Summary: The fact is, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God has quit working with power through His people – and I have come to the conclusion that the fault does not lie with God, but with those of us who claim to follow Him.
The book of Acts found in your Bibles records for us the history of the early church and how God used ordinary people to build His kingdom.
While we call it the “Acts of the Apostles” it would be more accurate to call it the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” as it was the Holy Spirit moving through, in, and by the Apostles that allowed the church to move in power.
I vividly remember sitting in a class on the book of Acts in Bible College and having the professor explain to us all the wonderful ways that God worked through His people in the days of the early church.
That class was two semesters long, for 3 hours each week.
It was one of my favorite classes and I completely immersed myself into the book of Acts – studying, memorizing, researching, and writing papers.
But through all of my study, both then and now, a nagging question kept creeping into my head, and the question was this: If God could do such wonderful things through His people back then, why not now?
And I found out that when I asked people that question I got one of two reactions: 1) Extreme discomfort; 2) Excuses for why God doesn’t work that way anymore.
The fact is, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God has quit working with power through His people – and I have come to the conclusion that the fault does not lie with God, but with those of us who claim to follow Him.
And I want to do what I can to change that, and that is why I’m starting this new series today called, “Acts of Power,” because I believe that God can do through us what He did through the early church if we will become willing participants.
Today I want us to examine some scripture in Acts 1 and 2 that will teach us how to succeed as individuals and as a church.
I’d like to begin by giving you a biblical definition of success:
Definition of Success: "Accomplishing what God wants me to accomplish."
This contrasts wildly with most definitions of success that you will find, but I think it accurately reflects what success is in God’s eyes – if we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish as individuals and as a church, we will be successful indeed.
The good news is that God supplies us with everything necessary for us to be successful in this way.
WE CAN SUCCEED BECAUSE WE ARE GIVEN…
1. THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
[My brother used to have an old pickup truck with a gas gauge that didn’t work.
He had a stick that he used to put down in the tank to see how much he had left.
The problem was, he forgot to check it most of the time, and was always running out of gas.]
Sometimes I think many of us run out of gas in our spiritual lives because we don’t rely on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Somehow we forget the fact that God Himself lives within us to empower us to be successful in everything He has called us to do.
Following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, and just prior to His ascension into heaven, He made this promise:
“When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." – Acts 1:8
Now the Bible clearly tells us that the Holy Spirit is God Himself, and here Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will indwell each believer and two things will happen:
1) They will receive power; 2) They will tell people about Jesus.
Obviously these two things are connected – they were for those disciples 2,000 years ago, and they are still connected for us today.
If you want to be successful as a Christian, you must rely upon the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to do ministry.
The power is not mine, the power is not the church’s, the power is the Holy Spirit’s power given to us to use to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish.
Now when we begin living as if we truly believe that God is literally indwelling us I believe we will begin to live differently and accomplish a whole lot more than what we are presently accomplishing.
2. A SUPERNATURAL POWER
When you have God living inside of you, empowering you to accomplish His will, I think we can safely say that that power is of a supernatural nature.
And what we mean by supernatural is that it is a power that violates, or we could say, goes beyond natural forces.