Notes & Transcripts

Change Your World

Change Your World…through Prayer

 

 

1. Pray through your problems

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:23-24

 

P ray

U ntil

S omething

H appens

 

2. Pray to God above

24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'  

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

Acts 4:24-28

 

Lift up your voice to the God who is:

 

1. Lord of everything

2. Creator

3. In control

 

3. Pray for courage to do God’s will

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:29-31

 

Phillips 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.”

 

 

 

“Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all—pray.”

-R.A. Torrey


 

Intro

 

Welcome…

 

Today I am going to begin a New Series…Change your world

 

If you could change your world, what would you do?

 

We are called to play a part in changing our world…

 

It happened 2000 years ago…it can happen today

 

In the book of Acts we find a handful of men and women who changed their world.

 

They spread the message and love of Christ to their know world.

 

Because of them we our lives have been changed as the result of the good news!!

 

As we consider how they changed their world we can see how to change ours!!

 

One of the obvious ways they changed their world was through prayer.

 

You can Change Your World…through prayer!!!

 

How is your prayer life?

 

PPT Cartoons…

·    Praying Mantis Has no desire

 

·    Praying Mantis Has no time

 

What about you?

 

We humans are pretty good at using God like He is a spare tire or an EMT (emergency medical technician), or some kind of magic genie.

 

And we’ve all done this with God.

 

I heard the story about a man who had regularly prayed for many years began to wonder if God heard his prayers at all.

 

During one of his routine times of prayer, he started this doubting pattern once again.

He stopped praying and thought for a moment. “Enough of this,” he said.

 

He then lifted his eyes toward heaven and yelled, “Hey up there, can you hear me?”

 

There was no response.

 

He continued, “Hey, God, if you can really hear me, tell me what you want me to do with my life.”

 

A voice from above thundered a reply, “I WANT YOU TO HELP THE NEEDY AND GIVE YOUR LIFE FOR THE CAUSE OF PEACE!”

 

Faced with more of a challenge than the man really wanted, he answered, “Actually, God, I was just checking to see if you were there.”

 

The voice from above now answered with disappointment: “THAT’S ALRIGHT; I WAS ONLY CHECKING TO SEE IF YOU WERE THERE.”

 

Are we here?

 

Are we the kind of praying people that we should be?

 

Is God asking, “Are you there? If so, why don’t I hear from you more often and not just when you need something?”

 

 

 

 

From the beginning of the Bible to its conclusion, we see absolute evidence that God answers prayer.

 

Things that we think are impossible, God does when people pray.

 

Prayer has won victories over fire and air and earth and water.

 

Prayer opened the Red Sea.

 

Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven.

 

Prayer made the sun stand still.

 

Prayer brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice.

 

Prayer overthrew armies and healed the sick.

 

Prayer raised the dead.

 

Prayer has paved the way for the conversion of millions of people.

 

When we pray, we align ourselves with the purposes of God and tap into the power of the Almighty.

 

Because we pray, God works through us in ways that He wouldn’t otherwise.

 

God has made certain things dependent upon prayer, things that will never be done unless we pray.

 

Could God do whatever He chooses without our prayer?

 

Of course. But God has determined that He will use the prayers of His people to accomplish His purposes on this earth.

 

When we do not pray, we limit what God might do in our lives.

 

Some may not like the sound of this, but if it were not true, what could James mean when he writes,

 

“You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2, niv)?

 

 

 

Why would Paul ask some friends to “pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored…pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men”
(2 Thessalonians 3:1–2, niv),
if he did not believe their prayers had the power to change his circumstances?

 

Both James and Paul believed that God might well withhold His hand of blessing from them if they neglected to pray.

 

Since they wanted all the blessing available to them, they not only prayed themselves, they recruited others to pray for them.

 

They never wanted to limit what God might be pleased to do in and through them by failing to pray.

 

If we want all the blessing God has available to give us, we, too, must pray.

 

But how are we to pray?

 

We find out in Acts chapter 4.

 

The background for this passage is the religious leaders had arrested Peter and John after they had healed a crippled man.

 

Peter tells the religious leaders it was through Jesus’ power.

 

The religious leaders threaten Peter and John and command them to quit preaching about Jesus….and let them go.

 

It is here we find a snapshot of the early church…. It is a turning point…they could’ve stopped sharing Jesus…because of threats….or continue sharing Christ.

