In Acts 12, the men of God had been placed into prison. James was beheaded for the cause of Christ. Peter was now imprisoned with chains. We rejoice to see where the angels of the Lord came to this man of God and told him what to do to escape the hand of Herod.
At the very last we read that he came to an iron gate (Acts 12:10). The iron gate did not stop the angel from seeing that the man of God was set free. Don’t pass over the thought of the iron gate being there. It was there to keep one from going out. There are iron gates put in our lives to hinder us from doing the will of God — think about three:
First, there is the iron gate of prejudice. Some are so filled with prejudice in their hearts toward the truth and the church that they possibly will never obey God. This is a shame. Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). They are prejudiced toward the church of Christ. They are prejudiced toward the plan of salvation, especially baptism. They somehow believe that if they are baptized, they are sending others to hell. They think that by being added to the body of Christ, they are sending others, maybe their friends or parents, to hell. How can this be? Obeying God never sent anyone to hell.
Second, there is the iron gate of indifference. The attitude of “I just don’t care” seems to be on every hand. This was the attitude of the church in Laodicea. Revelation 3:15 says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.” When the king made a feast for his son and invited others to the wedding feast, Matthew 22:5 says, “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business …” Indifference will keep a church from growing. It will hinder souls from being taught the truth. We can’t let this iron gate stand in our way of doing the work of the Lord.
Third, there is the iron gate of suffering. It is true that we often suffer. God has never promised us that we would not. Sickness and death often strike in the families of the most faithful. Sometimes people blame God and turn away from the Lord. This is just another iron gate in the way to keep people from serving the Lord. James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” In times of suffering, one should see the need of being a Christian.
Don’t let an iron gate keep you from going to heaven. Obey the will of God while you have opportunity. Don’t let the gate of life close on you while you are outside of Christ.