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The Unstoppable Gospel

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2023 1:55 pm

The Unstoppable Gospel

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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February 4, 2023 1:55 pm

January 25, 2023 – Message from Tom Griffith

            Main Scripture Passage:  Acts 12:1-25

            Topic: Living Gospel

 

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And then if I could have Brother Tom, he's going to preach for us tonight.

And so he'll make his way up here and just give him a hand as he makes his way up. Now, in Acts chapter 12, oh, for about a month now, some days I'd listen to it maybe 10 or 12 times. A bunch of notes, a bunch of things. There's four points we want to discuss about Acts chapter 12, but we're going to stand up together. We're going to read the whole chapter.

And by the grace of God, we'll get through this message and pray that it'll be an encouragement, edify you, and spark a little bit of a revival in your heart. In Acts chapter 12, if it's too long for you to stand, seriously, you could sit, won't offend me as we read. Now, about that time, Herod, the king, stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. Because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.

Then were the days of unleavened bread. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison and delivered him to the four quarantines of soldiers to keep him, intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth the same night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison.

And he smote Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly, and his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did, and he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee and follow me. And he went out and followed him, and wist not that it was true that it was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision.

Remember he saw a vision in Acts chapter, I think it was 10. When they were past the first and second word, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth into the city, which opened to them of its own accord. And they went out and passed down through one street, and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety that the Lord had sent his angel, and he hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectations of the people of the Jews.

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose sure name was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And he knocked at the door of the gate, and the damsel came, the hearken named Rhoda, her name was meant Rose. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened out the gate for gladness, but ran in and told how Peter stood before the gate.

And they said unto her, Thou art mad, but she constantly affirmed that it was so. Then they said, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking, and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. But he beckoning unto them with the hand, to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought them out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things unto James, and unto the brethren. And he departed, and went unto another place.

Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers what was become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Cassariah, and there abode. And Herod was highly displeased with them at Tyre and Sidon, but they came with one accord to him.

And having made blastest the king's chamberlain, their friend desired peace, because their country was nourished by the king's country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory, and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

Verse 24, But the word of God grew and multiplied, and Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark. Let's pray. Father, now bless your word. Thank you that we have a scripture to preach from. Thank you for the gathering of your church.

Thank you for each individual that's here. And pray that the Holy Spirit would take your word, and speak to our hearts, and teach what we need to learn, and help us to see you, Lord. Lord, I cast myself and my nerves and everything upon you.

Take over, strengthen me, encourage me. May Jesus Christ be the one that's seen tonight. May he be the one that's exalted above all else. In Jesus' name, Amen.

You all may be seated. There are times when evil seems to be winning the day. Seemingly wicked men get away with murder, with their agenda. Their popularity goes up, not down. But however, the righteous, as we've seen here with James, suffer.

Their loved ones are braved. It is easy at such times to wonder, where is God in all of this? Do you ever think that? Why did he allow this evil to happen? Why does evil happen to godly, God-fearing men and women? How can any good come out of such awful wickedness? We have all thought these thoughts, have we not?

I have. I've asked why many a times when great men of God have been taken out of the work of God and gone home to be with the Lord in a young age. James and John had been close. They had worked together in their father's fishing business. They had spent three years in close contact with Jesus. They had hopes and dreams of how God would use them together in the spreading of the gospel to the ends of the earth. But now James is dead, and Peter's in prison, and John is wondering why. Why?

Again, have you ever asked that question, why? At the beginning of what we read this evening, in Acts chapter 2, we have James dead, Peter's in prison, and the tyrant Herod basking in his popularity and power. But the chapter isn't over yet. At the end of the chapter, we have Peter freed, Herod eaten by worms and dead, and the word of God growing and multiplying. Amen? Luke is showing us that the gospel is unstoppable. The blood-bought church that serves a risen Savior will always prevail. If you or anyone opposes the spread of the gospel, you may temporarily win, but you will finally lose and lose big. If you stand for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you may temporarily lose, but you will win and win big.

Let me remind you tonight, we are on the winning side. Amen? We know the end of the book. Never forget, since God is almighty, no force can stop the spread of his gospel according to his purpose.

Tonight I want to share four lessons that will help us when it seems that the bad guys are winning and the good guys are losing. Number one, although God is almighty, he does not prevent the untimely deaths of some of his choices, servants, as we read in verses one through two. He went to James, and James is now dead. Now I want to clarify a couple of things about Herod, because there's four Herods that we read about in the New Testament. Who is this Herod? In our text, Herod is mentioned, more specifically Herod Agrippa I. In fact, the Bible records four generations of the family of Herod and their activities. Herod the Great, he was responsible for the murder of children in Bethlehem and the surrounding area in an attempt to snuff out the life of Christ. Herod Antipasus, who had John the Baptist beheaded, was also involved in the trial of Christ. Herod Agrippa I, who was responsible for the murder of James, as recorded in our text.

