1 The (Three) Seeds of Strength

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Seed of Strength (Acts 12)
Pastor Dr Philip Lyn
Reading from Acts 12 (ESV, NLT, NIV)
Introduction
The most intense persecution in the history of the Bible is
recorded in the Book of Acts, where all political and religious
leaders joined forces to decapitate the church. In Acts 12, King
Herod, who possesses cruelty in his genes, arrested Peter, the
leader of the churches in Antioch, after killing James the brother of
John when he saw that these please the Jews (Acts 12:3). Can
something like Acts 12 happen in our churches today? If yes, are
we strong enough, as a church, to sow the seeds of strength like
the people of Judea? How do we, as a church, thrive amidst
persecution?
1 The (Three) Seeds of Strength
What are the seeds that will grow and thrive in times of persecution? What makes a strong church?
Does the size of the congregation (Bodies) of churches determine their strength? What about the
Building size of churches? What about the amount of money a church possesses?
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)
None of the above serves as the determinant of a strong church. A hidden and underground strength
is what makes us strong. We will now look at the three seeds of strength shown by the people of
Judea during time of crisis.
1.1 THE PERSISTENT PRAYER
How we pray determines the seed of our strength.
1.1.1 They ALL Prayed
“But while Peter was in prison, THE church prayed very earnestly for
him” (Acts 12:5)
In those days, there was only one church in Jerusalem. In that one
church, the size of the church had reached to at least five thousand
members.
But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who
believed grew to about five thousand. (Acts 4:4)
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While Peter was arrested, “the” church (which means, ALL members) prayed together. The church
that Pastor Philip Lyn founded started small, but strong. About 70-90% (out of 100 members) of its
members came and prayed together regularly. Over time, it had progressively grown into a big
church and is now accounting for about 900 to 1000 members, but only 7% of its members come
regularly to pray together. In Malaysia, approximately 5% of “the” church turn up for regular prayer
meetings.
Prayer is important, and praying together is crucial in moving God’s Hand. Pastor Philip urges us to
build personal prayer altars at home, in our community, at our workplace, at school, in the city, in the
community, and the list goes on. Prayer altars are unseen, just like the roots of a banana plant, but
are the life of the church. When implemented accordingly, it nourishes and lands right across all
places. Everyone has a praying role, and attending prayer conference may not necessary help if there
is no prayer altars built amidst our life. When our leader(s) are arrested, are we ready, as a church,
ALL members, come and pray together?
When things do not seem to work, we may need to reconfigure the way we pray.
1.1.2 They Prayed As ONE
“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (Acts 12:5)
While Peter was arrested, everyone came together, focused and prayed fervently for him. It is crucial
for us, as a church, to come and pray in one accord. How exactly do we want to see God work in our
nation? Prayer changes everything. How we see things determine our future. Pastor Philip shared
about his daughter’s accident many years ago when she almost became permanently blind, but
prayer made the difference. Today, she is a healthy girl. Did prayers really make the difference? We
do not know. What we know is that we have only have a window of time, either we take it or we miss
it. And we can only know it when we take it.
1.1.3 They prayed FERVENTLY
“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very EARNESTLY for him” (Acts 12:5)
The prayer for Peter was intense and fervent, never relaxes. Using bulldog as an example, who bites
and its grip never let go, Pastor Philip urges us to be intensely persistent in prayer and never let go.
1.1.4 They prayed CONTINUOUSLY
“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed VERY EARNESTLY for him” (Acts 12:5)
KIV “prayer was made WITHOUT CEASING of the church..”
NKJV “CONSTANT prayer was offered for him by the church..”.
Bible verse in different versions has explicitly indicated how earnest and constant the prayer of the
church was when Peter was arrested. Likewise, we shall never give up and continue to pray until
miracle happens.
1.1.5 They Prayed MANY Days
… he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration (Acts 12:3)
Intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people (Acts 12:4)
… Now when Herod was about to bring out, on that very night (Acts 12:6)…
Record in the Bible shows that Peter was arrested for many days, and that the church had never
ceased but continued to pray earnestly for him.
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1.1.6 They Prayed DAY AND NIGHT
“At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter” (Acts
12:18)
Assuming that Peter was arrested in the middle of Passover, he was put in
guarded prison for at least 3-4 days. While sleep is the most crucial need of
human beings, the members of the church sacrificed their sleeping time and
prayed day and night. In other words, anecdotal evidence recorded in the
Bible shows how the church prays unceasing, day and night for Peter when
he was arrested. God usually reveals things when all come together and pray
throughout the evening, and it is also a time when we are free from
distraction.
1.2 PRO-ACTIVE PREPARATION
How we prepare determines the seed of our strength.
Pastor Philip shared about the story of a husband who lost his feelings of love towards his wife. He
consulted a pastor, and the answer given to him was, “Love her”. Perplexed over the answer given,
he responded, “But I lost the feelings of love towards her, how then, do I love her?” Again, the pastor
answers him, “Love her”. Further probing into the issue, the man was told that love is a verb, and we
possess the ability to choose on our action. He was asked to love his wife, to listen to her, to
empathize with her, and to do something he had never done before. The man pondered before
deciding to do it despite his “loss of feelings”, and that marked the beginning of the turnaround in
their marriage. That was a form of pro-active preparation towards sowing one seed of strength. What
