Summary: How many churches band together to reach their community by having an all night prayer service! Prayer is VITAl to our survival as believers and to our fellowship! If we are to reach our community for Christ, we must start on our knees! And when we pray f
Date Written: October 1, 2010
Date Preached: October 3, 2010
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: Reaching our Community
Sermon Title: God Hears & Answers Earnest Prayer
Sermon Text: Acts 12:5-17
God heard and answered the earnest prayers of the church for the miracle of Peter¡¦s deliverance from prison.
God hears and answers the earnest prayers of His children to bring about miraculous events in the life of our fellowship
Have you ever heard the phrase, ¡¥going to hell in a handbasket¡¦¡K in my sermon preparation I wanted to find out the origin and reason for this phrase, but I found that facts about the origins of this phrase seem to be a scarce as ¡¥hen¡¦s teeth¡¦¡K ƒº
But I believe we all have had the overwhelming feeling that our world is headed in the wrong direction¡K spiraling downward and out of control headed for destruction! There are times when I feel so down about the world around me that I get really depressed¡K really sad¡K and just want to give up!
The believers in our passage this morning more than likely saw things deteriorating fast for them¡K they saw things spinning out of control!
Setting Up the Story: Peter¡¦s Incarceration ¡V v.1-5:
King Herod violent against the church
v.1 ¡V we find the Greek word ¡§kakOsai¡¨ used to describe Herod¡¦s treatment of those in the church. This word is a word for oppression or doing evil to¡K this is the same fervor and passion the Germans showed against the Jews during WWII¡K
We need to understand that this was NOT a general religious persecution by Herod, but it was directed at one particular group¡K v. 1 calls them the ¡§ekklEsias¡¨ which literally means the called out ones¡K
James is martyred (v.2)
Peter arrested and sentenced to die (v3)
Herod wanted to keep peace in the region to stay in favor with the Roman gov¡¦t. They demanded peace and quietness at ANY cost¡K So Herod saw what a commotion was going on with the church and saw that the religious leaders were raising a rukus¡K
So he determines that if he was to keep the peace, that the Christians must be dealt with¡K so he arrests and kills James and it pleased the religious leaders so much that he arrests Peter.
Now when these believers saw what Herod and the authorities had done to James, and now to Peter¡K there was a feeling of dread and hopelessness that was overwhelming and they were at their wits end, this is where we pick up the story in v.5¡K
In the world they lived in, they did NOT know what to do¡K they did NOT know where to turn¡Kso they did the only thing they knew to do and that was drop to their knees¡K not in their personal prayer closets, but in a gathering of the church¡K a gathering of those who have been called out by God¡K
These people came together in a group and rallied around each other by dropping to their knees in prayer! They saw the hopelessness of the situation and knew they could not do anything to change it¡K
1 of their leaders had been executed, and now another had been arrested and after the holiday weekend he was going to be put to death as well¡K I believe they were looking at the termination and extinction of what they called the church!
At this time, many of these people had followed their leaders faithfully, but they had NOT had to act on their own, and now that their leaders were either dead or in jail¡Kthey had to act, and they acted as they had seen their actors act¡K they went to their knees!
Now I want to tell you that the book of James is very clear on the matter of prayer. James tells us in James 5:16 [ESV] tells us:
16 ¡KThe prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
The word used to describe great power is a word that means strength to get the job done¡K A righteous man¡¦s prayers are strong! And with God on our side, things get done! Now, what and how God answers that prayer may not be what we expect BUT¡K God answers the prayer of the righteous!
These people gathered together and dropped to their knees for their leader¡K their pastor¡K Peter! They entreated the throne for his sake!
Like Peter¡¦s situation, I believe we can see that our world, our country, our state, our city, our neighborhood¡K our community is NOT where it should be with God, and if things don¡¦t change, they are headed down a path of destruction!
Do you ever feel helpless about your neighbor? Your co-worker? That person you are in school with? That check out lady at Rouses or Walmart? Do you ache at the feeling that they are in prison? That they are bound and in bondage to the enemy? I know I do¡K I hurt daily as I look around me, but what can I do? Where can I turn?