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Faithlife

Acts 12_1-25 Dont Mess With God

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Secular:

  • There is a battle raging…
  • Began at the Angelic level… Lucifer
    • Cast out of heaven with 1/3 of the angels
    • NAU Revelation 12:4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth…
    •  The leader of praise
    • Sought praise himself
  • Adam and Eve
    • Seeking to like God
    • Shaking their fist at God’s Authority
  •  Solomon tells it straight up – there is no wisdom in fighting God -NAU Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.


 

  • Prominence against God!!
  • Fredriche Nietzsche – philosopher who despised Christianity and God… it drove him over the edge… spent his last years locked up… insane 
  • Author Sinclair Lewis – author that mocked Christianity… died a drunk
  •  Hemmingway – considered himself proof you could fight God – sin caught up… Shotgun killed himself…
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Biblical:

NAU Acts 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. 2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3 When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 6 On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting." 12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 They said to her, "You are out of your mind!" But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, "It is his angel." 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Report these things to James and the brethren." Then he left and went to another place. 18 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there. 20 Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's country. 21 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 The people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.

Personal:

  • EVEN the PEOPLE OF GOD
  •  Kings of Israel
  •  Many Kings of Judah
  •  Sadducees and Pharisees
  •  à opposition to the Truth… opposition to the power of God
  •  How about amongst his people
    • NAU Acts 20:29 "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
    • Gospel of Self-Esteem
    • Gospel of Wealth
    • Gospel of Easy Believism
    • REMEMBER the Gospel of Shame!!
      • Impossible to Believe (foolishness, boast)
      • Gospel of the cross
        • If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
        • Talk about cross…
          • Romans… no
          • Jews… not until dead
          • Heinous….
      • Gospel of the Cross
        • God loved Job
        • God loved Moses
        • God loved Paul
  • To side with God we must trust in his truth…
  •  Like the Sadduccees… the Pharisees… the Liberal Churches – preaching another Gospel… thgt is all in opposition to God… We don’t get to make it up!!
  •  We must trust in the Truth because God’s Power cannot be contested!!

Bridge:

  • Herod was the King over Palestine… a Jewish King over God’s People…
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Body:

God’s Power Cannot be Contested

God’s Punishment Cannot be Avoided

God’s Purposes Cannot be Frustrated

1. God’s Power Cannot be Contested

 5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

  • Pray… Peter Kept in Prison
  • NAU James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

6 On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.

  • Peter was sleeping… says something to our pill popping sleep deprived society!!
  • Confident in God’s Power (God’s power cannot be contested)
  • Oh… Herod had a plan…
  • Continued favour with the Jews…
    • Just killed James (very popular)
    • Now snuff Peter… should earn big praise!!
  • He knew the Power bestowed on the Apostles… look at the security arrangements
    • Two guards chained to him
    • More outside the cell…
    • This was maximum security and then some!!
  • And we see Peter freaking out, wrestles, unable to sleep…
  • Peter trusted Jesus promise… NAU John 21:18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." (He was not an old man yet!!... no worries).
  • Every time he was jailed… God freed him… regardless of outcome… God’s purposes prevail
  • Peter could say… NAU 1 Peter 5:7 [cast] all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (God’s power cannot be contested)
  • Herod had big plans!!... But he forgot about God and his sovereign plans…
  • Trying to gain Jewish favour at the expense of Peter’s Life… was not God’s plan…

7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me."

  • Not only did Peter rest in God’s care… he didn’t wake up at the arrival of the bright light of God’s angel… he needed a good poke… (like a teenager…)
  • “And his chains fell off his hands”… it is almost a by-line… (the miraculous… )
  • Half asleep… probably a little surprised… a little dazzled… “Come on man… Get Dressed!!... grab your shoes…”
  • Even those who trust in God…. Still marvel (even dumbfounded) at his work with us…

9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

  • This was a head scratcher for Peter
  • He had seen Jesus miracles, he had experienced the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit… had seen Jesus Resurrected and taken up in glory…
  • Yet The Power of God which Cannot Be Contested… still left him dumbfounded…
  • He walked by men who faced the penalty of death if they neglected their job…
  •  The iron gate… that last door… in all those jailhouse movies… the one they call out to the guard in the tower…. The big one… (just swung open)…

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."

