Summary: Last in a series of sermons from the lives of Jesus’ disciples and how they changed the world. This one looks at the personal rewards brought about by being a disciple of Jesus.

Be a World Changer III

The Rewards

Acts 12:1-17

Introduction: Last in the series on changing the world. Here we have James martyred. He had been called from his fishing boat about 15 years before and now he has truly given all to Christ. Peter faces the same fate. Normally prisoners were chained with one hand to a guard, but Peter was chained by both hands to two guards, yet we see that nothing man can do will prevent the will of God from being accomplished.

I. Pray continually it’s where the rewards come from

A. “We that live in a cold and prayerless generation can scarcely fathom an idea of the earnestness of these holy men of old” Matthew Henry – 1700’s.

1. We never stop growing in Christ. We grow through prayer. Martin Luther prayed: Lord, although I am sure of my position, without your help I cannot maintain it. Help me or I am lost!”

2. Expect an answer to prayer.

3. Prayer changes things, because God acts on prayer and only God can change people.

B. Praying for others is critical.

1. As others pray for you, so you must pray for them. ILLUS 1009 – Young girl praying “only for others” asking for a handsome son-in-law for her mother

2. Intercessory prayer – It uplifts both parties.

II. Follow where He leads

A. Many believers suffer in spiritual prison because they will not follow God’s lead.

1. If you’re not following God, who are you following?

2. God strengthens us through bearable tests. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phi 4:13)

3. God leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. ILLUS p. 378 – Tony Compolo and walking himself home from school. His mother always following and watching over him.

4. We have to get behind God even when we aren’t sure where He’s leading.

5. We may not know where we’re going, but we know who we’re following.

B. Jesus changes the world one heart at a time.

1. He opens doors for us to minister.

2. He leads us explicitly when necessary.

III. Recognize the rewards

A. We are free from this world.

1. We are released from the bonds of the earth and the concerns of the earth.

2. We can then more readily focus on God.

3. God provides in His time, often in the nick of time. This time He sent angels, often he uses other means. ILLUS – Last minute college dollars.

B. We are free in Christ

1. He frees us from the prison of sin.

2. He calls us to our reward.

3. First Peter thought he was having a vision before he realized it was tangible. Then the others reacted the same way.

4. The change is real, and we are what’s changed.

5. All credit always goes to God. (v.11)

Conclusion: You can be a world changer.

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