Plugging Into the Source of Prayer Acts 4:31-33 EBC 9/20/09
Ever read and wondered about the power of the early church. The apostles preached and thousands were saved, one day 3,000 and another day 5000. Acts 2:47- People were saved daily. There was a mighty spiritual movement among the early church. Ever wondered “what happened”? Acts 5:28.
Allan Carr- 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 sources. They are:
I.The Power of Prayer (31)
A. When the disciples came back from their meeting with the Sanhedrin the whole group assembled together in prayer (Acts 4:31-32).
1. As they prayed with one accord, the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them with his presence and power.
2. Prayer is the secret to the Power of God.
a. There are great promises in Prayer
1. Jer. 33:3-
2. John 14:13-14-
3. James 5:16-
b. There is clear instruction in Prayer
1. Luke 11:1-
c. There is clear instruction to Pray
1. 1 Thess 5:18- Pray without ceasing
2. Luke 18:1- Pray without quitting
B. Allan Carr- 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 (Lord, I beg of you to save my brother). We pray, but not in one accord. We pray, but not as a group. 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.
II.The Power of Passion (32)
A.We are told that the believers were of “one heart and one soul”. They did not live for themselves, they lived for those around them. One evidence of love on the part of the disciple was there was not a need another any of them. The church had grown to include thousands of people never the less they were of one heart and one soul.
1. They were consumed for concern for the Lost. ILL- Darryl Radcliff.
2. These folks met the needs of poorer believers. Many of these people were dirt poor. Some were poor from the start others had lost their jobs when they got saved. These believers met their needs.
B. These people lived out the will of the savior.
1. John 13:35- Jesus said, while He was here. Jesus said my disciples would be known by the love they possessed for the people around them. Having compassion for their souls is a sign of love. 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.
C. We need to plug into love that acts. Love that puts others ahead of self.
1. 1 John 3:18-
2. Eph. 4:32-
a. Love makes us considerate of others
b. Love makes people more important than possessions. John MacArthur- First, they were preoccupied with ministering to each other. So intent were they on meeting each other’s needs that they had no concern for gratifying their own desire. Second, they were focused beyond themselves to reaching the lost world with the truth of the gospel.
III.The Power of Proclamation (33)
A.Not only was the early church possessed with the power of prayer and the power of love but also by the power of proclamation. They were a preaching people. They carried the gospel to everybody that would listen. They weren’t ashamed of the gospel, although there was much persecution in that day.
B. Great power was on the disciples as they proclaimed the gospel. Their great power came from the filing of the Holy Spirit.
1. gave- imperfect tense- a continual practice
a. Mark 16:15- there is a whole world out there that needs to hear the truth about the gospel. Every day and in every place we are to tell them about Jesus. The resurrection of Christ was the major theme of the disciples, despite the knowledge that the Jews hated these terms. So as not to offend anyone we water down the true gospel.
b. What are some truths of the gospel:
1. John 14:6-Jesus is the only way to the Father
2. 2 Cor. 5:17- If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.
C. We must understand:
1.1 Cor. 1:21- the proclamation of the message is essential
2. John 6:44- the power of God is essential.