And then Herod Agrippa II, who would proceed or preside as one of the judges at the trial of Paul. Good or bad, you all have an influence over your family. What you say and what you do have a lasting effect.

We would do well to determine what we do as parents that will have the most profound and positive effect on future generations. He just read about the generations of four wicked kings. Amen. In verses 1 and 2 of Acts chapter 12, we see a wicked king ruling, a wicked king ruler going after certain of the church leaders. The wicked will always go after the people of God.

Get used to it, because their father is the devil and the deeds of their father they do. Remember, to attack the church is to attack the Lord Jesus Christ, who purchased the church with his own blood. In Acts chapter 20 verse 28, the Bible says, He therefore, unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he had purchased with his own blood. I guarantee you, God is jealous over his church.

He bought this church with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Herod's of this evil system in which we live will always go after the godly of God's army. And in verses 1 and 2, we see mingled together the wickedness of an evil tyrant and the sovereignty of God who allowed this tyrant to operate on a leash.

We would be greatly in error if we thought that somehow God could not prevent Herod from his evil deeds. Look at Psalms chapter 2, as David says here in Psalms 2, 1 through 4, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, against his anointed saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, and the Lord shall have them in derision.

That simply means the ridicule or to show contempt. Our pastor will be attacked, and every godly man and godly woman, and you don't have to be on staff to be a godly man or a godly woman. You're living for God on your job, you will be attacked. Living for Jesus Christ is going to cost you someday. Our pastor will be attacked, and every man and woman who lives for God will face persecution according to 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 12.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution. Learn this and remember, no wicked act, not even the slaughter of the righteous, takes place apart from the sovereign will of God. God did not lose control when Herod Antipasus got drunk and gave the head of John the Baptist on a platter to Salome.

He didn't lose control. Even the terrible deeds of the Antichrist in the end times are under God's control. He will remove him when it is time to be removed, but before that many godly people will suffer and die. Look at Revelation chapter 6 verse 9.

I mean, a lot of dear men have got to win or they lose their heads. What about all the martyrs of yesteryear? And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw unto thee all the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. Okay, verse 10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Verse 11, please. And white robes were given unto every one of them. And it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellow servants also and their brethren that should be killed as they were should be fulfilled.

Now, please note there are three lessons that we can learn from this first point. Those who teach that it's always God's will to deliver us from sickness, tragedy, and death, as we heard Sunday, are false teachers. Pastor mentioned Oral Roberts' last message. Oral Roberts, when I was growing up, used to say this, Something wonderful is going to happen to you today. Well, I chuckled when I thought about that today. Why don't they tell that to James and Peter?

Something wonderful is going to happen to you today. Give me a break. The so-called word of faith teachers, and it's entering into the evangelical circles, say that deliverance from any trials is ours if we simply claim it by faith. You ever hear that?

Yeah. They brazenly state that God must obey us when we speak the word of faith. You're not healed then, obviously. The problem is your lack of faith. That's what they teach. Just claim it by faith. Be careful what you say, because what words come out of your mouth will come to pass.

It's the name of the claimant group, right? I can't understand why these arrogant charlatans get such a large following. Not one of them, as Pastor mentioned Sunday, are able to avoid disease and death themselves, but yet they keep propagating their false teaching.

Number two, the second lesson. God does not love us less when he allows tragedy in our lives. He loved James. He loved John as much as he loved Peter. But he allowed James to die and John to mourn the loss of his brother, but he delivered Peter.

He offered no explanation, nor does he need to. I thought, why is this? Why did God allow that? Here's a thought I had. Perhaps he was teaching the church that no man is indispensable to his cause.

Get this today. The death of James did not hinder the spread of the gospel. If Pastor Josh or any of the staff tragically die tomorrow, or if they were to be called out to another ministry, to a mission field, the Church of the Living God goes on with or without us. Say amen to that. Amen. If he takes me out of the outreach program, look, I'm a little player here. If he takes me out and I drop dead tomorrow, Lighthouse will continue to flourish without me.

Why? He is God. This church is not built on man or a personality.

It's built on none other than the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Be careful not to put people on pedestals for all men and women who claim we could fall tomorrow. Amen. He does not need me. Work will go on just fine without Tom, and the work doesn't need you. Amen. The work will go on, and the work proffered when James was taken. It multiplied, it continued to multiply, and he was one of the key people in that circle.

Amen. Perhaps, second thing, he is trying to teach us to trust them when we don't understand what he's doing. There's a lot of times I don't understand God. God just wants us to trust him when we don't understand what's going on.

But whatever the lessons, John and the rest of James' family would have been greatly mistaken to conclude that somehow God did not love them as much as he loved Peter. I want to read this slowly to get it, because I've read it about seven times, and I think I finally got it. As someone observed, we must always interpret our circumstances by God's love, not God's love by our circumstances.

Get it? As difficult as it is, we need to view death from God's eternal perspective, not from our temporal perspective. Look at Psalms 116, 15, please. I've got all the verses out of another whole pile of papers. I just kept bringing everything up here. Psalms 116.

