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Power on Move

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"POWER ON THE MOVE"

(A Topical Series on Acts)

Westgate Chapel 7/1/90p.m.                                                         

PROPOSITION:  After the initial baptism in the Holy Spirit there is a continuing to be filled in the Spirit that provided power on the move for a church that was exploding into the culture and world of the first century, meeting circumstances and opposition that they could never have anticipated nor been prepared for.

i. introduction

-     THERE are formidable powers aligned against the people and work of the kingdom of God in our day.

-     JUST as the first century church experienced the unleashed power of hell against its early progress......with satan doing all that he could to stop the forward movement of the church before it could get properly launched.

-     SO, the last century church will experience a similarly intensified attack as satan realizes that his days are short and time running out to damn souls and destroy the lives of God's creation.

-     HOW are we going to meet that opposition?

-     HOW will we be prepared for those days?

*     Living a holy life, free of the bondage of sin, is going to get tougher.

*     The temptations of the world will get harder to resist.

*     Opposition to the Gospel of Christ will get more fierce (Bible burned in front of church).

*     The press will get more blatant in its attack on the church.

*     Direct demonic attack against believers will become more frequent.

*     The occult and false religions will be on the increase.....even some of the elect will be deceived.

*     Many will fall away, finding that the root system of their faith is not deep enough to bring them through the battle ahead.

*     People's hearts will fail them from fear of what they see happening around them.

-     HOW will we raise Godly families in those days?

-     HOW will we win the lost against this kind of opposition?

-     HOW will we maintain faith and hope and joy........essential ingredients for moving forward.......in times of conflict and attack?

-     HOW will we keep the song of Zion in our hearts in a foreign land?

ii. initial infilling with world-conquering power

-     THE answer for the last century church is the same as for the first century church......who burst forth into their world in the power of the Holy Spirit.

-     THIS was a power greater than anything known to mankind at that time.

-     NOONE had even seen anything like it before.

FIRST CHURCH IN JERUSALEM

-     THE first time that it happened, 120 poor, weak, frightened disciples captured the attention of the entire city and 3,000 were added to the church the same day.

-     WHAT happened? 120 disciples were baptized, filled for the first time with the power of the Holy Spirit and got out of the upper room and hit the streets of Jerusalem (Acts 2).

-     THESE 120 timid disciples were filled with holy boldness. They could have cared less about their culture, their jobs, their future security, their place in society.

-     JERUSALEM would never be the same again.

-     THE religious institutions quaked in fear, and started holding meetings to figure out what could be done to stop the progress of these Holy Spirit people.

-     PEOPLE were strangely attracted to this power of God in ordinary people. After witnessing the miraculous healing of the crippled beggar at the Gate of the Temple, and hearing Peter's second evangelistic message, 5,000 men alone were added to the church.

THE SAMARITAN PEOPLE

-     FOR the Samaritan people, this initiation into the power of the Spirit happened when Peter and John laid hands on them.......and it made such and impact on a local sorcerer that he was willing to pay to be able to duplicate the same power in his bag of tricks (Acts 8)

FOR THE GENTILES

-     FOR the Gentiles, this initiation into the power of the Spirit happened at Cornelius' home, and the work of God amongst the Gentiles was birthed.......resulting in Westgate Chapel, and Shoreline Community Church, and Silverlake Chapel, some 2000 years later (Acts 10).

FOR THE APOSTLE PAUL

-     FOR the apostle Paul, it happened in Acts 9:17, when Ananias went to the house where Paul was staying and said,

      "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

-     AND almost single-handedly this little man turned his world upside down...in the power of the Spirit that he received that day in Damascus.

*     The sick were healed when he prayed for them.

*     Whole towns turned to Jesus when he preached in them.

*     Young men like Timothy were equipped for the ministry just being around him.

*     Epistles were written that have formed the basis of sound doctrine for 2000 years of church history.

*     Whole countries were brought under the influence of the Gospel when he arrived.

FOR THE CHURCHES IN EPHESUS

-     FOR a few believers in Ephesus, baptized with John's baptism of repentance only, it happened when Paul laid his hands on them and they started speaking in tongues and prophesying (Acts 19).

