Acts 2 Church - 1 Encounters with the Holy Spirit
INTRO: Have you ever been asked to do something beyond your ability or experience and you know it can’t be done through you? You start sweating just thinking about it. People look at you and think you come from another planet because you’ve gone all green! Your knees turn to jelly – and all because you’ve just thought about what you’ve been asked to do!
This is exactly what happened to me in my school days when asked to do a speech in front of the class. Every time I found a way out of it. I was terrified at the thought of standing and speaking publicy in front of other people. Some could do it, but I wasn’t one of them!
The truth is we all have limitations – all humankind in their natural state, no matter who we are have finite boundaries.
Intro new series: Today I’m beginning a new series called “Acts 2 Church”. Most of you will know that Acts 2 is the story of the church being birthed, and the amazing things that followed as God worked mightily with them in signs, wonders and great power on the disciples lives.
Friends we have been given a task that is way beyond all of us: To turn the world upside down for Jesus! To reach, serve and influence our world with the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation.
Today I want to focus on what happened when the NT church was born. IT was born in the fire of God! It was born into an atmosphere of miracles! It was born into an atmosphere of the supernatural!
How can this be?
Only 50 days earlier all of those who said they loved Jesus forsook him and left him in the hands of murderers. They fled like cowards, even after saying they would never leave or forsake Jesus.
Friends something so powerful took place in Acts 2 that turned timid, micelike men into Great Warriors for Jesus Christ.
· People who couldn’t talk publicly turned into GIANT PREACHERS
· People who were afraid became champion witnesses for Christ – telling everybody, everywhere all about how Jesus had changed their lives
· People began to step out in faith in public on the streets and pray for the sick and see them miraculously healed of their afflictions
· People began to learn secrets to powerful prayer meetings
· Thousands coming to Christ
Do you want God to work through your life in the same way??
Why don’t we see similar things taking place on a regular basis now – today?
Perhaps God is asleep? Did somebody think of waking him up?
Ps 121: 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.(NKJV)
Perhaps we need to improve our techniques? Maybe if we say ‘in the name of Jesus’ instead ‘in Jesus name’ – we will see more results
Je 17: 5 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord.(NKJV)
Techniques can help us do things better, but it can’t save a man’s soul, or heal a body ridden with cancer. God says techniques alone bring a curse upon our lives.
Oo you know Ps James – Miracles like what happened in Acts 2 don’t happen anymore – that was just for the Apostles in Jesus day. REALLY?
Mk 16: 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”(NKJV)
Did I miss something? Has all the world been reached already? Therefore Jesus words no longer apply?
Ooo you know Ps James – NZ had it’s opportunity, Acts 2 things only happen through mighty evangelists like Rheinhart Bonnke in Africa because Africa needs it more than NZ
Really? You mean NZ doesn’t need God’s intervention anymore? Three murders in one suburb in one week. Ancient spirits of violence rising out of the earth in our nation but we don’t need the supernatural anymore?
The leader of the synagogue comes to Jesus for help with his very sick daughter:
Lk 8: 49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” 50 But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”(NKJV)
Friends – HOW?
A church that still believes in the good old fashioned word of God, the promises of God and the character of a God, who hasn’t given up on our nation – who are still willing to put simple FAITH and TRUST in the God of ACTS 2 – he will release His power through you and I!
Lets read what did take place on the day the Fire of God came to the church:
Read: Ac 2: 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.(NKJV)
The Spirit of God came to the church and nothing was ever the same again!
Look at this – they were so full of the holy Spirit – there accusers said they had too much alcohol!
Ac 2: 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”(NKJV)
Friends – I believe the world doesn’t need more creeds and words – it needs to feel the fresh wind of God blowing upon it’s sores, sicknesses, it’s calloused and broken hearts.
What happened in the lead up to Acts 2?
How did this amazing event begin to unfold?
Jesus keeps telling His disciples that He is not going to be around much longer. That He will suffer a horrible death and be resurrected and go back to His Father.
Jesus tells the church to stay put and don’t do anything until the Promise of the Father is given to them. What was this promise?
Lk 24: 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”(NKJV)
Jesus made it clear that even though He was being called back to Heaven into an intercession role for the planet that He would not leave his disciples alone like orphans – with no help. NO!
Jn 14: 15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.(NKJV)
Jesus tells us that those who receive the Holy Spirit will continue to SEE HIM despite Him being in Heaven and we being on the earth.
But James, surely this ministry of power was only for these special disciples who obeyed Jesus and waited for the fire to fall that day?
No friends. Peter got up after this amazing outpouring of God on His life and spoke under the inspiration of the anointed Holy Spirit with a promise that clearly means all of us are included in this incredible work on earth.
Ac 2: 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”(NKJV)
That means YOU. That means ME. That means ALL OF US!
It’s a new day for the SUPERNATURAL POWER of GOD in the church.
