Spirit Empowered Ministry
By: John Ankerberg Show
August 16, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is this: We are in the second sermon in our Fearless Series. What happens when the Word of God collides with the Spirit of God through the people of God for the glory of God. And the second sermon in our sermon series is called “Spirit Empowered Ministry.” Spirit Empowered Ministry.
The first Great Awakening took the newfound colonies of America by storm. In fact, in the 18th Century, you may be familiar with men like George Whitfield, men like Jonathan Edwards or even John Wesley. Or maybe even his brother, Charles Wesley. These were men who God used mightily as preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John Wesley was one who was the founder of Methodism. You may know it today. Paris Reid had a Christian missionary who was trying to describe the ministry of John Wesley and here is what he said, just to give us a little hint at the revival of that time.
He said, “Wesley was a preacher of righteousness that exalted the holiness of God. And when he would stand there with his two to three hour sermons that he was accustomed to deliver in the open air, and he would exalt the holiness of God, the law of God and the righteousness of God and the justice of God and the wisdom of His requirements and the justice of His wrath in His anger. And then he would turn to sinners and tell them of the enormity of their crimes and their open rebellion and their treason and their anarchy. The power of God would so descend upon the company that on occasion it is reliably reported that when the people disbursed there were 1800 people lying on the ground utterly unconscious because they had had a revelation of the holiness of God. And in the light of that, they had seen the enormity of their sin. And God had so penetrated their minds and hearts that they had fallen to the ground.”
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I want to see that again. Does anybody want to see that again? What we have here today is, we have a front row seat to the birth of the Christian church. We are going to see in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, how God descended upon His people and the church was birthed.
My goal today is simply this in our time together. I want to show you how any person empowered by the Spirit of God can fearlessly proclaim the gospel to anybody anywhere at any time. Because we are empowered by the Spirit, we have nothing to fear in this world.
If you have your Bibles and I hope you do, turn with me to Acts Chapter 2. Acts Chapter 2. We will consider Verses 1 and following and when you are there, say “word.” We say “word” at Brainerd because we know it is the Word that changes our life, not cool stories, not funny illustrations, not my sense of humor. If you came for that, you are not going to get much, but you will get the Word of God. Amen? And we get excited to study the Word. The Word of the Lord.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
In order to motivate you to be fearlessly sharing the gospel to your neighborhood and the nations, I want to break this text down into three different parts – three different elements that I want you to see in this text.
Here is the first one, if you are taking notes, write it down. We see in the text the Spirit is manifested. The Spirit is manifested. Now, this week I had the privilege of spending an entire week trying to think about what it would have been like on that day when God had descended upon His people. Imagine if you were one of the twelve or even one of the 120, when the Spirit of God descended upon His people.
Notice what happened here. Luke says, “Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
You know, as a child, I remember hunkering down as Category 3 hurricanes would rip through our hometown of Louisiana. If anybody is from the South here, particularly the Gulf Coast, you know that storms are common place, particularly in that area. And if you know anything about a storm, there are two parts to a storm. There is the actual storm itself and then there is the eye of the storm, right? And so what would happen is, the storm would come through, the winds would fall, the rain would fall out on the ground and then the waves would come and then all of a sudden, the eye would go over the hometown in which you lived. And it was as if there was no storm at all. It is actually called “the calm after the storm” or in essence, the calm before the storm because it was short-lived.
So what we would do is, we would go out of our homes and assess the damage to our home and our street and our community. But it was only short-lived because immediately, unexpectedly, the winds would kick back up and the rain would fall and once again the storm would pound against our home.
I imagine that is what the Spirit was like when God came through that day. Luke says it was like a mighty hurricane force wind blowing through the town and it fell upon the people as tongues divided among them. Look at the text. “Tongues divided among the disciples.”
Now, two interesting insights in this text. The first thing I want you to see is this – the Spirit came suddenly. Do you see that? Unexpectedly. They didn’t know when He was going to come or how He was going to come, but He came suddenly.
