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Bill Acton :: Acts 12 - Persecution, Peter, Prison, Power

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Sermon Outline for Acts 12

Persecution, Peter, Prison, Power

  1. The Events in Acts 12
    1. The murder of James the Apostle by Herod – Act 12:1-2
    2. The imprisonment of Peter – Act 12:3-5
    3. The deliverance of Peter – Act 12:6-11
    4. The prayer meeting – Act 12:12
    5. The death of Herod – Act 12:20-23
  2. The Murder of James
    1. The murderer: Herod
      1. He is known as Herod Agrippa
        1. Not the one before whom Jesus appeared
        2. The father of the Herod before whom Paul will later appear
      2. He is opposed to Christ
      3. He is a cunning politician
    2. The victim: James – Act 12:2
      1. He is the brother of John
      2. He is the son of Zebedee
      3. He was on the Mount of Transfiguration – Mat 17:1
      4. He was the first Apostle to die
    3. The execution
      1. His head was chopped off with a sword – Act 12:2
      2. It was commanded by Herod
      3. It pleased the Jews
    4. The timing
      1. The year - 44 AD
      2. The Passover season - Spring time
  3. The Imprisonment of Peter – Act 12:3-11
    1. Herod commands the arrest of Peter
      1. A matter of political gain
      2. A strategic time – Easter / Passover
    2. Peter is secured in prison
      1. He is chained to two soldiers on guard
      2. Special guards are assigned to around the clock duty – Act 5:19
    3. Peter is sleeping in prison
      1. He has been there before
      2. He is not afraid
      3. Yet he is surprised
  4. The Supernatural Deliverance of Peter – Act 12:7-11
    1. The angel of the Lord appears
    2. He is in charge
      1. The guards are helpless
      2. The chains are no problem
    3. He directs Peter
      1. Tells him everything to do
      2. Helps him out of the prison
  5. The Very “Human” Church – Act 12:13-17
    1. Peter at the door
    2. Rhoda answers the knock
      1. Rhoda’s problem
      2. The cautious recognition
    3. The answered prayer
  6. The Death of Herod – Act 12:21-23
    1. The execution of guards
    2. The pride of man - playing God
    3. The weakness of man - worshiping Herod
    4. The sovereignty of God
      1. Herod dies a horrible death
      2. The folly of those who defy God
      3. The tragedy of those who give God no glory
      4. The blinded, distorted, twisted, pride of men who attempt to live without a sense of dependence upon God
  7. The Marvelous Results – Act 12:24-25
    1. The Word of God grew and multiplied
      1. Despite all the opposition
      2. Paul and Barnabas are being trained for their future ministry
    2. The certainty of justice
    3. The indestructibility of the church
  8. The Prayer Meeting – Act 12:5
    1. James is murdered
    2. Peter is delivered
    3. The difference – Act 12:5
      1. But prayer was made
        1. The difference in weapons
          1. Herod – sword
          2. Church – 2Co 10:3-5
        2. Prayer
          1. To build dependence
          2. To participate in the sovereignty of God
      2. By the Church
        1. Not by the government
        2. Not by the world
        3. The unique calling of the Church
      3. Unto God
        1. They called upon the Lord
        2. They did not trust in anything or anyone else
      4. Without ceasing
        1. They were persistent
        2. God delayed the answer
          1. The people learned
          2. Peter learned
      5. For him Peter
        1. The definite request
        2. The direct answer
  9. The Purpose of Recording the Events of Act 12:7
    1. To reveal God’s sovereign determinism
      1. Over Rome
      2. Over Herod
      3. Over Jews
      4. Over persecution of the Church
    2. To reveal God’s inclusion of His people in carrying out His purposes
  10. God’s People Participate in His Sovereign Determinism
    1. God’s predestined plan will be fulfilled
    2. God’s plan includes the participation of His people
      1. The prayer
      2. The evangelism
      3. The serving
    3. Can Peter be released from prison if the church does not pray? Yes
      Will the Church pray? Yes, God wills it
    4. God has willed to use the prayer of His people as the means to the end
    5. Prayer – any participation by God’s people is our great privilege and opportunity and involvement with God
    6. Since God determines everything, why pray?
      1. Because He commands it
      2. For our good
      3. For our learning
      4. For dependence

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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