The apostles and early believers were despised by the religious Jews because of the gospel which they preached. It was not because they were covetous or proud men. They were persecuted because the gospel of God's grace, which they preached, was offensive to humans pride.
They preached (as I trust we do, also) that salvation, even for the most moral person on earth, is only possible because of the grace and mercy of God, given to us in Christ Jesus. These people of God knew nothing of free-will, decisionism, and giving God a chance. They knew only one way of salvation, that of God's being gracious and showing sovereign mercy to sinners in Christ.
The gospel of grace and glory does not appear OCCASIONALY in their preaching and writings, nor was it a deeper truth or doctrine which they discussed PRIVATELY; it reigns, shines, and dominated all that they said, wrote, and did.
It is the ONLY THING that they preached!
To them, any word of human worthiness, works, or rights was totally wrong, and counted for nothing in the matter of acceptance before God. They addressed all men (even themselves) as guilty, condemned, and perishing justly unless God is pleased to come in mercy and lift the beggar from his dunghill, sanctify and justify him through Christ Jesus, and accept him in the Beloved.
"God be merciful to us, and bless us; and cause Thy face to shine upon us" (Psalms 67:1).
By Henry Mahan