They have to. Sorry, folks. Psalms 116, you getting it up? You get here faster. There it is.

Nope, 116, 15. We'll do a sword drill, see who gets here faster, amen? All right, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Precious. We have to view death from God's eternal perspective, not from our temporal perspective. Look at Revelation chapter 21, and we'll look at verses one through four.

They have it on the screen. Great. If not, turn your Bible there, please. Revelation 21. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with us, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. That's God's perspective.

Question. Does it seem right to you that the death of this great man, James, is passed over in a brief sentence? And Stephen, the first martyr, got a long chapter on his death, and he wasn't even one of the apostles. James, one of the inner circles and the first apostle to die, doesn't even, if you would, get a decent obituary. There's about seven words, and he died, you know?

But that wrong thinking is from our temporal perspective. James was welcomed into heaven by Jesus with the victor's crown and the words, Well done, thy good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. And he went instantly from the life of pain, sorrow, and trials into the place of eternal joy. And as I thought of this, I thought of our brother John King. You know, my sister went on to be the Lord two years ago.

And it's just a temporary separation. I reminded my family that. I did the funeral. I said, Georgeann, you went to a better place. She's on a vacation.

She's having the joy of her life. We still mourn. We still have a heartache and pain.

We still shed tears. But boy, he's in a place where all the pain is gone. He's going to be given a new body, no more wheelchairs, no more oxygen tanks.

He's having the time of his life. Amen? Now, James' brother John, of course, had to remain for another 50 years on earth. And I'm sure that he missed his brother. No doubt we miss our loved ones when they die. And often, but as soon as John passed over to glory, he realized how short even his relatively long life was in light of eternity.

He knew that all of his suffering and grief was worth the eternal joy of being with Christ. It'll be worth it all when you see him. Amen? The first one we'll see is Jesus, and then our loved ones. Look, we get 70, 80 years down here up in eternity. I could sit on the swing with your husband for a million years and it's just a drop in the bucket. Amen?

It's going to be wonderful. Now, before the next point, always remember, God is the one who gave you your first breath, and it will be God that takes the last breath. When the Lord is done with your purpose of your life, he will take you home on his timetable. There's an appointment time for all of us to die. If you know me at all, I get down sometimes about thinking about leaving this earth. I don't want to leave this earth.

Well, Brother Griffin, it's better to be with him. I know that, but the Bible says, Paul said, but to remain is much more needful. I enjoy living. I enjoy people. I enjoy serving God.

But that has helped me. He is not going to let me go until my purpose is over. When my purpose is done, I'm done.

It's over, right? No doctor can tell you when you're going to die. That really aggravates me. These doctors think they're God. That guy at church, Tom Lucas, is in a wheelchair. All of his organs, all of his vital organs were shutting down. The wife and I went on a Thursday to pick out his coffin, the whole bit. Planned out his funeral, and they said he'd be dead by Friday. And I had personally won this guy to Christ. The next day, everything came back to life.

He lived three years longer. What a miracle. Amen. God gave you your first breath. He'll take your last breath.

Don't worry about it. So the death of James at the hand of hair teaches us that although God is almighty, he does not prevent the untimely deaths of some of his choicest servants. Now, number two, since God is almighty, he could easily deliver his servants from humanly impossible situations if it is his will. We just read about that. I'm not going to be reading 4 through 19, but Peter was thrown in prison.

We know the story. Listen, no prison could shut God out or keep his servants in. If he wills to free them, God could easily, if it had spared James, if it had been his will. It was no big deal to get Peter out of the most secure prison that Herod could devise. I believe that Herod must have heard about Acts chapter 5.

Remember that jailhouse break out, right? And the doors opened up and Peter escaped. He wanted to make sure that that did not happen this time. So in our text, as we read, we'll see what he did to make sure that Peter did not escape. He assigned four quarantines of soldiers, each of them to guard them around the clock. There were two soldiers. Peter's arms were fastened to each one of those soldiers. They were chained by the wrists to each of Peter's arms.

Then there were two more guards plus an iron gate that led into the city. But to get Peter out, the Lord didn't need to send a squad of angels. All he had to do is get one angel, and one angel did the job. Amen?

Very easy for God. The angel appeared in the night, the cell lit up. The guards did not wake up, even when the chains fell from Peter's wrist. And even though he would be executed the next day, think about this, Peter was so sound asleep, the Bible talks that the angel had to strike his side to rouse him up.

He was sleeping. He knew that the next day he was going to face a death. Oh, with David, he could say in Psalms 4-8, I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for thus the Lord only makest me to dwell in safety. Peter trusted in the sovereignty of God. Peter wrote 1 Peter, catch it all you care upon him, for he careth for you.

Peter learned to trust in the living God. Let me ask you today, what is keeping you up at night? What is your prison? What are you worried about?

What is consuming your mind? Let me encourage you, as Peter was facing death, let me encourage you tonight to trust in the unseen hand of God, as Peter did. He cares for you. He cares about you.