 

What would they do???

With that as a background we come to Acts 4:23…and it is here we find from  their example how to change our world through prayer…

 

Change Your World…through prayer

 

1. Pray through your problems

 

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:23-24

 

Upon their release, the apostles found the other believers and shared with them the details of their experience.

 

Note the words "reported all."

They shared all that the court had said: their questioning, their threats, their warnings.

 

They shared how persecution would come if they continued to preach Jesus…

 

In verse 18 the priests and elders commanded Peter and John "not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus."

 

In verse 21 they threaten them further.

 

So the occasion for this prayer is very dangerous threats against the preaching of God's word in the name of Jesus.

 

There were some dangerous obstacles in the way of the spread of Jesus' name.

 

The religious leaders were saying stop or you gonna pay for it!!

 

What would the church do???

 

A turning point…

 

Would fear paralyze them or would their mobilize them?

 

Churches today face a similar dilemma…do we play it safe or do we move forward!!

 

 

 

Have you ever noticed how a lot of football teams play it safe….

 

Just run the ball…

 

Prevent defense…(the only thing it prevents is from winning

 

What happens?

 

They usually ends up losing when they not to lose instead of playing to win!! (Buckeyes)

 

Church plays it safe when they get comfortable and look at the scoreboard and say: we’ve done enough…we have enough people…we have enough programs…we have enough space…we have enough churches in the area…

Let’s just play it safe!! After all it may cost us something!!

 

You will never change the world if you play it safe!!!

 

The early church knew that…notice what they did…v.24

 

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

 

A decision whether or not to continue preaching was not even considered.

 

The decision to carry the gospel to the whole world was made by Christ. It is not up for debate.

 

Believers are commanded to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

However they did decide to lift up their voices to God!!

 

This is why the church didn’t waste anytime…instead of complaining and criticizing and trying to figure out what they were going to do….they prayed.

 

Why?

 

They did not assume that they could keep on and advance without a God!!!

 

What a great example for us…personally and as a church.

 

When problems came…in this case persecution…they prayed!!


 

Who or What is your Sanhedrin? Your problem? Your giant? Your obstacle?

 

Examples….

 

What are you doing about it?

 

·    Complain

 

·    Give up

 

·    Pray

 

When problems come…So many people give up praying...just before God begins to move!!

 

We don’t want to miss out on what God wants to do

 

Do not give up…

 

Gal 6:9

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Gal 6:9 NIV

 

 

 

P.U.S.H.

 

P ray

 

U ntil

 

S omething

 

H appens

 

In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season.

 

Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools.

 

After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired.

 

Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.

 

However, an unexpected visitor

Shows up with a message…

 

Watch this…

 

Ch 10…

 

 

The message:

 

Don’t give up!!

 

God will send the rain when He is ready…

 

Prepare…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories.

Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.

 

With God, all things are possible …

 

 

 

 


Do you want to change your world?

 

1. Pray through your problems

 

2. Pray to God above

 

In v.24 it says

24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

 

"God really is God, he's not just applying for the job."

--Leighton Ford

 

Do we believe God really is God?

 

The early church did.

 

When they prayed to God…you will notice some clear cut convictions about the God they were praying to.


 

"Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'  

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

Acts 4:24-28

 

They began by addressing God: “Sovereign Lord”

 

That title comes for the word which means Lord of everything

 

It is the word used by slaves in referring to their Master, slaves who are totally subjected to the Lord and Master of their domain.

 

So the first conviction they have about God is:

 

1. You are Lord of everything

 

He alone is God and Sovereign Lord.

No one else is—no person, no being, no ruling power, visible or invisible, physical or spiritual (cp. Romans 8:38-39; Col. 1:16).

 

Notice the second conviction they have about God… you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.

 

2. You are Creator

 

God is the One who created the universe in all its massiveness.

 

God alone is the One who has such omnipotent power to create.

Therefore, there is no one—no person, no being, no ruling body, no nation—not even a world that can stand and stop His will and power.

 

That would include the Sanhedrin!!

 

John 1:3 (NIV)

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

 

This was the church's great conviction of God's power.

 

Notice the third conviction they have about God… 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

 

3. You are in control

 

The church found great comfort in the fact that the God who whom they prayed was the creator of heaven and earth, who was the sovereign God of the universe, who was totally in control of all that happened.

