Summary: pt. 2--The Substance, Source, and Scope of God’s Plan for the Church!
Writing Acts Chapter 29, pt. 2
v. 8 is the key verse in the entire book of Acts…to understand this verse is to understand the entire book…and the key words in this book are found in it: power/witness
You see it all thru the book, God’s power/people witnessing thru it.
1. The substance of God’s plan
He said to the disciples, you are going to carry out God’s plan (won’t use angels/send back the dead/write it in the sky)
I will make you to be living witnesses for Me.
A witness: has personal, first-hand knowledge of something (Paul knew Jesus was alive/saves souls/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 Name we’re not what we used to be!
Nature forms us
Education informs us
Prisons try to reform us
Only God can transform us!
Everyone loves a story of transformation:
Ill.—Charles Atlas ads in back of old magazines (90 lb. weakling/bully came along and took away his girlfriend/powerless to do anything about it…a before and after picture with biceps like coconuts!)
What a transformation!
Today it’s the weight-loss commercials that do it…
But those stories are nothing compared to the transforming stories we can see in scripture and still experience in real life today!
Do you have personal, first-hand knowledge?
(deep sea fishing? I can’t talk about it…some can!)
If you’ve been saved, you have that knowledge!
Jesus said in v. 8—“witnesses unto Me”…not unto yourself (you don’t have to be a celebrity), not unto your church (the kingdom!), not unto your pastor (Paul/Apollos/Peter)
There’s a difference between a witness and a soul-winner, compare it to a courtroom w/ a witness and a lawyer being compared…
…you don’t have to be a lawyer full of knowledge and expertise…just a witness who tells what they know…not to argue a case, necessarily, but to share the truth!
2. The Source for God’s Plan
People hear they are to witness and they say, I could never do that/too shy/bashful/afraid/unknowledgable/ungifted!
Disciples must have thought that at first, but those 11, by the end of the book, had gotten the gospel out to the entire known world…and history tells us that w/in 6 years the church had grown from those 11 to over 200k believers worldwide!
How did this happen?
I’ll show you…(turn)
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
They plugged into the power source…the Man Who can! “I can’t!”…probably true…but He can!/He did!/He will!
vv. 4-5 tells about the coming spirit, v. 8 makes it clear…being filled w/ the spirit is the key!
To say I can’t is to admit you’re not filled w/ the spirit.
People do some strange things today in the name of spirit-fullness (it’s not falling backward…more likely a sign of bad breath than spirit fullness!)
The Holy Spirit will fill us and override ourselves!
Ill.—compared to being drunk/overtakes them/makes them a different person…usually shy, becomes life of party (lampshade on head…Kimberly tells me!)/usually would sing for all the money in the world and they’ll sing for everyone/wimp will threaten to whip everyone!
Alcohol overrides normal inhibitions…and 3 X’s in scripture being filled w/ the Spirit is compared to being drunk…it makes you bold!
Peter wimped out on the Lord at the crucifixion…but he got filled w/ spirit in ch. 2, and preached to thousands/tortured and beaten/crucified upside down! What a transformation!!
A witness isn’t more brave, just brave 10 seconds longer (open your mouth, start into it, God will take over!)
Not only boldness, but also effectiveness!
Some have tried in their own strength, and it doesn’t work (might as well hit on a tree w/ axe handle…no cutting edge)
“It’s impossible to do God’s work w/out God’s power!” D.L. Moody
ill.—little boy trying to “blow grass off driveway” w/ mouth rather than blower!
Love and compassion will follow, when filled w/ spirit (they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!)
Plug in to the power source and find boldness/effectiveness/heart full of love and compassion
Substance of the plan (it’s us)/Source of the plan (Holy Spirit)
3. The Scope of the Plan
Our city/home missions/foreign missions—primary interpretation…but let’s get practical
What’s YOUR Jerusalem? Your family! Are they saved?