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PLUGGING INTO HIS POWER
Intro: I don’t know about you, but I marvel at the power of the early church. It amazes me to look at the ways God used them for His glory. When you consider that 3,000 souls were saved on one day and 5,000 were saved on another day; that the Lord added to the church daily, Acts 2:47; that the church was marked by powerful miracles and larger than life personalities; that they experienced amazing growth; and that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, it lets us know that there was something difference about the early church.
Most believers long for that same kind of power today. We know that we do not have what they had, but we want it. We know that we must have the same kind of power if we are going to be effective in reaching our world like they reached their world.
In some ways, we possess far more than they did. We have nice buildings, enough money to do the things we want to do, amazing technology, and the freedom to worship God as we please. While we have much in our favor, we lack the one thing that made the early church a mighty weapon in the hand of God. We lack the power of God!
I want to point out to you what I believe was the source of their power. I want you to see that the early church was plugged in to a tremendous source of power. I believe that the source of power they found is exactly what we need in our day.
The early church was plugged into three specific sources of power that enabled them to “turn the world upside down” for the glory of God. The power that rested on the early church is available to the modern church. We merely need to plug in to the same sources of power they used in that day.
Let me show you, from these verses, the sources the empowered the early church. If we want to reach our world for Jesus, and if we want to be all the Lord would have us to be, then we are going to have to plug in to those same power sources today. I want to look into these verses for a few moments today and preach about Plugging Into His Power.
I. v. 31 WE NEED TO PLUG IN
TO THE POWER OF PRAYER
· Ill. The context of these verses. When the disciples came back from their meeting with the Sanhedrin, the whole assembly came together in prayer, Acts 4:23-31. As they prayed together, in one mind, the Spirit of God moved upon them and filled them with His presence and power. God honored the prayers of His people when they came together as one, praying for the common good.
· I am certain that most of us understand the importance of prayer. I hope that each of us takes time daily to pray for our families, our communities, our church and ourselves. Probably nothing we do in our Christian walk is as important as prayer. Prayer is the secret to the power of God!
Ø We have been given great promises in prayer: Matt. 7:7-8; Jer. 33:3; John 14:13-14; James 5:16; 1 John 5:13-15.
Ø We have been given clear instruction in prayer: Luke 11:1-5; Matt. 6:5-8.
Ø We have even been commanded to pray: 1 Thes. 5:17; Luke 18:1; Eph. 6:18.
· We do pray, but we do not often pray like the early church prayed. We usually resort to prayer when we are shaken; they prayed to be shaken. We pray, but not fervently. We pray, but not specifically. We pray, but not in one accord. We pray, but not as a group.
We are well taught in our theology, in our doctrine and in our organization. But, we are illiterates in the school of prayer. If we would have the power of God resting on us in these days, we must learn to make use of the resource of prayer. Not just as individuals, locked away from one another, but we need to learn to pray corporately.
We must learn to pray together at prayer meetings, in altar calls, and at other times. When someone comes to this altar to pray, others should willingly gather around them to help them with their petitions. When a need faces our church, the church should bow as a body and wage war together.
· We learn to pray by praying. We learn to pray by asking God for the impossible and believing that He will send it to us. We learn to pray by reading the Word of God and praying it back to Him in faith.
· The early church had the power of God on them because they prayed together. When they called, God heard and answered. (Ill. Acts 4:31; Acts 12:5)
· God still hears and answers the prayers of His people! (Ill. Many answers I have read about and experienced!) Plugging into the power of prayer would do more for this church that 10,000 revival meetings!
II. v. 32 WE NEED TO PLUG IN
TO THE POWER OF PASSION
· We are told that this congregation was of “one heart and one soul”. That is, they did not live for themselves, but they lived for those around them. These people were lost in the needs of other believers, v. 32, 34-37. And, they were consumed by the needs of the lost around them, v. 33. The early church possessed a servant’s heart that was just like that of the Lord Jesus, Phil. 2:3-8.
· These people lived out the will of the Savior. While Jesus was here, He said this: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” John 13:35. Jesus said that His people would be known for the love they possessed for the other believers around them. He went on to tell us what His will is for the church, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me,” John 17:21.
So, when we love one another as we should, and when we walk in unity as we should, it lets the world around us know that our profession of faith is real and that we truly belong to Christ. No other testimony we give preaches so loud and so clear as our love one for another.
· We need to plug into the power of love! Not just love that talks. Not just love that says, “I love you.” We need to plug into a love that acts, 1 John 3:18. We must plug into a love that puts others ahead of self. We must plug into His kind of love; without that kind of love, everything we do is in vain, 1 Cor. 13:1-3.
· When I love you like I should, I will forgive you for the times you hurt me, Eph. 4:32. When I love you as I should, I will seek you best interests ahead of my own. When I love you like I should, I will treat you like I should, 1 Cor. 13:4-8a.
· A revival of love in the church would produce among us the same kind of attitudes and power that existed in the early church.
Ø Love makes us considerate of others – v. 32.
Ø Love makes people more important than possessions, v. 32.
Ø Love enables Christians to put away their differences. (Ill. The early church was made up of people from all over the world. They were of different cultures and different backgrounds.)
Ø Love produces a passion for the lost who live around us, v. 33.
· Love gives us power. Without love, we will lack the power of God we need to be effective in this age. We need to plug into the power of a genuine, all-consuming passion for others.
III. v. 33 WE NEED TO PLUG IN TO
THE POWER OF PROCLAMATION
· While the early church was marked by prayer and love, they were also marked by the proclamation of the Gospel. They were a preaching people. They carried the message of the Gospel to a world that desperately needed that message.
Verse 33 tells us that “great power” rested on the apostles. Their preaching and their witness as effective because God empowered their preaching and He blessed the proclamation of the Gospel.
· The modern church must be marked by prayer and by love, but we must also be marked by the proclamation of the Gospel of grace.
We have been given the greatest message the world has ever known, 1 Cor. 15:3-4. We have been sent out to preach that message everywhere there are sinners, Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20. We have been promised His help in sharing that message with the lost around us, Acts 1:8.
There is a whole world around us that needs to hear about Jesus. Every day, in every place, there are lost people who need to hear the message of salvation. Our duty is to tell them about Jesus and what He can do for them. Saving them is God’s business!
· If our message is to be empowered like that of the early church, we must understand a few things.
Ø The proclamation of the message is essential – 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:13-17. The message must be preached or no one will be saved.
Ø The power of God is paramount. We can preach; we can witness; we can tell, but if He doesn’t empower the message, no one will be saved, John 6:44. The message must be empowered or no one will be saved.
Ø When God’s people plug in to prayer and a passion for others, we can count on His empowering His message to the salvation of souls.
Conc: We have many advantages over the early church, but they put us to shame in their accomplishments. Why? They stuck to the basics and God blessed them, working through them in a demonstration of divine power. That same power is available to us today. Like the early church, we need to return to the basics of Christianity. We need to plug into the power of Prayer, the power of Passion and the power of Proclamation. Doing that will allow us to shake our world for Jesus!