did the people of Judea do in their part of pro-active preparation?
And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl
named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her
joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter
was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your
mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying,
“It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they
opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them
with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord
had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers. (Acts
12:13-17)
1.2.1 They Met In Homes
The church prayed at homes. Meetings at homes started even during those days, and it is a form of
pro-active preparation by the church. In times of crisis, they were still able to meet up and pray
together. It was also recorded in Acts 2:46 that “They met in homes for the Lord’s supper and shared
their meals with great joy.” Today, formation of cell groups in a church is so crucial as part of our proactive preparation for the worst to take place. We are placed in church to be in a cell group.
1.2.2 They Had Prepared New Leaders
“Tell these things to James and to the brothers” (Acts 12:17)
Which James was Peter referring to? It had to be either James the son of Alpheus or James the
brother of Jesus, for James the son of Zebedee was killed by Herod (Acts 12:2). It was very likely to be
James the brother of Jesus, that succeeded him as pastor of the church at Jerusalem, or at least had
the superintendence of affairs there. This is a pro-active preparation of the early church in preparing
the leaders/pastors of the next generation.
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When we pray, we pray for the best outcome. When we prepare, we prepare for the worst outcome.
1.3 PROPHETIC FAITH
How We Believe God Determines the Seed of Our Strength
1.3.1 Believe For Miracles and More Than Miracles
At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. Herod
Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod interrogated the
guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.
Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make
peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates
won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, and an appointment with Herod was granted.
When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them.
The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an
angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of
giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Meanwhile, the word of God
continued to spread, and there were many new believers. When Barnabas and Saul had finished their
mission to Jerusalem, they returned, taking John Mark with them. (Acts 12:18-25)
The contents of our prayer and how we believe in our prayer is important. When we pray, we should
believe in more than miracles and in divine intervention. The saga in Acts 12 recorded a few of the
many miracles and divine intervention from God.
In a recent revival meeting in Pioneer Church of Sitiawan,
the church had a 3-days Morning Prayer meeting by the
well which had provided fresh water to the community
for over 50 years. On the first and second day, attendance
was about 30 people. Towards the end of the prayer meet
on the second day, an old lady came forward and shared
an amazing testimony. Her daughter is a member of
Pioneer Church and had asked if she would like to come
for the Morning Prayer meeting. She rejected and said that she needed sleep. On that morning, she
was awakened by an angel who insisted that she go for the prayer meeting. She rejected, saying that
she could not walk due to her severe arthritis. She felt someone push her off the bed; she got up and
walked across the street from her house for about 1km. As she walked, her arthritis was healed! She
has never walk across that main street for many years, and she shared that it was truly God who had
healed her. Pastor Kee was there and had witnessed how she walked smoothly to the crowd. On the
third morning, about 120 people showed up, but there was no miracle anymore. They missed it. As
mentioned earlier, there is a window period to everything.
1.3.2 Believe for Divine Intervention
We do not believe in just miracles but in divine intervention. Herod was
the king and no one could touch him. When the people called him, “The
voice of a god and not of a man!” (Acts 12:22), he took in all the praises
and he was struck down and eaten by worms. After Herod died, the
church continued to grow and multiply; Paul and Barnabas who had
witnessed the miracles first hand returned to Antioch and started
performing miracles for the first time.
We should pray for righteousness in our nation, and the way God moves is
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His choice and in His timing. We pray for the best outcome but we do not confine God what we want.
It is important to recognize that it is His way, not our way, because He is Yahweh!
Brother Yun in “The Heavenly Man” experienced the miracle of the same magnitude with what Peter
had experienced when he escaped from the Zhengzhou Maximum Security prison from which it is
reported that nobody had previously escaped. Another similarity of Brother Yun’s time an Apostle
Peter’s time was that the church prayed. The window period that we have is shrinking as time goes
by. These people stepped into the window and miracle took place.
When people of God pray, we know that SOMETHING will happen. When we believe in God, miracle
takes place.
Conclusion
The people of the church prayed persistent for God’s divine intervention (Acts12:5), believed that
God will do something. However, they did not expect such a rescue (Acts12:15-16). While praying for
the best outcome, they had also pro-actively prepared for the worst to come (Acts12:13-17). Never
once had they ceased to believe that God will surely intervene in His own timing, miraculously (Acts
12). The conclusion of their action is concluded into the three seeds of strength: Persistent Prayer,
Pro Active Preparation and Prophetic Faith. As such, let us, as one church, pray for our nation
persistently, make pro-active preparation, and believe in more than just miracles! The destiny of the
nation is in the church.
Sermon summary contributed by Chrisandra Wong.
Prayer Points contributed by Michelle
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SERMON: Seeds of Strength
Pray:

All the people of God will gather together as one to pray earnestly, persistently and fervently for
God to deliver His church from the clutches of persecutors.

We will be convicted in our hearts to stand firm and be strong in our faith and believe that God will
deal with His enemies in His Way, Time and Purpose to His Glory.

The Holy Spirit will direct the present church leadership to prepare us and to train new leaders to
lead the people of God in their various walks of life.

We will continue to pray unceasingly in whatever circumstances that come our way until the
mountain is removed.
If my people, who are called by my name , will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from
their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles
7: 14)
MINISTRIES & EVENTS: Crossfield’s Missions Seminar
24 October 2015 (Part 1) & 25 October 2015 (Part 2)
SEVEN BILLION REASONS WHY!
Pray:

Holy Spirit will convict the hearts of people to have a desire to serve in the mission field.

People will avail themselves to help out in the preparation for the seminar and lecture.

God will use the speakers to be effective and relevant to those who come to learn more about
serving in the mission field.

God will open doors where the harvest is plentiful and the labourers will be able to sow and reap
for him.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to
send out workers into his harvest field……” (Luke 10:2)
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MALAYSIA MY NATION:
THE GOVERNMENT OF MALAYSIA
Transformed mindset of Government Officials and Authorities
Pray:

God’s Hand will lead the Government Officials in running the country and honour the freedom of
worship for all people.

People of God will trust in the Lord and pray for His hand of righteousness to prevail.

Heads of states will speak out the truth to set the nation free from all wrong ideologies put in
people’s mind.
 God will raise up God fearing leaders to be watchmen among the government officials.
Cast your care on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
A TRANSFORMED WORLD: PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE SEMINAR
An alliance of world leaders for Human Rights, press freedom, anti –corruption and good
governance.
Pray:

World leaders to be led by God in their roles in areas of human rights issues.

For the right leaders of each country worldwide to unite and speak out for the minority groups on
areas of social justice.

God will raise up these leaders to bring about righteousness and expose all corruption through
good governance.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
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