 

Should they be concerned that mere men have threatened them and are seeking to stamp out God’s kingdom?

 

Of course not!!!

 

They are on the right side, the side of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Sovereign of the Universe, the God of History, the God of Revelation.

What could mere men do to them?

 

Someone has said…

He always wins who sides with God. —Anonymous

 

Like the early church we need a proper view of the God we pray to…

 

Isaiah had a proper view of God

 

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isa 40:28-31 NIV

 

 

Lou….67 year old guy I’m running with wears a necklace with passage  as a reminder from his wife as he runs…

 

We need to acknowledge Him all the time…

 

In 1993, the senior class of River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Michigan, found an interesting way to acknowledge God.

 

Aware of all the threats about openly praying to God at their graduation, these seniors devised a unique plan.

 

Once the diplomas were received, an unidentified graduate deliberately sneezed very loudly.

In unison, all ninety-five graduates exclaimed, “God bless you!”

 

The ACLU is probably still trying to figure out if that’s legal.

 

NEWSLETTER Newsletter, July 1996, p. 2

 

We need to have a view of God that is large before we see how small our problems really are.

 

We must understand that this God is the God of creation, who created all, maintains all, rules all, and owns all.

The implication of course is that the creator is more powerful than those who He has created.

 

Because of their focus on God the apostles and the early church saw the persecution they faced as an ongoing resistance to Christ and his kingdom.

 

And in the light of what God has said, they saw this resistance as futile and foolish.

 

The Kingdom of God cannot be stopped and thus, they could not be silenced.

 

It is just a matter of which kingdom you are trusting in the kingdom of man or the Kingdom of God
This God that the early church prayed to can handle any problem we face…

 

Do you feel like the plans of man will succeed?

 

Something you are up against that you feel like God can’t handle??

 

Are you discouraged, depressed, find it difficult to go on?

 

CH Spurgeon’s wife…

 

You need an eternal perspective!!!

 

Look up!!!!!

 

 

 

Lift up your voice to the God who is:

 

1. Lord of everything

 

2. Creator

 

3. In control

 

 

 


Do you want to change your world?

 

1. Pray through your problems

 

2. Pray to God above

 

3. Pray for courage to do God’s will

 

 

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

 

Phillips 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.”

 

That is the way the early Christians prayed, and that is the way God’s people should pray today.

 

Their concern about the danger around them was not for their safety but that it might rob them of the ability to serve.

 

They prayed for boldness.

 

The threats from the religious leaders were intended to silence the church from speaking the name of Jesus.

 

And so their requests were to have boldness in their speech.

 

The prayer for boldness and confidence was an admission of their own fallibility as Christians.

When they prayed God moved!!!

 

When they prayed God used them to change their world!!!

 

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:29-31

 

Certainly when we encounter God in a fresh way, one of the first by-products is courage.

 

The revelation of God makes us agree with Paul when he said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NKJV

 

It is not surprising to find verse 31 ending with the announcement that the believers “spoke the word of God boldly.”

Conclusion

 

Is the church in the books of Acts any different than the church today?

 

Should it be? No.

 

The God they prayed to is the God we pray to.

 

The God who shook them is the God who will shake us.

 

The God who filled them is the God who desires to fill us with His Holy Spirit.

 

The God who empowered them to speak is the God who empowers you and I to speak so boldly about Jesus Christ.

What I want to do today is challenge you….change your world!!

 

As we return to the movie FACING THE GIANTS, Coach Grant Taylor’s world has changed…his team begins to win on the field, but more importantly they begin to win off the field as God moves in their lives in a very special way.

 

Watch this…

 

Ch. 15

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Taylor discovers spiritual revival has hit the Shiloh Christian Academy campus.

 

Multiple students have simultaneously made decisions to follow Christ, confess their problems, and forgive one another.

 

God was in a special way…as a result of prayer.

 

An elderly man named Mr. Bridges has been quietly walking the halls of the school, asking God to send a spiritual revival to the students as he passes their lockers.

 

 

 


Concl:

 

Dr. R.A. Torrey, the noted evangelist and educator, said, “Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all—pray.”

 

The early church prayed, and God answered in mighty power.

 

Will you pray…God change the world through us… God change the world through me!!!

 

We can change the world through prayer!!!!

