We'll be right back. Welcome to Love Worth Finding, featuring profound truth simply stated by Adrian Rogers. You know troubles come and go every day, but every so often we come up against an unexpected circumstance that throws us off course. In part one of today's message we learn that life is not a problem to be solved, it's a mystery to be lived. Life isn't a series of good, then bad.
The good and bad run parallel, happening simultaneously and working together. If you have your Bible, turn to Acts chapter 12 as Adrian Rogers shares part two of Christ of Every Crisis. How do you handle a crisis? What do you do in times of crisis? I want to give you four thoughts today. Put them down because you will need them.
You may need them right now. Some of you who are listening to me right now are in the very midst of a genuine crisis, but if not, you will be. Number one, we should respect, respect the mystery of God's providence, of God's providence. As you look in this chapter, there's one word that comes through, it is providence. That is, you're going to see the hidden hand of God. God is going to be working in a mysterious way, an inexplicable way. God is going to be in the shadows arranging things, moving things that people cannot see.
And that may be very true in your life right now. God is working, but you cannot see God working. You may be in the middle of chaos right now. Nothing seems to be making sense.
Everything that you thought you had nailed down is coming loose and the devil is pulling nails. Now, listen to me. Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean that it does not make sense.
Many of us have many questions. As we look at this chapter, we would say, well, why didn't God let Herod be king anyway? Isn't God God? How could God let a rascal like Herod be the king? If I were God, I'd turn him into a frog. And why should James be killed and Peter released?
Why is that? Does God have favorites? Is God capricious? Or has God lost control? And why all of these things happen?
Now, friend, I want to tell you something. We do not live by explanations. Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a mystery to be lived. And you have to back off sometimes and just simply see what I'm going to call the hidden hand of God, and you need to respect that. Now, most of us have the idea that we go through life and that life is all good and then life gets bad and then it gets good again. Generally, it's not that way. Life is not like 40 miles of good road and then 10 miles of bad road and then 60 miles of good road. No, generally, life is more like a railroad track, one rail good and one rail bad. And the good and the bad seem to be running parallel.
Have you ever noticed that? There seems to be certain troubles in life and we can't always just make them work out together. Good and bad seem to run on parallel tracks.
Now, many of us don't understand that. So we're wanting to get to the time of life where there won't be any bad things happening. You know, so I'll be glad when all of this is over and so then we can do what we want to do. If you're in school, I'll be glad when school is over, then I can start doing what I want to do. If the children are little, I'll be glad when the children are grown, so then I can do what I want to do. When I'm sick, I'll be glad when I get well, so then I can begin to serve God as I want.
No, no. The good and the bad, they are there and they are working together. You see, isn't life mysterious? Isn't life mysterious? There's the bad things, the good things, God in the crucible of His wisdom.
He mixes these things together for His glory and we know that all things work together for good. You don't live by explanations, friend. You will never, ever explain God.
You live by promises and so you'll never get it all figured out. You should respect, listen to this, the mystery, the mystery of God's providence. Allow God to be God and just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.
And if you're in a crisis, don't demand to understand, okay? Number two, you should request the ministry of God's people. Now, what is the ministry of God's people?
It is prayer. Look now in verse five, Peter therefore was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Now, there seems to be no hope for Peter. Peter is in maximum security. The prison is guarded on the outside with two guards by the door.
There are 16 guards who are guarding Peter. He must have been fairly important for 16 personal guards to guard him and besides all of that, he's chained to a guard on this hand and he's chained to a guard on that hand. Talk about a man who is in a pickle. He's in a pickle.
And on top of that, he is sentenced to death and a wicked king says, soon I'm going to execute you. Now, that, friend, is a crisis. You may think you have a crisis, but Peter is really in a crisis.
There seems to be no hope for Peter. Every door is shut. Every door except one.
And that's the one that goes straight up. That was the door they could not shut. In a crisis, there's always prayer. The devil mocks at our schemes, laughs at our organizations, ridicules our talents, but he fears our prayers. Now, these people are going to pray. Peter's in prison. They're going to pray.
They don't have money to bribe Herod to get him out of prison. They don't have political influence, but they're going to pray. And the world may laugh, but friend, the devil didn't laugh. Someone has wisely said the devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees. The prayer is unto God, and God is God, and God controls the universe. We need to learn that, that when we're speaking, when we're praying, we are praying to God. And so there's the faith of the prayer, and then there's the focus of the prayer. Look in verse 5 again. The Bible says, therefore prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God.
Now watch this. For him, they were praying for Peter. It was a prayer not only with intensity, but specificity. What did you pray for this morning? Do you know so many of our prayers are so vague, if God were to answer them, we wouldn't know it, and if God didn't answer them, we wouldn't have to admit it.
