Summary: The Shortest distance between two people to solve a problem is through the mercy seat

Hopeless Situations

Sat. 8/12/12

- Youcef Nadarkhani ( Nadar-Khani) , pastor in a network of house churches in Iran, was arrested on Oct. 13, 2009, after protesting the government's decision to force all children, including his own Christian children, to read the Quran.

- He was sentenced to death and the ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court of Iran last year.

- According to Islamic Sharia Law, an apostate has three days to recant. The Christian pastor had refused to recant his faith 4x

- "Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?" Nadarkhani asked.

- "To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," the judge reportedly replied.

- "I cannot," the pastor responded.

- Youcef was acquitted of apostasy, the Iranian pastor was found guilty of evangelizing Muslims. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment but was released because he already served this time.

- Christians around the world have prayed and appealed for Nadarkhani's release. A Twitter campaign advocating for his freedom reached more than 3 million.

Bible Problems

- Israel in bondage for 450 – (Acts 13:17-19)

- Red Sea on one side & Egypt on the other – Ex 14

- Water & Food – Ex. 15-116

- David & Goliath – 1 Sa 17

- Even small things seem hopeless

- Lost axe-head – 2 Ki 6;1-7

A Royal Pain - Herod Agrippa I

- From a scheming and murderous family

They were despised by the Jews, who resented having Edomites ruling over them

– Grandson of Herod the Great (killed the babies at Bethlehem

- Nephew of Herod Antipas (Beheaded John the Baptist)

- v. 2 Killed James

- v.3-4 Imprisons Peter to be killed also

Situation – What is the Shortest Distance to Solve a Problem?


• v.5-6 - Physical barriers – Prison & Chains

• v.6 - Herod in the palace was uneasy

• v. 6 - Soldiers wide awake

• v.18 - Outsiders getting ready for “no small stir”

Peter at ease asleep

• Guarded by 4 squads of 4 soldiers each

• v. 10 - Protected by 2 guard posts & a iron gate

- v. 5 - BUT - Disciples holding an agitated prayer meeting

- Shortest distance between two people is through the mercy seat

Psalm 2:2 (AV)

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Psalm 2:4 (AV)

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

1 Peter 3:12 (AV)

12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

The Unexpected Answer

- v. 7-10 - God Provides a way

- Angel lighting the darkness

- Removing the problem

- Going with Him

“Pilgrim’s Progress.” After some days of useless suffering, he suddenly exclaimed, “Why, I have all along had in my bosom a key called Promise, which is able to open any door in Doubting Castle!”

- What is the reason anyone now is afraid of the power of Giant Despair?

Hope for the Hopeless

- Easy route is to give up

- v. 11 - Key verse for us

1. Inflexible courage in struggles.

2. Quiet patience in suffering.

3. Unwearied perseverance in prayer

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