Summary: When the world tries to shut us down, we should pray for strength to bear persecution, for boldness, for a demonstration of the miraculous, and a new filling of the Holy Spirit.
THE ONE PRAYER THAT DISTURBS HELL
A. HUMOR: A Baptist Dog
1. A Baptist preacher and his wife decided they needed a dog. Ever mindful of their congregation, they knew the dog must also 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 with his paws, leafed 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 a group of parishioners came to visit. The preacher and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses. 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
23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You 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? 26The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’ 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
31After 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.
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 uses its members outside of church to bring healing and deliverance, the devil is threatened.
2. This situation is similar to when Lazarus was raised from the dead by the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees and Sadducees were beside themselves with envy. They made an astute observation, "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him,(and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.)" Jn. 11:47-48.
3. The enemy knows he cannot allow that kind of power to go unstopped or it will have the catastrophic effect of destroying his kingdom.
B. SATAN’S RESPONSE
1. He had the apostles arrested, jailed, forbidden to continue their Christian activities, and threatened. The enemy will do everything within his power to discourage you from following God's will, especially in reaching people.
2. Satan has brought down many an "On-Fire Church" by: division, lethargy, lack of prayer or biblical preaching, focusing on the past instead of the present or future, depending upon the flesh instead of the Spirit, or allowing sin to go unrebuked.
3. The enemy has tried many times, and sometimes succeeded in dampening the fire right here; that’s not unusual, because I don’t know of a church that doesn’t need a heaven-sent revival. We must have fire in us or God will not entrust us with souls.
4. Charles Spurgeon once said, “To put new converts into most churches is like putting live chicks under a dead hen.”
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!
2. It was a dead church, and no one cared…except for one man, and it was not the pastor. It was a blacksmith. He was not much of a talker…he stuttered so badly it was painful to hear him speak.