Acts Series #8
Back to the Beginning:
When Church was Church
Furnace for a Holy Ghost Fire
Minimum Of Organization
The ancient church had a minium of organization, but it had a maximum of power. The average church today has a maximum of organization but tragically lacks power.
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan once warned, "One of Satan's methods today is to start so many organizations in a church that the members have no time for unhurried communion with God. Many Christians are so busy that they can hear only the clink and clatter of church machinery."
Too often we are over-organized and under-agonized.
-Walter B. Knight
Spurgeon's Heating Apparatus
C. H. Spurgeon was showing some visitors over the Tabernacle (London). After taking them to the main part of the building, he said, "Come, and I'll show you the heating apparatus." Imagine their surprise, when he took them to a room where four hundred were gathered in a prayer meeting. The church with warmth of spirit must have the warmth-producing prayer meeting.
1. Fill the Furnace
They gathered back with their body, the church and told them, what had happened, how they had been threatened, questioned, and released
But the Fire of God was about to fall again
Let me give you some FIREWOOD to fill the Furnace
A. Remember the Past
1. YES - these ARE the men that crucified Jesus, but JESUS got UP
2. Since they did this to Jesus, it is NOT surprising that they would do the same to us
3. Remember Pentecost
4. Remember the miraculous works of Christ
5. Remember what God has done for us
6. Recount his deeds - what has he done for you?
7. That's just fuel for the Fire.
B. Remember God's Word / Promises
1. They quoted Psalm 2
2. GOD is NOT afraid of men. 1st he expects them to come against his anointed and he laughs at it. 2nd he will rebuke them. 3rd the Son will reign so you better make peace with him
3. Know the Promises of God and the Word of God and you will have fuel for the Fire of God
4. Nothing "makes our wood wet" more than ignorance of the promises of God
5. His Promises found in the Word are NEVER Wet Wood, they are Aged Wood, Ready to Burn
6. List his Promises - Stack them up and we are filling up the Furnace
7. John 15:7 - If you remain in me and MY WORDS remain in you ask what you wish and it will be given you
C. Recognize His Sovereignty
1. Psalm 2:6 I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill"
2. Understanding that God is in charge, on the throne, powerful, more than able is FUEL for the Furnace of God
3. Because God was in charge, they didn't ask him to change their circumstance but to give them power in the midst of it
2. Light the Fire
Wesley's Prayer Room
Said Warren W. Wiersbe, pastor of Moody Church: "One of the most moving experiences of my life came when I stepped from John Wesley's bedroom in his London home into the little adjacent prayer room. Outside the house was the traffic noise of City Road, but inside that prayer chamber was the holy hush of God.
"Its only furnishings were a walnut table which held a Greek New Testament and a candlestick, a small stool and a chair. When he was in London, Wesley entered the room early each morning to read God's Word and pray."
The guide in Wesley's home told me: "This little room was the powerhouse of Methodism!"
A. Pray - "when they prayed …"
1. Prayer is where we make ourselves available to the will and plan of God
2. Prayer is about HIS Kingdom and Will being done on Earth NOT OUR will being Done in or by Heaven
3. Prayer is where the Fire is lit that burns for Revival and Awakening in our World
"Sinners In Hands Of Angry God"
It is quite well-known how the congregation was deeply moved as Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God."
He had the manuscript held up so close to his face that they could not see his face. He went on and on until the people in that crowded church were moved almost beyond control. One man sprang up, rushed down the aisle and cried, "Mr. Edwards, have mercy!"
Others caught hold of the backs of pews lest they should slip into the pit. Most thought that the day of judgment had dawned on them. The power of that sermon is still felt in the United States today.
However, the secret of that sermon's power is known to few Christians. Some believers in that vicinity of Enfield, Mass., had become alarmed that, while God was blessing other places, He should in anger pass them by. And so they met on the evening before the sermon-and spent that whole night in agonizing prayer. The rest is history.
B. Make Your Requests
- Consider their threats
- Power for the Preachers to Speak Boldly
- Stretch Out Your Hand to Heal
- Do Amazing Thing
For the Name of Jesus
1. what do you need? Ask
2. what do you want? Ask
3. what do you dream? Ask
James 4:2 - says we don't have because we don't ask
C. Attack The Enemy - Prayer IS the Battlefield
1. Get On your Knees and Fight Like a Man
Claiming Them One By One
Dr. Torrey in illustrating the definiteness of prayer, tells the following: "Up in a little town in Maine, things were pretty dead some years ago. The churches were not accomplishing anything. There were a few godly men in the churches, and they said, "Here we are, only uneducated laymen, but something must be done in this town. Let us form a praying band. We will all center our prayers on one man; who shall it be!"
