Summary: Dealing with a number of issues at EBC led me to a series by Pastor Jerry Shirley which God has graciously allowed me to revise and use to speak to our congregation.
What Happened to Acts Chapter 29, pt. 2
“The Power” Acts 1:4-8
The power of the Holy Spirit is not just for salvation. It is also for transformation.
Transformation is a process that might be slow and gradual.
Transformation might look like this: set the five gallon bucket of water in front of the church and pull out a lighter
You can take this five gallon bucket of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it.
The problem is that it makes a dramatic ONTIME impact.
But there is another way to release the energy in that gasoline. Place it in the fuel tank of a new Honda, designed to get 30+ miles to the gallon and that high tech engine will use that same five gallons of gasoline to take a person 150 miles or more.
Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power.
You don’t want to be a flash in the pan;
You want to make a difference in this world over time.
You want to last for the long haul.
You don’t want the Holy Spirit to just save you for heaven; you want Him to use His power to transform your life.
You want Him to use you in this world for kingdom purposes.
v. 8 is the key verse for the entire book of Acts…and the key words in this book are found in two words; power/witness which can be seen all thru the entire book of Acts.
God’s power, which is alive and working in/through God’s people can be witnessed all thru the book of Acts.
1. The substance of God’s plan
He said to the disciples, you WILL carry out God’s plan.
He said, in essence; “I won’t use angels/send back the dead/write it in the sky!”
BUT I will make EACH OF YOU to be living witnesses for Me.
A witness: has personal, first-hand knowledge of something.
Paul knew Jesus was alive…that He saves souls…that He changes lives!
Look around this room, and you see modern day stories which prove it!
We may not be all God wants us to be yet, but praise His Mighty Name we’re not what we used to be!
Nature might form us
Education will inform us
Prisons often try to reform us
BUT ONLY GOD CAN TRANSFORM US!
Everyone loves a story of transformation:
Like the 90 lb. weakling on the beach with his girlfriend and a muscle bound bully comes along and steals his girlfriend. The 90lb weakling is powerless to stop it UNTIL he begins to work out and before you know it, he has biceps like coconuts! This transformation wins back his girlfriend.
But stories like these are nothing compared to the transforming stories we can see in scripture and still experience in real life today!
Can I ask you a question? Do you have personal, first-hand knowledge?
Are you a witness of the transforming power of Jesus Christ?
Deep sea fishing is something I can talk about…some can’t! Building a house from scratch or making a suit of clothes; I can’t talk about that but some can.
If you’ve been TRULY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, saved then my friend, you should have that knowledge!
Jesus said in v. 8—“witnesses unto Me [Jesus]”…
He did not say; unto yourself (you don’t have to be a celebrity),
He did not say; unto your church (the kingdom!),
He did not say unto your pastor (Paul/Apollos/Peter)
There’s a difference between a witness and a soul-winner.
We could compare it to a courtroom where we have a witness and an attorney.
One can argue the case because he has the knowledge, the other may know absolutely nothing about the laws of the State; only what they saw or experienced. The witness can do nothing more than share the truth.
…you don’t have to be an attorney [theologian/Bible scholar in this case] full of knowledge and expertise…just a witness who tells what they know…you are not to argue a case, necessarily, but to share the truth! Let God do the work of salvation, you just tell the story!
2. The Source for God’s Plan
People hear they are to witness and they say, I could never do that!
I’m too shy/bashful/afraid/unknowledgeable/ungifted!
I can imagine that the disciples must have thought that at first, but those 11, by the end of the book of Acts, had gotten the gospel out to the entire known world…
History tells us that because of their witness; in just 6 short years the church had grown from the original 11 members to over 200k believers worldwide!
How did this happen?
I’d like to show you…(turn)
[Acts 4:8 NIV] “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people!”