James, the brother of John (sons of Thunder) has been killed and Peter thrown into prison- Jesus inner circle of guys
Herod Agrippa- not the same Herod that beheaded John the Baptist- from Acts 2 until now is about 14 years. The church prays for Peter. An angel comes to deliver Peter and leads him out
King Herod is vexing the church, coming after her members and ultimately the apostles. Herod began with fining them, afflicting them, imprisoning them, spoiling their houses and goods and afterwards proceeded to greater instances of cruelty.
It is important to recognize, that Peter had no idea what was going to happen to him. James had been recently killed and Peter possibly faced the same outcome. He did not assume that God would deliver Him from prison, in fact he had no way to expect that he would be delivered. That James should die and Peter continue is the mysterious way of God and well within His rights.
So Peter lay down to sleep in peace. v.6
He was not terrified with his danger, and there was no visible way of escape. There was but a step between him and death, and yet he fell fast asleep in the midst of his enemies. The old Peter, the Romans 7 Peter, the unregenerated Peter, might have denied Jesus as he did before, but now he has been baptized with the HS from on high and his life has been so drastically changed, he is at peace in prison waiting to be slaughtered.
- Faith in God v.3-4
Faith is not in what we want God to do- Faith is in God.
Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Our greatest reward is finding Him and enjoying His presence
Psalms 16:8 “I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Note the steadfastness that God brings when we put Him always before us
The Psalmists claim is a modest one:
‘Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be’ What? Be triumphant? NO.
Escape sorrows and tribulations? NO. Have my life filled with serenity? NO
I SHALL NOT BE MOVED.
To be able to stand on the spot, with steadfast convictions, with steadfast purposes, with steadfast actions, continuously in one direction; “Having done all, to stand”
Ephesians 6:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
This idea that we will never go through anything, that life will be “easy” when we serve God, is a lie
2 Corinthians 11:22-33
Ex: I am no Paul, but in the last 16 years since we started the church, I have dealt with a panic disorder, been in and out of the ER and doctors offices, have a gastrointestinal disorder, saw a therapist, deal with an ongoing heart arythmia and had to have my heart zapped back into rhythm, had 3 surgeries, lost a toe nail, have had 5 stitches where I bit through my lip, had 7 precancerous moles removed and stitches to follow, had chemotherapy on my skin, I have an ongoing connective tissue disorder, buldging discs in my lower back that flare up from time to time, I have been lied about and talked about, persecuted for being a religious zealot by my own family, AND on top of all this, my daily concern for my family and the church.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any [a]trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Like Paul we should be able to say, “but none of these things move, nor do I count my life dear to myself” His grace is enough.
2 Corinthians 12:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
- You need to be involved in a local church community v.5
the first function of the church is to stand as a community in a living, personal relationship with God
1 Peter 2:4-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The church is real, flesh and blood relationships- people formed into local congregations and united by the Holy Spirit, living in the bond and Spirit of unity in order to give glory to God
It is the foundation and pillar of the living God- the temple of the HS, the Body and Bride of Jesus
The church’s witness is one of power, sinner’s are saved and born again, baptized in water and with the Holy Spirit. The church partakes of the Lord’s supper and awaits Christ’s return.
The gifts of the HS are FOR the church- not the non believer and they are to be used and in operation within the church.
The 5-fold ministry was given TO THE CHURCH, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry
The church carries the true gospel to the next generation and exists to take up the land until Jesus’ return. EX. Ps Pat
It cannot be found on FB behind a screen. This is not living in relationship. They were in prayer for Peter without ceasing! How did they know Peter was in prison?? FB? NO! They were always together, living life together, serving one another, gathering together for preaching and prayer!!
Hebrews 10:24-27 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
24 And let us consider and give [a]attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,
25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].
27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God].
We are to be constantly progressing in our Christian walk. This warning here is a warning that if there is no diligence in progressing (progress found within the preaching of the Word, prayer, worship within the Body), a falling off will take place, and apostasy may ensue. IF there is any lukewarmness in your Christian communion, you are in danger of apostasy.
God requires that you give Him the deed to your house. He wants to come in and move the furniture around, paint the walls, redecorate with new pictures, tell you what junk to throw out and what pearls are of great price, tell you who can visit and who is not allowed in your house.
But instead of giving God the deed to your house, you’ve built Him a mother-in-law apartment and in your autonomous way, you visit when you want. And you tell Him, “Just stay in your house God and I’ll hear you when I want to hear you. You nag too much, telling me how to live and what to wear, and where to go. I can do what I want”. That Holy Spirit is so darn legalistic.
God’s design is for you to move and operate within the church Body. Get out of your consumer mentality! The church’s mission is not to serve you, but to equip and train you to serve others and think of others more highly than yourself.
And when the church prays, miracles happen! Prayer BY THE CHURCH was made without ceasing- God hears and answers the prayers of His people.
- God shows up on time. v.7
To be sure, Peter was bound with two chains, between two soldiers, behind locked and bolted prison doors, where there were keepers of the locked doors, so that no man could rescue him. Herod’s prisoner was secure and his prison was sure.
Matthew Henry, “When men will think to be too hard for God, God will make it appear that He is too hard for them”
At no time, was Peter’s imprisonment out of God’s control.
Even in the midst of his chains and bondage, God delivered. There is NOTHING that can stop God from doing His will. NOTHING. No chains, no prison, no devil, no person, no government- NOTHING can stop the will of the Lord from being accomplished.
Gates and guards kept friends from Peter, but could not keep the angels of God from him
Psalm 34:7 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
7 [a]The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers.
Psalm 31:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.
This is one of my favorite promises of God- “My times are in Your hands”, God knows the number of your days, He counts your hairs, He knows the number of the stars and calls them by name.
Is it too much to believe that God can handle any situation and circumstance?
Jeremiah 32:27 New King James Version (NKJV)
27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
Peter’s chains fell off as if he had been Samson. Tradition tells a story about these chains, that one of the soldiers kept them as a sacred relic, and they were presented many years later to the empress Eudoxia, and many miracles are said to have been wrought by these chains–
The power of God is real and He is mighty to save. What are you worried about and anxious for?
This is the God that stopped the mouth of the lions, opened the Red Sea, gave a child to 100 year old man and woman, made Adam out of dust and Eve out of his rib, fed 5000 with a few fish and loaves of bread, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, healed bodies, released men from demonic possession, controls the waves of the ocean, brought down fire from heave… Is there anything too hard for Him?
You need not fear—-At no time has it, is it, will it EVER be out of His control.
And He will show up on time. Not my time, not your time, ON TIME.
- Put on your sandals v.8-10
What do you do when your delivered??
Rise up, put on your sandals and coat and follow your deliverer.
Those who are delivered out of spiritual imprisonment must follow their deliverer.
You may not know where you are going- you just need to know the One whom you are following
When God works on your behalf, no difficulties are insurmountable—even gates of iron are made to open on your account
Isaiah 45:1-2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
45 Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him, and I will unarm and ungird the loins of kings to open doors before him, so that gates will not be shut. 2 I will go before you and level the mountains [to make the crooked places straight]; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron.
Why would you not just follow a God so great as this?
John 10:27 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
27 The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.
He is faithful to see you through all the days of your life.