Acts 5:12-42, Pastor Clementa, #Charleston, and Suffering.

"THEN THEY LEFT THE PRESENCE OF THE COUNCIL, REJOICING THAT THEY WERE COUNTED WORTHY TO SUFFER DISHONOR FOR THE NAME." ACTS‬ ‭5‬:‭41‬

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship gathering, please take a moment to read and study Acts 5:12-42. We’ll be looking at the big idea: that great movements of God are marked by great depths of suffering. Last week, Pastor Matt Jensen, who is good friend of mine and our church, posted a video about Pastor Clementa Pinckey. He was the pastor at Emmanuel AME church. He was shot and killed during a prayer gathering along with eight other members of his church. 

In 2013, Pastor Clementa Pinckey gave a speech about the history of his church and he made the statement, “America is about Freedom; whether we live it out or not. It’s really about freedom…Church is all about [freedom]. Freedom to worship, freedom from sin, to be full of what God intends us to be, and equality in sight of God. {Freedom} Sometimes you got to make noise to do that and sometimes you may even have to die like Denmark Vesey to do that…” 

As my friend Pastor Matt alluded to, it was almost a prophetic word spoken by himself as he gave that speech in the same pulpit he was murdered in just under a week ago. Now we have no idea of God’s work of suffering for Pastor Pinckey, his family, his church and our nation. But in the midst of great suffering, we serve a God who uses suffering to bring glory to his name and drive men and women towards repentance. 

The great work of God is to bring men and women to repentance so that the gospel becomes our freedom. Freedom over the penalty of our sin, power over sin in our lives, and our future hope that we’ll one day be freed from the presence of sin. Pastor Clementa, along with the countless others whom have died and suffered for our faith, would mostly like do it all again to see the gospel powerfully work in the lives of many. To see that the gospel can change people from death to life, selfish to selfless, reconciling relationships among God and men, and would beckon those who call themselves Christians to not take for granted what we have in Christ. 

Watch the video here