4).

Second Persecution!

The second persecution brought prison sentence to the apostles, but an angel delivered them from their prison cell with the doors shut behind them: “Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation (jealousy), and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life’” (Acts 5:17-20).

Constant prayer was their source of strength: “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness…And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:31, 33).

The Result“…When they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus and let them go. So, they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for [a]His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:40-42).

Third Persecution!

The third persecution fell upon Stephen, the deacon: “And Stephen, full of faith (grace) and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council” (Acts 6:8-12).

Stephen was the first martyr for his testimony: “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart (furious), and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:54-60).

The persecution followed the decision by the leaders to give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word: “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:3-4).

A huge result: Saul who was consenting to Stephen’s death became a believer immediately afterwards!

Fourth Persecution!

Saul was the persecutor of the church, and he was the cause of the fourth persecution: “Now Saul was consenting to (Stephen’s) death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:1-3).

Despite the persecution, the first missionary activities thrived: “Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

The amazing result – Saul himself was converted: “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized…Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:17-18, 20).

Fifth Persecution!

Herod killed James and jailed Peter: “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So, when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover” (Acts 12:1-4).

Constant and diligent prayers were offered by the believers: “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant (earnest) prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5).

Peter was delivered by an angel from the prison: “And when Peter had come to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.’ So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, ‘You are beside yourself!’ Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So, they said, ‘It is his angel.’ Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison” (Acts 12:11-17).  

The result was the judgment of God on Herod and the propagation of God’s Word: “So, on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne, and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:21-24).

The Key to Prevention and Continuation!

God intervened in all those times of persecutions to strengthen the believers.  The keys to their survival:

         ·        Obedience to God: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29).


·        Fellowship in the Word: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers…So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added [d]to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42, 46-47).


·        Regular Prayer: “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).


·        Spreading God’s Word: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).


·        Prayer without ceasing for the persecuted: “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant (earnest) prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5).


John Jeyaseelan

Global Prayer Center | prayer | 701 Bill France Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL, USA

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