Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: verse by verse through Acts

Isn’t it funny how we get surprised by things that shouldn’t surprise us at all?

[Gaining weight, speeding ticket, pregnancy examples.]

Isn’t it funny how we get surprised by things that shouldn’t surprise us at all?

Especially when it comes to God-things. Sometimes the Lord does something for us and it catches us off guard. “Wow! Look at what the Lord did!” Even things that we’ve prayed about!

[My graduation from TTU.]

Now, we should be appreciative when the Lord answers our prayers. But we shouldn’t be surprised that He answered them. I mean, God is God. If we’re praying by faith according to His will He answers us. Our faith should cause us to [2] expect God to be God.

Now some people don’t have any problems with this. Their faith is alive and vibrant and they live every moment of the day expecting God to be God in their lives.

But some people have allowed their faith to become too sophisticated, complicated and cold so when God does something amazing they’re not only surprised but might not even believe it was God. We see both of these kinds of people in this morning’s passage. As we go through the text, try and see which kind of person you are. Are you surprised when God moves, or do expect God to be God?

Go with me to Acts chapter twelve where we’ll see how we should [3] expect God to be God through the trials we go through.

[Read Acts 12:1-4.]

Persecution was rampant in the days of the early church. We’ve already seen Stephen killed for the faith, the disciples thrown into prison, the disciples beaten, and now James is killed as well. History shows us that King Herod loved the praise of men so he sought to please the Jewish community that he ruled over by killing the hated Christians. After he had James killed he realized how much it helped him politically so he arrested Peter, the leader of the early church, and planned on publicly executing him as well. But the Jews had this thing about killing people during their religious feasts so he decided to wait until after the days of Unleavened Bread were over to kill Peter.

Now this was a regular occurrence during the early church. The Christians back then received heavy persecution on a regular basis. Something that Jesus said would happen.

[Read John 15:18-19.]

The early Christians understood that their lives at times would be extremely difficult because of their faith. But they still believed that God was God and that He would even work through the persecution for His glory. And as we have seen and will continue to see, the more oppressed the believers were, the more the gospel spread. Let’s take a sneak peak at how this story ends.

[Read Acts 12:24-25.]

Even through the trials of life, we can expect God to be God. God uses the difficult things we go through to grow us and to grow His kingdom. We can expect God to be God through trials.

We can also [4] expect God to be God for deliverance from the trials of life.

Now let’s understand just what kind of predicament Peter’s in. He’s been thrown into prison for being a Christian and Herod has put four squads of soldiers in place to guard him. That means that there were four four-man teams who would take turns guarding him 24 hours a day. Peter would have two men chained to him sitting inside his locked cell, and two men posted outside the cell to stand guard. He’s been in jail for a few days and it’s the night before he’s going to be executed. Let’s see what happened.

[Read Acts 12:5-12.]

You know what I think? I think Peter expected God to be God and to somehow deliver him from this situation. How else would he have been able to sleep so soundly the night before he was to be executed? He’s chained up to a couple of soldiers, he’s scheduled to die in the morning, and he’s so sound asleep that the angel has to give him a good elbow to the ribs just to get him up! (The bright angel-light wasn’t enough to wake him up.) Peter was able to sleep well because he expected God to be God and deliver him from prison.

After all, the last time he was in prison the Lord miraculously delivered him in the middle of the night, (Acts 5). And in John 21:18 the Lord implied to him that he would live to be an old man. So Peter looked at his situation and said, “God can handle this. I’ll get a little shut-eye while I wait for Him to show up.”

God will take care of us and will deliver us from the trials of life in one way or another. We can trust God and expect God to be God no matter what we’re going through.

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