The Acts of the Holy Spirit 3
Hi! Glad to see all of you this morning!
A few of things before I begin.
We are church that believes in healing. If you wish to have prayer, we pray for you after the service. We want Jesus to encounter you how ever you need Him.
There may be questions or comments about the message, and we don’t want to leave you hanging, so please speak to Pastor Milt or I after we are done ministering to the people. We want to answer questions, and we accept comments, but ministry comes before that.
We do have a prayer room that meets currently just on Sunday Nights. Your welcome to come in and soak, pray along with us, as we minister to the Lord and intercede. Sunday Nights at 6pm.
Today I am going to continue in the Book of Acts spotlighting the Holy Spirit.
Last week we listened to Pastor Milt speak out of 1 Corinthians 2; what stood out to me was the words of the Apostle Paul beginning with chapter 2 verse 1:
“When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2) For I didn't think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3) I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4) My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, 5) so that your faith might not be based on men's wisdom but on God's power.”
From the lips and life of the Apostle Paul we can see that he was just modeling himself off of the life of Jesus. The Apostle Paul like Jesus did not spend time arguing points with men. Nor do we read like Jesus, the Apostle Paul speaking out with some deep eternal wisdom to show how smart He was on the things of God. No, like Jesus, he demonstrated the power of God, and He spoke the truth. It was up to men to agree or disagree with what they saw or heard. We all have choice.
What I would like to point out is the demonstration of the power, more than the word, even though the Word of God is important. We are aware when we read about the demonstration of the power of God, and the Word being preached are both Spirit driven.
Those filled with the Spirit are lead by the Spirit, and accomplish what the Spirit leads them to do. The examples, Peter and John, then Stephen, and Philip and so on as we read in the Book of Acts.
When looking back at Luke’s 2nd Letter about the church moving in the power of the Holy Spirit, it was evident that many times, the Word was preached after a demonstration of power. When the Holy Spirit fell in Acts chapter 2, people ran to the noise that opened up the door for the Word to be preached. People received the truth and believed in Christ as their Savior because the demonstration opened the door. In Acts chapter 3 with the encounter of the lame man, there was a demonstration of power, and it states that the people ran to see in amazement, and again it opened the door for the Gospel to be preached and people again came to Christ.
These examples have not changed and are still available to those who believe. And we may think, we don’t see it much, but it is not that the Spirit has changed, or Jesus or whatever we may think, I believe the issue today is that we’ve changed. The early church got it right.
They walked by faith, not by sight. They did what Jesus told them to do and spoke the power of His name into situations that could only be changed by the supernatural power of God. They believed without fear of the unknown. The unknown became known because of faith.
Believers saw the Apostles speaking out in the power of the Name and they participated in the same miraculous signs and wonders that opened the door up for Jesus to be presented to the people.
They believed in Jesus, that He was the same yesterday, today, and forever. So we see from the beginning couple chapters in the Book of Acts, the power of Jesus name, and a group of people who are willing to bring that name into situations lead by the Holy Spirit, and read of people coming to Christ by the numbers.
Lets look at Acts Chapter 4. We get to witness the old guard. They always seem to be there. It doesn’t surprise me that religious people were offended by a healing. Jesus offended the rulers of Israel not only by setting the captive free repeatedly through His glorious nature, but also by offering true freedom through salvation. You would think they would embrace it.
But again you have the same religious crowd wanting to persecute those who were setting people free from the bondage of this world.
They were people who live with a religious spirit. Who because of that spirit, are separated from the Acts of the Holy Spirit. They cannot see the truth of it. They are fleshly people.
They see through the eyes of flesh and can only discern in the flesh. They think with human logic, when what happened with the lame man I spoke of a couple weeks ago had no human logic to it.
It was a supernatural move of God. So they couldn’t discern it. Knowledge to them was more important than the Spirit, because they had no understanding of the Spirit. Since they have no real relationship with the God of heaven, they have no true revelation of the truth. So with no revelation, they went after anyone who didn’t think, or live by their standards, which was to live their lives by a basis of laws that they created.
When the hierarchy of Israel grabbed Peter and John, they asked them by whose power they had healed the lame man. They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” But it did not matter to that crowd. So what we had there was Peter and John being confronted by human tradition just like Jesus did. That human tradition is alive and well today unfortunately.
Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:8?
“Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.”
The Sanhedrin, the leaders of Israel did not know God, and because of that, they could not see His Christ even when He was in front of them doing miracles. Peter and John showed what revelation and faith could do. They operated in the fullness of Christ when they encountered the lame man and spoke the Name of Jesus, so the man was healed.
Paul continues in Colossians 2:
“For the entire fullness of God's nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
It was quite evident in Peter and John and every other Believer of that age who believed it, and that hasn’t changed, it is evident in us today if we believe.
So continuing in Acts 4, the Sanhedrin tried to silence the men, but to no avail.
Today there are those who will try to silence the truth even when acts of mercy are present right in front of them. Things haven’t changed right? Today’s religious crowd just like the rulers of Israel have set up standards they created, and even though the truth is in front of them, they would rather reject it.
They would rather be self-deceived and keep others deceived, and from my reading of the word, they are considered false teachers. It is a sad story today, just as it was back in the days of Peter and John, but looking back on the blind rulers of Israel, they were left standing in their rage and deceit, because out of Peter’s profession and a lame man walking, more people came to Christ because they understood and believed.
As we read, Peter and John as well as the early believers had it in their minds to be obedient to Christ other then men, and so should we. What power do men have over us any way? None.
I say this because I feel some believers spend too much time arguing their position, then spending time in the Presence, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them to use The Name. Jesus! Because healing and setting people free speaks volumes against any position.
In Acts 4 after the religious crowd admonished the early church for preaching Jesus, what does the church do? They pray! They ask God for boldness. We should be no different. In Acts 4:29-32 this fledgling assembly cries to the Lord and says,
“So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!”
At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness. All the believers were one in mind and heart.”
We ask in humble faith, and God delivers. If we ask for an outpouring of power to accomplish His will, He is going to fulfill it. He did not just pour himself out during a certain. He will pour Himself out on us all the way until Jesus comes back. He does not change, nor will He withhold Himself from those who want Him.
Prayer, crying out to God in humility and in the wonder of God, moves Him to act on our behalf. And I was thinking about it. We only have to look back a hundred or more years and see that. We’ve have talked about the Welsh Revival in the past, but a few years before that, the current rain of the Holy Spirit we are experiencing today was started through prayer and crying out to God.
I was reading about Charles F. Parham who prayed to see a move of God. To see Him pour out His Spirit on His people again. Parham was a sickly man who was healed by the power of God in 1891. It is said he was on fire to know the truth of divine healing, and it brought him to Zion, IL of all places to meet with Doctor Alexander Dowie the head of the healing church and community there.
The meeting with Dowie and what he experienced caused him to move to Topeka, KS and open Bethel a healing faith home. He continued to travel and visit many holiness centers throughout the US. At one point he visited DL Moody in Chicago, because much of the holiness movement was focused on the end times outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Parham in his travels heard that there were small outbreaks of tongues, which was the evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Parham wanted an outpouring, primarily because he knew that the power of the Holy Spirit would embolden the believer to preach the gospel, and Parham thought that was what was needed for the missionary movement. In 1900, at another school he founded, 40 students, instructors and their spouses went into 24 hour a day prayer to see a move of the Holy Spirit, and they experienced it, with evidence of speaking in tongues.
William Seymour a holiness evangelist, who heard Parham’s teachings, took it to Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906 and revival broke out and nothing has been the same since, because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
God honors our prayers when seek him with everything we have. Those students in Topeka, KS in 1900 went after God, and He showed up. The people at Azusa Street the same. He does the same today, but it takes men and women of prayer to seek Him, diligently.
When we read about Peter and John in the beginning of Acts, continuing their relationship with Jesus even after He went to be at the right hand of the Father.
They not only experienced the love of the Father in the relationship through prayer, but also through that relationship expressed the love to people. They honored God through Christ and He honored them by giving them a fruitful life.
The Jesus experience the two had back 2000 years ago is available to us today in the same manner they approached it and received it. Through humble obedience, the knowledge of the Word of God, and relationship with Jesus.
Let’s continue in Acts 5 starting with verse 12.