And the second thing I want you to see in the text is, the Spirit descended when they were sitting. Do you see it? They weren’t running around. They weren’t hooting and hollering. They weren’t yelling. In fact, they weren’t even crying out for the Lord. They were actually sitting. And this idea of sitting gives us this mindset of passivity. They were waiting upon the Lord.
Friends, Jesus works in our working. Do you believe that? But He also works in our abiding, right? In our waiting and in our depending upon Him.
And divided tongues, Verse 3 “as of fire rested upon them, each one of them.” That word “fire” is a motif used through all the scripture. It is a picture of purification. It is another idea to talk about purging or illumination. And so, fire came upon them as divided tongues. Now we don’t know what this looks like, but we do know fire is symbolic of the presence of God. And so, in the Old Testament, God spoke to Moses in a bush set ablaze with a fire, right? Then God led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land by what? Audience participation part, by the way. He led the children of Israel out of bondage to the Promised Land with what? A torch of fire, right? It was God’s presence. He was with them.
When Elijah called down God to come upon those false prophets to display Himself on Mt. Carmel, how did God come? With fire, right? And even Elijah, when he went up to heaven to be with the Lord, he goes up, not just in an ordinary chariot. He goes up in what? A flaming chariot, right? And so the power of God is displayed in the fire of God. It is the presence of God.
I imagine that the disciples looked like human sparklers set ablaze on New Years, consumed with the power of God. They were like 120 little lamps that just got turned on for the power of God.
What could happen in this church if God would turn us on, consumed with Him? What would happen in your life if God consumed you?
So I want to show you what happens. They are filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit is manifested in their life. And notice, the next thing that happens. The message, write it down, is proclaimed. So the Spirit is manifested, the message is proclaimed.
I want to divide this up into sections. The first one is this: We see Spirit-empowered preaching. Now when I use the word “preaching” I don’t just mean standing behind a pulpit on a platform. I mean preaching or speaking the Word of God. We are all called to proclaim the Word of God, Amen? All of us are called to do that.
Look at Verse 4. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Now, come in real close. Here is the million dollar question. What happens when a person is filled with the Holy Ghost? What is the natural response when someone is filled with the Spirit of God? Is it to run around? Is it to yell out and scream? Is it to fall out? Is it to speak with other tongues? That is the question we are going to answer.
Now some of you in here were raised in a different religion where it may be a more charismatic religion, where you believe maybe something a little different than maybe Southern Baptists believe. I want you to look at what the text says to inform your decision, okay? But maybe on the opposite extreme, you come from a sensationist background that suggests that God doesn’t do miracles anymore and there are no healings and He doesn’t work in the world today. And I am going to ask you to swing the pendulum back to widen your perspective about what God does. Regardless, I want the text to inform us. Okay?
Now in order to understand what it means to be filled with the Spirit of God, we have to investigate the word “filled.” That word in the language of the New Testament “filled” is the Greek word “pimplemi.” It means nothing to you, but watch this, in classical Greek it is this idea of being consumed. It is the idea of something taking possession of you or to be controlled by.
In the Gospel of Luke and in the book of Acts, which is actually we learned last week, one book divided into two. Did you know that? It is just one long book, written by the same guy, divided into two different books. In those two books, we find that Greek word “pimplemi” filled, eight times. Every time…don’t miss this…every time we see that word connected with the word “Holy Spirit,” it is always followed by a bold proclamation of the gospel, always. And I want to show you those eight instances for you to see for yourselves.
So if you have your Bible, turn with me to Luke Chapter 1 and I want to just take you on a journey through all the places that we see people filled with the Spirit of God. Luke Chapter 1, when you get to Verse 13, say “word.” Say it like you mean it. That lets me know you are awake in the back row as well. But seriously, right?
Verse 13. “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, (there it is) even from his mother’s womb.” Watch this. “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” That word “turn” is another word for preach. How do you turn people back to God, you speak about something. “He will turn them back to God, and He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
So that is the first one. Drop down to Verse 39, Number 2. “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud voice, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” So you see the connection here. She is filled with the Spirit. She speaks boldly the words of God.
