Summary: This sermon describes the work of the Holy Spirit in shaking God’s church into extra-ordinary service.
Introduction: Have you ever been in the middle of an event that you will never forget? In such situations you remember the people around you, you remember the sounds, you remember the time of year and you remember the results? These events are profound for you. I have experienced several such events. A few years ago a group of our men went to a "Stand In The Gap" event sponsored by the Promise Keepers in Washington D.C. That event was profound. I will never forget the sights and sounds of that event.
I want to show you an event in the Bible that had a profound impact on the young believers. The event is recorded in Acts 4:31. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (NKJV)I want to examine this event that we might better understand it and seek to experience something of its magnitude in our church and our lives. In examining this text I want to ask and then answer a couple of questions from the text.
1. The first question is, What happens when the church gets shaken by God? This question is quickly answered as we examine the context of this passage.
A. When the church gets shaken by the Spirit of God spiritual passion is evident. Look at Acts 4:29. "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” These early believers were not intimidated by threats. They were not reluctant to face persecution. They were filled with passion to share their faith. Spiritual passion is not something we can create within ourselves. It is not something we can duplicate. It is something that comes from the spirit of God working within us. It is not something a preacher can stir up. It is not something that gimmicks can stir up. It is not something that clever motivational tools can stir up.
Passion causes you to rise above your limitations. In Acts 4:13 we read that Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men. However, they rose above their personal limitations to be used of God. I often hear people say things like “I am too shy to share my faith.” (or) "I do not have the gift of evangelism." When God shakes you, your passion will move you beyond your limitations
Illustration: Over the years I have heard and read stories of people who do supernatural feats in crisis situations because their adrenalin started pumping. Adrenalin is God’s gift to us during crisis moments. I had an uncle who once rescued a man in a wreck because the adrenalin kicked in. My uncle picked up a car with one hand and pulled a victim from beneath the car with his other hand in order to save a man’s life. He rose above his natural limitations. God has given you and I a similar mechanism in the spiritual realm. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to be in control you will do feats you never thought possible. This happens when the church is shaken by God.
B. When the church is shaken the supernatural will be welcomed. In verse 30 signs and wonders are mentioned as accompanying this event. There are two dangers when it comes to expecting miracles. One danger is that we base our faith upon seeing a miracle. If we do not see a miracle we lose faith in God. The other danger is coming to demand them. In other words we demand a miracle from God as if he owes it to us. Because of this some people become experientially focused in their faith. Instead of walking by faith they are always looking for some kind of experience. I acknowledge these two excesses concerning miracles. However, the fact is, when Jesus is alive and his church is doing well his people do not fear or get shocked by the supernatural. They welcome it. They applaud it. They are not hung up on miracles but they see evidence of them.
Illustration: I have been using a devotional book each morning based upon the stories of missionaries and how God has worked in their lives. Last week I read a story about two missionaries who were serving in a Muslim country. They told how they stopped to offer a ride to a young muslim soldier. They said as he sat in the back seat of their car he laid his machine gun across his lap. In a demanding way he asked them to play music on their car radio. They explained that their radio was broken. However, he insisted they play music. He did not believe their explanation. The soldier pointed to a cassette tape laying in the seat of the car. The cassette tape turned out to be recordings of Bible stories about the God who created the world. The missionaries placed the cassette into the supposedly broken tape player and it played perfectly. They concluded God wanted the soldier to hear truth so he healed a broken tape player. When God shakes his church miracles will be welcomed.