Summary: We are finding ourselves being more like the apostles when Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father; staring up in the sky CATCHING FLIES RATHER THAN MEN!
Intro: Today Lord willing I want address an issue that is becoming a popular trend among Christians not to do and that is WITNESSING. We are finding ourselves being more like the apostles when Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father; staring up in the sky CATCHING FLIES RATHER THAN MEN!
I. Before they were to go out and spread the Gospel, they needed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
A. In verse 4 & 5 of the first chapter of Acts Jesus instructs them not to leave Jerusalem without first receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 24:47-49 Jesus says,” (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And ye are witnesses of these things. (49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
1. In the Gospel of Mark 16:15-18 the empowerment is describe as the ability to cast out devils, speaking with new tongues, to be able to take up serpents; now I want to pause here for one moment because this statement alone has caused a lot of controversy as to its meaning. Many have taken it as a literal meaning that one can pick up a snake, and its bite will in no means harm you, but I beg to differ upon studying I have found through studying the Greek that to take up serpents applies to having dominion over Satan and evil. Or in other words when temptation to sin is brought before you; you have the ability to cast it away or to resist evil. As paralleled to Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Now continuing on with the empowerment of the Spirit we are given the power that if we drink any deadly thing it will not harm us, and finally from the text we have the ability to lay hands on the sick and they recover.
2. Now this same empowerment we are given the gifts of the Spirit as found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, and they are the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
3. Now again before I go on, I want to mention briefly the importance of the empowering or baptism in the Holy Spirit. We as the Church of God place a great deal of emphasizes on speaking in tongues, but it’s more than tongues. It is a closer walk with God it is a boast in our prayer life Romans 8:26 ¶ Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
4. Now Jesus backs up these abilities that the Spirit empowers us with His words in John 14:12 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. This alone tells me that the gifts of the Spirit are to be in operation in the Church and in us as believers through the unction of the Holy Spirit and LOVE.
II. But with this empowerment we seem to be doing NOTHING with it.
A. As we in the Church watch prophecy fulfill left and right. We seem to be ignorant of the task at hand; God is fulfilling the prophecy of Joel His spirit is being poured out. Yet we indulge ourselves in it, but like greedy children we share it with no one.
1. In Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
2. All through scripture we are told to share the Gospel with others. In Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled. Once again we compel not!
3. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus calls Peter and Andrew out to be fishers of men. Likewise He has called you out to be. We are not to be pew warmers!
B. On the Day of Judgment, we will give an account of our labors whether we were slothful or assiduous.
1. Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. This message that you have was given unto you that you may have life more abundantly, and this same message was also entrusted in your care that it may be shared that others may have that same life more abundantly.