He cares about your situation. He can see when a tear falls down your cheek. Psalms talks about there's a tear bottle in heaven.

Don't ever underestimate how much God loves you and cares about you. Now, here's what the angel told him to do, verses 8-11. As he walked out of the prison, he first thought it was a vision. Peter had a vision in, I think, Acts chapter 10. When he got to the final locked gate, it was like walking out of Walmart.

Think about it. I've read this a hundred times, never saw it before. The door swung open automatically. It was the first automatic door.

There's nothing new under the sun. Amen? Peter didn't fully realize what happened to him until the angel left him in the street. Acts 12, verse 11. The whole operation of the escape was a piece of cake for God. Even though it was humanly impossible, nothing's impossible with God.

Now, here's some lessons we can learn from this. God is most glorified when we are most helpless and totally dependent on him. Peter had nothing to boast in. He couldn't go around boasting, hey, I've engineered my own escape and brag about how he got out.

Couldn't do that. His testimony was in verse number 17, if you've got your Bibles open, the Lord, his testimony was that the Lord led me out of prison. That was his testimony. Peter's deliverance is a picture of how God saves sinners like you and me. If you know anything about the old hymns, Charles Wesley wrote a song, and I believe that he must have had this portion of scripture in mind when he wrote this song, the great hymn, And Can It Be. Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast, bound in sin and nature's night.

Thine eye diffused, a quickening ray. I woke the Dutch and flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free.

I rose, went forth, and followed thee. Hallelujah. That's our testimony if you're born again. Salvation is all of the Lord.

You did nothing to get it, and you ain't going to get nothing to lose it. In Psalms 40, verses 1 through verse 3. I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and he set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.

He had put a new song in my mouth. Even praise unto our God, many shall see it in fear and shall trust in the Lord. Before God saves us, we are like Peter, sleeping in darkness, insensitive to our sin, not able to see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Our sins chained us so that we could not escape even if we wanted to. We were under the penalty of God's wrath and judgment, according to Romans 6 23.

The wages of sin is death. We were in this desperate and helpless condition, but praise God. God broke in with the light of the glory of the gospel. He woke us up out of our spiritual slumber and caused our chains to fall off.

Amen? So that we could willingly and joyfully follow him out of this prison of death. Since our salvation was totally from the Lord and his great mercy, he gets all the glory. We can only praise him because he saved us by his mercy and saved us by his grace.

We had nothing to do with it. But by grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves. It's a gift of God, not of works.

Let's say it in a minute, it should boast. When was the last time you gave God a shout for saving your soul? He saved you. He washed you in his blood. He established you.

He put you in your right mind. We should shout tonight, children of God, that you're saved, you're alive and in your right mind. Amen? Tell you, I get a shout and I'm not going to lose my shout because I'm in a Baptist church. I'm a shouting Baptist. Amen?

Nothing wrong with that. Remember, 10 lepers were cleansed, only one turned back loudly and gave thanks to God Almighty. Give him praise. Now God often waits until the 11th hour to deliver us so that we will be motivated to pray and look to him. The 11th hour, troubles and troubles have a way to teach us to pray, do they not? Remember verse five, Acts chapter 12, it said, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And now in verse 12, Peter's out of jail.

He is now going to go to Mary's house where there was a prayer meeting going on for Peter. The 11th hour crisis gets us to pray, but it shouldn't take 11th hour crisis to get us to pray. We are to pray without ceasing, according to 1st Thessalonians 5 18. Amen? Don't wait for a crisis to pray. Be prayed up daily. Amen? Now, the text says, but prayer, listen, it's so important to pray for one another.

It's not the least thing that we can do, but it's the best thing that we can do. You know what prayer demonstrates? The pastor just preached several messages a couple of months ago on prayer.

Prayer shows that we depend upon God to get us through our trials. You can't make it on your own. I was praying just to get through this message.

I can't do this on my own. I need the help of God. Listen, it's good for us to pray for one another. Last night I was tired, I was at the shelter, and Missy had asked, she said, would you go pray for that fellow? And I told some people last night, I was plumb worn out.

It's okay to get tired. And I didn't want to. The flesh didn't want to. She said, but would you go over there? I said, okay. So I went over there. I can't remember the man's name.

He was sitting under the basketball hoop. And I said, is there anything I can pray for you about? And they started talking, and then I started praying, and then the guy next to him in the other bed said, would you pray for me too? And then one other person asked me to pray for them.

And then all the workers were praying for everybody. And then I wept a little bit, and I said, my flesh is so weak. I didn't want to take a moment to pray for somebody. He thought I was spiritual. I'm not. And I was tired.

But you know what? I'm so thankful that I did. I'm thankful that Missy said, would you go pray for that fellow? There's something about praying for one another. Amen? We need to pray for each other.

It's good for us to pray. You know, Brother Moen, he had an open heart surgery. I didn't know it was that serious. He had open heart surgery. Now they found out he's got to put a heart pacer in.

