Summary: This is the fourth week of our "Prison Break" sermon series focused on the central character of King David. This sermon encourages to take God out of the box we keep him in.
Prison Break 4 – It’s Time to Break God Out
1. God’s Prison Breaks found in the Bible
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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."
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
In the first case… they prayed… putting their trust into God for Peter’s deliverance. In the second case… they prayed and sang praises to God… putting their trust into God’s hands. And God came in extraordinary might and broke down their walls and released their chains… and set them free. It is a dramatic example of the power, the grace, and the love of our God.
2. What he did for us
But pastor… here I sit comfortably in this church. You can obviously see that I am not in prison. But brother… but sister… don’t you know there are more prisons than those built with bricks and mortar.
Perhaps you are captive to a clock and a calendar… that is Timelock prison. Your schedule, your PDA, your blackberry keep you on-time and on course… but pen you into a cage you can not see. Perhaps you are in the Work-all-the-time prison. Never taking breaks, never taking sick days, working 80 plus hours a week… your job is your prison. Maybe you have, as my son William would put it… an owie that won’t go away… that is the Wounded Heart Prison. A hurt so big that it is crippling you… preventing you from going anywhere or doing anything. Perhaps you are a captive to fear… trapped in a Fear Prison… afraid to venture out. Maybe… what is holding you down is the Sacred Pen of Religion… we have never done it that way before. That is not how we do things at “my” church… and you are locked into one way of thinking. Or is it Angerville State Pen. Perhaps it’s Addictions Jail. It could be Gossip County Lockup that holds you tight. Or perhaps it is something more subtle like Debtors Prison.
The very good news is that God has a way of rescuing and providing for those who put their trust in him. God has a way of delivering those who are persecuted… of healing those who are hurting… of guiding those who are lost… of helping those who are helpless… They simply need to put their trust in him and give themselves to his care.
But pastor, there is so much hurt… so much pain… so much that keeps us captive… HOW, how is God going to help me? I think we need to take a look back… and see what God has ALREADY done for us… with the greatest prison break EVER.
It was a masterful piece of work… escape from a prison that had NEVER been broken out of… I’m not talking about Sing Sing, I’m not talking about Alcatraz, or Leavenworth, or San Quentin, or even Attica. I’m talking about a prison that could not be harmed by any means known to man. Lets take a look at scripture…