Episode 10: Threats to the Church, Part 2 – External Threats

Read Acts 6:7-15

  • How does Stephen’s opposition try to stop him first?
  • Given what the Scripture said, what can we surmise about what Stephen is saying?
  • What about the arguments his opposition are presenting?
  • Could Stephen have done anything different to change the response of his opposition? Why or why not?
  • What does that tell us about our own presentation of the Gospel?
  • When arguing didn’t work, how did they oppose him?
  • Have you ever seen someone brought to salvation by losing an argument?
  • How hard is it to play by the rules when someone else isn’t?

Read John 8:42-47

  • Looking through the lens of this Scripture at Stephen and his opposition, what insight do we gain?
  • What outcome do you think Satan is trying to accomplish when we face persecution? 
  • Does the fact that people rejected the message from Jesus himself change how you view the rejection you may face when presenting the gospel? How?

Read Acts 7:54-8:8

  • What parallels do we see in the persecution of Stephen and the persecution of Christ?
  • Does Stephen appear surprised at the outcome of his persecution? Why or why not?
  • What are some reasons Luke may have had for mentioning Saul’s presence at this event?
  • What did Stephen’s persecution lead to?
  • Should our righteous actions lead to the persecution of the Church?
  • What did the persecution of the Church lead to?
  • Should we fear persecution? Should we be excited about persecution?

Read Matthew 5:10-12 and Romans 8:28-30

  • What is unique about the type of persecution Jesus says is rewarded?
  • Why is that important?
  • What’s the difference in something being for our good and being what we want?
  • In what ways might these Scriptures comfort someone facing persecution?
  • How can we pray for you?

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