Bible Prophecy makes it clear that we are to be endued with the same power of the early church.
God’s plan for the THIRD DAY
Look at the Prophet Hosea’s words:
Ho 6: 1 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. 3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.(NKJV)
The Prophecy says that after two days God will revive the church. But on the third day He will raise the church up to live in His sight.
How does God view a day?
2 Pe 3: 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.(NKJV)
Since Christ took our sins away TWO DAYS ago, 2000 yrs ago – Jesus is REVIVING his church – to put FRESH FIRE in your life and ministry. To fill us with the Holy Spirit and THEN in the THIRD Day(now) – to raise up a mighty army of God that will fill the earth with His power and Love – rescuing those who would otherwise perish into a lost eternity without ever meeting Christ.
NB: Friends did you realise that more people were saved and healed in the last century than in the previous 1900 yrs in total? God has been reviving His church with remarkable stories of HOLY SPIRIT POWER!
Friends why doesn’t God just rapture the church right now?
With all the violence, hatred and anger present in the world – why doesn’t He just take us out of here NOW!
Because he is LONG SUFFERING with us NOT WILLING that any should PERISH!
He loves this crazy world! He loves the crazy people in it! But it cannot be reached using CONVENTIONAL ORDINARY efforts. The world needs the POWER of GOD.
While we wait for his return, He waits for us to go forth
We say, “Come sweet Lord.” And He says, “Go sweet church”.
We pray “Come Lord” and he commands “Go church”
Go – Go and be clothed with my SPIRIT.
And What are we do with the Holy Spirit?
Jesus issues the same commands as He did with his first disciples:
Mt 10: 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.(NKJV)
Jesus sits down and the Holy Spirit takes Over
Mk 16: 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.(NKJV)
Entering the realm of God’s power and His REST
Jesus job was finished. He was able to go back to heaven and be seated at the Father’s right hand. This is a picture of God’s rest. The bible says that when God finished creating the world he entered a day of REST. Look at Hebrews:
Heb 4: 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.(NKJV)
Jesus was able to enter God’s rest because he had finished his job and now it was the season for the Holy Spirit to begin His work.
These verses teach us we can enter God’s rest ONLY when we cease from striving in our own works. The season of the THIRD day revived and SPIRIT FILLED church is upon us.
How agitated Jesus must get when He looks down from his seated position in GLORY and watches in FRUSTRATION as we run around like HEADLESS chickens, striving in our own works and strength trying to do God’s work.
I can imagine Jesus watching some of us, putting his hands on the arm rests of his glorious throne, getting ready to stand up because he cannot enter God’s rest watching us trying to do God’s work without the HELPER he promised us. Trying to do a job that requires SUPERNATURAL power, under HUMAN power.
Let’s not make Jesus stand up and walk around his throne with his head in his hands crying out, “Why are they running around exhausted in their own strength when I’ve sent them my Holy Spirit?”
I can imagine Jesus praying over each of our lives – asking Father God to set up an ENCOUNTER with the Holy Spirit. “Father – please don’t let them run around in their own human strength. Send them your SPIRIT and fill them with the DUNAMIS power, overflow them with your anointing, give them your miracle power, show them how to heal the sick, raise the dead, pray with my anointing”.
Friends – what do you think Jesus is doing in heaven right now as He looks down over you? Is he able to remain seated because you have received the mighty Holy Spirit and have ceased from striving in your own strength? Or is he now pacing around the throne, praying for you to receive God’s power – to be filled with His Spirit?
I started off by talking about feeling your limitations. I want to finish this message using the Rhino as an illustration.
You see, rhinos can run thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they’re pulling. They’re actually faster than squirrels, which can run up to twenty-six miles an hour. And even then who’s going to live in dread of a charging squirrel! (Sorry—that was a bit off the point.) Running at thirty miles an hour is faster than a used Skoda will go. Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them to immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension, which leads us to their name. Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash. Even when they’re just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they’re called a crash because of their potential. You’ve got to love that. I think that’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s what happens when ordinary humans become filled with God’s Spirit and shake off all timidity and self-imposed limitations. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don’t have to pretend we know the future. Who cares that we can see only thirty feet ahead? Whatever’s at thirty-one feet needs to care that we’re coming and better get out of the way. We may not be able to see what’s at thirty-one feet, but we don’t have to be blind to what’s right in front of us. There’s a world that desperately needs God, a world filled with loneliness, hopelessness, and fear.
It’s time to be REVIVED by a fresh ENCOUNTER with the Spirit of God!
Who needs to come today and RECEIVE?
Who needs to be filled with the PROMISE of the FATHER?
Who needs FRESH WIND and FRESH FIRE today?
Who needs to speak with NEW TONGUES?
Come to the ALTAR, run to the ALTAR, come in ONE ACCORD, come in AGREEMENT with the Word of GOD and have a FRESH ENCOUNTER with God today.