Summary: This is study of Acts chapter 12 it is the 15th sermon in Acts
In Chapter twelve the persecution starts up again. All through out the history of the early church persecution came and went. It was not until the later part of the first century that persecution started heavy. In this chapter we can learn two important lessons dealing in the area of church growth. As we study this chapter see if you can detect what they are.
This chapter deals with the persecution of the church by Herod. This man was Herod Agrippa I. He was the Grandson of Herod the Great. (Herod the Great was the Herod at Jesus Birth.) Herod Agrippa I was given the title of king of the Jews. In order to please the Jews we did what ever seemed to make them happy. He was a politician. He knew that the arrest of Christians would please the Jews especially the Religious leaders which were the Pharisees. So this is the background for this passage.
I. The arrest of some Christians.
NOTE: We know that several Christians were arrested. They were arrested in order that he might harm them or even put them to death.
II. The death of James:
NOTE: This James was the brother of John, the son of Zebedee. He was one of the twelve Apostles. He was one of the leaders of the church. Herod had him put to death with the sword. This could have been by chopping of his head or by having the sword thrust through his body.
III. The arrest of Peter:
A. The reason for the arrest.
1. It pleased the Jews.
2. Peter was the head of the Church.
NOTE: Beside the main reason it pleased the Jews which is Christians were ripping apart Judaism. They also were welcoming the Gentiles to come in with them, Jews and Gentiles were breaking down racial barriers.
3. The ideal was to put Peter to Death also.
B. The time of the arrest was during the day of the unleavened bread Just before Passover.
C. The conditions of the arrest:
1. He was put in Prison.
2. He had four Squads of soldiers watching him.
NOTE: Four squads of soldiers consisted of 16 soldiers, four men in each squad. They must have thought that Peter was very dangerous to put such guard on him. It might have been because of his earlier escape.
3. He was chained to two of the Soldiers, one on each side.
IV. The Miraculous Deliverance of Peter.
NOTE: This was not and escape, Peter did not do anything but follow the orders of the Angel. He was delivered from prison.
A. The reason for the deliverance was because of the prayers of the Church.
B. The time of the deliverance was the night before he was to tried.
C. The description of the deliverance.
1. Peter was sleeping soundly.
NOTE: He was to be tried and put to death the next day and he was sleeping.
2. Peter was still chained by two and watched by two.
3. The Angel suddenly appeared with a great light.
4. The Angel had to wake Peter up by striking his side.
5. The bonds fell off.
6. The Angel instructed Peter.
a. Get up.
b. Get dressed. Grid yourself
c. Put your sandals on.
d. Wrap your cloak around you.
e. Follow Me.
7. The thinking of Peter was that he was dreaming.
8. The Angel led Peter out into the city past the guards and the gates with out detection.
9. The Angel departed.
10. Peter come too his senses.
a. He was rescued from Herod.
b. He was from what all the Jewish people were expecting.
V. The return of Peter to the other believers.
A. The location of the others was Mary, the mother of Mark, house.
B. The activity of the others was they were praying.
C. The response of the others at Peter’s arrival.
1. Of Rhonda: She was so excited she forgot to let Peter in the house but she ran to tell the others he was there, their prayers had been answered.
2. Of the others:
a. They said she was Crazy.
b. They said she seen a ghost.
NOTE: Tradition said that when a person died their Guardian Angel would appear to some one at the time of death.
D. The entrance of Peter.
1. He kept knocking.
2. The people were amazed.
E. The report of Peter.
1. He told them what happened.
2. He told them to tell James and the other brethren.
F. Peter left for another place.
NOTE: In this we can see the first lesson from this experience, and that is the power of prayer. The reason Peter was released is because the people were praying for him. As we work together to build this church we first need to be in prayer. We can not do anything aside from prayer. We will not reach people with out prayer. We will not make a difference without prayer. It is through pray that we get the power of God. WE NEED TO PRAY!!!!