Summary: Message calls the congregation to seek the Lord in the coming year.
2 Chron. 14-15
Today is the first Sunday of a new year, the second Sunday of this church and I would like to talk with you a little bit about why we’re here and where we hope to go from here. I have been pastoring for over 30 years and during that time I have come to one crucial conclusion. If anything of any eternal value gets done in the work of the Lord, it will be done by the Holy Spirit through His people. Without the Holy Spirit we are absolutely nothing. Without abiding in the Vine, as Jesus put it in John 15, we have nothing to give. God is the source. Our ingenuity, our best efforts, our plans and our schemes may produce something that impresses people (I’m sure the Tower of Babel was quite impressive)—but our goal is not to impress people—our goal is to be faithful to our God. So the one crucial thing I have concluded is this: Zech 4:6 “…’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.”
When Jesus launched His Church, He gave one “how to” instruction to His followers. “Behold,” (Luke 24:49) I send the Promise of My Father upon you (the promise of the Holy Spirit that He had already discussed with them in His upper room discourse before His death—John 14-16); but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." I’m giving you the One thing you need in order to succeed. It’s not money, it’s not talent, it’s not oratory, it’s not networks; it’s not political influence, it’s not organizational savvy—One thing, One thing, the Promise of My Father—the 3rd person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit. He alone can lead you into all truth. He alone can empower you to truly help people. He is all you need and He is everything you need. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD.”
So those disciples did what Jesus told them to do—they tarried in Jerusalem prayerfully waiting on the coming of the Holy Spirit. Looking back we know that was a ten-day wait. On the Day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit was poured out. Acts 2:2-4
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Don’t discount the possibility of a “suddenly” in your life. Don’t discount the possibility of a “suddenly” in the life of this church. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven.…” For the first nine days nothing significant happened. They just kept praying in obedience to the command. God has His suddenlies planned for your life. He has suddenlies planned for this church. Just because it’s not happen right now, doesn’t mean it won’t.
The only thing they had to do was obey His instruction, so that they were positioned to receive the Promise. There were probably (based on 1Cor. 15:6) 500 or more people who heard the instruction to “Tarry” (wait) in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost there were 120 who by their obedience positioned themselves to receive that sudden breakthrough. Where were the other 380? The Bible does not tell us. They were no doubt busy doing something else. But 120 people heard the command, obeyed the command, and received the Promise of the Father.
I think that is a biblical pattern for every church launch. Of course, Acts 2 is the unique event when THE CHURCH was launched. But the dependence upon Holy Spirit empowerment is not unique; it is the pattern for how God works. We see that throughout the book of Acts. When the church came under persecution in Acts 4, what did they do? Did they try to debate the issues? Did they develop strategies and plans for success? No, they got down on their knees, sought the Lord for His help, and He gave them a fresh dose of the Holy Ghost. That was God’s answer for their problem.
We got lots of problems in the American Church—more than most Christians realize. Pastors are running to and fro to seminars and conferences all over the country trying to find some answers. There is only one answer—we must have an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We in this room, must have a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, if we are to show our generation what church is really about. Church is not about games and entertainment and good clean fun. Church is supposed to be about meeting with God Almighty, Hearing His voice, and going forth with an anointed message of the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news is not that you can live the American dream. The good news is that you can be delivered from your sin, cleansed by the power of the blood of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirt to go about doing good and introducing others to the salvation of the Lord. The good news is that you can be so fundamentally changed by the grace of God that you will not only spend eternity in heaven, but you will enjoy being there.