Like Peter who was found sleeping in prison, many of the churches are also found “asleep” in the prisons of religious-sounding men who pose as ministers of righteousness. They are sitting in darkness….in the shadow of death where they have been captured by the ears with the feigned words of covetous men and have been led astray from having love for one another and into envy, strife and divisions….to their destruction. His people are being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (4 winds, 4 quaternions of soldiers keeping them) by the sleight of men who lie in wait to deceive with their wresting of the Scriptures. Acts 12: (4) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. (5) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Many are “sleeping” between 2 soldiers….envy and strife… and the works of their hands are works of darkness as they are bound with chains. Man’s commandments and doctrines keep the “prison” that many are in….as they are brought into the bondage of men who have bewitched them with their sorceries….the wresting of the Scriptures . Many are asleep in the power of darkness and need to be rescued. (6) And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. Our God is merciful and commands the Light to shine in the darkness of the “prison” that many are in just as the Light shined in the prison that Peter was in. We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and washed by the Word and not by the empty traditions of our church fathers who have preached things after their covetousness and have passed these things down through generations. We are to know the time… that NOW is the time to awake out of our “sleep”…. as the angel said unto Peter: “ARISE up quickly”. NOW is our salvation. We are to be delivered from wicked and unreasonable men who have NO FAITH in what they will hear (the Light that shines in the prison). We are to cast off the works of darkness….just as the chains fell off from the hands of Peter. We are to hear the Word of Truth and not behave as we did in our ignorance (in the darkness)…with disputing, wrath, strife, etc. Peter did not contend with the messenger of the Lord but heard and obeyed. (7) And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Let us put on the armor of Light and follow Him out of the prison of religious-sounding men who will persecute us for leaving their company and forsaking their religious ways and thoughts. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him…withdrawing from those who walk disorderly and have not the Word within them. We are to come out from among them and be separate. We are to go forth without the camp unto Him…bearing His reproach….being persecuted by those whom we are to leave behind who will think it strange that we will no longer run with them after their things. We have no “continuing city” with them…but look for one to come whose builder and maker is God as He builds us up together in the Truth upon the foundation of the words of the apostles and prophets whose chief cornerstone is Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus interprets their words and we are built upon them in love and unity. (8) And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. (9) And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. Blessed are those DO His commandments ( passing the first and the second “ward”) so that they may enter in through the gate of the city. The greatest 2 commandments fulfill the law and the prophets. We are to fulfill ALL righteousness so that we may enter into LIFE….the narrow gate…which shall open to us of his own accord. (10) When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. The greatest 2 commandments are the “first and the second ward” that we are to fulfill so that we may enter through the narrow gate that leads to life. This is the law and the prophets (the first and second ward): whatsoever that we would have men to do us, we are to do to them. Matthew 7:12-14 KJV (12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (13) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Blessed are those that DO His commandments (passing the first and the second ward)so that they may enter in through the narrow gate that leads to LIFE . We are to DO His commandments when we hear the words of life and spirit….the tree of life. A tongue that speaks His words is a “tree of life”….a healing tongue. But those who will rebel are without in the darkness as they will not remember to DO His commandments and have love for another. Revelation 22:13-16 KJV (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. The messenger of the Lord comes to the “prison”….the churches…to testify of these things. The Light shines in the “prison”. He is the “bright and morning star”. (16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. The Lord sends His messenger to testify of these things so that we may be delivered by Him from the power of darkness….from out of the “hand of Herod”. Acts 12: (11) And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. He rescues us from the power of darkness and translates us into the kingdom of His Son and we are to give thanks unto the Father who makes us partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:12-14 KJV (12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: And so we must awake out of our sleep…..and cast off the works of darkness (the envy and strife) and put on the armor of Light…and follow Him without the prisons of religious-sounding men. Let us not argue about what we hear with an evil, unbelieving heart...but cast away all of those things and receive what we hear. Ephesians 5:14-16 KJV (14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Love works no ill to his neighbor as we are to entertain “strangers” who may the messengers of God …speaking His knowledge (the Light) in the face of Christ Jesus. Romans 13:10-14 KJV (10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Let us “arise up quickly” for it is “high time” to awake out of our “sleep”. Let us REMEMBER to have brotherly love and not be forgetful. Our rescue is at hand. (11) And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Let the “chains” fall off of our hands as we cast off the works of darkness and let us put on our “garment” as we are to leave our “prisons”. (12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk out of the “prison” of religious-sounding men without envy and strife in which we had once participated. (13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. We WERE once darkness, but NOW we are Light in the Lord….and so we must walk as children of Light. Ephesians 5:7-9 KJV (7) Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Let us hear His voice today and NOT harden our hearts against what is said. Let us not be “drunk” with the wine of wrath and respond with evil contradictions and slandering. Let us be FILLED with what we are hearing the Spirit saying…. Ephesians 5:17-20 KJV (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; …..and speak to ourselves within our joyful hearts singing and making melody within as we hear His voice speaking to our ears and being thankful unto God for all the things we hear. (19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Like “Rhoda” which means “rose” who had heard the voice of Peter (the ROCK) knocking at the door of the gate, we are to HEAR His voice and NOT OPEN the mouth in rejection but have gladness of heart instead. We are to make melody WITHIN our hearts and not resist the Spirit. Acts 12:13-17 KJV (13) And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. (14) And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. The “desert” of the heart shall rejoice and blossom as the “rose”…… Isaiah 35:1-6 KJV (1) The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Within the hearts shall be singing and joy….being thankful unto the Lord. (2) It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. (3) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. (5) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Christ shall build His church upon the rock of confession: that He is the Christ (the Anointed), the Son of the living God…. whom we are to hear. Today if we hear His voice, we are not to harden our hearts with an evil heart of unbelief and depart from the living God because we do not agree with what is said. Hebrews 3:6-19 KJV (6) But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (7) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, (8) Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (9) When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. (10) Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (11) So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (12) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (15) While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (16) For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. (17) But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? (18) And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? (19) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.