"They picked out one of the hardest men in town, a hopeless drunkard, and all centered their prayers on him. In a week he was converted. They centered their prayers on the next hardest man in town, and soon he was converted. Then they took up another and another, until within a year, two or three hundred were brought to Christ, and the fire spread out into the surrounding country. Definite prayer for those in the prison house of sin is the need of the day."
2. What is the attack of the enemy? - "to steal, kill, and destroy"
3. What is the purpose of Christ? "to give life abundantly"
4. So if we want to attack Satan we will attack with requests for salvation, requests for restoration of broken lives and marriages and that we would be the instrument of God to bring them to salvation and restoration
5. They didn't pray for protection in FEAR of Satan, they prayed for POWER to Overwhelm him
6. Jesus said the Gates of Hell would NOT prevail against US, NOT that the Gates of the Church would withstand evil Forces.
We are meant to be on the Offensive
Fill the Furnace, Light the Fire, and then …
Experience the By-Product of the Move of the Spirit
3. Feel the Heat
The Holy Spirit - The Fire IS the Holy Spirit, it Belongs to the Holy Spirit.
We aren't the Fire, but we can be a furnace that contains the Fire and Radiates the Fire
A. Shaken - after they prayed the place … was shaken
1. John Wesley: "Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world."
When we pray and seek God's face we are saying that we fear God more than man and the Spirit will Shake the world through us
2. Anyone here been shaken?
3. Has New Life been shaken?
4. It was no accident. Prayers have gone up for those of you who have been shaken
5. Prayers went up faithfully for 4 months before we began our journey together here at New Life Baptist Church and the result was a Shaking
6. If we are to be shaken out of the new comfort we have, the furnace must be full and the fire lit, then the Power will come and the place shaken
B. Filled with the Spirit -
1. Fingers in the Glove
2. He has all of us, he invades every part of our lives
3. Just like God's Spirit can live in us without filling us, so the Church can have the Spirit but Not be filled.
4. But when we seek his face, fill the furnace, light the fire the Spirit fills the Church as it fills the individuals
Phillip Brooks do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks."
1. they were bold because they knew that they served the Sovereign God
2. they were indwelt and filled with the Spirit of God
3. They were saved and imbued with eternal life by the Son of God Jesus Christ
D. Preached the Word
1. spoke the word
2. continued to testify to the resurrection
3. Romans 1:16 - I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the POWER of GOD to Salvation
4. We do NOT have to make excuses or apologize for Jesus Christ - Preach Christ and Him Crucified for he is Powerful
5. It is all for his glory -
1. when we are praying together out of a sense of urgency
2. because we are sharing the gospel, fighting the battle and feeling the heat of battle
3. we will find our hearts knit to the heart of God
4. our faces are turned toward him
5. we won't have time to quarrel with one another
6. we won't be so easily offended by the misstep of a brother or sister
7. we will recognize that the work we do in the kingdom is more important than building personal kingdoms or defending personal territory
8. Unity is the result when it's NOT about me …
F. Grace Abounded v 33
2 Cor 9:8 and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in ever good work
1. What is Grace?
God's unmerited Favor poured out on me
2. When God's Spirit moves, his grace follows
3. God's Blessing follow his outpouring of the Spirit
So what is a Furnace for A Holy Ghost Fire?
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lay people, on their knees, on the faces, on their feet, heads bowed, or faces lifted, Hands out or Hands up but Seeking the Lord, Crying out for his Favor, Standing in the Face of Opposition, Asking God to pour out power and boldness on them as well as their leadership
What will you do with this challenge?
I'm praying for some intercessors.
People of God who will lift up this church, lift up their pastor, lift up their staff
People who will take it upon themselves to become the Furnace for a Holy Ghost Fire.
Some leadership to rise up that will say "I will take the lead to organize and be responsible to 'stoke' the furnace"
I'm pray for some Monthly, Weekly, Quarterly, Yearly "Furnace Gatherings" where people will gather to pray for me, pray for this church, seek God's face and cry out for his favor and gracious blessing
I'm putting this back in your laps, and praying for leadership to arise and people who will commit to be part of the furnace
Lord as of old at Pentecost
Thou didst they pow'r display
With cleansing, purifying flame
Descend on us today
For mighty works for thee prepare
And strengthen ev'ry heart
Come, take possession of thine own
And nevermore depart
All self consume, all sin destroy!
With earnest zeal endue
Each waiting heart to work for thee;
O Lord our faith renew!
Speak, Lord! Before they throne we wait,
Thy promise we believe
And will not let thee go until
The blessing we receive
Lord send the old-time power,
The Pentecostal power!
They floodgates of blessing
On us throw open wide!
Lord, send the old-time power
The Pentecostal power
That sinners be converted
And thy name glorified