Look at Verse 67 of Chapter 1. “and his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Underline it. “And prophesied, saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people ad has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.”
Go over to Acts, Acts Chapter 2, our text today. Number 4. “And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Now, we are going to define what it means to speak in other tongues in just a moment, so you have to just hang on for just a second. But lets go to Chapter 4 Verse 7, Number 5. Acts 4:7. “And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by Him this man is standing before you well.”
Now what takes a man who wasn’t even bold enough to speak before a servant girl just moments earlier to be able to stand confrontationally against the religious leaders just moments later. It is a filling of the Holy Ghost. Do you see it? Peter now is boldly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Drop down to Chapter 4:31, Number 6. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and fell out cold. Is that what it says? No, look at what it says. It says, “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Listen to me, we have brothers and sisters that would disagree on my or your understanding of what it means to be filled with the Spirit of God. And listen, I am not against a person falling out in the presence and power of God. The question I would ask the person after they fall out is, what are you going to do now that you are standing up again? I don’t care if you fall out. That is between you and God. But the question is, are we going to obey God when we stand back up, right? And so they are filled and then they preach or speak.
Go to Chapter 9 Verse 17. Paul’s conversion. Watch this. “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.”
Look at Verse 20, “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” God takes a terrorist and turns him into a preacher or a prophet.
Let me give you the final one. Go to Chapter 13. Chapter 13 Verse 8. When you are there, say “word.” “But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil,” Paul, tell us what you really think about this man! “You enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”
Don’t miss this. Let me summarize. Whenever we see a filling from God, watch this, there is always followed by a speaking for God. Do you see it? Write that down. Whenever you see a filling from God, the people of God always speak for God. In essence, when the Spirit of God takes possession of a person’s life, they become a mouthpiece for the Spirit, right? They begin to speak for Him.
But Pastor Robby, what about Acts Chapter 2 Verses 3 and 4? That is the sticking point because it says in the text, “They spoke with other tongues.” And I have to admit to you, many religions have been founded upon the interpretation of that one word “tongues.” And I want to spend just a little time explaining it. Because the question is, what happens when a person is filled with the Spirit? Do they speak in tongues that we don’t understand? And in order to understand that, we have to take it…understand it biblically and we have to take it contextually. So biblically that word “glossa” tongue, write it down, classical Greek uses it to describe a spoken language, a way of speech, a language of some sort. And so biblically, speaking in tongues happens like this: the person speaking, in this case Peter, lets say, I think would speak in Aramic…Aramaic…Aramic, that is another language you don’t know about. Aramaic. He is speaking Aramaic and then God, through the air, will supernaturally translate that before it hit’s the hearer’s eardrum and they hear it in their language. So there were Italians there, they heard it. Jewish Italian. There were people who spoke Arabic, they heard it in their own language. And in order to understand that, we just have to look at the text.
Look at Verse 6. The text tells us. “And at this sound the multitude came together, ad they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak (here it is) in his own language.” How is it that we hear it in our own language? Look at Verse 7, “and they were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?”
Look at Verse 11. “Both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.’ And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’”
Friends, some people have said in order to be spiritual you have to speak in tongues or you have to be filled with the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. And unfortunately, that is not a biblical argument. Because in the Bible, as we just saw eight times, when a person is filled with the Spirit of God, they speak in such a way where the hearer will hear in their own language.
Now let me prove it to you from the Old Testament. Do you remember the Tower of Babel? Do you remember that account? The world at that time, all spoke the same language. And they decided to disobey God and build a tower to be like God, right? And so they build this tower, they get to the top. God comes down and for their disobedience, God judges them by sending a curse, right? He curses them. They go up speaking one language. He curses them. He disperses them to the world. They can’t understand one another, right? That is a curse.
Why would the community of faith, born-again believers, gather together in a church, all speaking the same language and then allow someone to speak some language that no one understands. That is not a blessing. That in a sense is a curse, right? Language communication is meant for edification or encouragement or unity, right?
