Summary: Let's trust God for a miracle!
Are You Expecting A Miracle?
Text: Acts 12:1-19
1. Illustration: Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation. — Andrew Murray
2. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
3. If faith is the confidence that what we hope for is actually going to happen, then why are we surprised when it does?
4. If we truly believe that what Jesus said is true, "yes ask me for anything in my name and I will do it," then why are we dumbfounded when he gives us what we ask for?
5. The answer to both of those questions is because we are human, and God does things that are beyond the limits of human imagination.
6. The story of Peter's miraculous escape from jail illustrates that...
A. Disappointments Make It Hard To Believe
B. God Still Answers Our Prayers
C. Are We Going To Expect A Miracle?
7. Let's stand together as we read Acts 12:1-19.
Proposition: Let's trust God for a miracle!
Transition: The hardest thing about expecting a miracle is...
I. Disappointments Make It Hard To Believe (1-5).
A. Killed With A Sword
1. In spite of all the persecution heaped upon the Church so far in Acts, they had experienced miracle after miracle. In fact, we can easily see that they had come to expect it.
2. At this point they probably thought that the persecution had come to an end.
A. However, this was not the case, and it probably never will be until Jesus comes back.
B. Like one of my mentors once told me, "There will always be demons to slay!
3. This was the case in the early church. Just when they thought the persecution was over, Luke tells us, "About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword."
A. Because Herod Agrippa I was educated in Rome and became a friend of the Roman emperors, Gaius (Caligula) made him king of part of Syria in A.D. 37.
B. Then, two years later, after exiling Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist, Gaius added Galilee and Perea to Agrippa's rule.
C. In A.D. 41 the emperor Claudius gave Agrippa Judea and Samaria, uniting practically the whole territory, once ruled by Herod the Great, under him.
D. When Herod Agrippa I became king over Judea and Jerusalem he did everything he could to gain and hold the favor of the Jews.
E. Apparently, he also saw and heard enough from the Jewish leaders to know of their fears and frustrations with respect to the apostles and the Church.
F. He undoubtedly heard how the Sanhedrin had threatened the apostles, who simply continued to preach about Jesus.
G. Somewhere in the early part of his reign over Jerusalem, then, he decided to take steps to show he was a king who could do more than threaten. So he arrested some from the Church "intending to persecute them."
H. Among them was the apostle James, brother of John (together, the sons of Zebedee). With Peter, James and John constituted the inner circle of Jesus' disciples while He ministered on earth.