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Expecting Opportunity

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Mark 16:15 ESV
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
INTRO - The year 2018 begins tomorrow.
Many people will celebrate saying goodbye to one and hello to the next year.
Celebrating new years is nothing new.
Many cultures and civilizations have and continue to have new year celebrations.
For example, consider the Hebrew “head of the year” or Rosh Hashanah which most believe comes in the fall.
It is widely observed in the ancient Near East and marks the beginning of a new year according to the Hebrew calendar.
Many will celebrate with all sorts of festivals.
In Egypt the god Horus is removed from its temple and exposed to light to reunite his soul and body.
In Babylon and in a similar way in Assyria, the new year festival marks the start of the spring festival.
In American culture, we note the first day of our calendar as the beginning of a new year.
It marks the end of a calendar year and the start of another.
It prompts reflection and resolutions.
In addition to reflection and resolution, today we will visit revival.
With the end of this old year we note some big changes:
a new political ideology in our nation
a debt-free church
our wonderful brothers and sisters in the Messianic group
For some, this year was difficult:
sickness, loss, hurt, sadness
Good up or bad and down, all soon to be behind us
For the coming year, there is opportunity.
Consider the “what ifs.”
Perhaps asking “what if” makes you anxious?
Well, I say, it does not need to be that way.
EST - Our text speaks of the great power of God present with Spirit-filled believers.
ESS - This message will remind us about the great power available to each Christian and how together we are unstoppable.
OSS - This message will challenge each of us to consider embarking on a journey of faith into this coming year.
TRANS - Lets travel to the time when the church was first formed, where it all started; lets take time to recall the power and presence of God.

What does it say?

Acts 4:31–33 ESV
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

What does it mean?

Expecting Growth

2 things:

Pentecost Acts 2
Acts 2:1 ESV
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.
We get the word from the Greek for fiftieth.
It stood for the 50th week following the Passover.
In the NT it is the outpouring of the HS on Christ’s disciples.
Most agree that this marks the beginning of the church.
Being a required festival, Jews from all over were gathered in Jerusalem.
Today, Jews celebrate Pentecost noting the giving of the law on Shavuot along with aspects of the harvest and later the festival came to commemorate David’s death.
In the early church, Christians often celebrated Pentecost noting God’s sending the HS and later it became popular to baptize folks on that day. This gave way to the rise of Whitsunday or White Sunday as candidates sported a white dress during baptism.
In all, people of God associate newness, fresh starts, and beginnings with Pentecost.
Added Jesus followers Acts 4
In addition to God’s Spirit, Pentecost in the early church is noted by the adding of people to the church.
We noted the tradition of Whitsunday adding through baptism.
However, we know the adding God recognizes truly begins at conversion.
ILL - Make no doubt, getting baptized is important as doing so demonstrates our obedience to Jesus. But, do you know that baptism does not get you right with God, that it is repentance and faith in Jesus that God seeks. The thief on the cross had no time for baptism, yet did get it right at the last moment and Jesus said he’d be with him in paradise that day.
Along with the HS, God added people to his church at Pentecost.
Acts 4:4 ESV
But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
God’s design from the beginning includes growth.
He gave plants and people the ability to grow and reproduce.
Similarly, he command the church to grow and reproduce.

Make it personal:

Their is a year to be saved:
Acts 16:31 ESV
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
There is a year rededicate:
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
A year to turn back:
Revelation 2:4–5 ESV
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
A year to look up and not back:
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Expect answered prayers in the coming year.
Recall the passage we read:
Acts 4:31 ESV
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
“They prayed.... the place was shaken”
What if:
all our children come to know Jesus
our families begin to live for the Lord
both husband and wife trust in Jesus
we stop being negative
all our bills get paid
God restores health, happiness, and marriages
God revives this church
Let’s pause here a moment.
Note v.32
Acts 4:32 ESV
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
We noted they were filled with the HS.
Most don’t really know the meaning of “Revival”
Revival means:
everyone forgives
everyone shares
there is reconciliation
walls come down
What if God answered our prayers for new folks?
Look again at v.33:
Acts 4:33 ESV
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
This past year we lacked power.
When was last you made effort to win a soul?
What if God empowered you to be a super soul winner in the coming year; just imagine and believe he does want to help all of us be soul winners.
Expect God to empower FBC Minneola to have a year of great witnessing and winning!

What does this mean to us?

Expect opportunity because nothing is impossible:
Luke 1:37 ESV
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Everything we discussed can happen in your life and our church.
Only, we must believe and have faith that God can and will take away anything that limits, hinders, or blocks the progress he seeks to make within and through us.
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