Now let me just say for the record, good, born-again friends of mine would say, Pastor Robby, we disagree completely with you. Whole religions, denominations would disagree completely with that understanding, or with our understanding, if you agree with me on this. Born-again believers who love the Lord. Good friends of mine, would say that we don’t agree with that.
They may not agree with that, but we all have to agree that the true mark of Christian is not whether someone speaks in tongues, it is whether someone can control their tongue, right? And if you have been a Christian for a long period of time, you know that is a difficult thing to do, right?
Listen to what James says about our tongue. Watch. James Chapter 3 Verse 6, “The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse the people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
You see, the hallmark of a true Christian filled with the Spirit of God is a person who prays to God, is a person who praises the Lord and a person who preaches the Word. That is the hallmark of a true Christian.
And so we see that the disciples now have this Spirit-empowered preaching going on. God is filling them and they are preaching the Word of God. But I want to dissect Peter’s sermon for a moment. And I want you to write down, Gospel-centered Preaching. Not only Spirit-empowered preaching, but Gospel-centered preaching.
Go back to Acts Chapter 2. Now I did some research just to make sure it was still the case. But the number one fear in the world among humans is the fear of what? Public speaking, right? Yeah. You are right. And what I found is, it is actually more fearful than dying. And so, for some of you, speaking publicly is like dying, I guess, at times. And maybe that is you. But you would agree with me, when a couple of elements are introduced, the fear grows exponentially, right? So, for example, if you are preaching or speaking a confrontational message, fear increases, right? If you are speaking to an audience that is hostile, fear increases, right? Or if you are speaking to a larger audience, the fear increases.
Do you know, for the Apostle Peter, all three of those elements were there when Peter takes the stage and preaches the gospel. In addition to that, Peter has no time to prepare and he has no notes. Now here is a man who couldn’t even speak to a servant girl around a charcoal fire about his allegiance to Jesus. And now he is about to stand up and preach before the people of God.
I cannot stress to you the transformation that has taken place in Peter’s life before and after Pentecost. Can you imagine this? Before Pentecost, Peter was a failure, right? He was unsure of himself. He cowered down in the face of men and he feared failure himself. But after Pentecost, he was fearless. He was a faithful preacher of the Word of God. He spoke to the men who just moments earlier crucified his Master.
Now you have to understand, folks, don’t miss this…the temperature is still boiling there. The religious leaders have no problem sending another radical to the same faith as His master. They have no problem with that. And yet Peter stands up and preaches the Word of God.
Now here is the question we are going to close with. What happens when the Spirit of God collides with the Word of God to the people of God? The church is multiplied! Write it down. The church is multiplied.
Let me tell you three elements of Peter’s sermon that is worth nothing. Peter’s sermon was simple. Now I don’t have time to get into Peter’s sermon, but I want to share this with you. His sermon was very simple. One of the greatest compliments you can give me at the end of the message is not, Pastor, we heard what you just said and you just blew us away. We have no clue how you got there. That is the worst thing you can tell me. I do not want that. We don’t know how you got there, but boy, we enjoyed it, right? Well, what did you like about it? Some people say, I liked the sermon. What did you like about it? I don’t know. Anyway, another sermon for another day.
But this is what people say, when people come up to me and say that was the simplest, clearest message I have ever heard. That is an encouragement, right. That is the goal we are shooting for.
Peter’s message is clear. Secondly, Peter’s message is gospel-centered. He simply just quotes the Word of God. Now Peter wouldn’t be let behind many pulpits in America because that is all he does is preach the Word of God. He is just quoting scripture.
I remember a conversation I had with David Platt many years ago when I was trying to find the balance between reading the Word and quoting the Word and introducing illustrations in the message. And I said, David, what is the balance between illustrations and preaching the Word of God? David said, “I don’t know much about illustrations, but I do know when I get to heaven, Jesus Christ is not going to say to me, Robby, I loved your messages, but you used way too much of My Word in them. He is probably not going to say that, right? He may say that about illustrations. Peter’s message was gospel-centered.
