This past Sunday I had the honor of teaching through the Book of Acts by studying Acts 12:1-17. In this passage, we looked at two major events of history – the first is the death of the Apostle James and the second is the deliverance of Peter from prison at the hands of an angel.
This passage poses many questions that we still wrestle with today:
– Why does God allow good people who love him to die at a young age while others are delivered from death?
– If God already knows what is going to happen – what is the point of prayer? Does prayer actually change anything?
– We may not be in a physical prison but so many of us are imprisoned to alcohol, drugs, sex, consumerism, comfort, or entertainment. How can we ourselves experience deliverance from these prisons?
The full message is below and below the message you can find the Sermon Discussion Guide to help you go deeper in your faith. We will be meeting this Wednesday at 8pm via Zoom to talk through the Sermon Discussion Guide and all are invited to join us. The connection information is here: https://renovationchurchsd.com/online-service-information/
Book of Acts – Week 29 – Acts 12:1-17
Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:
1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).
2. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.
1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 12:1-17. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text?
2. In the beginning of this chapter, we are introduced to three major people: King Herod, Peter, and James. Explain briefly who each of these people are and their relation to Jesus.
3. The most troubling contrast in this chapter is the difference between the outcomes of James imprisonment and that of Peter. Why did God rescue Peter out of prison but allow James to be executed? Bringing it to our own day – why does God heal some people and not others? Why does he save some people from death but not others – when He loves both people?
4. During Peter’s imprisonment, the church was marked by “fervent prayer.” There was a time when Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. He replied by giving us the “model prayer” known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” Read Matthew 6:5-15 – what stands out to you? What questions do you have?
5. One of the remarkable things about Peter is that he was sound asleep hours before his execution – he seemed to not have any anxiety or worry about his impending death. How was this possible? Are there any Scriptures that come to mind that have helped you in the midst of anxiety or worry?
6. As soon as Peter realized that God, through the angel, rescued him from prison – he immediately went to the church to share his testimony with God’s people. One of the best things we can do is regularly share with those around us how God has worked in our lives. As you look over the past few months, what are some specific ways God has delivered you out of various “prisons”?