His heart is weak. But I was able, you know what I do now? Will you pray for me? What do we usually say? Yeah, I'll pray for you.

But what do we usually do? I don't. So when somebody at church asks me, Brother Kurt, would you pray for me? I pray for them right on the spot. I don't forget. I pray for Brother Moen.

I pray for the King family. We are never to give up. So I'm asking you again tonight, what is your obstacle? What is your prison? I'm going to encourage you to pray.

I'm going to encourage you to ask brothers and sisters to pray with you about your situation. Six months ago, I looked in the mirror and confessed my sin of gluttony. I said, I'm not beating this.

I talked about that for a year. I'm up like this, up and down, up and down. I'm an addict.

I'm an addict to carb. And I've asked and implored people of God in this church to pray for me, that I would add temperance to my life, and people are praying for me. I asked a young kid at the JDC, 15-year-old young man. He wrote me a letter.

He's out of JDC. He's going to come to church. He said, Brother Griffin, how's it going?

Are you losing weight? I've been praying for you. Oh, listen, we need each other.

I'm so weak in so many areas. I need you. And you need me. We need each other, don't we?

We're never to give up. There's power in prayer. Listen, Moses prayed, and God spared Israel from judgment. Joshua prayed, and God caused the sun to stand still. Hannah prayed, and God gave her a baby boy. Solomon prayed, and God gave him wisdom. Elijah prayed, and God set fire down from heaven. Jonah prayed, and God brought him up out of the belly of the whale.

Peter prayed, and God raised Dorcas from the dead. You see, through prayer, there's no problem that cannot be solved. There is no burden that cannot be lifted. There's no storm that cannot be calmed. There's no sorrow that cannot be comforted.

There's no hurt that cannot be mended, and there's no falling that cannot be lifted. When you think about prayer, and you think about our situation across the street, we should probably call prayer and fasting meeting, and pray for God to act on behalf of the YMCA in that situation. It's out of our control. We have to implore God. God's a big God. Amen.

We don't take advantage of it. That if you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. I don't always ask God for wisdom. Power of evil versus power of God.

Let me encourage you tonight. God wins every time. We need to fall on our face, as the early church did, and say, God can do anything.

He can do anything but fail. In Psalms 121, verses one and two, I will lift up mine eyes until the help from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. God can do anything. The God that called the world into existence with the word of his mouth, he's got you. According to his will. Amen.

Now, the third lesson we learned, there's only one more. God is not limited by the prayers of his people, but he works through our prayers to teach us to depend totally on him. God is not limited by our prayers because clearly, although the church was praying, they were not praying with faith that their prayers would be answered. Had they been expecting God to work, they wouldn't have been so surprised when he answered their prayers. The damsel went out, they should have all been jubilant like Rhoda was, but they weren't. She recognized his voice on the other side of the door. They would not have said, you're crazy, you're mad, you're out of your mind.

In our vernacular, they probably would have put her on some medication. Something's wrong with you. Can't be, Peter. It must be his angel. They were explaining the way what God did. We should all believe in him with a strong faith, but I don't always have that strong faith. But even if my faith is weak, he is able to do far more than I can ask or even think. I'm learning up here, so I'm supposed to say Ephesians 3.20, and magically it appears, but they're doing the best they can.

I'm glad I brought my Bible tonight. Amen? Ephesians 3.20, now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. His answer does not depend on any merit in my prayers, but only on his sovereign grace and mercy. We're not like the religion that counts the rosaries and thinking that the more rosaries count, the more things that we do, our prayers will be answered. Even when we have little faith, God sees that little faith, and he answers. You know what the thing about prayer is, God wants to be dependent upon him for everything. Prayer demonstrates our dependence on him and not our own strength. Let's learn a lesson from the prayer meeting at Mary's house. When we have a brother or sister in need of prayer, it would be a good thing, church, to call for a prayer meeting in our home. Our home should not be just for feasting, but for crying out to God on the behalf of fellow brothers and sisters. We've lost that in this modern church.

We've lost it. Back when I got saved, back in the 80s and 90s, that's what we used to do. We used to have prayer meetings in our homes. Now, if the only time that we pray is here, church is in sad shape, it'd be a blessing to have a prayer meeting. Hey, would you come over, man, we've got some issues here, this so-and-so's in dire need of prayer, and we're calling six brothers and sisters over to pray.

Wouldn't that be a blessing? Amen. A good way to use your home when a brother or sister is faced with trials or sicknesses or tragedy, call a prayer meeting. When two or three gathered in my name, what does it say?

He's in the midst. Amen. Open your doors and invite the saints in for prayer, cottage prayer meetings, for revival and mission coverage. We used to do that. The preparation for a good revival used to be what they used to call, back in the day, I'm sure Steve remembers, cottage prayer meetings. And the church would have these prayer meetings in their home, praying... Listen, when you call an evangelist to come in or revivalist, he doesn't bring the revival, God must bring the revival. The reason why we don't see the move of God so often in our churches, we lack prayer. We just go through the motions, it's business as usual. It's easy, isn't it, to just play the church game, I'm guilty like you.

