Our God reigns.
APRIL 18, 2022
Our God reigns. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
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Thank you Matthew. I hope you had a great week-end and a great Easter and a great Holy Week. We did. And the time with Justin was fun last week and insightful for me. Isn’t he something else? God, because he likes me more than he likes you, about 10% has surrounded me with gifted and wonderful people. And Justin is one of them. And I was glad to share that week of teaching with him. But this week it’s back to work, the book of Acts, and we’re looking at the 12th chapter of the book of Acts. And we’re talking about the sovereignty of God. Before we do that, let’s pray. And then we’ll get down. Father, we come into your presence still lifted up. When we think about Easter, about the cross and about a dead man, getting out of a tomb and walking around, who said that we could too. Father, thank you that you give us those special times to remember, and to be glad and to celebrate. But Father, there are some listening to this broadcast right now who are not in that mood, who are going through very difficult times for whom the laughter seems almost impossible. Father, come alongside, remind them that you’re sovereign in the dark and you’re sovereign and the light. Give them a double portion of your peace and your joy. And then Father on this broadcast as always, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. As I was this morning, thinking about this chapter, the 12th chapter of Acts and our talk about the sovereignty of God. I remembered an incident and that happened a number of years ago in England. David Wilson was an evangelical and used by God in some absolutely wonderful ways. And one of his closest friends was John Collins, an Episcopal priest. And, David died and David Wilson died and they had his funeral in a large church and there were two or three thousand people there. John, because he missed his friend, was really sad and he was reminiscing and then he had a thought. And he said to the congregation, and this is something that John Collins used to do. Sometimes in his meetings, he would have a congregation shout at the top of their lungs. Our God reigns! Well at this funeral, in the midst of the darkness and the midst of the pain and the midst of the loss of this great evangelicalism leader, John Watson had the congregation stand and he said, shout at the top of your lungs three times. Our God reigns! And they did. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. And there wasn’t a single person who didn’t understand what John Wesley had said, another Anglican, years before. John Wesley said.
God buries his workmen. And he goes on with his work.
In other words, our God reigns! Is that good or what? Well, you got an example of that. And that’s what we started week before last, the week before Holy Week, as we started looking at the 12th chapter of the book of Acts. I’m not going to take the time to read that to you. It’s a fairly long chapter, but it’s an interesting chapter as Luke gives us more details about what happened at the beginning. You know, it’s great to study the beginning. I was one time the pastor of a church in the Miami area. And, it was a church that still had members in it who had been there. And they had been through three pastors, but there were some older members in that congregation who were there when they first founded the church. And they founded it in a bar and they used to say, they had to clear up the beer cans and the whiskey bottles before they had to have church. And there were a thousand war stories that they told, and it was so much fun to just sit with those, the older members of the church, who could remember when. Well, we get to do that with the book of Acts. We get to do, remember when it started, remember what God did, remember his faithfulness and also remember his sovereignty. And so, you hit the 12th chapter of Acts, and this is kind of a sad thing. It opens up with Herod’s persecution. And James who was the head of the church has just died.
God buries his workmen. And he goes on with his work. Our God reigns.
And then to make things even worse, Peter gets arrested and he’s thrown into prison. And then you say, our God reigns, but it doesn’t feel like it. And then an angel comes and let’s Peter out. And you know, the church is back at the church house. No, well they’re in somebody’s house, but the church is on their knees praying that God would do something with Peter. And then Peter goes to that house, knocks on the door and they can’t believe it’s him cause he’s supposed to be in prison. But I’ll tell you, before they left that church meeting, they said, our God reigns! And he does. Now, a couple of weeks ago when we were studying this chapter, we prefaced the things that are happening in that chapter with this, because God is in charge. First, James is dead. That doesn’t seem to go together because we’re in, you know, those of us who are reformed are theologically sophisticated, and boy is that dumb. We criticize the name, frame it, claim it people, but maybe we need a little bit of that in our theology too, to recognize that in the dark, we’re going to see God’s hand sovereign, verse one through two.
About that time Herod the king laid vigilant hands upon some who belonged to the church. And killed James the brother of John with a sword.
Our God reigns. Job 1:21
The Lord giveth, the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Our God reigns. Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of his saints.
Our God reigns. Hebrews 9:27
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment.
Our God reigns. And I could go on and on and on. But the first thing that you see in this chapter, in the war stories of when it begun, is the leader, James is dead. Victor Hugo has the character, Jean Valjean say as he’s dying.
Children, I can no longer see clearly. Think of me a little, but I know not what the matter with me, but I see light.
Oh, okay. Then secondly, and I think we covered this too, because God is in charge, because God reigns, Peter was in prison. And he was sleeping. Look at verse four and six.
He proceeded to arrest Peter also. And when he had seized him, put him in prison.
And then verse six.
The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.
Oh my. I’ll tell you, he’s in prison. And when you’re in prison, it’s called depression and loneliness and feeling ostracized and criticized and going through a dark time. Remember our God reigns, Peter knew that, he had learned it the hard way. So what is he doing? He’s on his knees, crying out to God, praying and fasting and saying, God, don’t let that, no, he’s sleeping. I don’t sleep very well when I’m in prison. I don’t sleep very well when things are not going well. I don’t sleep very well when I look at the problems that I’m facing personally, and what’s going on in this country. I don’t sleep well sometimes when I read the critical letters that I get. I don’t sleep well when my marriage isn’t going well. But we should. And how can we do that? Well, there’s only one way, to remember that God says, I’ve got this. I reigned. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. And here we are back in Acts, specifically Acts 12. What a great chapter, a false arrest, a stunning jail break and well, spoiler alert, a rather gruesome and sudden death coming up. And we have only scratched the surface here. So, be sure to join us again tomorrow. Hey, by the way, have you claimed your copy of Key Life magazine yet? The features include a moving article from Steve called For Heaven’s Sake: Lighten Up! It’s a freeing invitation to return to the wonder and joy of the good news of Jesus. The magazine also has pieces from some of your favorite Key Life voices like Chad West, Pete Alwinson and Kendra Fletcher. Get your free copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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