God who is unleashed (Acts)

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MOTIVATE

I have lived for just over three decades and I have seen the changing of

–          cars with seat belts are required, they are more fuel efficient, increased accessories

–          television from b&w to color to hd and even 3-d

–          large computers to pocket-sized computers

–          game systems: Atari, Nintendo, Sega, PS’s, Wii

–          tapes to cd to file drives

–          internet & email

Some of you have lived for multiple decades and have seen even more dramatic changes

–          invention of dirt… older than dirt!?!

–          inventions of cars, radios, tv,

–          beginning of space exploration

I once heard that knowledge doubled From 1 AD to 1500 AD; Again in 1750, Again in 1850, Again in 1900, 1930, 1950, 1966, 1981, 1995, 2006 and since every year.

In just a short amount of time our world changes.

Likewise, in 3 decades from AD 33 – 64 the movement of Christianity turned the world upside down. Christianity has spread across the globe and history and has impacted the world through education, medicine, freedom and not to mention socially & spiritually. It began with Jesus and on to a dozen men and a handful of women – and then the Holy Spirit came upon the group, forever transforming them and unleashing the power of God.

 

EXAMINE

Jesus gave a commission:

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 16: 4-7 “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Luke 24:44-53 “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

John 20:21 “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

 

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

 

In the book of Acts we have 3 ways God’s power is unleashed to continue the work of Jesus:

God is unleashed in his people Acts 2:1-15

The book of Acts is a sequel to Luke’s Gospel. It shows Jesus ascending to heaven and leaving the apostles star gazing upward. Some angels tell them to stop standing around, saying essentially that Jesus will return and until then to get busy doing what Jesus told them.

Acts 2:1-15

50 days after the Passover, the disciples are together and the Holy Spirit is unleashed into their lives. The Spirit enters with three indicators: a powerful sound; tongues of fire; and speaking in other tongues which people of all languages can understand.

▪          Jesus promised that He would send the Spirit to fill every believer.

John 14:16, 18 “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…I will not leave you as orphans.”

John 16:7 “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, I will send him to you.”

 

▪          The Bible is clear that, from this point forward, all believers are filled and sealed with Jesus’ promised Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:9, 15 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him…for you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!”

1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received… the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”

1 Corinthians 6:19 “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”

Ephesians 1:13 “In him [Christ], you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

 

Francis Chan in Forgotten God, p.16-17

“If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit. The degree to which this has happened (and I would argue that it is a prolific disease in the body of Christ) is directly connected to the dissatisfaction most of us feel with and in the church. We understand something very important is missing. The feeling is so strong that some have run away from the church and God’s Word completely.

I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone – namely, the Holy Spirit. Without Him, people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-sized results. The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Holy Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”

 

ð      Do you know (assurance) that you belong to God?

ð      Do other people know that you belong to God?

ð      Are you/and our church, living in such a way that people say, I can’t fully describe it but there is something supernatural or extraordinary about your life/church?

If answered no, or perhaps even hesitated, then it is likely that you/and us together, are missing the Holy Spirit.

µ      The Holy Spirit comes to those who repent and trust Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin.

Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

 

God is unleashed in his church Acts 2:41-47

 

As God fills the apostles with His Spirit, He brings them together. The phrase “together” in reference to the believers is repeated throughout the book of Acts.[1] They were together after Jesus’ ascension (1:14) and at the beginning of Pentecost (2:1). They were devoted to spending time together (2:42, 44, 46) and the imperfect verb tense in this passage suggests a recurring pattern of gathering as it became a part of their lifestyle.

 

They were marked by:

–          Apostolic teaching                                                             – Together in caring & meeting needs of others

–          The fellowship                                                                   – Praising God

–          Breaking of bread                                                                         – Enjoying favor with people

–          Prayer                                                                               – God’s saving work from their witness

 

The EarlyChurchis an example to us today of treasuring Christ together as God’s people. It was a place for both believing and belonging. And would that it be so today.

ð      Are you in a Bible Group? These Groups are the central hub for all our ministry. Each Group has 3 functions: Discipleship, Inreach, Outreach. If you miss this you miss everything.

 

ð      Have you committed to Meaningful Membership? This means you are going on public record that you are a part of this church’s fellowship, ministry and outreach.

