Where is the Power?


Text:  Acts 2:1-4
Title:  "Where is the Power?"
Subject:  The Holy Spirit in the Church

Intro:  The Bible says, "And when the religious rulers had set the disciples in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead."  Acts 4:7-10
My contention tonight is that the Baptist movement in general, and this church in particular are not experiencing all that God wants to accomplish with us because we do not understand the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit when we assemble in church.  It is not enough that we meet here 3 times a week.  It is not enough that the Bible is preached and taught here.  It is not enough that the music is Christ honoring.  It is not enough that we take up offerings for the ministry and to support missions.  It is not enough that things are done decently and in order.  It is not enough that we have a S.S., a Christian School, a tract society, a bus ministry, and a seniors’ ministry, etc., etc.  It is not enough that we have a staff, and that we have other men, women, and teens who are faithful to their church duties.   It is not enough that we go through the religious motions of our services, if the power of the Holy Spirit is not set free in this place!  And this can only come about by the assembling of Spirit-filled believers who realize they have a greater responsibility than to just be here, but have a responsibility to be here filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit!

The Jews asked, "By what POWER have ye done this?"
People often pray for speakers, "Lord fill him with the Holy Spirit," but by then it is too late for the speaker, and it is just as important for the listeners to be filled!!  If I am Spirit-filled and you are not, this message is going to fall on cold hearts.  If you are Spirit-filled and I am not, this preaching is going to come from a cold heart.  All of us, everyone of us, everybody here, each of us, speaker and listener alike, must be filled with the Spirit of God when we assemble in church if we are going to see supernatural things happen!

The Jews asked, "By what POWER have ye done this?"
Wouldn't you like to be a part of a church, not with the best program, but where the supernatural, superintending power of God was the norm?   Where folks are getting saved!  Where lives are being changed, not for a moment, but for good.  Where young people, middle-aged people, and older people are surrendering to serve God in some ministry, here or abroad.  Where the old songs of Zion bring tears to the eyes and a lump to the throat.  Where Christ-centered preaching draws our eyes to the Scriptures, our hearts to the Saviour, and brings joy to our souls.  Where visitors sense a spiritual difference when they visit our church.  Where even the offerings are "of God," and we rejoice with favoring missionaries with showers of financial blessings and spiritual encouragement.  Wouldn't you like to be a part of a church that is filled with the Holy Spirit, and operating in the same power of that Spirit?  So would I, and so I ask, "Where is the Power?" 

Acts 2:1-4 -- "Where is the Power?" -- prayer 

A. Saved O.T. Jews Were Not Indwelt By the Spirit Except For Particular Purposes.
Over and over the O.T. says, "And the Spirit of the Lord came upon...." so that that person could accomplish what God wanted accomplished. 

B. Pre Pentecost N.T. Disciples Were Not Indwelt By the Spirit Except For a Particular Purpose.
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, 'Peace be unto you'.  Then said Jesus to them again, 'Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.'  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost.  And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high'."
  Lk. 24:49; Jn 20:19,22 

Note:  The reason the Holy Spirit was given was so the disciples would stay in Jerusalem, the city of crucifixion, persecution, and fear.   

C. Post Pentecost Believers are Indwelt By the Spirit At Salvation.
1. Bible is clear that when a person puts his/her faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, that person receives the indwelling Holy Spirit.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
 1 Cor. 3:16
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
  1 Cor. 6:19

2. The Bible is also clear that the Holy Spirit can be quenched ("extinguished, suppressed") (I Thes. 5:19), and can be grieved ("offended") (Eph. 4:30).

3. The Bible reveals that without the power or control of the Holy Spirit, believers can act like babes in Christ, or, much worse, like carnal, lost men (1 Cor. 3:1-3), despite having the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  

D.  N.T. Believers are Commanded to Surrender and be Filled With the Holy Spirit
1. The Bible commands two additional spiritual decisions that a Christian must make, after salvation, to experience the power from the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  
a. Surrender, or presenting yourself as a living sacrifice
Rms. 12:1-2 (turn & read together).
1) This is a one time step of total commitment and obedience to Christ which the old time preachers called the "second blessing."  It is simply yielding up and presenting  yourself to God, unreservedly, for whatever He wants to do with you, to you, through you.  It is full acceptance and joy in His will for your life.
b. Being Filled, or yielding yourself unreservedly to the Holy Spirit's control
Eph. 5:18, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit"
1) This is a command to be continuously under the authority and control of the Holy Spirit by continuously being filled with the Spirit.   

Note:  While the "presenting of ourselves" is a once for all action, the continual filling of the Holy Spirit keeps us as a living sacrifice unto God.  So, the missing ingredient in the life of our church is not the Holy Spirit's presence, because He is here in every believer, but the Holy Spirit's power which is manifested through the filling of the Holy Spirit, and His control over our lives.  What I am saying is that when we come to church without being filled with the Holy Spirit, His work is quenched and He is grieved, and, therefore, we hinder His work in this church and in our lives.  But if and when we came to church filled with the Holy Spirit (not perfection, but a determined yieldedness), He is then unhindered from moving among us and working upon us.  I also believe that if we were filled as we ought, there would be evidence of a special manifestation in our midst that even the lost could not deny. 