Amen. It's power in prayer. Before going to the third point, notice in verse 17, Peter's giving a testimony of God's grace and power. So he goes into the house and tells the people what they did, and he split.

There's wisdom in that. He knew Herod was going to be coming after him in the morning. He didn't want to go back in jail, God got him out. He said, go tell the brethren, and I'm all right. Tell the brethren what God did for me. Peter gave God glory how God brought him out of prison. May I ask you tonight, as I ask myself, are you still giving God the glory, how he brought you out of bondage of your sin, your drugs, your alcohol, your pride, your self-righteousness, your porn, or whatever he saved you from, are you still excited about it, how God delivered you from your sin?

Amen. We should never get over it. I don't want to get over it. I want to go back to 40 years ago when God saved my soul, got me out of jail. My brother slapped me in the face, said, Tommy, you've got to get your life in order. I went to the old church, Willow Hill Baptist Church, here's the glorious gospel, gave my life to Christ.

They got me in the streets working in six months. I've never, and I don't want to ever get over it. You're not going to make me get over it. Amen. Accuse me of what you want to accuse me of, but I want to be crazy for God. Amen. I want to be excited for Jesus. He still saves old sinners. Amen. Jesus loves the sinners. I want to be accused of being a friend of sinners, and so should you and I all be accused of being a friend of sinners. He gave God the glory. Are you still testifying and telling others what he has done for you, or did you get over it? Some may have to come tonight and say, God, I got over it. You know, Bible studies is great, but remember this, now it's puff up, puff up, puff up.

Now it's puff up. We're to go in grace of knowledge. Oh, hey, get all the education you want to get. Get all the Bible courses you want to get, but don't let all that education puff you up and think you're a something. You know what God wants you to do?

Just get back to the main thing. The main thing is he's come to seek and to save that which was lost. All the knowledge that you acquire should cause you to go out into the lost and dying world and tell people about Jesus. If all you do is acquire more knowledge, the old faith says you're going to get spiritually constipated and you need to have a spiritual bowel movement.

If you haven't shared your faith in the last year, God get me right with you. Stir my heart. I was at a home Bible study all years ago from another church in Beaver Creek and the guy had a Dallas theological degree. He was a doctor.

Brilliant. I'm not impressed by doctor degrees. They said they took note about those men of old, that they were ignorant men, but they took note that they'd been with Jesus. He taught on the doctrine of hell in the end times and the ecclesiastical stuff and he was so pompous and he brought all of his books and he was so knowledgeable and for two years he never ever asked us to bring the lost to his home. Never once did he, when he taught on hell, never once did he weep and shed a tear about the lake of fire and his neighbors and friends going to hell.

I left and I said, you know what? I'm not impressed with your knowledge. I'm not impressed with your theological degree.

I'm not impressed that you're a doctor. Show me some tears of concern for the lost. Amen. I hope that stirs you.

Amen. Do you tell others how God has answered your prayers? Are you still bragging on God and magnifying God? Look at Psalms 34. I'm almost done.

Psalms 34, verse three, oh, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. Oh listen, you know what recovery needs? Recovery needs is you all that have been recovered, the lost, they're not going to come here folks. We got to go where they're at. We got to go tell the story of God's great deliverance to a lost and dying world. The lost were never commanded to come to church, but were commanded to go get them, were to go to the highways and the byways and compel them to come into this house might be full. Amen. I told one group I was at a meeting in Denia, about 40 people talking about different things and I said, let me tell you something. It's one thing to go to the shelters and thank the Lord you bring a meal.

That's good. One thing, you bring a meal. The second thing, it's really good if you serve a meal. Oh, but the third thing, when you sit down with them and you talk with them and you listen to their birds, they all have a story and if you're able to, you bring them in your home and you're serving meals in your home, that's what Jesus would do. Amen.

We've lost that in the last days in our churches. They just need a friend. They're putting a video together, Bridges of Hope, with some phenomenal testimonies and the one testimony said, please don't treat us like trash. We met a lady about a month ago, you want to be broke and you just come and listen and listen to their stories.

And the lady was beat up and black eyes and edges, so sad. There's always a story why someone's homeless and if it wouldn't be for the greatest God, there you'd go. Amen. I'm going to start representing them. You pray for me. I want to raise them $10,000. They're asking me to help raise $10,000 a month and they need help.

They need money. When I come home from my Florida trip, I'm going to start working for them in the morning. So pray that God will bless it and God will open up a day center in the evening and they're going to have a garden.

They're going to sell their produce to restaurants and let's go be a blessing to these people in this city. Amen. What about Mark 5 19 where it says, go home and tell thy friends what great things he had done for you. You know, the lady at the well, when she got saved, what did she do?