And then finally, his message was responsive. He called people to respond. Look at what he says there in Verse 17. He says, Everyone…I am sorry, Verse 21, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now here is his message. Jesus Christ is the Messiah who was foretold many years ago by the prophets. He came to people who rejected Him. He died for the sins of men He didn’t commit. He was convicted of crimes He didn’t do. He died on the cross. He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven, just as God has foretold in the past, and He offers the free gift of salvation to everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord.
Do you know what that means? Any person at any time, any place in their life, can call upon the name of the Lord today and be saved. Can you amen to that? He can change you today. And friends, don’t miss this. If you have not done that yet and you don’t know that you know that you have assurance of your salvation, I pray you would do that right now. Cry out to the Lord in repentance and faith and ask Him to save you.
So what happens when the gospel message is preached? Watch this. The church is multiplied. Look at Verse 37. “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, (underline it, circle it) and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Look at Verse 41, “So those who received his word were b baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Now underline that. Three thousand souls.
That phrase cut to the heart literally means that the Spirit of God penetrated their souls. It is another way to say conviction set in.
Charles Spurgeon said this about conviction. “It is an idle attempt to heal those who are not wounded, to attempt to clothe those who have never been striped. And to make those rich who have never realized their poverty.” Write this down. Here is what he is saying, conviction must preceded salvation. Do you see it? In order…and we can all amen to that, right? There was a time in our life when the conviction of our sin drove us to salvation. And I believe that is one of the missing elements of many evangelistic presentations. We don’t allow God to convict sinners anymore, right? Friends, you have to realize, if you continue to be someone’s savior, Jesus never will. You see, people have to know that they are desperately in need of a Savior because they have mortally sinned. And Jesus is that Savior for them.
So I want you to imagine what happened. Three thousand people get saved! Radically saved! Feel the weight of this. Three thousand infants are immediately born into the world or reborn if you will. The church is birthed. And with infants, you have challenges right? You have three thousand potential accidents that could happen. Now you have three thousand souls to care for. You have three thousand mouths to fed spiritually. And so the question is, what did the disciples do with these three thousand who just professed faith in Jesus Christ? Did they take their names and email addresses and send them to the convention to chart the number of the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem. Did they do that? Probably not. Did they try to get them in Sunday School classes, as good as Sunday School classes are? Probably not. Did they assign all the men to the Men’s Study, Wild at Heart and the women to do a Beth Moore…sorry, nothing wrong with those things, right? But did they do that? Probably not.
I believe the disciples looked around and were overwhelmed and said to one another, how in the world can we be intentional about making disciple makers who then in turn make disciple makers? And aren’t you glad they did that? Why? Because we are the beneficiaries of that today.
But here is the question, why three thousand? Why not fifteen hundred? Why not fifty-five hundred? Why three thousand? In order to feel the weight of this, we have to go back to the Exodus. God went to Moses. He said, I want you to take My people out of bondage into the Promised Land. And so Moses tells the people to put blood over the doorposts of their house so that on the Passover, the Angel of the Lord can pass over them and spare their first-born son.
In the Old Testament, all of the Festivals with Passover continuing on, all seven of them, Jesus Christ fulfilled completely in the New Testament. Di you know that? All the Old Testament festivals, feasts, Jesus fulfilled. Let me give you four of them.
Jesus died on the Passover. Jesus was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus was raised from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits. And Jesus came down in the form of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. So you have four of the seven fulfilled in just 50 days.
Now when Moses took the Israelites, follow me here, out of bondage and led them to the Promised Land, historians believe, scholars believe they wandered for 50 days in the wilderness. Then after those 50 days, God summoned Moses to the Mountain of Sinai to meet with him so that God could give him His law or His Word. And so Moses ascends that mountain. He spends time with God. And scholars believe today , the sages of Israel, believe that when Moses went up to that Mountain of Sinai, it was the first Pentecost. That is what scholars believe, Jewish scholars. So he goes up…they leave on Passover, 50 days have happened. He goes up on Pentecost. God comes down, the Spirit falls.
