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When the Pride of Man Collides with the Prayers of Saints

posted Aug 26, 2009, 6:59 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Aug 26, 2009, 7:01 PM ]
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Key Passage: Acts 12
July 13, 2008

For centuries men have clenched their fists and gritted their teeth in the face of God, and they do it today. We do it today, frankly. I’d like to say this 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 you fight for your own glory, you’re in trouble. If you’re seeking the praise of men, you’re on a collision course with God. Folks, let’s face it – it’s foolish to fight for something that is rightfully God’s for one classic reason. Ready for this?!? God fights back…

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) (see also Psalm 2:1-4)

* 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

1. 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

1. 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)

* 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!

1. God is almighty …. His Gospel cannot be stopped by opposition and His purposes will always come to fruition (Acts 12:24-25)

Q: Is “why” a legitimate question to ask when tragedy strikes? Why / why not?

Q: How can we pray in faith for deliverance if we don’t know God’s will in advance?

Q: A critic taunts: “How can your loving God allow so much evil and suffering in this world.” Your


Q: It would seem, realistically, that the world’s major religions have stopped the penetration of the

Gospel into much of the world for centuries. How, then, is the Gospel unstoppable?

* Parts of today’s lesson were taken from commentaries by John Piper, John MacArthur and Steven Cole