Acts 12:1-24 OVERCOMING TRIALS
Intro: The early church was blessed by dramatic growth, dynamic miracles, and
determined leadership. These things allowed the church to touch its world and make
a difference. There was another factor in their great growth. They were the target to
devilish attacks and persecution. They faced their trials they overcame them they
rose above them and they brought glory to God. When we consider the early church,
and their success, we may forget that what they gained, they gained out of the
furnace of trial and affliction. Watching them as they faced a difficult and dark day
can help us when we too have to face trying times.
It is no secret that we will all have to go through times of trial and trouble, Ill.
Job 14:1; 5:7. However, when these times come, we must handle them, correctly, or
they will handle us! Tonight, I want to look into the events of this chapter and talk to
you about Overcoming Trials.
I. v.1-6 A TIME OF GREAT PERSECTUION
A. v.1 The Source Of It – (Ill. Herod Agrippa I) A friend of the Jew and
enemy of the church. (Ill. Trials can come from many sources, but all must be
filtered through the grace and knowledge of our Heavenly Father – 1 Cor.
10:13; 2 Cor. 12:9.)
B. v.2 The Strength Of It – (Ill. The death of James, the brother of John! The
early church was witnessing the deaths of her great leaders.) Ill. When trials
come, they have the potential to kill or spirit! We can become depressed,
discouraged, disillusioned. When this happens, we are easy targets for the
devil! Yes trials are bad, but God means them for good – Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor.
4:17! (Ill. He knows best – Job 23:10)
C. v. 3-6 The Scope Of It – (Ill. The leadership being attacked. If the people
could be made to feel helpless, hopeless and adrift, then it was possible that
they would disband and go back to Judaism!) This is the danger of trials!
Satan uses them to tell us that God doesn’t care, that He doesn’t love us and
that there is no hope. Many begin to despair and turn back from the Lord!
Here is the danger and here is where we must have faith! At times like these,
the only answer is to keep our eyes squarely fixed on the lovely face of jesus
and run for His glory – Heb. 12:1-2.
II. v.5 A TIME OF GREAT PRAYER
A. v. 5 Pointed Prayer – Not just general praying. They got down to business.
Trials have a way of focusing our praying! (Ill. Thank God – He already
knows all about it – Matt. 6:8.)
B. v.5 Persistent Prayer – A prayer that’s worth praying is worth repeating!
(Ill. 1 Thes. 5:17; Rom. 12:12; Luke 18:1) (Ill. The persistence Jesus taught –
Matt. 7:7-8) Ring heaven’s bells and call until God answers! (Ill. Same type of
praying that Jesus did in the garden! In an agony of prayer!)
C. v.5, 12 A Partnership In Prayer – Ill. They “all” prayed for Peter’s release!
Ill. The need of holding one another up in times of trials! Gal. 6:2!! (Ill. Aaron
and Hur.) Ill. When you are enduring trials, Jesus is always praying for you! –
D. v. 12 Patience In Prayer – Don’t give up if God doesn’t immediately answer
your prayers! Just keep praying! (Ill. Daniel – Dan. 10 – Daniel prayed for 21
days until the answer came!) (Ill. Saints under the altar – Rev. 6:10)
III. v. 6-23 A TIME OF GREAT PERFORMANCE
A. v. 6-13 Peter Was Delivered
1. His Restfulness – Ill. Peter was enduring a greater trial that the rest of the
people, yet he was able to sleep soundly. What a difference it makes when
you know and believe that God is in control!
2. His Rescuer – Ill. The angel – Peter was sleeping so soundly, he missed the
light and had to be hit to wake up! (Ill. The word “prison” inverse 7 =
home! When total faith is placed in Almighty God, even a prison of trouble
can become a home – associated with peace and safety!)
B. v. 14-17 The People Delighted- Ill. The Humor of this story! Praying for
Peter'’ release and refused to believe it when it happened! (Ill. That’s just like
us!) But, isn’t it a delight when God comes through and delivers us from the
trials of life? That is His business! He always delivers – Ill. 3 Hebrews,
Daniel, Apostles, Etc!)
C. v.18-22 The Potentate Was Defeated – Ill. Herod left town and “abode” =
“to rub away” in another place. He tried to put it out of his mind. Notice, he
was slain when he crossed God’s deadline! He was the source of trouble for
this congregation, and God took care of Him. He will do the same for you – 1
Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14!)
D. v. 24 Power Was Demonstrated – God delivered His people and He got the
glory! That is how it should be! We do nothing, He does it all and men are
drawn to Him! When God is allowed to work in your life and mine, He will
deliver us and He will get the glory! His power will be demonstrated! (Ill.
Moses and the twice smitten rock; Ill. Elijah on Mt. Carmel!) Allow God His
right of way in your life and you will be blessed and He will be glorified!
Conc: Trials are going to come, and when they do, or if you are in one right now,
the best course of action is to bring the need to Jesus, lay it on Him then get out of
His way and allow Him room to work. He will take care of the situation in His time
and in His way. Are there situations you need to bring before the throne tonight? If
so, now is the time and this is the place.