Summary: Though there may be temporary worldly TRIUMPHS, God will ACCOMPLISH all His purpose through His church.

The Folly Of Fighting God

Acts 12:1-25

With 24-hour cable news channels we have become accustomed to constant coverage of national and international events. Whether that is election coverage, violent crimes, natural disasters, or a high profile court cases - we have instant information at our finger tips. Personally, however, the times I’ve been glued to cable news the most has been in the midst of a war. Whether that was Desert Storm or Iraqi Freedom or the war in Afghanistan – something about our fighting young men and women going to battle draws me in to want to watch every minute I can.

Well, there is a war that has been waging throughout the history of mankind. It’s a war between God and his holy angels and elect men and women against Satan and all of his demonic hosts and fallen men. Although the outcome of the war has never been in doubt, the battles are no less real.

This war began on the angelic level when Lucifer, the highest of all created beings, rebelled against his Creator. He was cast from heaven along with 1/3rd of the angels who rebelled with him. From that moment until the present the great cosmic war between God and his adversary the Devil has been raging. Throughout the centuries the war has engulfed countless humans. Unless we understand the reality of this war we will not accurately interpret the things that are happening in our world today.

On the human front the battle began when Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s design in the Garden of Eden by eating the forbidden fruit at the instigation of Satan. From that moment the war of the ages has waged in the human realm. It has resulted in centuries of men shaking their fists at God, denying his existence and proclaiming his death. Every generation more men get caught up in the battle and they pit their impotence against God’s omnipotence, only to find themselves crushed and destroyed.

History is strewn with the wreckage of those who have been foolish enough to fight against God. Here are a few examples you may be familiar with:

Friedrich Nietzsche. He was a 19th century German philosopher who absolutely despised Christianity. He called it “the religion of weaklings.” It amazes me that I still hear modern philosophers quote him today. It’s as if they forgot the tragic way Nietzsche’s life ended. Fighting against God eventually pushed him over the brink and he spent the last several years of his life insane.

Here’s another one, Novelist Sinclair Lewis. He won the 1930 Nobel Prize for literature. He also attempted to match his impotence against God’s omnipotence. He wrote the novel Elmer Gantry which mocked Christianity. The leading character was an evangelist who was also an alcoholic and an unceasing fornicator. Sinclair Lewis’ fight against God cost him his sobriety and he died a hopeless alcoholic in a clinic near Rome.

Another Nobel-Prize winning author, Earnest Hemingway, consider himself living proof that someone could successfully fight God. He boasted of leading a decadent life without any apparent consequences. The guilt of his sins eventually caught up with him and he put a shotgun to his head and killed himself. Fighting against God cost him his life.

There are many biblical examples of those who tried vainly to battle against God. Pharaoh is the first of many kings or other rulers in the Old Testament who thought because of their elevated earthly power they could somehow match against God's eternal power only to discover truth that Isaiah declared: Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Isaiah 40:15, 17

In the New Testament era there is one family of rulers that stand out in the battle against God - the Herods. The patriarch of the family was known as Herod the Great - a pretty humble title, right? He was the Roman ruler of Judea, and then all of Palestine from 47 BC to just after Christ's birth. The Roman Senate dubbed him "King of the Jews." He was a bloodthirsty ruler who even had one of his wives, her mother and three of his sons put to death. Most notably he is known for all the innocent young male children near Bethlehem as he sought to kill the true King of the Jews - Jesus.

Herod Antipas ruled Galilee during the time of Jesus' ministry. He is the Herod that had John the Baptist put to death and also who questioned Jesus just before his crucifixion, but Jesus would not answer any of his questions.

In this chapter Luke will introduce us to Herod Agrippa I who ruled from AD37 - AD 44. He was the grandson of Herod the Great. Paul would later stand trial before his son, Herod Agrippa II.

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