Radiant Church, January 12, 2020 Mike Rydman Acts 12:1-24 Jacob running away from Esau. Stops along the way for the night. Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! (Notice the “beholds” and the exclamation point!) Genesis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” Acts 12:1-3 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. Herod loved power, glory, and pleasing people To the Jews he wanted to protect the temple, the law, separation from Gentiles Acts 12:4-5 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. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Opposition to gospel expansion is inevitable God’s sovereignty is not comprehendible. Trials are not necessarily a sign of God’s Displeasure Prayer is the weapon for the people of God Acts 12:6-7 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. 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. Acts 12:8-9 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.” 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. Acts 12:10 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. Acts 12:11-13 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.” 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. And when he knocked on the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Acts 12:14-16 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. 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.” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. It's like the people are saying to her, “Stop trying to tell us that God has answered our prayers. We’re too busy praying that God will answer our prayers.” Acts 12:17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place. Acts 12:18-19 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 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. Peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:6-7) Comes through prayer and thanksgiving Ever been completely shocked when God answers your prayer the way you asked? Acts 12:20-22 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On the appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” The “Chamberlain” – like the Chief of Staff and Chief Communications Officer and the Secretary of State all rolled into one Josephus – Herod showed up in a dazzling silver robe that blinded everyone from the sun’s reflection Acts 12:23-24 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied. Josephus writes that Herod died from a disease of his bowels five days later Luke 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Sometimes God introduces trials into our lives to humble us and get our attention; other times because he wants to glorify Himself within our trials. Romans 8:31-39 What the shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And sometimes, the Lord simply wants to remind us that He is there Remember the little story about Jacob and the ladder he saw in his dream? John 1:51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.