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MISSING MIRACLES MISSING MIRACLES

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MISSING MIRACLES

Posted by: Pastor J Jacobs on Wed, Jul 26, 2017

 

We Easily Overlook What God is Doing in Our Lives

 

I. Acts 12:1-25

 

A. God still works miracles

B. Just more often than not, we over-look the ones He is doing right now, even in our church

C. We have a way of noting a miracle has occurred

 

1. If it has never happened before

2. If does what we understand to be impossible

 

D. The miracle-working business of God is selective – and He has His reasons for not always doing big miracles

E. But that is not to say, that God ever stopped doing miracles

F. What happens is, we get to expecting

 

II. Background – This first part is only the background, yet it makes good preaching!

 

A. Herod’s Power

 

1. Imprisoned and then Executed the Apostle James

2. Caught and Imprisoned Peter

 

B. Herod’s Plan

 

1. Belittle and mock such a wimpy organisation as Christians seemed to be

2. To hurt the Christians by attacking their “leaders”

3. To please the unbelieving Jews

 

C. Herod’s Loss – when Herod went after the “apple of God’s eye” he began to lose – and boy did he lose!

 

1. Lost Peter

2. Lost some good soldiers – they had obeyed, and were not at fault

3. Lost his bit of happiness (12:20) – a spoiled brat, as was Ahab

4. Lost his mind – believed the people’s praise (12:21-23)

5. Lost his life (12:23) – in a horrible way!

 

D. These are all actually the handiwork of the devil – it is Satan’s power, plan, and ultimate loss we are experiences in this life

E. Don’t lose sight of the fact that God is constantly trying to do two things:

 

1. Show us His miracles – sometimes, easily overlooked!

2. Show us Satan’s end – sometimes forgotten about!

 

III. Message

 

A. The Miracle of a Strong Testimony (12:1-3)

 

1. The apostle James was faithful – didn’t give in under pressure – which spoke volumes to Herod, and to the Jews – what a great testimony

2. Peter had such a good testimony as a Christian that Herod thought he was vital to the Christians to have around

 

a. Herod thought PETER was the Rock – if he just killed the Christian’s leader, Christianity would be crippled

b. Strange, that is what they thought when they crucified Jesus Christ!

c. A good Christian testimony is one that makes the world think you are un-replaceable

d. We all know however that ALL of us are replaceable

e. It is JESUS that is the important thing in the church

f. Just understand how good the testimony of the church was

 

1) It was turning the world upside-down with preaching only – no weapons other than the truth, and a godly life!

2) Tens of thousands of devout Jews were converting to Christianity, at incredible sacrifice to themselves – lost everything

3) Gentiles like Cornelius were getting saved right and left

 

3. This was the testimony of a Strong Church

 

a. Not the Church of Rome

b. But of Jerusalem, and Antioch, and Berea – local churches that stood on hills and shined brightly in a dark world!

 

4. It is a miracle in any age when sinners shine for Jesus!

 

B. The Miracle of Persecution.

 

1. Remember, God is the One basically behind all of our trials (Philp 1:29)

2. Notice the series of troubles the believers faced and what it resulted in!

 

a. A Saul of Tarsus – ended up scattering Christianity throughout the world

b. The Sanhedrin of Jerusalem – brought out the preachers in Peter, James and John

c. The problem with ministering to all the widows in Acts 6 – produced the seven deacons in the church, one of which was the great Stephen

d. The stoning and resultant death of Stephen – encouraged more to live to the end for Christ

e. The imprisoning of the apostle Paul – just brought the gospel to the very palace of Caesar!

 

3. I want you to notice how that the Christians in the face of such persecution did not fight back – at least as a normal group might

 

a. Oh, they did fight though

b. On their knees

c. With their feet – going from house to house, and dealing with everybody about the world’s need to repent and be born again!

 

4. The Captain of our army calls us to do battle quite differently (Jn 18:36)

5. You see, because of the troubles in Acts 12

 

a. A church was driven to prayer – and not just one church, but the whole church!

 

1) Churches existed in the sitting rooms of houses all over the land of Israel and Lebanon

2) News spread fast that a Christian was in trouble, and the whole church went to prayer

 

b. The young New Testament church was forged by the heat of this trial into a great church

 

1) No hierarchy

2) Just people bound by purpose and God’s power to stand in the face of such persecution (2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 5:10)

 

c. God felt like He could bless that church with great grace (Acts 4:32-35) – great supply of His strength and power

d. The church was being prepared so that it would reach the world with the Gospel through Missions – world-wide evangelisation – not just restricted to a country or ethnic group, or region, but every corner!

 

1) In chapter 12, great persecution – drove the Christians to their knees

2) In chapter 13, great evangelism exploded forth – Paul and Barnabas called to go and reach the Gentile nations

 

e. Do you see that the events of chapter 12 were a blessing in disguise? A miracle was occurring all around them and in them, and even through them

 

6. And let me say this, the same miracle is trying to get started in OUR midst – whatever troubles we face into, are part of God’s work that can and will affect the world for good – if we would only quite our complaining and get on our knees before such an awesome God!

