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INTRODUCTION:

After a period of peace and rapid growth, persecution broke out again. The human agent this time was King Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great who tried to kill Jesus in the massacre at Bethlehem. Apparently, there was something in the bloodline of this dynasty, that was paranoid to an extreme.

1. ONE DIES, ANOTHER LIVES. WHY IS IT SO? (12/1-5)

a. Read Mark 10/35-40. It is this James (John’s brother) who is executed. He wanted a position of authority and it cost him his life. Jesus’ asked him, “Are you able…?” James said “Yes”.

b. Peter was arrested and gaoled. But no trial until after the Passover. The authorities weren’t going to make that mistake again (Matt.26/3-5).

c. The church prayed earnestly for Peter. Surely they did the same for James? Why would one be delivered and the other be executed? Of course, there is no answer that is obvious to us. The best we can do is speculate….and there is still no answer!

2. THE UNBELIEVING BELIEVERS  (v.6-19)

Maybe there was disappointment that their prayer for James went unanswered?  No, they still “prayed earnestly”. But a miracle of deliverance was not expected (v.15). Talk about these points

Peter was without doubt on “death row” – and he was asleep!!
He was secured by 16 guards but still was able to sleep! The angel had to hit him to wake him.

The guards knew that if the prisoner escaped, they would be executed. (Acts 16/25-30)

“My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed Thee”.

Which came first – faith or fact? (the chains fell off before he got up?….as he got up? Or after?)

 Peter thought this was a vision, like the one he had on the roof of Simon’s house (10/8-16)

Has anything liked what happened to Rhoda happened  o you – witnessing an answer to prayer? It might not be as ‘spectacular’ but, like Rhoda, you were overjoyed.

What responses are mentioned in vs.6-19 (e.g. v.16 amazed)

What chance did the soldiers have against an obviously supernatural opponent? Hardly fair?

[3] THE KING IS DEAD  (vs.20-25)

a. The angel of the Lord has been very active during this 2nd phase in our 4 phase series. Check the following references and share what you observe in each encounter.

*9/4;       *9/10;      *10/3-6;      *10/13;  *12/6-8;      *12/23

b. What is the warning of the events recorded in this final section (vs.20-23)?

FINALLY….. 

So ends Phase 2 of our 4 phase study in  “Action  In Acts”. There surely has been  ceaseless activity!!

Maybe you could share with the group one episode that really caught your attention?

From here we turn to Phase 3 beginning with chapter 13 and the re-introduction of Saul of Tarsus

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