Summary: This shows how faith is necessary in prayer and how answered prayer increases our faith.
THE PRISON THAT COULDN’T HOLD PETER
TEXT: Acts 12:1-19; 24
Some people have trouble staying out of prison because of their criminal conduct, but Peter had trouble staying out of prison because of his Godly conduct. This chapter records Peter’s 3rd incarceration by the enemies of God. This chapter is significant in that the history of Peter ends when our text reads, “And he departed, and went into another place.” (V. 17).
May we consider, “The Prison that Couldn’t Hold Peter” or “How to get real results”.
I. A SURE WAY TO GET RESULTS…THE PRAYING. (Vv. 1-12).
A. Prayer Is A Dynamic Force. (V. 5; cf. 12)
1. Pentecost came when those in the upper room were
spending much time in prayer. (Ch. 1,2).
2. Peter and John were going to the temple to pray when they met, and through the power of God, healed the lame man.
3. When the church was praying after the release of
Peter and John from prison, “the place was shaken where they assembled together” (Acts 4:31).
4. The great change of the event of the Gospel going to the Gentiles was associated with prayer. (cf. 10).
Illustration: J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the F.B.I. is reported as saying, “The spectacle of a nation praying is more awe-inspiring than the explosion of an atomic bomb. The force of prayer is greater than any possible combination of man-made or man-controlled powers because prayer is man’s greatest means of tapping the infinite resources of God.”
B. Prayer Is A Demonstrated Faith.
“Show me your answered prayers and I will see your faith!” (WMA)
• You demonstrate your faith as you pray. God has the capacity and the power to answer your prayers.
• During the height of Roy Rogers’s fame, he had the dilemma of trying to answer 5000 letters at a time. They would bring his mail in by the dump truck load.
II. A SURPRISE WHEN THEY GOT RESULTS…THE PROOF. (Vv. 13-16)
A. The Proof Should Be Anticipated. (Believed) (Vv. 12-15).
When we pray, we ought to believe that it is going to happen. We should not be shocked when God answers our prayers. When those who had been praying were told that Peter was free and standing at the door of the gate, knocking, they thought that Rhoda was mad.
B. The Proof Is The Answer.
Answered prayer speaks volumes concerning ones faith.
III. A SHARING OF THE RESULTS…THE PREACHING. (Vv. 17-19; 24)
A. Preaching Is A Real Expression of What Has Happened. (V. 17).
Preaching or heralding is a wonderful way to share what God is doing when he answers prayer. Let your children rejoice with you when God answers prayers. Let your friends see as a testimony that God is answering prayer. Let your Sunday school class see God answer your prayers.
B. Preaching is a Relevant Application of What Has Happened. (V. 24).
CONCLUSION: Share the blessings of answered prayer with others. God is glorified as you do!