-     AND within a few short years of that event there were at least seven churches in Ephesus and surrounding towns, in a culture steeped in pagan ritual and hedonism.

iii. on-going filling with world-conquering power

-     BUT that is not where the power story stopped.

-     WE are humans.

-     THE demands of life tend to drain the power.

-     THE pull of the world takes its toll on our spiritual strength from time to time.

-     SIN pulls the plug on spiritual power.

-     INDIFFERENCE springs a leak in the resovoir of the Spirit within.

-     WE go through periods where we loose our spiritual heat, and grow cold.

-     GIVING out in ministry tends to diminish the power of the Spirit within us.

-     SO we need more than just an initial infilling of the power of the Spirit.

-     WE need an on-going fill up.....or we will not be prepared for the needs around us and the attacks of the evil one.

-     ONCE again, the book of Acts provides an answer....in several references.

-     AS the church went on the move, exploding out from Jerusalem and that first Spirit baptism......

-     AS leaders left the city and carried the message and the work of God to the pagan centers of the world......

-     AS believers scattered due to persecution....and landed in Antioch, Cypress and Rome.....

-     THEY needed more and more power to tear down the strongholds they encountered and build a strong church there where they landed.

-     BUT God anticipated the need and had a solution.

-     THERE are nine specific references that I would like you to consider tonight, where there was a fresh infilling of power for the move and the moment.

1. POWER FOR THE FIRST WAVE OF OPPOSITION

-     IN Acts 3, while Peter and John are on their way to the Temple to pray, they pray for the healing of a cripple man at the gate.

-     WHEN he is healed, the man runs and jumps and dances to the glory of God.

-     A CROWD gathers, Peter preaches, and 5,000 are added to the kingdom.

-     WELL, it didn't take long for the opposition to rally and mount an offensive. It came in the form of the Sanhedrin who hauled Peter and John in for interrogation and beating.

-     THE first serious opposition.

-     AND here stands Peter, the fisherman from Galilee (Mobile, Alabama),  accused of preaching false doctrine.....in front of a room full of university theology professors who have the power to have you stoned to death.

-     NOW, let's read Acts 4:8-14.

                           "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say."

-     IF you will allow me to give you a rough translation of the verb "filled" in verse 8, it reads,

      "Then Peter, continuing to be filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them......"

-     THIS was power for the defense, power to answer those who hate God.

-     AND it came to Peter because he was "continuing to be filled."

-     WHAT had happened to him on the day of Pentecost was not enough.

-     TIME had passed. The opposition had started. The church was on the move, and Peter needed new power from a fresh filling of the Spirit.

2.   POWER FOR BOLDNESS UNDER OPPRESSION

-     WELL, things got worse before they got better. And in Acts 4, Peter and John are warned to be silent on this Jesus stuff, and released by the Sanhedrin who really wanted to kill them.

-     SO the church goes to prayer. Read Acts 4:24-30.

-     THEN listen to the answer God gave them in verse 31.

                           "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

-     THERE is that Greek verb again for "filled" that is in the present  continuous tense. After they had prayed they were "continuing to be filled with the Holy Spirit".......and left there speaking the Word boldly.

3.   POWER TO SERVE

-     TURN to Acts 6:1-5. READ.

-     WHO were they looking for for service ministry? People who were being filled with the Spirit.

4.   POWER TO HEAL

-     THE ministry spreads under the anointed work of Stephen.

-     READ 6:8.

5.   POWER TO SPEAK WITH AUTHORITY

-     READ 6:10

6.   POWER TO LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE

-     READ 7:55

7.   POWER TO ENCOURAGE AND WIN THE LOST

-     READ 11:24

8.   POWER TO DISCERN THE ENEMY AND ROUTE HIM

-     READ 13:9

9.   POWER TO  HAVE JOY IN TOUGH PLACES

-     READ 13:52

iv. conclusion

-     THERE is a continual filling in the Spirit that is available to provide power on the move for those who would be like Jesus.

-     FIRST we must identify the need within.

-     SECOND we must repent of trying on our own to do the work only accomplished in the Spirit.

-     THIRD, we must ask to be being filled in the Spirit, so that we too can have power on the move.

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