God's Plan is Unstoppable

Acts | Unfinished  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  59:30
0 ratings
Ephesians 1:4 NKJV
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
As we start reading this chapter I notice a couple of things.
The church is no longer enjoying peace.
It seems like God has lost control.
It seems like evil is winning.
A new character is introduced to us.
Herod Agrippa was seeking the favor of the Jews.
He kills one of the original disciples - John
That pleased the Jews so he arrested Peter to kill him.
Looking at the situation with human eyes says that evil is winning.
We can easily look at the world today and feel like evil is winning.
We need to pray.
We need to vote.
We need to do our part.
BUT… no matter what happens… God’s plan is unstoppable.

1. Sometimes God’s plan includes heartache.

Acts 12:1–4 NKJV
1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

(1) A. It is wrong to think God will always deliver us from sickness or death.

Paul tells us one of the reasons we suffer.
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 NKJV
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 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.
James talks about this too.
James 1:2–4 NKJV
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The Bible clearly tells us our sanctification comes from the purification of trials.

(1) B. God does not love less if He allows tragedy into our lives.

God did not love Peter more than He loved James and John.
Remember that God has already shown us the greatest acts of love.
John 15:13 NKJV
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
God loves His children and wants what is best for them.
What He knows is best and what we think is best can be two different things.
1 Peter 4:12 NKJV
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
Don’t think some strange thing has happened to you.
Don’t think God has forgotten you or is punishing you.
This is the same God who did not save James’ life.
We would not read this and think that Peter’s life was more important or that God loved Him more.
We may question WHY and John may have questioned why.
We also would not read this and assume that God got distracted and Herod got His attention with the death of James or somehow caught God off guard.

(1) C. Though it is difficult, we need to view death through God’s eternal eyes.

Remember God is God and you are not!
Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.
We can take learn from how God challenged Job.
Job 38:4–7 NKJV
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
It has often become cliche to quote this verse when someone loses a loved one but...
Romans 8:28 NKJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

2. Sometimes God’s plan includes wowing us with His power.

Acts 12:5–19 NKJV
5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” 12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place. 18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.

(2) A. God gets the most glory when we are helpless to change our situation.

Two phrases we use that are wrong...
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
1 Cor 10:13 is talking about sin.
God gets the most glory when we cannot handle our situation and He brings us through it.
Who is the hero in our passage today?
But think how differently it would be if Peter managed to overtake the guards and break free.
God puts us in helpless situations to teach us who He is.
It changes our perspective.
We realize how small we really are.
It causes us to give God the praise He deserves.
Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
It causes is to pray earnestly.

(2) B. God is not limited to our prayers, but choses to work through them.

Peter is in prison.
James has just been killed and it brought great pleasure to the Jews.
It is obvious the Peter will soon dies as well.
Peter has two guards outside his prison cell and he is chained to two.
There are 4 sets and they rotate watch.
There is no human way out of this.
Peter is sleeping.
This is the same man that once woke Jesus up who was sleeping in the middle of the storm because he was afraid of drowning.
Peter is sleeping so sound that the angel has to kick him to wake him up… then he is out on the street before he realizes what is going on.
This is what it looks like to trust God’s plan.
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The church is praying.
This whole thing is a humorous.
Peter knocks on Mary’s door.
Rhoda answers and hears Peter’s voice but forgets to let him in.
Then those praying don’t believe her!
Let’s not miss the power of constant fervent prayer.
James 5:16–18 NKJV
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
The key is fervent prayer - consistent heartfelt prayer.

(2) B. God is not limited to our prayers, but choses to work through them.

This is prayer that was pouring our of the heart of the church church because their backs were against the wall.
They had just lost James and would soon lose Peter if God didn’t do something.
We too easily forget the importance of prayer and fervency in which we should be praying for God to work.
We tend to pray this way when our backs are against the wall too.
John 15:5 NKJV
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Our backs are against the wall every day!

3. Human leaders are raised up and taken down by God.

Acts 12:20–23 NKJV
20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country. 21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

3. Human leaders are raised up and taken down by God.

Herod was a title not a name.
We read of multiple Herods in the Bible.
This should be an incredible comfort to us right now.
Let’s first get our minds wrapped around what is happening.
Herod had been at odds with the people of Tyre and Sidon.
They asked for a meeting with Herod to restore favor.
Herod decks himself out in the richest clothes he can find.
He gave them his best speech.
Note that Luke is known for recording speeches and we don’t get one work here.
The crowd began to heap praise on Herod and God was not going to have it.
He took the honor that we due God.
so an angel killed him and he was eaten by worms.
Daniel 2:21 NKJV
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
Isaiah 40:22 NKJV
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

4. God’s plan cannot be stopped.

Acts 12:24–25 NKJV
24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

4. God’s plan cannot be stopped.

Let’s rewind our story for a minute.
The wise men stopped to see Herod on their way to find Jesus.
Herod was not pleased to hear what he heard.
God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod.
Matthew 2:16 NKJV
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
God had previously warned Mary and Joseph to flea to Egypt.
Herod the great was the grandfather of Herod Agripa.
Both men tried to stop God’s plan and both failed miserably.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more