Lord, save the lost this morning. Well, if somebody gets saved, you can say, well, I prayed for somebody to be saved, and the lost person got saved. How do you know that was your prayer? How do you know it wasn't my prayer, somebody else's prayer? You know, we have these vague, general prayers. At least when they're praying for Peter and the answer came, they knew it was an answer to prayer. Isn't that right?
It was made for him. Have you ever heard anybody, would you visit somebody, and they say to you, y'all come see us sometime. Y'all stop by, y'all come see us sometime. They don't mean that. But I tell you what, if they say this, hey, man, I've got some of the finest steaks you've ever seen in the freezer.
Could y'all come by next Saturday at five and we'll have a cookout? They mean it. That's with specificity. What are you praying for? What are you asking God for? When you say, Lord, I want you to do this or do that, if God would answer your prayer, would you even know it? You see, there's the focus of the prayer. It was for Peter, and God answered. Now, when you're in a crisis, respect the mystery of God's providence.
Friend, request the ministry of God's people. You know what voicemail is? Do you enjoy voicemail as you call and you get a recording? Aren't you glad that heaven hasn't installed voicemail? Can you imagine praying and hearing the following? Thank you for calling heaven.
Your prayers are important to us. Please select one of the following options. Press one for a request. Press two for Thanksgiving. Press three for complaints. Press four for all other inquiries.
I'm sorry that all the angels are helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us, and we will answer it in the order in which it was received. Please stay on the line. If you're checking on a loved one that has been assigned to heaven, press five, and then enter his or her social security number, followed by the pound sign. If you get a negative response, please hang up and try area code 666. For reservations at heaven, please enter J-O-H-N, followed by the numbers 316.
You'll get that later. For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, life on other planets, and where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive. Our computer shows that you have already prayed once today. Please hang up and try again tomorrow.
The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday. Please pray again on Monday after 9.30 a.m. If you're calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor. Thank you for calling heaven.
Aren't you glad it's not that way? Aren't you glad that there's a God that says, call upon me and I will answer thee? Here's the third thing. When you're in a crisis, number three, we should rest in the mastery of God's peace. There's the mystery of his providence.
There's the ministry of his people. And there is the mastery of his peace in the midst of the storm. Look in verse 6. And when Herod would have brought him forth the same night, watch this, Peter was sleeping.
Good night. Peter's sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. I don't know whether they were asleep, but here's old Peter asleep. And the keepers before the door kept the prison.
There he is. The next morning he's to be executed, and there he is asleep. And you know, he's sleeping so sound that the angel has to punch him in the ribs to wake him up. Look, if you will, in verse 7. 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. Can you imagine? Hey, Pete, wake up, wake up.
Huh? Here's Peter, sound asleep, the night before his scheduled execution. This is peace.
This is peace in the midst of the storm. I thought about this as I read this, and I said, why, how could Peter sleep in such a crisis? Well, number one, he's no longer afraid of death. He's seen the risen Christ.
I've told you before, a man is not ready to live until he's no longer afraid to die. Peter has seen the risen Christ, and for this man, death holds no real terrace for him. Number two, he knows that God's people are praying for him. Peter knew those folks were bombarding heaven for him, and that's the reason he was asleep. And also, he is aware of God's presence because he knew that the Bible says, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
I heard about a man who was in a crisis. He couldn't sleep, and he thought about this verse of Scripture. He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. He said, well, Lord, there's no need for both of us to stay up all night.
I'm going to sleep while you stay awake. The Bible says, thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee. Friend, listen to me. Turn your problem over to him. Roll it on the Lord.
I don't care how big it is. There's the mastery of God's peace. Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. Again, Paul says in Philippians 4, be careful for nothing. That means don't worry about anything. But in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God.
Listen to it. The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. They thought they were guarding Peter in prison? No, God's peace was guarding him. God's peace had garrisoned them about. All right, respect the mystery of God's providence. Request the ministry of God's people, prayer. Rest in the mastery of God's peace in the midst of your storm.
I don't care what it is. Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee. Take your eyes off the storm and put them on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, last of all, rejoice. Rejoice in the majesty of God's power. Now, do you think that God was out of control when James was killed? Do you think that God was out of control when Peter was put in prison?
No, no. God is on his throne. Let's begin in verse 7 now. And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, that is, upon Peter, and a light shined in the prison. And he smote Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, Rise 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 it saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee and follow me. And he went out and followed him, not that it was true, which was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision. And when they were past the first and the second ward, they keep on walking right on past these guards, they came to the iron gate, which leadeth unto the city, which opened to them of its own accord. This iron gate just opens of its own accord, and Peter walks on out. It is an incredible story of God's power.
