Sunday, June 24, 2012

From Acts to Revelation: Part 32 - Peter Delivered


From Acts to Revelation
Part 32 – PETER DELIVERED
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION

We have seen in the Book of Acts, the persecution that the early church faced at the hands of the religious leaders, as well as the Roman government.

Today's verses, will show us persecution for persuasion. King Herod Agrippa, grandson of King Herod the great, in order to win the love of the Jews, persecutes and murders the Apostle James.

When he sees how his actions please the Jews, he arrests Peter to have him killed after the Passover.

But God has more planned for Peter, and sends an Angel of the Lord to rescue him.

Today's scripture, should have us look at our own lives and ask the questions;

Have I been “saved” from certain death in my past?

Why has God kept me here?

What is it I am supposed to be doing?


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE

Acts 12:1-19 PETER'S ESCAPE FROM PRISON
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”


I.       KING HEROD WANTS FAVOR WITH THE JEWS
a.      King James Authorized 1611 Error
i.       Acts 12:4 “Easter”

ii.    The Literal translation for this verse says, “Passover”, yet, the Authorized King James version 1611 replaced it with the Pagan holiday Easter.

iii. Easter comes from the Saxon goddess Eostre, who was known by the Saxons as the great Mother Goddess. Easter was named somewhere between 672-735 A.D.

iv.   She is the goddess of spring, and fertility, which is why Easter is littered with eggs and rabbits, which are both symbolic of fertility.


b.     The Persecution of Believer's Continues
i.       King Herod Agrippa was the grandson of King Herod the Great, who was responsible for murdering the babies of Bethlehem.

ii.    He was seeking the Jews approval, to win favor with them, he hunted Christians.


c.      James, the brother of John, was put to death with the sword.
i.       The first Apostle to die (Stephen was one of the first seven Deacons who became a preacher.)

ii.    No successor was ever chosen to take his place among the twelve.
iii. With the exception of Judas, who was replaced by Matthias, no others ever followed any of the twelve in office.

iv.   In other words, there is no such thing as Apostolic Procession.


d.     After killing James, Herod sees that it pleased the Jews, so he arrested Peter.
i.       He planned on killing him after the Passover.

ii.    So he placed Peter in prison.



II.   PETER'S GREAT ESCAPE
a.      This is the third time Peter was put in prison for the Gospel.
i.       Acts 4:3; 5:18-19


b.     He was guarded by 16 soldiers.
i.       vs.4, Easter should have been translated Passover.


c.      Prayer was made without ceasing by the Church for him.
i.       This represents the greatest weapon at the Church's disposal.


d.     vs. 6 implies that Herod had probably announced to everyone of the great Apostle Peter's coming death.
i.       But God had other plans for Peter.



III.   RETURNING TO THE BROTHERS
a.      An Angel of the Lord came.
i.       And a light shined from glory

ii.    The angel woke Peter, and the chains fell from his hands.

iii. He instructed Peter to dress and put on his shoes to follow him.


b.     Peter was in a dream-like state, and did as the angel instructed.
i.       He thought it was a vision, and did not realize it was really happening.


c.      After they left the prison, and traveled about a city block, the angel left Peter
i.       And Peter “snapped” out of his day-dream state. (vs. 11)


d.     Pater states, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”



CONCLUSION
Today's scripture, should have us look at our own lives and ask the questions;

Have I been “saved” from certain death in my past?
Peter was saved by an Angel of the Lord from certain death, because God's will was for him to continue building the church.

Has there been times in your past where you feel you may have been saved by the hand of God from certain death?


Why has God kept me here?
Peter knew that it was God's will for him to continue building the church, and he returned to doing God's will after his miraculous escape from prison.
Do you know what God's will id for you in your life right now?


What is it I am supposed to be doing?
Peter knew his calling in life...do you?

Maybe it's time you start asking the Lord, “What is it I am supposed to be doing for you and your kingdom?”



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