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The Suffering Church - Acts 6:8 - 8:1

This is a sermon by Peter Birnie from the Riverside Church service on 21st November 2021.

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Acts 6 v 8-8v3 “The Suffering Church” Handout

Intro: What is your view on the human heart?

 

                 1) The church is to suffer FOR Jesus (v51-53)

 

The Sanhedrin listen until Stephen gets to Jesus

 

Gospel conversations:

  • Deal with the identity, purpose and achievements of Jesus

 

 

  • Deal with the real state of the human heart

 

 

  • Press home the need for people to respond

 

Stephen did not hold back when it comes to Jesus, we MUST NOT hold back. We must be prepared to suffer FOR Jesus.

 

 

                           2) The church is to suffer WITH Jesus (v54-58)

 

Stephen experienced God in a special way in suffering

 

 

We are people united with Christ and so when we take up our cross and suffer;

 

  • We will know the closeness of that unity most

 

  • We will draw most near to him and see him most clearly

 

  • We will be blessed and tended to by him

 

  • We will hate sin more and long more for holiness

 

 

 

                        3) The church is to suffer LIKE Jesus (v59-8v3)

 

As Jesus reigns in us we can suffer WELL (like Jesus on the cross);

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” 

 

  • We suffer in confidence that God has us in his hands

 

 

  • We suffer with compassion even for our enemies

 

 

Home Group Questions on Acts 6v8 – 8v3

1) Read verses 51-53. Which parts of the following definition of a gospel conversation are most challenging to you?

      Gospel conversations

  • Deal with the identity, purpose and achievements of Jesus

 

  • Deal with the real state of the human heart

 

  • Press home the need for people to respond

 

2) Read verses 54-56. How was Stephen blessed in the middle of suffering? What are some of the blessings on offer to us if we are prepared to suffer for Jesus?

 

 

3) Read verses 57-60. How do they remind you of Jesus on the cross? What would it look like for us to suffer with both confidence in God and compassion for people?

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