Summary: There is amazing power that Christians possess through the Holy Spirit, so let’s tap into it.
Acts 6:8-15, 7:54-60
By: Reverend Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church
Have you ever been persecuted or harrassed by others for doing what is right?
Have you ever gotten yourself in trouble for doing what is wrong?
Well, there is a big difference!
For if we get ourselves in trouble for doing what is right we can have peace with God....and it can also
takes a lot of guts!
If someone gets on your case when you give them one of our ‘invitation cards’ or door-hangers, don’t be
alarmed....don’t let it stop you because you are doing God’s will and Jesus is watching you approvingly.
As Jesus Himself tells us: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of
evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”
John Wesley, the founder of The Methodist Church got in all kinds of trouble for doing what is right!
He got kicked out of the Anglican Church for preaching the Gospel...of all things!
But did that stop him?
No. Thanks be to God it did not!
John Wesley was a man full of God’s grace and power....and because of this....Millions were converted to
the Christian faith....and continue to be.
In our Scripture lesson for this morning, we are introduced to another person who was “full of God’s
grace and power.”.....
The first Christian Martyer.
He was actually killed for doing what was right.
And “while they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, recieve my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees
and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
Wow, now that is powerful!!!
Stephen was surely full of God’s power.
The power to forgive those who are mistreating us, and in Stephen’s case killing us....is the most powerful
thing in the world!
And this power comes only from God.
And we all have access to this power...all of us who are Christians.
Because the believer’s power has nothing to do with wealth or fame.
It has nothing to do with priviledge or good looks.
And it has nothing to do with muscles or stature.
It has everything to do with the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives within each of us who believe!
Have you ever tried tapping into this power?
You can, you can.....
All of us can.
And just image what would and could happen if we did.
Peter Cartwright, a nineteenth-century circuit-riding Methodist preacher, was an uncompromising man.
One Sunday morning when he was to preach, he was told that President Andrew Jackson was in the
congregation, and he was warned not to say anything out of line.
When Cartwright stood to preach, he said, “I understand that Andrew Jackson is here. I have been requested
to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent.”
The congregation was shocked and wondered how the President would resond.
After the service, President Jackson shook hands with Peter Cartwright and said, “Sir, if I had a regiment of
men like you, I could whip the world.”
Just think of what you and I could do for this community if we all were to tap into the power of God which
comes from the Holy Spirit!
The creation of the Methodist Church was a laity led explosion....
Those whose lives were changed shared their new found faith with courage and power and God honored
that---and the Church grew like wildfire....
And God will honor our efforts....because it is His will that all persons be saved and grow within the
community of faith!
Studies show that 70 to 90 percent of persons who join a church have joined because someone from
that church invited them.
Unfortunately, only 20 percent of Church members ever invite anybody!!!
When was the last time you invited somone to church?
There is no doubt that there is great power when church members share their story, share their faith, and
invite others to experience what they have experienced!!!
This past week, I was in blockbuster renting a video.
After paying for the video, I looked the cashier in the eyes, smiled, told him that I would like to invite him to
Parkview United Methodist Church and handed him one of our ‘invitation cards.’
A few days later, when I returned the video, I stuck one of those same cards inside the video case.
When I was at the library, browsing through the isles, I came upon the book section which deals with
depression and suicide.
I stuck ‘invitation cards’ within the pages of several of those books.
Every once in a while I see cars driving down Jefferson or Mercury Boulevard that have Parkview United
Methodist Church bumper stickers on back....