Summary: Spring Life is the annual emphasis on Evangelism and discipleship in the Wesleyan Church. This message deals with being receptive to the Holy Spirit
Receiving Empowerment for Witnessing
Spring Life Series 2008
March 2, 2008
Spring Life is the annual emphasis on Evangelism and discipleship in the Wesleyan Church. This message was adapted from some of the materials provided from the Wesleyan World Headquarters
If you have been watching any of the political news lately you may have noticed the slogan for Barak Obama’s campaign. Change we can believe in. Now let me be the first to say that Senator Obama’s ethics and means for change and my own are light years apart. However, his slogan is my main interest this morning.
It seems that we are experiencing a massive shift in the American climate but it has nothing to do with our weather. We seem to be living in a climate of change. One of the themes of this political season seems to be change. I am not sure that I heard any of the candidates not mention the need for change. I am also sure I have not heard a good plan for creating change.
Change is one of the things that we don’t like very well but it is a fact that our world is changing and that means we need to understand the climate of change around us. Not so we can change with it but so we can reach people in the midst of change.
If you have your Bibles with you I want you to open them with me to Acts 1:8,, as we look at a passage of change for believers, for the church, and for the world. It is a change we can truly believe in.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
God has a very specific plan to create change in the world and it is one that is simply laid out in this verse.
God has a people for the task: Every person who claims Jesus as their savior is a member of the family of God. Every Christian has a responsibility to available to God for the task of witnessing.
God has a power for the task: Jesus makes the promise to send the Holy Spirit to be our power source for the work of witnessing. The Holy Spirit gives us the power that we lack to accomplish the task of witnessing.
God has a philosophy for the task: We are to be witnesses for Christ and to share what we have experienced with Christ.
God has a process for the task: Jesus sends the church out in ever widening areas of influence. First they start in their own community, then to their region and then to their world.
As Luke records these words of Jesus, they appear like a final challenge to the disciples to go out and change the world. In essence, that is exactly what witnessing is, sharing how God has changed our world and how He can change the world for others.
Changing the world seems like a rather tall order. Especially when they don’t think that they need a change. How do we change the world? How can we change the community around us? Our mission is to change the world around us one life at a time. Our nation needs not some form of political or social change but rather we are in desperate need for a spiritual change.
How do we experience the kind of spiritual change that we so desperately need?
To experience real change we must be receptive to the Holy Spirit
The Spirit will open the door to opportunities to witness. If the Holy Spirit comes into our lives there is a fundamental change that happens to us. We become sensitive to the leadership of God. The issue becomes our own willingness to follow and our being receptive to that divine guidance.
Jesus has something more for you. Jesus gave the disciples a precious and personal promise. The work that He started was far from over and that was a good thing. Look at the disciples. They abandoned Jesus the night He was arrested. Thomas has serious problems with doubts. Peter and the disciples went back to fishing.
There was a lot of work to be done in the lives of those simple men and women. They were ordinary and average. They were everyday run of the mill type of people. There was not one of them that was a standout. This should give you a lot of hope. What was it that made these disciples so great? It was the power of Jesus at work in them. If Jesus can use a tax collector to write a gospel, He can use you. If Jesus can use a man who was more like a pebble than a rock to build the church, He can use you. If Jesus can use a few fishermen to change the world, He can use you.