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It’s a Question of ‘Who’, not ‘Why?’

posted Feb 23, 2014, 8:47 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Feb 23, 2014, 8:47 PM ]
February 23, 2014
Key Passage: Acts 12

“It’s a Question of ‘Who,’ not ‘Why?’”

Lynn and I had the privilege of attending Jay Watson’s church outside of Nashville last Sunday.  Jay’s message centered on asking the question of “who,” rather than “why?”   Ever notice that when things seem to be going well difficulty and even tragedy can (and does) pop up out of nowhere?  My instant reaction is “why?” rather than “who?”  I can become so transfixed on why something has happened and why God didn’t stop it rather than simply reminding myself of “who” is in charge.  That said, I’d like to say today’s lesson is geared towards the pride of those who oppose Christ…and to a degree, it is.  However, we’d be foolish to think that as Followers we’re immune to the same type of self-exaltation that destroyed kings and leaders throughout the Bible.  Let’s be honest – the Message of Jesus is always going to stick in the craw of people devoted to the praise of men…and sometimes, that’s us.  Keep in mind: faith is God-exalting.  Glory seeking is self-exalting…and make no mistake, God shares His Glory with no one.  If your life is spiraling out of control, maybe it’s time to stop asking why, and start focusing on who …

As we study the 12th chapter of Acts, let’s take a look at four lessons that will help us keep our pride in check, will remind us of the importance and potency of prayer, and will reassure us when it seems the evil of this world is winning out ….

1. Although God is almighty, He doesn’t prevent the untimely deaths of some of His choicest
servants (Acts 12:1-4)  
Those who teach that it’s always God’s will to deliver us from sickness, tragedy, and death are false teachers
God doesn’t love us less when He allows tragedy into our lives
As difficult as it is, we need to view death from God’s eternal perspective, not from our temporal perspective

2. Since God is almighty, He can easily deliver His servants from humanly impossible situations if it is His will. (Acts 12:5-19) (see also John 21:18)
God is most glorified when we are most helpless and totally dependent on Him
God often waits until the 11th hour to deliver us so that we’ll be motivated to pray
God is not limited by the prayers of His people, but He works through our prayers to teach us to depend totally on Him

3. Because God is almighty, He can easily remove the most powerful and proud human leaders 
when it’s His time to do so (Acts 12:20-23) (see also Psalm 2:1-4)

To seek glory for ourselves is to declare war against God
To declare war against God is to commit eternal suicide, because God always wins!

4. A couple of final thoughts on prayer:

The Greek word used in this passage to describe their prayer is “ektenes,” which is a medical term that means to stretch to the utmost limits … like a runner straining for the finish line.  Much of our prayer is powerless because it lacks that kind of earnestness.  Too often we pray with the attitude of wanting God to care about things we really aren’t that committed to.
Earnest prayer has power not because it changes the heart of a reluctant God, but because it cares passionately about the things God cares about (see John 15:7)

Q:  Is “why” a legitimate question to ask when tragedy strikes?  Why / why not?
Q:  A critic taunts: “How can your loving God allow so much evil and suffering in this world.”  Your