Summary: A church that does not pray forfeits the Blessings and Power of almighty God. A powerless Church does nothing to please or to Glorify God. Therefore, God is not pleased when his saints fail to collectively Pray.
TITLE: THE POWER OF A PRAYING CHURCH
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 12:1-9
A church that does not pray forfeits the Blessings and Power of almighty God. A powerless Church does nothing to please or to Glorify God. Therefore, God is not pleased when his saints fail to COLLECTIVELY Pray. If we endeavor to see this Church soar to Higher Heights, we must become a Praying Church.
• If we want to see lives changed and souls save - we must become a Praying Church
• If we want to have an impact on the world - we musts become a Praying Church
• If we want to see the Church become what God designed it to be – we must become a Praying Church
• If we want to become Holy Ghost Headquarters – we must become a Praying Church
• If we want to see Continued Growth – we must become Praying Church
As the CANOPY of this text is lifted, we see that HEROD AGRIPPA the first, the Grandson of Herod the Great, and son of ARISTOBULOUS, had vexed the Church and killed JAMES the brother of JOHN with the Sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he stretched forth his hand against Peter, the Leader of the Church. My brothers and sisters, there are those who do not want to see the Church progress, and will do whatever they can to hinder the Agenda of the Church. That’s why it is imperative that the Church stays in constant prayer.
The history of the early church begins with King Herod initiating a persecution of the church. And if you're thinking that you have read this name Herod other places in the Bible, you are right. HEROD is a popular name in the New Testament days! In fact, there are at least FOUR (4) Herods mentioned in the Bible.
• Herod #1 was known as "Herod the Great." This was the "Herod" who slaughtered the babies of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the Christ child. He also murdered many of his own family.
• Herod #2 was known as "Herod Antipas." He was the "Herod" who commanded John the Baptist to be beheaded. He ruled when Jesus was crucified.
• Herod #3 was known as "Herod Philip the Second." He was murdered by his own father because he feared his son was after his throne but before Herod Philip died he had a son who became...
• Herod #4, known as "Herod Agrippa" who was the King Herod that we read about here in Acts 12.
Now this "Herod" was a typical politician in that he worked very hard at cultivating the good graces of the Jewish people he ruled-by meticulously keeping the MOSAIC LAW and all Jewish observances and it worked. He became very popular with the Jewish people, especially the religious leaders. But, don't get me wrong-he didn't do this because he loved the Jewish people. No-he was appointed to this "KINGSHIP" by Rome and he wanted to please his Roman masters. He knew that one thing they wanted was a peaceful Palestine. Rome wanted happy, non-rebellious subjects so their "LAP-DOG" Herod worked to keep the Jews happy. And, as I said he did a good job at this. He was popular with the Jewish community.
In our text, Peter is ARRESTED and INCARCERATED. Herod conjectured that if he killed the Head of the Church -- The body would soon perish. And don’t you know that this same type MENTALITY still exists today? However, unknown to Herod that God had other plans.
• I like a God who can turn Dead Ends into Detours
• I like a God who can take what looks like the End of the Road and turn it into a Bend in the Road
• I like a God who can take a One Way road and turn it into a Superhighway
• I like a God who is Bigger than our Prisons – Jail Cells – and our Chains
In prison Peter was treated as PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE. He was held in MAXIMUM SECURITY, which meant that sixteen soldiers in squads of four each were allotted to GUARD THIS GALILEAN FISHERMAN. Day and night Peter was kept chained to the wrists of two soldiers, one on the right and one on the left. Why? Probably Herod Agrippa was aware of what happened a few years earlier when Peter was in prison together with the other apostles. At that time an angel came and released Peter and the others, commanding them to go into the temple and preach the gospel. Herod Agrippa wanted to make sure Peter was not going to get out of prison so easily this time.
It was Herod’s desire to KILL HIM RIGHT AWAY. And don't misunderstand. This temporary stay of execution wasn't due to some hidden streak of kindness in Herod's nature. No, it was simply another example of Herod's desire to be popular with the Jewish religious leaders. You see scripture says that Peter was arrested during the PASSOVER - the feast of unleavened bread. And according to Jewish Law no trial or execution could be carried out during this week so Herod could not kill Peter until the week had passed-or he would risk losing the popularity he had gained by arresting him in the first place. Perhaps Herod thought that waiting to kill Peter after Passover on that SUNDAY – the day the Christians claimed Jesus had risen from the dead-would especially please the Jewish religious leaders!