Summary: This series of messages was part of the preparation for our SAW (Spiritual Awakening Weekend). May it be used by others.
The Nemesis of an Awakening
Aiming At an Awakening - #4 of 12
* My heart’s desire is to see God show up and show out during the next month. I pray that He will draw us so close to Him that we look like Him. Wayne Watson wrote these words, “One day Jesus will call my name. As days go by I hope I don’t stay the same. I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change. On the day that Jesus calls me name.” When our lives are awakened to Christ, we become like Him.
* Praying to this end, I ask God for direction that would point us toward this end. As I wrote down words, read scripture, and began to sense God’s leading – this word “Nemesis” came to mind.
* Dictionaries give different definitions for nemesis but the definition which paint a picture for us is “A seemingly unbeatable rival” or ‘An opponent or rival who cannot be overcome.’
* One writer said that a nemesis is like a ‘waterloo.’ Now we know about that term. The powerful Napoleon came to the Battle of Waterloo THINKING he was invincible.
* What is it that could be the “Nemesis”, the seemingly unbeatable opponent to a Spiritual awakening happening in every heart and life? As I understand God’s word, the Nemesis, obstacle, and bottleneck for an awakening is found in our “spirit.” Please understand that sin is always the thing which separates us from God and His renewing, reviving, & refreshing spirit, but never lose sight of the fact that sin begins in our spirit. It is true Isaiah 59 tells us our ‘sin has separated us from God’ but it is also true that Psalm 66 speaks of the heart sin.’
* Some people will scoff at the idea that their personal & private sin can stand in the way of corporate revival, but those folk show their ignorance of God’s word. Just one for instance is found in the book of Joshua as he records the sad story of Achan. When God confronted Joshua, He said, “ISRAEL has sinned!” All of Israel were held accountable. Dear folks, please let’s not allow our own personal sin. Let’s learn from God’s word about the sin of the spirit.
* (TEXT) Let’s get a picture of this church, the First Century Church, in our mind’s eye. They had unity, harmony, and generosity. The prayed together, provided for each other, and presented Jesus to the lost world. Together, God’s grace flowed over them. Quite honestly, this is a picture of the post-Pentecost church as it is supposed to be. Praying, being filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and Speaking God’s message of salvation with boldness – what a church! Yet, even in this church, there was a bad apple. Honestly, I don’t see the bad apple of this church being named “Ananias & Sapphira” near as much as I see the bad apple infecting this couple. It is this bad apple which is the nemesis of an awakening & can be found in one’s spirit.
* Whether we are awakened spiritually or not, whether we become God’s witnesses or not, and whether we fulfill His will or not will be determined what is going on in our spirit. In the Old Testament – the focus was the ‘letter of the law’ while Jesus, in the New Testament (& today) focuses on the ‘spirit of the law.’ The letter brings death & the spirit brings life.
* For a few minutes consider the prevalent spirit(s) which we can discern in this story and perhaps some which ‘could be.’
1. A Covetous Spirit – To read verse 36 of chapter 4 and segue to chapter 5 is to understand that this couple saw Barnabas getting recognition & they decided they wanted the same.
* Somehow this seems to be the one area which many people are susceptible, public accolades. This sin begins deep in one’s spirit and desires the wrong thing. Giving should never be motivated by public recognition.
* Dr. David Jeremiah told a story about a farmer who truly desired to serve his king. So from his garden he brought the King a carrot. The King saw the heart of this farmer and gave the farmer a large tract of land to farm. One of the Nobles saw this and said to himself, “If he gets that much for a carrot what could I get for something bigger?” So the next day the nobleman went to the King and said, “This horse of the best I have ever bred, I want you to have it.” The wise King saw through the spirit and heart of this Nobleman to his true motivation and took the horse returning nothing for the favor. The Nobleman was perplexed so the King said, “The farmer gave ME his best. You gave me this horse for YOU.”