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Summary: The Church prays and Peter is released from prison. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

(A). God sees our trials (vs 1-4):

• Man’s persecution

• God's sovereignty

(B). God hears our Prayers (vs 5-17):

• Peter sleeping (vs 5-6)

• Peter obeying (verses 7-11)

• Peter knocking (vs 12-16)

• Peter declaring (vs 17)

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis;

• Was a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s.

• He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa.

“I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ “When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.”

• Life does not always work out how we imagine it to be!

• Often we are surprised and…. the surprises are not always pleasant.

Quote: Alexander Pope

"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

Disappointment is a part of life that every person deals with.

• Our kids disappoint us;

• Our partners/spouse disappoints us;

• Our friends disappoint us;

• Other Christians disappoint us.

• Our politicians disappoint us.

• Our sporting heroes disappoint us;

• We even disappoint ourselves.

• We live in a world of disappointment, and if we do not come to grips with this truth,

• We are doomed to be unhappier tomorrow than we are today.

• We are disappointed when things don’t go the way we thought they were going to go.

• Wrong expectations lead to disappointment,

• And disappointment leads to despair.

Disappointment can come to us from a variety of sources:

(a).

• Often we have wrong expectations;

• We set our goals so high that we are never going to achieve them.

• i.e. Not every athlete wins the Olympic gold.

• i.e. Not every applicant gets the job.

• i.e. Not everyone is going to stay healthy - illness happens.

• i.e. Not every marriage soars, many struggle and many fail.

• Often we have wrong expectations;

• And dealing with disappointment may mean adjusting our expectations.

(b).

• We need to learn from our defeats.

• And remember that disappointment and failure build character and patience.

• Quote: Romans chapter 5 verses 3-4 put it like this:

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character"

• We need to learn from our defeats.

• And remember that disappointment and failure build character and patience.

(c).

• Build friendships. God often ministers to our hurts through other people.

• It can be tempting to put up walls when you're feeling especially vulnerable,

• But if you shut out friends,

• You could be sealing off healing and hope.

(d).

• Go deeper with God. Friends are essential,

• But humans can let us down and err in judgment.

• i.e. Matthew chapter 26 verses 36-46:

• Even Jesus' friends even let Him down in His hour of need in the Garden of Gethsemane.

• Jesus prayed!

• We find strength and hope in our relationship with God.

(e).

• Focus on the bigger picture.

• Remember Romans chapter 8 verse 28:

• “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God".

• Again and again the apostle Paul knew how disappointing life could seem;

• Just read his letters and you will know that.

• Yet he never quit encouraging his fellow believers to see the big picture;

• In the midst of their trials and hold on to their supreme hope in God.

Quote:

• English author Joseph Addison declared,

• “Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses & disappointments”

• With God, even our disappointments, our trials, our difficulties;

• Can be opportunities for him to work, for us to grow & for others to be blessed!

Ill:

• Have you ever noticed with the word `Disappointment’;

• That if you change just one letter – the letter ‘D’ to the letter ‘H’;

• The word ‘Disappointment’ is replaced by the words ‘His appointment’.

TRANSITION:

• These principles can be seen woven throughout this chapter;

• The chapter could be called; “A series of disappointments”.

(A). God sees our trials (vs 1-4):

• “At that time King Herod…”

• Pause there for a moment and look at this man Herod.

• The Herod clan were a scheming and murderous family,

• King Herod (that is Herod Agrippa)

• Was the grandson of Herod the Great,

• Who ordered the massacre of the Bethlehem children just after birth of Jesus.

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