But now I want you to notice this. He went out and passed on through one street, and forthwith, I mean, verse 10, the angel departed from him. The angel took him only so far and then said, All right, Pete, so long. I want you to see how God's power is working here. Some people might have thought that God was weak and couldn't do anything, or that God was unconcerned and did not care.
And you may feel that in your problem. You may say, Where is God? Where is God? Is God able? Or doesn't God care? It's a very interesting thing that Peter's deliverance came at the last moment. I mean, God is very leisurely in this thing.
As a matter of fact, all of this story is marked by leisure when the angel comes in. Hey, Pete, wake up. Get up.
Hits him in the rib. Come on, son, get up. What time is it? Never mind what time it is.
We're going to make a jailbreak. Now, Pete, put on your clothes. Pete, put on your sandals. Now, Pete, put on your coat. I mean, if you're making a jailbreak, do you get dressed up as you're going out?
I mean, putting on your shoes and everything? What are you saying? Hey, Pete, we're going out in class. We're not sneaking out of this place. We're going out in real class.
There's such leisure about the whole thing. God moves in majesty and leisure and they walk out and through the first ward, second ward, here's the iron gate, just swings open. And then the angel leaves him. After that iron gate opens, Peter's going to go where the prayer meeting is. And the people are there at a house. The door is shut.
The front gate is locked. And they're having a prayer meeting there. Well, Peter now has made this prison break. So he goes there to where they're having the prayer meeting. Knocks on the door. A little maid comes and she looks through the peephole. Whew, it's Peter. She doesn't even say, Peter, come in. So she goes back and says, hey, folks, God has heard our prayer. Peter's at the door. They say, Rhoda, you must be having a vision. Would you go leave us alone? We're praying for Peter to get out of prison. Here's Peter over here. Let me in. Did you know it was easier for him to get out of prison than it was to get in that prayer meeting? That's an amazing thing. If the Lord could open a prison gate, don't you think he'd cause that garden gate to open or whatever it was?
I want you to learn a lesson. Prayer is never an excuse for laziness. Now, there was no way that Peter could open that prison gate, but there was a way that other gate could have been opened. Now, we can't change water into wine, but we can fill earthen pots, can't we? We can't raise Lazarus from the dead, but we can take the grave clothes off, can't we? You see, there's certain things that we can do, and prayer is never an excuse for laziness. Don't you love the balance of the Word of God? But here is God moving in majestic power. God is still on His throne. Now, in the last part of this chapter, and we don't have time to get to it, old King Herod is stricken dead because of his arrogance and his pride and his eating of worms.
It's a gruesome type of thing. But you see the hidden hand of God in all of it. And listen to me. If you're in a situation and God doesn't deliver you, remember, He didn't deliver James.
It's not because He can't. And if God is not working according to what you can see, it doesn't mean that God is not working. And if evil seems to succeed, just remember that the success of evil is only temporary. Woodrow Wilson once said, And I had rather temporarily failed with a cause that must ultimately succeed than to temporarily succeed with a cause which must ultimately fail. Now, if you're in a crisis, and some of you are in a real crisis, let me give you four things to remember. Number one, don't demand to understand.
You'll never figure it out. Number two, remember the resource of prayer. Number three, put your eyes upon God and rest in His love. And number four, expect God's power to move in His own time and in His own way.
And, friend, He will do it. He's the Christ of every crisis. If you want to be saved, you pray a prayer like this. Dear God, I'm a sinner, and I'm lost. I need to be saved, and I want to be saved. Jesus, You died to save me. You promised to save me if I would trust You.
I do trust You right now with all of my heart. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Save me, Lord Jesus. Pray it from your heart and mean it.
Save me, Jesus. And then thank Him for doing it. And tell Him that you'll not be ashamed of Him, that you'll make it public, that you will follow Him. Lord, I pray that many will do that today. In Your name I pray.
Amen. Well, if you prayed to receive Jesus Christ just now, we would love to celebrate you and invite you to our website and specifically to our Find God's Love page. There you'll find answers that you may need about your newfound faith. Go to lwf.org slash radio and click the tab at the top that says Find God's Love. Welcome to God's forever family. We can't wait to hear from you today. Now, if you'd like to order a copy of today's message in its entirety, you can call us at 1-877-LOVEGOD.
Mention the title Christ of Every Crisis. This message is also part of the insightful series Living Supernaturally. For the complete collection, all 13 powerful messages, call at number 1-877-LOVEGOD or you can order online at lwf.org slash radio. Or to order, you can write us at Love Worth Finding, Box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. If you go to our website, you can also purchase our new Bible studies much like this message.
Find our online store at lwf.org slash radio. Are you facing a genuine crisis and you aren't sure where to turn? Live by God's promises. Invite other believers to pray with you and rest in God's peace. Remember that the Christ of every crisis is with you in your circumstances.
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