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Summary: When the church gets to the place where God begins to move there supernaturally, and its members began to move outside of church to bring healing and deliverance, the devil is threatened!

HELL TRIES TO PUT-OUT AN ON-FIRE CHURCH

Acts 4:18-31

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: A Baptist Dog

1. A Baptist preacher and his wife decided they needed a dog. Ever mindful of their congregation, they knew wanted the dog to be Baptist. They visited an expensive kennel and explained their needs to the manager, who assured them he had just the dog for them.

2. When the dog was produced, the manager began giving it commands. "Fetch the Bible," he commanded. The dog bounced to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the manager.

3. The manager then said, "Find Psalms 23". The dog, showing marvelous dexterity flipped thru the Bible, found the correct passage, and pointed to it with his paw.

4. Duly impressed, the preacher and his wife purchased the dog. That evening some church members came to visit and the pastor had the dog do his Bible tricks. The visitors were amazed.

5. Finally, one man asked "Can the dog do normal dog tricks too?" "Let's see" said the preacher. Pointing his finger at the dog, he commanded, "Heel!"

6. The dog immediately jumped up on a chair, placed one paw on the preacher's forehead and began to howl. The preacher turned to his wife and exclaimed, "Good Heavens! We've bought a Pentecostal dog!"

B. TEXT: Acts 4:23-31

18 Then [the Sanhedrin] called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 21 After further threats they let them go. 23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed One.’ 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:18-31

C. THESIS

The back-story is, a lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple had been healed by Peter and John. They were arrested for doing this good deed!

I. HELL DOES IT' S BEST TO PUT OUT AN ON-FIRE CHURCH

A. A CHURCH DOING SOMETHING RIGHT

1. When the church gets to the place where God begins to move there supernaturally, and its members began to move outside of church to bring healing and deliverance, ungodly society is threatened.

2. This kind of thing is happening in China, where the Communist government is forcing churches to take down crosses, closing house churches, arresting leaders, and replacing pictures of Jesus with pictures of Xi Jinping!

3. These persecutions have occurred because of the explosive growth of Christianity in China where Christians now number 116 million. The Communist party feels threatened by this success.

4. Even the USA is not immune to Gov’t interference. Some states have unfairly kept churches closed during Covid-19. The Enemy knows he can’t allow revolutionized Christians to go unchallenged. It would be disastrous for the kingdom of darkness!

B. SATAN’S RESPONSE

1. So they arrested the apostles, jailed them, and forbid them to continue speaking about Jesus. But Jesus had said, “I will build My church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!” (Mt. 16:18). No persecution from outside the church can stop it! Only from inside.

2. That’s why Christians need to get pumped up. The danger isn’t from outside, but from inside!

3. Satan has brought down many an "On-Fire Church" by: division, lethargy, lack of prayer or faulty preaching, depending upon the flesh instead of the Spirit, or allowing sin to go unrebuked.

4. Charles Spurgeon once said, “To put new converts into most churches is like putting live chicks under a dead hen.” The key to our success is to be transfigured by the power of God and to let Jesus live through us!

5. These early disciples went to prayer! They prayed a…

II. A PRAYER THAT DISTURBED HELL

A. THEY WENT TO GOD

1. Charles Finney, great revivalist of the 1700s, told about a church where the fire had totally gone out…no one saved, and even worse, no one cared!

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