Summary: Power plants are vital to modern life. Spiritual life also requires power. We look at the Church’s problems with inconsistent power, the wonderful effect when power comes, and how to stay full of the power of the Lord.
THE POWER PLANT
1. When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. Thank goodness for our brilliant scientists!
2. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300°C.
3. The Russians -- used a pencil.
1. Why is the great city of Houston all lit up with brilliant light at night? Because somewhere on the outskirts of the town is a large plant devoted to generating power. It’s called a “power plant.”
2. Similarly, the Church of Jesus is supposed to be a City set on a Hill for all to see. The Book of Revelation pictures it as a city which is glowing with light (21:23-24) and power.
3. Tonight we want to look at the Church’s problems with inconsistent power, the wonderful effect when power comes, and how to stay full of the power of the Lord.
4. The title to tonight’s message is “The Power Plant.”
I. EXAMPLES OF INCONSISTENT POWER
A. MANY COUNTRIES HAVE SPORADIC POWER
1. Many countries have irregular power provided.
Top five countries with number of days with power outage:
1 Bangladesh 248.96 days 2002
2 Albania 194.23 days 2005
3 Lebanon 188.58 days 2006
4 Democratic Rep. of Congo 184.04 days 2006
5 Burundi 135.57 days
2. One man from Africa told me one of the things he liked most about America is that the lights stay on all night. In his country they go off at night, all night. Whole cities are pitch dark, unless individuals/hotels have their own generators!
3. Any country which has inconsistent power supplies has trouble keeping its factories open. Businesses don’t even want to set up operations in countries with sporadic power.
4. Therefore the GDP of such countries is lower and the unemployment is greater. So the importance of having dependable power can’t be overestimated.
B. INCONSISTENT POWER IN THE CHURCH
1. The Church of Jesus also struggles with problems of insufficient power. Believers have always had struggles staying full of God’s Spirit.
2. Samson routinely shook himself to reestablish connection with the power of God (Judg. 16:19 KJV), Elisha had to have a minstrel play to bring himself into the presence of the Lord (2 Kgs. 3:15). Other prophets had to “wait” on the Lord – meditate, draw near, etc. before they could discern the Word of the Lord.
3. In the N.T. we have the 9 apostles who had insufficient power to cast the demons out (Matt. 17:19-21) of the boy. And the writer of Hebrews exhorts the church to go higher in God, “that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (12:13). Without that power, they would remain lame!
II. THE EFFECT OF POWER COMING
A. THE DIFFERENCE WHEN POWER SUPPLIED
1. Our country has had widespread electric power for 100 years, but there are some countries which only got electricity recently.
2. In those countries, the building of a power plant revolutionized that area. Suddenly they had lights, could power companies for jobs, they could have stop lights and modern communications, etc.
3. Electricity is central to the ability of most modern societies to function. Hospitals, air-traffic control systems, street lights, modern sewage systems, most forms of communication, and the U.S. financial services industry are all dependent upon electricity.
4. Electricity is considered so essential to the well-being of our country that it’s labeled “critical infrastructure.” Our way of life can no longer exist without electricity! Oh! If only the church of Jesus developed such a dependency on the Holy Spirit!
B. THE EARLY CHURCH: WITHOUT & WITH POWER
1. Before the Day of Pentecost, we see the church which was fearful, weak, would deny Christ, was afraid to stand up for Christ in public, and even went back to their old occupation of fishing.
2. The Lord knew such a powerless church could never overthrow the deep-seated strongholds of demonic power which existed all over the world.
3. So Jesus told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about….in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit” Acts 1:4-5.
4. He said, “BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth" Acts 1:8.
5. After the Holy Spirit baptism in Acts 2:1-4, we see a stark change in the apostles. They are unafraid, confident, bold, unwavering, and even eloquent (anointed). All but John marched resolutely to die as martyrs. The Holy Spirit’s inner presence gave them the backbone they needed to face death with joy.