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The Death of Herod and the Glory of God (Acts 12:18-25)

October 16, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon demonstrates the goodness and severity of God. Pastor Carter bears witness that the mighty hand of God brings life to one and death to another according to His will. The focus of this sermon is on how the treachery of sin brings about the Glory of God.

The Treachery of Sin

Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there (Acts 12:18-19;ESV).

Pastor Carter defined malice as the intent and desire to do evil or to bring ill will. Herod had malice in his heart and he had every intention to carry it out. His thirst for blood did not cease with the murder of James, and after learning about the escape of Peter, he poured out his wrath on the soldiers. For this reason, Christians are commanded to put away all malice, seeing that malice leads to murder then to madness (Ephesians 4:31-32). When sin goes on unchecked, unrestrained and given free reign, it leads to madness (cf. Daniel 4:30-32).

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The Glory of God

Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, The voice of a god, and not of a man! Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied (Acts 12:20-24; ESV).”

Herod’s life was “good” according to the worldly standards, he was feared and powerful, but he made two grievous errors. First, he persecuted God’s people. Second, he took for himself the praise that belongs only to God. God does not take kind to thieves, especially those who steal from Him (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11). Therefore, in this moment, Herod realized that God does avenge the death of His people and He is deadly serious about upholding justice (cf. Pharaoh, Exodus 3:19, 14:13-14). The judgment of God is a fearful thing, knowing that He is faithful in upholding justice, since His holiness demands that He punish sinners (Hebrews 10:30-31).

What causes me to differ from Herod?

The same God who gives life on one day, choses to take it away on another, for He rains on the just and the unjust (Deuteronomy 32:39-43; 1 Samuel 2:6). However, unlike Herod, unlike us, God is not careless in His judgment, for He does not take pleasure in punishing the wicked (Genesis 50:20; Ezekiel 18:23-32; Matthew 23:37; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). The Church does not gloat when God repays His enemies, because apart from the goodness God in Christ Jesus, we would be His enemies (cf. Proverbs 24:17-18). For this purpose, we preach the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, you either will bring about the glory of God in your life now in Christ or will bring about the glory of God in your death for all eternity.

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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