  • Guests: Thanks for coming. This does not belong to you… yet!
  • Attenders: Appreciate your interest. When will you stop dating the church?
  • Pew Members: Uninvolved membership is a contradiction. Get plugged in.
  • Everyone: Let’s commit ourselves to the Lord and see God’s wonder & power

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

 

God is unleashed through his church (people) 4:13, 19-20; 5:32

As you move through the book of Acts, you will see the outline from 1:8 with a “witness inJerusalem, Judea andSamariaand to the end of the earth”.

Acts 2-5 showsJerusalem

Acts 6-8 show spread through Judea & Samaria

Acts 10 and on shows gospel spreading outward to every region

Acts 28 ends with Paul preaching inRome (extent of known world)

 

One of the amazing things in Acts is that God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes.

Acts 4:13, 19-20 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus…. And they said, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

 

In fact, the majority of miracles that God does through these believers and almost every miracle done is outside the temple or church! Luke is showing that the gospel effects every arena of life and every sort of person.

µ      Acts 3:6-10 Peter & John heal beggar outside of temple

µ      Acts 5:12-16 Apostles do signs and wonders… healings

µ      Acts 8:17 Apostles pray the entrance of the Holy Spirit upon Samarian believers

µ      Acts 8:26-40 Philip is led by God’s Spirit to witness to an Ethiopian

µ      Acts 9:32-34 Peter heals Aeneas, bedridden & paralyzed for 8 years

µ      Acts 9:36-42 Peter raises to life Tabitha by praying for her

µ      Acts 10 Cornelius & Peter have dreams of which God brings them together so Peter can witness. The Gentiles receive the gospel (10:34-35).

µ      Acts 12:6-11 Peter is freed from prison by an angel

µ      Acts 13:9-11 Paul turns Elymas the magician blind for his disturbing the spread of the gospel

µ      Acts 14:3 God granted Paul & Barnabas to do many signs and wonders at Iconium

µ      Acts 14:8-10 Paul heals a crippled man at Lystra

µ      Acts 16:16-18 Paul casts out an evil spirit in a young fortune telling slave girl

µ      Acts 19:1-6 Paul prays for disciples atEphesus to receive the Holy Spirit

µ      Acts 19:11-12 Paul does extraordinary miracles “so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick and their diseases left them and evil spirits came out of them.”

µ      Acts 20:9-10 Paul raises Eutychus to life after dying from falling out of a window

µ      Acts 28:3-5 Paul is bit by a viper but lived

µ      Acts 28:8-9  Paul prays and heals a man with fever and sickness, and many others

 

Acts 28:31 Paul proclaimed “the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”

 

APPLY/THINK

Michael Green in 30 Years That Changed The World
“The Acts has so much to say to our half-hearted and cold blooded Christianity in the western world. It rebukes our preoccupation with buildings and ministerial pedigree, our syncretism and pluralism, our lack of expectancy and vibrant faith. As such it is a book supremely relevant for our time.”[2]

 

It causes us to consider

ð      Are we living a God-exalting, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life?
Do we think life is filled with plenty of years and church is a game that we can enter in and out?

*** Be careful that you do not become desensitized to the Spirit’s voice, never to hear him again.

 

ð      Are we committing to the thing that Jesus gave His life for – His Bride, the Church?

¨       Love God, Love Others, Lead Generations

¨       Value: GOD

I will honor God through faithful personal and corporate worship with my church.

¨       Value: Others

I will honor God through faithful friendships, protecting unity in my church and participate in a Bible Group.

¨       Value: Spiritual Growth

I will honor God through faithful discipleship growth and service with my time, talents and treasure (tithes & offerings)

¨       Value: Prayer & Praise

I will honor God through faithful prayer and testimony of my church.

¨       Value: Evangelism

I will honor God through faithful living and sharing the gospel with others.

¨       Value: Leading Generations

I will honor God through faithful investment of growing godly generations in the home, the church and the world.

ð      Will we catch a vision to see that your children’s schools, sport clubs, your neighborhoods, your jobs are God’s appointed mission field?

What prevents God from being unleashed and the teaching of His word being unhindered…

–          in your life?

–          in our community?

–          In your school?

–          In your neighborhood?


[1] (cf. 1:14; 2:1; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25)

 

[2] Michael Green Thirty Years That Changed The World, 5.

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