Persecution, Prison and Proclamation # 1.

  • 4 July 2021
  • Stuart Robinson

Zoom Church Short Devotional Piece

Acts 12

There is a lovely phrase found in Acts 12:24 that begins with the adversative conjunction, ‘But’.

But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents – or to spread and to flourish.

We should take great heart in that, dear church.

But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents.

The context, you see, is sobering.

Herod was violently opposing the gospel and had James the brother of John put to death by the sword.

Flush with success, Herod then arrested Peter and had him locked in prison.

Four squads of soldiers were unable to prevent Peter’s release by an angel of the Lord: a miraculous intervention.

Incensed, Herod executed the guards for what appeared to be gross incompetence.

Why James died, and Peter survived we do not know.

And though Herod was himself struck down by an angel of God for his blasphemy and defiance of the word of God, it was not until after he has caused great pain and misery among the people of God, did the Lord ‘remove him’, as it were.

God’s purposes are oftentimes a mystery, my friends.

That said, in the midst of great difficulty, and adversity, and uncertainty we read these words:

‘But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents [spread and flourish]’. Acts 12:24.

There is that wonderful conjunction again – ‘But’.

But the word of God’ – or the message of the gospel advanced, and people came to faith.

Here is the lesson:

Nothing can thwart the purposes and plans of God.

Not even a global pandemic – for through his people, saints like James, and John, and Peter, and Mary, and Mark, and Rhoda – and you, “the word of God will continue to spread and flourish”.

Indeed, that is South Head Anglican Parish’s Mission – to be agents and conduits of the spreading and flourishing word of God…whatever the context, whatever the challenge:

Thus, our stated Mission:

  • To know and to enjoy a friendship with Jesus
  • To grow in our worship and service of God our Father and in our love for each other
  • To go into all the world witnessing to Jesus’ mercy and grace.

Know, Go, Grow – such that the word of God might continue to advance and gain adherents.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

Other sermons in the series