GOD PROVIDES PEACE AND PROTECTION FOR HIS PEOPLE

Updated: May 12

I. So we can proclaim

II. So we can pray


Acts 26:19-29 19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the

vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in

Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they

should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21

That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22

But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify

to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets

and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the

first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to

the Gentiles.” 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are

out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you

insane.” 25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I

am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things,

and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped

his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you

believe the prophets? I know you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do

you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a

Christian?” 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only

you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except

for these chains.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, who brings us peace and protects us, dear Christian

friends,

Here is a challenging trivia question for you today: The three readings today

included an account about the Apostle Paul, a letter from the Apostle John and two

accounts about Jesus’ disciples turned apostles. What experience do all of these men

have in common?

You might have some different correct answers, but the one I am thinking about is

that all of these men in all three accounts knew what it was like to be a “prisoner”. The

Apostle Paul was a prisoner at the hands of Governor Festus which we will look at more

today. The Apostle John wrote his general letters possibly while exiled to the island of

Patmos. If this letter was written at an earlier time, then John still knew what it was like


GOD PROVIDES PEACE AND PROTECTION FOR HIS PEOPLE


I. So we can proclaim

II. So we can pray


To be a “prisoner”— albeit self-imposed— because he was in the locked room with the

rest of the disciples as we heard about in the Gospel for today.

What are some key needs for a prisoner? I am no expert on this, but I would

imagine most prisoners deal with tons of guilt and times of loneliness and a total lack of

freedom, so there seems to be a need for peace of mind and heart while they languish in

lockdown and a need for protection of the body while they remain leery of who might be

lurking around the corner.

Very few, if any, of us have spent any time behind barred doors and windows,

thankfully, but there are times we have experienced those same key needs someone in

prison might have. As prisoners to our own sinful thoughts or as people held captive by

the world’s wicked ideals and instructions, we also have a need for peace and protection.

It is with joy and thanksgiving that we are reminded today that GOD PROVIDES PEACE

AND PROTECTION FOR HIS PEOPLE! I. So we can proclaim II. So we can pray.

Last week, on Easter, Pastor Bishop took us to the locked room where Jesus’

disciples were meeting on that first Easter evening and reminded us of the message of

peace Jesus shared with them, as we heard again in today’s Gospel. The Apostle John

spoke of that peace as he wrote of overcoming the world through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul’s writings are filled (e.g. Eph 2:14; Phlp 4:7; 2 Th 3:16) with the

comforting message that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

(Ro 5:1).

God provides peace, as well as protection, for his people. Even though historical

accounts tell us that all of Jesus’ first disciples, except John, met a martyr’s death, still

they knew of and trusted the protection God provides for his people, as Paul wrote: “the

Lord is faithful and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Th 3:3).

Listen to the confidence Paul has in God’s protection as he addressed these

government leaders. “So then, King Agrippa,...first to those in Damascus, then to

those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they

should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. That is

why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But I have had

God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great

alike...Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he

shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most

excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king

is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that

none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.

It is easy in a world filled with discord and war to wonder if peace is even

possible or if you have peace. Let me assure you that by God’s grace and his work alone,

you do, because God’s peace is spiritual, not physical!

War existed between God and his people ever since sin entered the world. In love

for us, so we would not be hurled down to hell like the devil was, God sent his only Son

to be sinless in our stead and to sacrifice himself on a cross to suffer our sentence for sin.

By Jesus’ life and death, he established a friendship between us and his Father. Jesus’

resurrection is our confidence that we have peace with God!

It is easy in a world filled with hatred and violence to doubt if you have protection

from God. Let me assure you, you do. The one who created the world is also master

over it. The one who created Satan and sent him to hell after he rebelled is also king over

him. The one who created each of us is also provider of all good things for us. Along

with the Apostle Paul, we can confidently state, “The Lord will rescue me from every

evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tm 4:18a).

God does provide peace and protection for his people. So what do we do? Like

Paul, let’s proclaim it! Parents, teach your children by word and example that Jesus is the

most important part of their lives. All of us can support the work of our school and

Michigan Lutheran High School so the young people attending can be shown the way of

salvation and taught the way of truth. Increase your offerings so that we can meet and

even exceed our goal of helping train future pastors and teachers who will proclaim the

good news of Jesus in churches and classrooms throughout the world.

God does provide peace and protection for his people. So what do we do? Like

Paul, let’s pray about it!

“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then

Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me

to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you

but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these

chains.”

Pray that all people, created by God, become people of God through faith in

Christ Jesus! Pray that God turns the hearts of all of our governing authorities to

Christian faith and that he leads our country’s leaders by his Word so that our freedom of

religion is never taken away from us and we can continue to freely spread the gospel

throughout our country and the world. Pray that God opens doors into other countries so

the good news of Jesus can be proclaimed near and far.

Here is where those of you at home can be serving others. Those of you

homebound because of sickness and age or staying home because of COVID concerns,

please be vigilant in your prayer life. Please do not turn off the livestream during

communion. Even though you cannot receive it from where you are, you can pray for

those who are receiving it. Those who are here in worship, you, too, can use this time to

sing praises to God and offer your prayers for your fellow church members.

If you ever feel like a captive in your own home due to a world health concern or

your own fears, if Satan has gotten the best of you by capturing your heart and mind and

filling it with doubts, if you ever have to spend any time in a literal prison, be confident

God provides peace and protection to his people! His witnesses proclaim it and pray

about it! His Word promises it!





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