  • Peter sometimes takes a minute to catch on… this time it was pretty quick…
  • I am not going to be a notch in the belt or a feather in the cap… of Herod
  • God has a bigger plan…
  • And despite Herod’s big plan… God’s Power can not be contested…. Iron gates, guards, and evil scheming will not thwart God!!

12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.

  • Sometimes we forget the awesomeness of God…
  • There was no reason to believe it was humanly possible for Peter to escape…
  • We probably would have reacted the same way a Rhoda….

15 They said to her, "You are out of your mind!" But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, "It is his angel." 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed.

  • Imagine being “on the lamb” a fugitive and you are out there…
  • Come on… open up…  let’s go… sheesh!

17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Report these things to James and the brethren." Then he left and went to another place.

  • Let’s keep it down… (we still act prudently…)
  • Don’t go walking down the middle of the street… that is testing your God… NAU Deuteronomy 6:16 "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test…
  • He gave credited where credit is due!!
  • Share… miraculous power of God!!
  • He tells them to talk… not to the recently martyred Apostle… but to Jesus’ brother who had become the leader of the Jerusalem church…
  • And off goes Peter…
  • (We don’t see him again except for a brief mention at the Jerusalem council… in Acts 15)

18 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.

  • Not only was Peter eager to share… what happened
  • God’s Power is evidenced even by those who do not believe in him…
  • NAU Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
  • … and they were witnesses to the power of God in the release of Peter!
  • … they had to report to Herod the loss of their prisoner and faced the rage of their king who had them summarily executed…
  • Herod and his guards dared to stand against God and his Apostle…
  • His plan blew up (winning over the Jews with Peter’s head) and he had to go away to re-cooperate…
  • God’s Power Cannot be Contested

2. God’s Punishment Cannot be Avoided

20 Now he (Herod Agrippa) was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's country. 21 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 The people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.
 God’s Punishment Cannot be Avoided

  •  The next we hear from Herod Agrippa… he his upset with one of his neighbours
  • (relationship in history… fed their people) Ezra 3:7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and food, drink and oil to the Sidonians and to the Tyrians, to bring cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea at Joppa, according to the permission they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
  • They had a lobbiest… Blastus…
  •  Trying to break the economic blockade with their powerful neighbour….
  •  A lot like the US deciding to cut us off… we would die economically… They needed the part of the Roman Empire that Herod controlled for their well being
  •  So Herod in his typical arrogant style… puts on his great… regal… robes… POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
  •  Josephus describes the scene, “[Herod] put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theatre early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner.”
  •  Overwhelmed by his magnificence… and in an intense attempt to flatter their oppressor… “[this is] The voice of a god and not of a man!"
  •  Josephus notes that Herod “did neither rebuke them, nor reject them, nor reject their impious flattery.”
  • Herod accepted the praise that is due only to God…
    • Exodus 34:14 -- for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God--
  • This evil man felt God’s immediate judgement
  • Others who oppose God and his truth… face God’s punishment…
  • God’s Punishment Cannot be Avoided

3. God’s Purposes Cannot be Frustrated

24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.

  • Whether it is a man claiming God’s glory
  •  A people worshipping false gods
  •  or false teachers sharing a deficient god…
  • God’s Purposes Cannot be Frustrated
  • Because word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied…
  •  God’s power, purposes are revealed in his Word…
  •  When we stay true to his word we are a part of the church… against which the gates of hell shall not prevail!!
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Conclusion:

God’s Power Cannot be Contested

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God’s Punishment Cannot be Avoided

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God’s Purposes Cannot be Frustrated

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