Acts 12:11-19 What causes someone to fall asleep and get caught up in the dream? You just don’t want it to end. When you wake up it is like you wish you could fall back asleep and finish receiving the $100,000 check for your book sales. Or that big 12 point buck walks just one step closer, clearing the tree that is keeping you from shooting him. Or in my case, sometimes you really want to wake up immediately because the cliff is approaching and you can’t stop. So, there are bad dreams and good dreams. The good ones we tend to want to keep going to see what is going to happen, but yet, reality. We wake up! Peter had just been led out of prison by an angel and taken down the street, clear of being seen by others, and then the angel left him. Angel job complete! Verse 11 says Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angels and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating. God came through, but up to that point it had all seemed like a dream to Peter, but there he was standing in the middle of a street, far from the prison. In verse 12 he immediately went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. In verse 13 it tells that Peter knocked on the outer entrance. A servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. She recognized Pete’s voice and left him at the door without opening it, overjoyed to hear his voice outside. Of course, the prayer warriors inside didn’t believe Rhoda when she said “Peter is at the door.” They told her she was out of her mind, but she kept insisting “He is out there.” They said that it must be Peter’s angel. All the while, Peter is still knocking at the door and when they finally went to the door, there was Peter! Peter told them the whole story and told them to tell James and the brothers about what had happened. This was an incredible miracle that those praying almost missed because they doubted Rhoda’s report of him being at the door.
Believers of TODAY! The world has done everything it can do to imprison the message of the gospel in our day. It has tried to reduce it to just another religious belief. The world’s message has tried to shut down churches who are proclaiming the truth by scaring us into thinking our tax free status will be taken away. The world has tried to threaten our ministers in pulpits all over our country. The World has tried to take the failings of the past in believers lives and keep them silent through guilt. The World has tried to put chains on the message of hope in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, and water down the effectiveness of the purity of the Word. We may at times feel like we are in a prison, chained up between evil and indifference, but we aren’t!! I believe God is taking us on a little walk, that may seem like a dream. It’s a walk to freedom in our spirits. Opening doors before us and leading us into the clear to free our message as never before. We have, through the years, in our country, seen a freedom to proclaim our message as never before. The only problem is, in the past we thought it was just a dream and not a reality. It’s time for us to wake up to the fact that Jesus is still working and setting captives free through the current, fresh message of the gospel. The message is this” Jesus Saves!” As Peter came to himself after being led out of that prison, we must come to ourselves and realize that God’s power is starting to be seen everywhere. That believers are still praying and serving. In other words, we need to wake up and get on with it. When Peter came to himself, he immediately went to the house of those where were praying for his freedom and they doubted he was freed. The gospel being seen as free and growing all around us, yet we are missing the truth that God is still working and powerful. It’s time to get on board and go to the door and believe that God is answering prayer. We might be missing the evidence because we are in prison in our thoughts and attitudes. Please read the story below and see what can happen if we listen to the wrong people and follow the wrong advise.
G. Campbell Morgan had already enjoyed some success as a preacher by the time he was 19 years old. But then he was attacked by doubts about the Bible. The writings of various scientists and agnostics disturbed him (e.g., Charles Darwin, John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer). As he read their books and listened to debates, Morgan became more and more perplexed. What did he do? He cancelled all preaching engagements, put all the books in a cupboard and locked the door, and went to the bookstore and bought a new Bible. He said to himself, “I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be–the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.” The result? “That Bible found me!” said Morgan. The new assurance in 1883 gave him the motivation for his preaching and teaching ministry. He devoted himself to the study and preaching of God’s Word.
Do you still believe God can awaken our hearts and do a great and mighty work? If so, you are ready to be freed from the prison of doubt and indifference and God will lead you out to freedom. If you are still believing in the old ways of “doing church” and leaving the message of Jesus out of what you are doing, then you will find yourself still in prison.
Time to awaken and walk to freedom. Time to lift up the name of Jesus and time to wake up!!
Maybe I’m like Rhoda. I believe I am hearing the voice of the Lord at the gate and I know He is free and His message is still alive and working! I hope you aren’t like the “prayer warriors” who doubted it could be Peter, actually freed. I hope you will hear this and respond immediately to the truth that the message of Christ is still alive and still applicable to change lives in our world today. Time to wake up believers. We are blessed with an incredible message of hope and power. Believe me. There are no chains holding back this wonderful message of hope.
The Pilgrimage continues….