E. Paul Desired That the Church Be Filled With The Fulness of God
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Unto him (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
  Ephes. 3:19, 21 

I want to share with you a church that was filled with the Spirit, and the results. 

A. The Power was Manifested in the Assembled Church

Note:  In Matt. 16: 16,  Jesus said He would begin to build His church, or called out assembly.  He meant He would build the KIND of churches that would continue down through the centuries, and the FIRST church of Jerusalem, which was a Baptist church in faith and practice.   Here we have the original disciples, less Judas, plus 109 that constituted the first church of Jerusalem. 

The church was assembled:
1. On one day (Pentecost, which came 50 days after the feast of Firstfruits, a picture of Christ's resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23)  For us it is the Lord's Day, also a reminder of Christ's resurrection. 

2. With one accord ("one mind, one passion; the blending of diversity into unity").  Apostles, disciples, men, women, mother, brothers (Acts 1:14)

3. In one place (assembled, not scattered), an upper room

4. In prayer (glorifying God), supplication (asking God) (Acts 2:2)

5. In preaching (Acts 1:15-22).  Peter stood up to expound God's Word

6. In transacting kingdom business (choosing of Matthias)

7. In sensitivity to God's leading (Acts 1:24-26).  Seeking God first 

Note:  These things were taking place with the Holy Spirit's presence, but not His power.  We can do the basics of kingdom living without the power of the Holy Spirit, but how much better with the power!! 

A. To Be Able to Rightly Divide the Word of Truth
(Acts 1:6-7)
1. Context: Restoring the Kingdom 

B. To Be Witnesses (Acts 1:8)
1. Context: Being worldwide witnesses (soul-winners here, missionaries and/or mission minded to the uttermost) 

C. To Experience Supernatural Manifestations of God (Acts 2:4)
1. Context: Supernatural ability to speak a foreign language 

D. To Gain the Attention of the Lost  (Acts 2:5-8, 12-13)
1. Context:  Those amazed at hearing the wonderful works of God in their own language, and those who mocked 

E. To Experience Power in Preaching/Teaching/Telling (Acts 2:14)
1. Context: Peter's preaching on Pentecost which covered fulfilled prophecy, things to come, salv., Christ's humanity, D.B.R., deity, exaltation, and  judgments.   

F. To Cause Conviction in the Lost (Acts 2:37)
1. Context: Reaction to Peter's preaching; "what shall we do?" 

G. To Speak the Word of God Boldly  (Acts 4:8, 10, 31-32a)
1. Context: Jewish leaders arresting Peter & John, and Peter speaking boldly about Christ, and then the disciples speaking boldly to the multitudes. 

H. To Gain Freedom in Giving (Acts 4:34-35)
1. Context: New believers holding everything in common for the needs of others 

I. To Give of Self in Service (Acts 6:2-3)
1. Context: Choosing of six to serve in care of others 

J.  To Do Great Wonders ("something outside the normal course of life") Among the People (Acts 6:8)
1. Context: Stephen's abilities 

K. To Gain Irresistible Wisdom in the Face of Opposition (Acts 6:10)
1. Context: Stephen's disputing with the leaders of the synagogue 

L. To Be Able to Put the Worst Possible Circumstances in Their Proper Perspective  (Acts 7:54-55)  Facing death.
1. Context:  Stephen's death by stoning 

M. To Be Obedient to God's Word (Acts 9:17-18)
1. Context: Ananias putting his hands on Paul, and Paul receiving his sight and being baptized (identified with Christ & His church) 

N. To Be Glad at the Spiritual Success of Others ( Acts 11:20-24)
1. Context:  Barnabas sent by the church at Jerusalem to the church at Antioch to see firsthand the blessings of God    

O. To Rebuke False Teachers, Doctrines, and Especially Where a Soul Hangs in the Balance (Acts. 13:6-10)
1. Context: Paul rebuking Barjesus, a sorcerer, when Sergius Paulus' soul hung in the balance 

P. To Rejoice in the Salvation of Others, Especially Those Not of Your Culture/Race (Acts 13:47-48, 52) (Missions-minded)
1. Context:  The joy of the Jews at Gentiles being saved through the preaching of Paul 

 Note:  Is there anything in this list of 16 spiritual accomplishments that you and I would not like to see active and energized at [your] Baptist Church?  Despite our depraved nature, don't we really want the best God has to offer? 

Concl:  My question was, "Where is the Power?"  Why do churches like ours struggle to make an impact on our society?  First Baptist Church of Jerusalem turned the world upside-down!  It can be done!  In fact, it must be done!  And if it is not done, the blame must be laid directly at the feet of individual members who do not understand, or who have not been taught, or who are deliberately disobedient to God's clear commands to "present your bodies a living sacrifice," and "be filled with the Spirit."  Where did you stop in your service for Christ? 
At salv.?  You stopped to soon!
At baptism?  You stopped to soon!
At church membership?  You stopped to soon!
In my sermon on Revival, I state that revival was simply taking the next step of obedience.  Tonight it is time to take the next step, and cross the line from nominal Christianity to Spirit-filled Christianity.  

Here is the invitation: 
1.  If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ for salv., you come tonight
2. If you have never submitted to believer's baptism, you come tonight
3. If you have never presented your body a living sacrifice, you come tonight
4. If you have neglected the command to be continuously filled with the Spirit, particularly before church services, you come tonight.  

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