Now watch this. Many years later, the disciples hang with Jesus for 40 days according to Acts 1:3. Then Jesus leaves and says, “Wait for the Spirit of God to descend.” They don’t know when, but it happens, not surprisingly on Pentecost…50 days from the day of Passover. So the disciples rise up and climb the Mountain of Jerusalem and on that mountain, the Spirit of God descends and Peter, as the mouthpiece of God, speaks the Word of God. So notice the parallel. Moses and the disciples go up to the mountain. God Himself falls and the Word of God is given.
Now, when Moses goes down the mountain, he is faced with a fiasco, right? It is a members meeting gone bad. How in the world did this pop out of the fire? And so Moses sees this golden calf standing before them and they are worshiping this calf. Idolatry is happening among the people. These are the same people that God just rescued and now they are in idolatry.
And so Moses says to Aaron, how in the world did this happen? And Aaron says, we don’t know. We threw golden trinkets into the fire and out popped the calf! Friends, I have been at a lot of bonfires. I have never seen golden trinkets produce a porcelain, golden figurine. I have never seen that. Or a golden figurine. I have never seen that before. It may happen, but I doubt it. And so God was angry with the people.
Notice what it says in Exodus…watch this…Exodus Chapter 32 Verse 27. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, “Every man fasten his sword to his side, go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance and each of you kill his brother, his friend and his neighbor. And the sons of Levi did according to he word of Moses. And that day about three thousands men of the people fell.”
Is it any coincidence that when Peter comes down from the mountain of preaching the Word of God that God radically saves not fifteen hundred or fifty-five hundred, He saves three thousand people exactly. As Moses an Peter and the disciples went up to the mountain, they both came down with two totally different outcomes. Do you know what the disciple would have seen after they did the head count on three thousand? I believe they would have said, God is rewriting history! Do you see what he is saying? God is redeeming mankind from their transgression. Sin has marred humanity for years, but now God is redeeming His people. And don’t miss this. They would have had a front row seat to the manifest presence of God. And I want to submit to you, I believe this is what carried these men to fearlessly proclaim the word of God. They would have seen God making all the wrong right.
Friends, this is what happens when the Word of God and the Spirit of God collide together through the people of God to preach the Word of God. We don’t have anything to fear, amen? We can be fearless for the Lord.
So let me give you two walking points as we leave. You are probably saying, how do we apply this text? Pastor, what do we do, how do we put this into action this week? And I want you to write these down because I think these would be helpful for you to incorporate over the next 24 to 48 hours of your life.
Here is the first one: Ask for a filling of the Holy Spirit every single day. Paul says, “do not be drunk with wine,” Ephesians 5, “but be filled with the Spirit of God.”
Now, when Paul says, “Be filled with the Spirit of God,” and I say, ask for a filling, I don’t mean to ask because you don’t have already. When you are asking for a filling of the Spirit of God, you are asking God to manifest Himself in your life and for some of us, it means we have to die to self, pick up our cross and deny ourselves for that to happen, right? We have to yield to God’s Spirit and die to self.
So let me ask you a personal question. Look at me if you are a believer in here for just a moment. Just think about this. Have you been filled with the Spirit of God? I don’t care if you are deacon in here. I don’t care if you are leader in our church. I don’t care if you teach Sunday School. I don’t care if you have been a long time believer or a new believer in Christ. Have you experienced a manifest presence of the power of God in your life? Have you? I am talking about conspicuously and continuously and consistently filled with the power and the presence of God because if you haven’t, listen to me, you are missing out on a blessing. You are missing out on a blessing.
Dr. Adrian Rogers, Pastor of Bellevue Baptist said this about being filled with the Spirit. He said, “One of the greatest things I have ever learned in my life is this, that holiness is not the way to Christ but that Christ is the way to holiness. Oh, if you could only understand this, it doesn’t mean that you can come wanting to be filled with the Spirit with your hands full of sin. No, Peter said repent. But don’t think you can earn anything from God. This is a gift like your salvation. Do you understand that? Quit trying to make yourself worthy. You are not worthy. You are not worthy of salvation. You are not worthy of anything. What do you have that you haven’t received? That is what the Apostle Paul says. The Holy Spirit of God is a promise to be received. Then He has the power to be released.
