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The text for this lesson is Acts 12.

Key Point

  • Like Peter, we may suffer because of the sins of others, but God’s will is always done. His Word is never proclaimed in vain, but breaks the chains of sin that bind people and sets them free.
  • Law: In this world of sin, the Church of God will be persecuted on account of Christ, resulting in suffering for me and all believers.
  • Gospel: God works through His Word to break the chains of sin, relieve the suffering it causes, and sustain His Church.

Discussion Points

  1. Do you pray for persecuted Christians around the world, either regularly or once in a while? Why or why not? How can you add such prayers to your daily prayer life?
  2. Read Acts 12:1–5. Who is this Herod who seeks to do violent harm to God’s Church? For his ancestors, see Matthew 2:1, 16, 19–20 and Luke 3:1; 23:7–8, 11–12. Who is the James whom Herod kills with the sword? What does Herod intend to do with Peter, and what motivates him? What does the Church do at this time of crisis?
  3. Read Acts 12:6–11. Why does Herod assign such a strong guard to keep Peter in custody (vv. 4, 6)? See Acts 5:19. Summarize the details of how the angel rescues Peter from prison (12:7–10). According to verse 9, what does Peter first think of his experience with the angel? Why might he think this? See Acts 10:10–16. What made Peter realize that his rescue was indeed real?
  4. Read Acts 12:12–19. Where does Peter go, and why does he go there? What comical but dangerous thing happens to Peter when he is greeted at the gate? When he greets the people in the house, why does Peter motion for them to be silent (v. 17)?
  5. Who is the James mentioned in verse 17? See Mark 6:3; Acts 15:13; 21:18; and James 1:1. Why does Peter exhort his fellow Christians to “tell these things to James and to the brothers”?
  6. What message of hope and encouragement is given in verse 24? How does verse 25 illustrate this? See also Acts 11:29–30.
  7. How does Satan try to snuff out the preaching of the Gospel in our day? How does that Word of God preserve and protect us from persecution?

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