5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made to God intensely by the church.
5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
The world is increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs. With all the difficulties facing the church today, how will it withstand the forces against it? In this sermon on Acts 12:5, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones draws from the biblical account of Peter’s miraculous release from prison and encourages believers to unite together in prayer in order to see God’s work in the world and His church. “A characteristic of the church we must never forget,” Dr Lloyd-Jones says, “is that we are one.” When Peter was put in jail, the entire church came together to pray for him. If the Christian has become discouraged with prayers because they do not see them being answered, they are not alone. The early church endured similar tests of faith. Although they did not recognize it at the time, God was working behind the scenes to answer their prayers for Peter and when they were told by their servant girl that he had been miraculously released and was at the front door, they did not believe her. Listen as Dr Lloyd-Jones helps the listener understand why prayer in the community of a church is so important, and how they can trust God when they don’t see Him acting.
- The early church faced persecution and opposition from the start. The world is opposed to the Christian message and faith.
- The church today faces persecution in some parts of the world, like behind the iron curtain. Some Christians face imprisonment, concentration camps, trials, etc.
- We must know how to face the forces against us. We may have to face persecution ourselves.
- We must understand the character of the forces against us. They are based on unreasoning prejudice and passion, not reason. People hate the gospel.
- King Herod stretched out his hands to vex the church for no reason. He killed James and arrested Peter to please the Jews.
- Herod couldn't kill Peter right away because it was the Days of Unleavened Bread. He had to wait until after Easter.
- Peter was sleeping soundly on what he knew was his last night of life. This shows God had given him peace in answer to the church's prayers.
- The church was praying earnestly for Peter. They were suffering with him. We must suffer with our persecuted brethren today.
- Prayer was the only weapon the church had, and it's our greatest weapon too. But do we really believe in our prayers?
- God answered prayer by sending an angel to deliver Peter, astonishing even Peter. God's answers astonish us by exceeding our expectations.
- God didn't answer prayer until the last moment to test the church's faith and make Herod's downfall more complete.
- God allowed Herod to oppose the church so He could strike him down and show His power, as He has done throughout church history.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.