Why are so we so pathetic? Why are there so many in this building and we are doing so little? I will tell you why. You have not allowed the Holy Spirit of God to do what He wants to do in your hearts and in your lives.
“You shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses.” On the day of Pentecost, three thousand people got saved. One hundred and twenty witnesses, three thousand saved in one day. Today in modern church, three thousand people can’t win one hundred and twenty in a year!
What is the difference? Well, the difference is we are trying to do it in our own strength rather than depending upon the Holy Spirit of God.
Friends, I have been in many services where people have said from different religions and denominations, I have heard people sing next to me, God, we want more of You. God, we need more of You. God, we want more of You. God, we need more of You. And I want so desperately to just reach over and tap them on the shoulder and say, hey listen, brother, you don’t need more of God. God needs more of you.
So as we yield to the Lord, lets ask this week, God, fill us with Your Spirit. Amen.
Here is the second one. I want you this week to take a stand for your faith. I want you to take a risk for the faith you have in Jesus Christ. Now sometimes faith is riskier in America in your hometown as it is overseas in a foreign land. Why? Because you don’t live there and you are only there from seven to ten days and no one knows you there, right? So it is easier to live on mission there than it is to live in your home or your workplace or your environment because everybody knows you here. But the gospel started with the hometown folks, right? So everyone who got saved in the three thousand in the book of Acts, they were all Jewish. The mission begins in Jerusalem. Let us never go over to the mission field land neglect our neighbors, right? We need to be passionate here and passionate there.
And so let me ask you, begin thinking about this this week. What are some ways that we can take risks for our faith? Maybe it is to go up to someone in the dorm room who is brand new to the school and share your testimony or invite them to church. Someone you don’t know. Is it going to require you to step out of your comfort zone? Absolutely. Maybe you are going to invite people you normally wouldn’t go to lunch with or have over to your house for dinner, but you are going to invite them to your house to befriend them. Maybe for some of you, you are saying, I need to go to lunch with somebody who hates me or somebody I am angry with and show the love of Christ to them. Maybe that is a risk for you. Maybe for some parents in here, a risk for you would be letting your children go to a difficult place on the mission field. Maybe it may be that you need to go to a difficult place on the mission field, right?
Do you want to do something radical for your family? Why don’t you take your kids today after church to Alton Park or Emma Wheeler to play. I know what you are saying, Robby, that is risky to do that. That is a dangerous place to do that. Let me remind you of something. Dr. Rogers said, “the man or woman of God in the will of God, speaking the Word of God, is immortal till his of her work is done.” Do you believe that? Friends, there is an assigned day that God has set before the foundation of the world for you to meet Him. And there is no person, no power, no principality that could change that. What do we have to fear?
I don’t know about you, but I really want to see revival. I have read about revivals for so long. I have written papers about revival. I have studied about revival. I have talked about revival. We are experiencing what revival was like in the book of Acts and I don’t’ know about you, church, does anybody in here want to see the manifest presence of God poured out upon His people? Does anybody want to see that? I don’t think you heard what I said. Does anybody want to see the manifest presence of God poured out on His people? Does anybody want to see that?
Would you join me. Lets begin to pray that God would revive our church, that God would revive our community, that God would revive our city, that God would revive our country, that He would revive our nation. But don’t forget, revival has to start with you. Don’t forget to pray for God to revive you.
Now maybe you are in here today and you are saying, Pastor Robby, I have never experienced revival because I don’t know Jesus and so I am far from God. Do you want to know how to experience the greatest personal revival anyone has ever seen in their life, particularly you, is to repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ and you will have personal revival. Can anybody attest to that? If you haven’t done that, I pray you will do that even now. Repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ
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