TGP: Imprisoned for the Gospel

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Q. What would you do first in the following scenerios?
Being released early from school because of snow
Failing a test
Winning a million dollars
Getting an unexpected day off work
Getting bad news
Getting the car of your dreams
What we do reveals a lot
Response can be prayer
Early church
Main Point: God heard the church’s prayers and delivered Peter from prison.
Praying to the Lord for deliverance
Acts 12:1–5 (ESV)
1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
James = 1st martyr of the 12
Shaken church to core
Herod arrests Peter
Grandson of Herod the Great (infant Jesus)
Feast of Unleavened bread (after Passover each spring)
Israelite law: all males in Jerusalem
Large crowds
Environment was dangerous and tense
Prayerful response
Q. How do you normally cope with difficult or stressful situations in life?
Junk food, working out, social media
Maybe even drugs or alcohol
Temporary relief
No real peace
Q. How did the church respond to this terrifying situation? What are some reasons this isn’t our first response to difficulties?
Gathered to pray
First response = turn to Father
Often not ours
We forget His longing
Instinct of running to others
Perhaps fearing He won’t answer
Main Point: God heard the church’s prayers and delivered Peter from prison.
Praying to the Lord for deliverance
Following the Lord for deliverance
Acts 12:6–10 (ESV)
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress 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 followed him. 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 the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.
Up to 16 men guarding Peter
Yet he rested
Trusted Lord no matter the outcome
Peter trusted and followed
We can, too
Q. Why does it matter that we know how heavily Peter was guarded?
Imagine: 16
Probably more than normal
Peter will escape, or...
Miraculous deliverance?
God delivered and displayed
Q. Peter had to follow the angel’s instructions to experience deliverance. How is this similar to the way we find freedom in Christ?
Peter wasn’t sure, but he followed
Peter thought he was dreaming
Miraculous: Peter didn’t do it
Peter’s dependance
Passive, released, instructed, and led to freedom
Experiencing freedom through obedience
May feel trapped, but God calling to trust
Every step helps walk
Main Point: God heard the church’s prayers and delivered Peter from prison.
Praying to the Lord for deliverance
Following the Lord for deliverance
Praising the Lord for deliverance
Acts 12:11–19 (ESV)
11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, 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 brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.
18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
Don’t know prayers
Prayed, but have faith?
Q. The group struggled to believe God had answered their prayers, When have you struggled to believe God would answer your prayers?
If we’re honest...
Fear isn’t listening or doesn’t care
Ask, but doubt
Always comes through
Cares and listens
God is faithful and sovereign
May not realize outcome
But can trust
Q. How have you specifically experienced God’s deliverance:?
All believers
But continued deliverance
Victory over sin
Praise God!
Christ Connection:
When Peter was arrested and put in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. God delivered Peter miraculously, but the church failed to believe he had been rescued at first. IN a similar way, Jesus had taught His disciples the He would die and be raised again, but they too failed to believe at first. When they saw and experienced the resurrected Savior, their faith increased.
Head: In what area of your life do you struggle to believe God can bring deliverance?
For others, but not for us
Need deliverance, but aren’t sure
Anxiety, body image, shame, lust, etc.
God can deliver you.
Limitless and unmatched
Wants your trust and obedience
Heart:What has God asked you to do recently? How could taking these steps lead to freedom?
Walk > speak
Nearness > hearing
Laying on heart
Reading Bible
Pull back from relationship
Obey whisper
Steps to freedom
Hands: Whose deliverance can you pray for today?
Family, friends, school, work
Go to Father on behalf
Ask God to speak to them
Model deliverance
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