Just this morning, I had the pleasure to hear Dr. Brian Autry preach a sermon called, “There is Hope Because God is in Control.” This sermon was taken from Acts 12:1-5, which reads:
“About that time, Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” (ESV)
Back in the time of the Apostles, the political environment was very violent. Christian’s were the target of violence because of their faith in Jesus Christ as well as the spread of the gospel. If Christians were arrested, many were either tortured, beaten, or put to death by Herod as well as Nero of Rome. This sets the stage for Peter, he was arrested by Herod after Herod killed James. The Early Church prayed for Peter earnestly. Notice in verse 5, Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer was prayed for him by the Church, that God will hear, and act on behalf of the Church. What is important to note here is that Christians during this time were basically helpless. Most did not have the skills of a soldier. The only thing that they could do was to pray for Peter. The outcome was a miracle.
Look at the rest of the story in Acts 12: 6-17:
“6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.”
What is important to understand about this passage is that God heard the EARNEST PRAYERS of the Church and He acted. The Lord came to Peter in the jail cell, released his chains, and led him out away from his imprisonment. Peter was rescued by the Lord through an angel.
Even when people are faced with mounting adversity, God is still in control. According to Dr. Autry, “God is STILL on the throne. He is STILL in control. Who is the ultimate Sovereign? It is God! If there is anything that we can do, it is through earnest prayer!”
Dr. Autry mentions four points as how God is in control.
- God is in control even when we have trials. The only way to respond is by earnest prayer. God can deal with any situation. He is in control because His Word says that He is.
- God is in control even when it’s dark. Even when we are resting in the Lord, God is in control. Look at verse 6, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, resting without a care, and the Lord stood next to him and struck Peter on the side to wake him up. Even in the night, God is in control.
- God is in control even when our faith is weak. God does not answer prayers just because we are in His favor, but because He is God.
- God is in control even when wickedness seems to win. Although Satan is running rampant in our world today, God is still in control and in the end, God wins the spiritual warfare.
According to Dr. Autry, “Never, ever forget that God is in control. It seems like evil and wickedness is running rampant, but God is still in control. God puts up with a lot, but He loves each of us.” See 2 Peter 3: 8-9, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Given our current political environment, with brother turning against brother and sister against sister, God is still in control. When attacks on character are occurring, God is in control. When a tsunami strikes a city and hundreds are killed, God is still in control. When the health report states there is cancer, God is still in control. When health problems worsen, God is still in control. When a child, brother, sister, mom, or dad dies; God is still in control. The evil prevails our nation and it seems like there is no more morality, God is still in control. Regardless of who is the President of the United States, Congressman, Senator, Governor, Local Government, God is still in control!
What does God want us to do? He wants us to fall on our knees, and pray earnestly for our leaders, the lost, our loved ones, and our enemies. God wants us to pray earnestly and He wants a “True Relationship” with each of us, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If you want to see God work, then PRAY, have a RELATIONSHIP with the Living God through Christ Jesus. Remember, God is STILL in control!
 Brian Autry, There is Hope Because God is in Control, The Victory Hour, Grove Avenue Baptist Church, Broadcast on NBC12, September 30, 2018.
 Autry, There is Hope Because God is in Control, September 30, 2018.
 Autry, There is Hope Because God is in Control, September 30, 2018
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