Summary: Part of series on the church and its calling
“The Church You’ve Always Longed For...
Empowers the Individual for Ministry”
TEXT: ACTS 18- 24-28
We’ve been doing a series on “The Church You’ve Always Longed For.” More important, we are trying to get a sense about the church God has always longed for. What is God’s call to us as a church? Are we called to be a burden, to drain people of their energies, or are we called to empower people. Jesus said that we are going to continue his ministry. His ministry is to help people acquire a vital connection with God. If a person is connected with God through Jesus Christ, Jesus said certain things will happen in your life:
John 10:10 - “I have come that you may have life and more abundantly.”
John 6:63 - “The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words
I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
What happens when people come into relationship with the God of the Bible? Their lives are empowered. Moses turns from a defeated shepherd with a checkered past and becomes a deliverer and transcriber of one of the highest moral codes to ever be transmitted. Sarah is transformed from a barren woman to the mother of a nation. Thomas is transformed from a doubter to someone who becomes a missionary to India and a martyr for his faith because he cannot deny who Jesus is.
When we become connected with God, he empowers our lives. How can we as a church become less of a drain and more of an empowering community? Let’s look at Acts: 18: 24-28 where we hear a story of a couple who become power chargers in the life of a young man names Apollos. We get some hints about what they did and about what we as a church can do to empower one another for service:
What did Priscilla and Aquila do in this young man’s life to empower him for ministry? First, I would say that they saw in Apollos God’s potential. They saw Apollos the way God saw him. A couple weeks ago Pastor Patti quoted this verse: I Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart.”
That’s exactly what Priscilla and Aquila did. They looked at the heart of Apollos, and when they looked at this young man they saw someone with zeal for God. He left home to become a missionary, proclaiming God’s word. He was great in debate and could defend the faith. He had a tremendous mind, and he put that mind in service to God. He had tremendous potential to become a great evangelist and teacher, a great apologist which is a person who defends the faith against those who are critical of it, and a great pastor. Due to this couple’s encouragement, Apollos became these very things. You can read his story in I Corinthians chapters 1, 3, 4 and 16 and Titus 3:13.
This is very reminiscent of what Jesus did in people’s lives. For instance, look at the way that Jesus saw Matthew versus the way other people saw him. The Pharisees saw Matthew as a thief and a sinner whom God couldn’t possibly use. Jesus saw in Matthew a religious man, a disciple, someone devoted to God, a church leader, a writer of scripture, and a missionary to Ethiopia.
I wonder, when we look at each other, how do we see each other? What do we think in our minds? Are we looking at the outward person, or are we looking at a person and praying, “God, what do you want to do in this person’s life? What gifts and talents can I help unleash and encourage? What part can I play in this person’s life to help them grow in their faith to the point where they become one of your servants?”
Is that how you think when you look at someone? It is a tremendously empowering thing to have someone believe in you, to trust you, and to see great potential in you. Have you ever had anyone like that in your life? Perhaps someone said, “I see in you the potential to become a great dancer, a great musician, a great worship leader, a great artist.” Isn’t it empowering to know that there is someone who believes in you? Isn’t that why we have coined a phrase called the “The home field advantage.” Why is it an advantage to play at home? Because everyone is cheering you on. It is empowering to know that someone believes in you and they are cheering you on. It is so powerful that it enables teams who would normally lose to win when they play at home.