We continue our sermon series entitled ‘Opening Times’. Preaching from Alan Cole.
God’s people in trouble
In Acts 5 the apostles were doing great things for God when they were thrown into lockdown. It would have been easy for them to have become despondent but God opened the prison doors and they were able to continue the ministry God had for them.
It is very easy for us to become despondent about the things that life throws at us. It is not sinful to be depressed. Many of the great characters of the Bible suffered from depression, for example Hagar (Genesis 21:16-18); Naomi and her family (Ruth 1:14); Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10); David (2 Samuel 12:16; 2 Samuel 18:32-19;4; Psalms 60&61); Job (Job 3:11); Elijah (1 Kings 19:3,4); Paul (Romans 7:24) and even possibly Jesus Himself (Luke 13:34).
Regret for what has passed – ask the Lord for peace
The apostles in their prison cell did not spend time worrying about past failures, but there are times when we regret that in the past we did not take a different course of action. David regretted his adultery with Bathsheba and the death of the resulting child (2 Samuel 12:16). The loss of a loved one can cause depression – as with David and Absalom (2 Samuel 18:32-19:4). But God has promised to forgive our sins and to restore the joy of our salvation. Psalm 51:1-12; Psalm 103:12; John 14:27.
Worry about the present – pray and realise the power of God to intervene
The apostles would have been uncomfortable in their prison cell, but they trusted in God’s providence.We may experience loneliness, suffering or disease. After an attack from Satan (Job 1&2), Job lifted his eyes to God and was given a vision of God’s greatness (Job 42:1-3). In the case of Hannah it was prolonged, quiet prayer that provided the answer (1 Samuel 1:15-16). Prayer is powerful – James 5:16, and God can give us the strength to endure our suffering. 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 1:6,7.
Fear for the future – trust in God’s word
The apostles in the prison cell did not kniow what would happen to them, but they trusted in God for the future. It was fear for the future that affected Elijah after his victory over the prophets on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 19:3-15), but he was reminded of God’s promises and sent back to work! God’s word reminds us that we are never alone. Our future is in God’s hands and we are assured of his continued presence with us through life’s storms and we are assured of heavenly glory. 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 8:35; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12; Hebrews 13:5,6.
Title: God opens our prison doors
Reading: Acts 5 v 17 – 26
Preacher: Alan Cole