“The apostles performed many signs, wonders, and miracles among the people. And the believers were wonderfully united as they met regularly in the temple courts in the area known as Solomon’s Porch. No one dared harm them,
((no one dared join them) no one would participate in extreme conduct against them)
for everyone held them in high regard.
Continually more and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number—great crowds of both men and women. In fact, when people knew Peter was going to walk by, they carried the sick out to the streets and laid them down on cots and mats, knowing the incredible power emanating from him would overshadow them and heal them. Great numbers of people swarmed into Jerusalem from the nearby villages. They brought with them the sick and those troubled by demons—and everyone was healed!”
Everyone was healed. All. This was God moving among His people. This is what He wanted those who professed His Name and lived for His Son to participate with Him in. This has burned in my heart since I was a child. I’ve gotten in arguments over it when I was young, because I believe it. Today, it like, no more arguments Lord, just show them. Show the people your love. Heal them all again.
People were healed and set free and accepted Christ as their Savior. Then the people were united together in the Spirit, a bond stronger then the flesh.
They were together in unity. The people were bold in the Holy Spirit. Even when the Apostles were beaten for Christ they still rejoiced. Would you rejoice after you were beat? I thought of myself when reading and typing this. Would I rejoice like they did to be counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name. Jesus?
The church in that day was not a church of comfort by any means. It was truly an assembly of Jesus Christ. His Ekklasia, and nothing else mattered to them but Him and He being glorified. Everything they did was to give Him glory, and they benefitted from that life even in persecution.
Today we read of persecution, in Africa you read of the slaughter of Christians. In the Middle East, the slaughter continues. Children are asked to renounce Christ and they do not, and they are tortured and killed. Why would they endure it?
They endure it because when you know the Christ, how can you say no to Him? Do we know Him that well that we would endure death for Him, or like Peter and John and others in that day be flogged for the testimony of Jesus Christ?
To live that life, we need revelation. We need to come into the full revelation of Jesus Christ so nothing will hold us back from living a life the Apostles and early believers lived or those who are even dying today. But that will take us to lay our lives down completely which today seems so hard for us to do. You have to give up to receive, but when you receive you find out that you have received more than what you could ever imagine in Christ Jesus. Amen!
In the beginning of the Book of Acts it was the Apostles doing all the miraculous. But you read of Stephen, Philip, and Paul and see that the gifts of the Spirit were for all people.
And I want us to get this, the church needs to get that Jesus called us all out. Everyone. We all have, if we seek, and have faith, the ability to bring Jesus into every situation, and see Him do His thing whatever He always want to do and bring healing to the people and the nations to reconcile the orphans back to the Father.
I question why is it so hard for us to grasp that? Human tradition? Fear? Is it too crazy for us that Philip in Chapter 8 had an Angel speak to him to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch? Is it too much for us that the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away and dropped him in a place called Azotus so he could preach the Gospel.
Looking back to chapter 5 do we believe where it says that everyone prayed for was healed?
We can even go to chapter 9, and the conversion of Saul. He is walking down the road with his friends and a light from heaven shines around him; he falls to the ground and hears a voice out of heaven, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” and Paul goes blind.
The guys with him hear the voice but don’t see anyone. Like whoa! They were speechless, the word says.
Do we get we serve a supernatural God. Well we call Him supernatural because we don’t have complete understanding of who He is, and don’t live in His life like we should, but our Father in Heaven through His Son Jesus has put on us if we believe, a life that is not distinguishable by any earthly standard or thought or anyway else we may think because it goes totally out of bounds of science because God is God and nothing is impossible for Him to do in us or through us. Did I say that right?
Jesus walked on water, so did Peter. Jesus didn’t use a door but entered a room. Philip did not have one of those contraptions like they have in Star Trek to be moved from one place to another in seconds; he had “the Spirit of the Lord” and there he went.
Do you get where I am going here?
Jesus said, John 14:12 “ I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
He will do greater works than these. Do we believe that? Or where are we with this?
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth, and to assist us in remembering what He said. Are we engaged with the Holy Spirit? Do we activate Him in our lives? If we do, what do we do with Him? Do we listen? Do we argue with Him? Do we allow our fears to turn Him off?
Or are we a people who are empowered by Him to alter the physical world we live in to see Jesus as Jesus should be seen as the Son of God? Do we believe?
A hurting world is praying and hoping we believe.