7. leads me to my next point

 

C. The Miracle of Passionate Prayer (12:5,12-17)

 

1. Did you know that Prayer works, even when we don’t believe it will!?

2. If the Christians had not being praying, Peter probably would have died. Prayer came first, then came the deliverance

 

a. Ps 50:15  And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

b. Ps 86:7  In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

 

3. Here, not just individuals, but whole churches were grouped together, in all-night prayer meetings, and even though some people had to go to work, others took over in prayer, and kept prayer up around the clock – without ceasing!

 

4. This is miraculous!

 

a. No worry here

b. No defeat

c. No running away from the pressures

d. No drugs, or alcoholic drink to deal with the troubles they were going through!

e. Only gathering together, and praying – passionately praying

f. No hail Mary’s or Our Father’s – would have been a waste of time

g. Here were young and old alike pleading passionately, at the throne of grace in heaven for God to spare Peter’s life (1Kgs 1:50,51; Heb 4:14-16)

h. Unfortunately, they had a hard time believing God would deliver Peter – prayer is part of God’s way to strengthen our faith!

 

1) Don’t we all find it hard to believe what we are not sure of?

2) But we all can firmly believe that GOD will do right

 

D. The Miracle of Blessed Rest (12:6-12)

 

1. I see the most incredible miracle here – did anybody notice it?

2. What was Peter doing throughout all this? Sleeping!

 

a. He has been captured

b. Beaten

c. Chained to two soldiers

d. Thrown into a filthy prison on death row

e. Scheduled to be executed in the morning – Peter is not stupid – he knows Herod had already killed James – knew Herod was quite capable of killing him too!

f. Here he was, alone, and yet ASLEEP!

g. Didn’t he care that he was about to die? Didn’t he care that the Christians were going to lose their leaders one by one, and be left without leadership and direction, and wisdom that they offered? NOPE!

 

3. Peter was certain of many things

 

a. That God was in control

b. That Peter was right in the middle of God’s will

c. That Herod was only doing the devil’s bidding (Eph 6:12) – he was not Peter’s enemy

d. That Peter was saved, and not going to die anyway – just graduate (2Ti 1:12)!

e. That the Christians would do fine without Peter – all they needed was

 

1) A Bible

2) A preacher – maybe not the smartest, or best, but passionate and unwavering

3) A place to meet and pray

4) AMEN!

 

4. Oh how many of us ignore the miracle of God’s rest

 

a. Ps 119:165

b. Isa 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

c. Ps 16:8,9 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

d. Ps 37:1-7 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:

e. Ps 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

f. Isa 30:15  For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength

 

5. Peter had many years earlier heard the call of Jesus to “Come unto Me… and I will give you rest!” And now Peter was living that rest!

 

E. The Miracle of God’s Call on People’s Lives (Acts 12:12)

 

1. Who’s home was being used for prayer here in Acts 12? The home of a young man named John Mark

2. Out of all the Christian homes that were filled with people praying, God directed Peter to go to this one house to show he was free

3. In that house was a young man who needed to see that God answered prayer

4. That one answered prayer helped solidify God’s call on his life, and John Mark was used of God in two great ways:

 

a. To be called into the ministry (Acts 12:25)

b. To write the Gospel of Mark

 

5. We overlook the wonder of how God quietly is still calling men and women to a life of ministry for His great name’s sake!

6. God is quietly calling people in this room – don’t ignore or overlook the great miracle of God’s Call in your life to live for Him

 

F. The Miracle of Perseverance (12:17)

 

1. The apostle James had been murdered

2. Peter had almost been executed

3. Notice who was right in position and ready to lead now? James, the half-brother of Jesus

4. James was leading the church in Jerusalem

5. Principle – God supplied the need for leadership

6. Great Leaders are not what we need – a great God and Saviour is all we need

7. God has called us to faithfulness – and every time we just stay on course, no matter how narrow, or strait, we are a miracle!

 

G. The Miracle of Frustrating the Devil (Acts 12:24)

 

1. The devil had thought to hinder the young Christians

2. The devil had thought to discourage their soul-winning and godly living

3. The devil had thought to limit the work of the Gospel to the poor and widows, and children

4. But kings, and princes, and Pharisees and Rulers and whole communities kept getting saved, and turning from idols to worship the true and living God!

5. I don’t care what happens in my life, as long as it makes the devil mad, and makes my Saviour Glad!

6. If by me conquering my bad attitude I ruin the devil’s day, then that is a greater miracle than moving Mt Everest!

7. If by me leading a soul to Christ, and them getting saved from a devil’s hell I make the devil furious, then my life will have been worth it!

8. Oh how I yearn to frustrate and infuriate and irritate the devil!

9. Any day that I live whole-heartedly for the Lord is a miracle because the devil is hurt where it counts!

 

IV. Conclusion

 

A. The Miracle of a Strong Testimony (12:1-3)

B. The Miracle of Persecution.

C. The Miracle of Passionate Prayer (12:5,12-17)

D. The Miracle of Blessed Rest (12:6-12)

E. The Miracle of God’s Call on People’s Lives (Acts 12:12)

F. The Miracle of Perseverance (12:17)

G. The Miracle of Frustrating the Devil (Acts 12:24)

 

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