As I sit here and prepare for tomorrow’s sermon at Good News, I decided to write out what I want to share tomorrow. I have not had much time to prepare this week since I was in charge of the English Day camp. I spent the week teaching 17 children ages 8-12 the Word of God and English. Each day as I came home I would think of the joke about the old grandfather who decided he would do everything that his 5 year old grandson did for a day. They went to the park and played. They walked to the store to buy ice cream. They played hide and seek etc. By the end of the day little Johnny was tired and grandpa was dead. Praise the Lord for a good team of young, strong workers who helped me. I could not have done it without them.
As the title suggests, the Holy Spirit has now come, now what? Over the past couple of months we have been celebrating several major events in the history of the world.
- Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the price for our sins.
- Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead to set us free from our slavery to sin.
- Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to prepare a place for His followers.
- Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to continue His work through His followers.
As a follower of Christ, all of this has happened. I am not waiting for one of these events like some many have waited throughout the ages. The questions is, “now what do I do?”. I have accepted Christ’s sacrifice. I have been set free from my slavery to sin. I know that Christ has prepared a place for me. I have received the Holy Spirit. I am a church member so “now what?”. I want to explain using 4 chapters from the book of Acts, 2-4.
I. People who have experienced the mighty deeds of God share those mighty deeds with others.
In Acts chapter 2, the Holy Spirit descended upon all the believers. Jerusalem was absolutely full of people because there was a major holiday taking place. The believers were moved by the Holy Spirit to share with the people who were there. This is what I do when I have the Holy Spirit. I have experienced and continue to experience the mighty deeds of God and I want to share them with everyone around me. Every conversation that I have leads to this point. It is not forced or unexciting. It just flows out. Each time though, your flesh will try to convince you that this is not the right time or person. The Holy Spirit will counter, screaming to be released to work on that person’s heart via the message of the Gospel. Here is where you have to decide to overcome fear and share. Sharing about the mighty deeds of God opens the door to explaining the Scriptures. Share what God has done and is doing in your life and people will be interested. As their interest is peaked they will begin to ask questions which will lead to more and more opportunities to share from the Word of God. This is what happened in Acts 2 and I have seen this pattern repeated over and over again many, many times in my own personal life and in the lives of others. When you have experienced the mighty deeds of God in your life, you want to share them with others with the purpose of explaining the Scriptures.
As Peter explains the Scriptures to the crowds, he sets forth a method that we should copy and use as we live led by the Holy Spirit.
- He confronts the people’s sins.
- He presents the good news of Christ.
- He calls the people to repentance and faith.
- He calls them to dedicate their lives to Christ publicly via baptism.
- The process of discipleship begins right away. (they were meeting daily to study the Scriptures and learn how to apply Them to their daily lives)
If you have the Holy Spirit then I pray that this passage has spoken to you and challenged you personally. Do you seek to share the mighty deeds of God with others? Do you use those opportunities to share the Word of God with others? Do you confront sin to show people their need for the Savior? Do you explain the Good News of Christ, challenging people to repent and believe? Do you challenge people to dedicate their lives to Christ publicly via baptism? Do you take the new believers and begin to disciple them teaching them how to understand and apply the Bible? This is the lifestyle of one who has received the Holy Spirit. Many today would think that this is the lifestyle of the pastor, not the ordinary church member. This is how and why the First Century Church grew so quickly and had such an profound impact in the culture of the day.
II. People who have the Holy Spirit are ready to share with anyone who will listen.
Usually we try to out think God in areas of ministry. Here is what I mean by this. There is a line of thought that goes, “I need to share the Gospel with people in high places because if they are converted they will better influence the people around them than just ordinary people, or bums on the street. If I could just see my boss converted then all of the other employees would see the light, therefore I will abstain from sharing with my coworkers and pray for opportunities to share with my boss and then the Gospel will have a better chance of spreading.” Have you ever thought like that? Have you met others who think like that? I sure know that I have. In Acts 3, Peter and John, two men who were trained by the Master, were on their way to the Temple to pray. They met a man who sat and begged in front of the temple daily. No one ever really talked to him. Most people probably just threw some money in his cup as they walked by on their way to and from the Temple (a place where they were supposed to meet God and be taught how to live). Peter and John actually stopped and talked to him. They shared the Gospel with him. This opportunity led to other opportunities. The lame man believed the Gospel and was transformed, not just physically, even though he was healed. He was transformed spiritually. He accompanied Peter and John into the Temple and the people were amazed. They began to ask questions and Peter used the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. They were ordinary members yet they needed to hear the message. Peter begins to explain Christ using the Scriptures.
- Peter confronts their sin like he did on the day of Pentecost.
- He explains the resurrection and its significance.
- We know from his previous message that he also explained repentance and faith in Christ.
As a result, many people became followers of Jesus Christ. Are you willing to share the Gospel with any person who will listen? Do you seek to use one opportunity to open the door for another opportunity to share Christ?
While sharing the Gospel with the ordinary members of the Temple, the leaders got word of what was happening and came to stop the furtherance of the Gospel. They tried scare tactics but they did not work. Peter and John were not intimidated because they were being led by the power of the Holy Spirit. When given a chance to speak, they did not defend their actions. They preached the Gospel to the leaders. The message is clear.
- Peter confronts their sins.
- He then explains salvation via the Scriptures.
Some believed while others did not. Peter and John were warned and threatened yet they did not stop. They continued to praise God and share the mighty deeds of God with all who would listen.
Once Peter and John were set free, they immediately went to the church and shared testimonies of all that had happened. The church rejoiced with them and all were encouraged, even though they were experiencing opposition and persecution for their message.
III. People who have the Holy Spirit give for the furtherance of the Gospel.
As the church and ministry were growing, God moved in the hearts of the believers to help with the furtherance of the Gospel in all kinds of ways. They were all learning the Scriptures and sharing with the people around them. As the needs of the ministry grew, people were moved to contribute financially to the cause of the Gospel. Those who have the Holy Spirit want to use every resource possible to proclaim the Gospel and help those who are proclaiming the Gospel. It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by how he spends his time and money. What does your calendar and bank statement say about your priorities? Is the Gospel your number ONE priority in this life? Are you spending your time investing in eternity by investing in the lives of the people around you? Do you see your money as a gift from God to be used in the furtherance of the Gospel?
I pray that this message has been encouraging to you and a challenge. Please pray for me as I prepare to preach it tomorrow. God bless.