She immediately went to the city and told everybody what Jesus did. Don't lose that folks. Don't lose that zeal. When Peter went to the house, it was like a great commission, right? It was a great commission, but to the brethren, he said, but he said, go to the brethren in verse number 17, go tell them that James was the head of it, but I'm alive and God allows us to go through these trials and hard times. You know, the brethren need encourage too. Sometimes the brethren needs a word.

Some of them are down and discouraged. Sometimes we go through these hard trials and hard times so we can learn that he is God and that he's the God of the valleys and you get through your valley, there's a brother or sister that is in the valley, they need your testimony. Now I heard Leslie's testimony and so many in this church and Mike Wise and he's always, every time he gave a testimony, how God lifted him up and God saved his soul. So stirs my heart.

We need that. Amen. When we have come through a trial and hard times and you've been covered by the Holy Ghost of God, what does he say to do? Now it says, look it up, if you would, 2 Corinthians chapter one, it may or may not be up there, but there's always a purpose. You know that God could take your troubles and your trials and your tragedies and turn into a ministry.

Did you know that? That there's no accident, whatever you've gone through, God can flip that and turn it into a ministry. Look at almost done here. 2 Corinthians chapter one, verse three, blessed be God, even the father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforted us in all of our tribulations that what? We may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. So whenever you're able to minister, however you do it, whether it be at your meetings or the coffee up, you can just hang the coffee up and you can listen and be a blessing to people.

Your testimony, how God has helped you, will be a blessing to others. So far we have seen, although God is almighty, he does not prevent the untimely debts of some of his choice of servants. And since God is almighty, he can easily deliver us out of humanly impossible situations. And there's only two sheets left, you don't have to worry.

Point three is short. Number three, since God is almighty, he can easily remove the most powerful and proud human leaders when it is his time to do so. It's found in Acts 12 verses 20 through 23. The angel of the Lord struck Peter, he woke up so that he could be delivered.

And the word struck in the Greeks, the same word twice used. The angel struck Herod, but he was eaten with worms and he dies. Herod, he executed all the prison guards. Herod gives this glorious speech and Josephus says this about, Josephus is a Jewish historian, says that Herod put on a garment made with silver, something like an Elvis Presley garment probably, made with silver and when the sun rays hit it, it was so glorious that the people were awestruck and cried out that he was a god. And when he did not rebuke them, immediately the angel smote him and he died and he was eating up worms.

Why? He didn't give God the glory to seek two lessons, closing and we're done, two lessons to note. To seek glory for ourselves is to declare war against God. He will not give nor share his glory with another.

Isaiah 42, I love it, I love it. Isaiah 42 verse eight, please look this verse up, please. Verse eight, I am the Lord, that is my name and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images, he'll not share his glory. In Philippians chapter two, he tells us not to seek or do things for vain glory.

I always encourage you young men that got around here, I ask myself, why do I do what I do? Are we doing it for his glory? Do we do it for our names to be called?

Do we do it for our name to be in the bulletin? That's so vain, isn't it? We're not to do things for vain glory, but for everything for his glory. Be careful to always give him glory and praise. If we seek to exalt ourselves, the Lord will humble us.

Don't ever think that you're all that, but you're not and I'm not all that either. We must all be aware of the temptation of pride and taking credit for things that are accomplished in the church and our lives when it is he and he alone who deserves the praise. Give him all the glory. For anything that he accomplishes in your life, give him praise, amen? Number two, Herod's glory was short-lived and his misery was eternal, even with even the Antichrist and the false prophet will only enjoy three and a half years of glory before God cast him into the lake of fire where Satan himself will end up. All who never repent of sins and make Jesus Christ Lord of their lives will be separated from God for all of eternity and tormented day and night forever and ever. If you're here tonight and you've never been born again, you've never been saved, you've never repented of your sins, and if you don't even know what the word repent means, you can't be saved because except you repent, you perish. And if you're to confess him with your mouth and confess to Jesus Christ as Lord, if you're here and you're not saved, you could be saved tonight. You don't want to be like Herod.

You don't want to end up in hell where he is. You could be saved tonight. And then lastly, since God is almighty, his gospel cannot be stopped by any opposition. That's the last part of the verse, 24 and 25. And then it says, and the word of God multiplied, there it is, yep.

Be encouraged, saints. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. His word is unstoppable. The more trials and attacks, the more the word of God spreads. All you got to do is read Acts, all through the Book of Acts, troubles, trials, persecution, people being killed, Stephen being stoned, and yet the word of God kept going. Amen.

The early church suffered much and many died violent deaths, but the word of God continued to grow and spread. May God continue to use lighthouse to spread his word throughout the world and throughout this city. Amen. May we get so excited about this place that young men get called out, they start planting churches all around us. All around us, 22 zip codes, great. Let's go plant churches in those 22 zip codes. But what are we lacking?

We're lacking people. We need to pray that the Lord of the harvest, the temple of the laborers, surrender tonight, Lord. Hey, I heard of a guy in Georgia. I know the man. He's a church planter. My former pastor was a church planter when he resigned at 60-some years old.

He was instrumental in planting nine churches. And one guy that I know in South Carolina in Braden, you know him, a 76-year-old man surrendered to preach the word of God and is now a passionate church, and he's 84 years old. It's never too late.

You're never too old. Amen. Don't give God excuses. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ and say, Lord, I want him to do whatever you tell me to do. Amen. God will take you and God will use you.

Even the great words that you love to hear is the word conclusion, and I do have one. So the bottom line, whether the almighty God delivers us from persecution or whether we die for our faith, we must commit ourselves wholly to the furtherance of the gospel. John Patton was born in Scotland in 1824. As a young Christian, he labored as a city missionary in the slums of Glasgow, but he felt God's call to take the gospel to the fierce cannibals of the new Herbrides Islands in the South Pacific.

John Williams and James Harris made the first attempt to take the gospel there in 1839. They were clubbed to death and eaten within a few minutes of their landing. Patton and his new wife, look, my brother Barry's having a hard time getting a wife to go to Ireland. This guy's taking a wife over to the cannibals.

Amen. The other two ministers were just eating for dinner, but this woman was willing to go. Look, they landed in November 5th of 1858. On February 12th, 1859, she gave birth to a son, but on March 3rd, the little girl died from complications after childbirth. On March 20th, the baby died.

Of course, Patton struggled with his grief and loneliness. The wife and the baby died. Just before his wife died, she expressed her wish that her mother could be there with her. Then she added, you must not think that I regret coming here and leaving my mother. If I had the same thing to do over again, I would do it with far more pleasure, yes, with all of my heart.

Oh no, I do not regret leaving home and friends, though at the time I felt it keenly. Her dying words were this, not lost, only gone before to be forever with the Lord. Patton, her husband, lived into his seventies, devoting himself to the cause of the gospel among these cannibals, experiencing many divine deliverances. At the time, at the end of his life, he exclaimed, oh, that I had my life to begin again.

I would concentrate anew to Jesus and seek in the conversion of the remaining cannibals on the new herbrides. And he had that desire. He lost his wife. He lost his kid. He served God by himself for seven years.

He would do it again. Where are you at tonight? Now, I always say, well, I'm getting old.

I am, and I know I could go out tomorrow. But you know what? Death has no respecter of age.

You can be 30 and out of here. I don't know where you're at spiritually. I don't know where you're at with your life. But I know this, the only way you do for Christ will last. I know that in the grave it's going to be too late to praise him, and in the grave it's going to be too late to serve him. And all I know tonight is it would be a blessing to the Lord.

If you would say, Lord, we just went through all of Acts chapter 12. I want to do something for Christ. I want to be part of getting the gospel to this lost and dying world. Take the knowledge that you're learning. Ask God to use the knowledge that you're using to impart to others, to be a Timothy, to be a Paul, and ask God to help use you to be a blessing. The whole city needs Christ.

It's not recovery. Look, I don't put people in categories. Every human being, everybody in this city needs Jesus. We don't just go after a particular group of people. We go after everybody. All creatures need Jesus.

Every hip, body, every eye closed. If God served you in anything, if you want to come and offer your life to God, if you want to come and say, God, use me, stir me, I've lost my fire. I'm not as excited as I was once about telling others how you saved me. I've lost my zeal. I got over, I'm getting over what you've done for me, Lord.

Stir me, use me. I wish I was your 25 year old and 30 year olds in this church. I would be at this all tonight saying, Lord, can you take my life and use it for your glory?

When was the last time you surrendered your life to Christ, humbly before a holy God? I say, God, will you take the years I have left? Will you use me, God? I'm willing to go. I'm willing to be a missionary. I'm willing to stay. I'm willing to serve at Lighthouse. I'm willing to go to a mission field. I'm willing to pastor a church. Have you ever told them that? Have you ever made yourself an offering to God?

I'll close with this. I had a missionary buddy of mine at another church and we did faith promise like we do at Lighthouse. He said to me, brother Griffith, I can't give anymore. I've given and I've given and I've given. I've given $900 a month to faith promise and you know what he did? He bought himself a big basket and at a missions conference, him and his wife stood in this basket and they gave their lives to Jesus to be missionaries and they're missionaries to Papua New Guinea. Have you given yourself as an offering to God?

Have you said, Lord, take me, use me, stir me, make me a blessing? Some of you single ladies, I'm telling you, there's mission fields out there. Ministries out there that could use you.

You'd be a helper on a mission field. Not me. Yes, you.

I'm looking around. There's not one person in this church that God cannot use. As long as you're living and breathing, you may not get called out, but I tell you this, as long as you're living and breathing, God has a purpose and a plan for your life.

Amen? His word says that those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall bear fruit in their old age. You're going to be a fruit bearer until the day you leave this earth, folks. Don't get stale. Don't get cold on God. You're going to be a fruit bearer until the day you leave this earth, folks. Amen?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-04 14:51:36 / 2023-02-04 15:15:19 / 24

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