 

When we pray, we align ourselves with the purposes of God and tap into the power of the Almighty. (DJER)

PRAYER CHALLENGE: for the next 30 days:

 

PRAY EVERYDAY!!

 

1. Pray through your problems

2. Pray to God above

3. Pray for courage to do God’s will

 

God will change your world…when you begin to pray these things!!!

 

Personal application…What do you know  is God’s will for your life…pray for courage to do it..

 

Salvation?

Baptism?

Church membership?

Serving God?

Sharing Christ?



 

P

 

I don’t want to be an ordinary Christian and I don’t want to be the pastor of an ordinary church.

 

I don’t really care about the size of our church, I do care a great deal about the spirit of our church. I want to challenge you to do three things with me (Hamby)

 

1. Pray through your obstacles

2. Pray to God above

3. Pray for courage to do God’s will

 

 


Church application….Courage to be on mission with God

 

Embracing His Vision to build bridges and make disciples

 

Serving

Sharing

 

 

 

 


 

 


Appendix:

 

If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.

D.L. Moody, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 1.

 

GIVING GOOGLE CREDIT

I read this story in Globo, the Brasilian equivalent of USA Today.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google, are visiting Brazil this week. A couple of nights ago they went to a restuarant, ordered an "extravagant" meal of salad, pasta, melon juice and manga ice cream, running up a tab of slightly more than $50 (fifty) US dollars. Here's the interesting part. When they went to pay for their meal, the billionaires' credit card was declined. No kidding. They were asked to provide another card, which they did, and this one went through.

As a traveler to Brasil, I've had this happen more than once; it's a glitch in the international banking system. However, it's interesting that two men worth a combined 20 billion dollars had trouble paying for a $50 meal.

Like those billionaires, we have riches and wealth at our disposal, but we don't receive it because we ask with the "wrong card" -- we ask the wrong way, for the wrong reasons, and we'll never receive. Just like their card blocked their access to their riches, our prayers, spoken amiss, block our access to the blessings of God.

You have not because you ask not, and when you ask you do not receive because you ask amiss. (James 4) q

 

 

 

In the face of this recent persecution, the believers spontaneously joined in prayer

 

Peter and John were released. As soon as they were released, they sought out their fellow believers, the church. Most likely the church was already meeting together, praying for Peter and John.

1.  They reported and shared their experience with the church. Note several striking facts.

a.  Peter and John were not depressed, discouraged, or downcast. Neither were they stricken with fear and trembling. They were not suggesting the church withdraw into a hole and keep its message to itself. They had been imprisoned and tried by the Supreme Court itself, threatened and warned, but they were not defeated and silenced.

—Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible - Commentary

 

The concern of Peter and John was to encourage and edify (build up) the church and to warn them of the coming persecution that lay over the horizon.

 

Note a striking fact.

2.  The church could do but one thing: it triumphantly lifted its voice to God in prayer. But note: the prayer was triumphant and united "with one accord." The triumph of the church is seen in the points of its convictions throughout the prayer. The "one accord" means they prayed with one mind and one spirit. They focused and concentrated upon what was being prayed. Their minds were not wandering about. They were not half-heartedly praying, some praying and others thinking about their own affairs. They were "all of one accord," zeroing in on God and His wonderful care and provision. It is such group prayers that God hears and answers.

—Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible - Commentary


 

Use Facing the Giants movie clip…see movie ministry for ideas

 

3. This prayer is relevant because of the occasion when it was prayed.

Peter and John had just been released from custody. Verse 23 says they told the other believers specifically what the chief priests and elders had said. Verse 29 clues us in on what this was. The believers pray, "Now, Lord, look upon their threats." In other words, Peter and John had told them about the threats mentioned in verses 18 & 21. fresh baptism of the Spirit.

Fear could paralyze them at any moment. One look into their children's face and they want to run away where it is comfortable and safe and not risk speaking for Christ in public any more.

So this prayer is relevant for us because of its occasion. We face tremendous obstacles too. Persecution of Christians is a way of life in many countries of the world. In America persecution is increasing and freedoms are narrowing, as the secular relativists feel more and more threatened by our message that there is one way to God and one set of commandments valid for all.

But even short of persecution, the obstacles we face making Christ known are great -- with the anonymity of neighborhoods created by mobility; the entertainment industry that keeps people saturated with the world and numb to spiritual things; a thoroughly God-ignoring culture; a medical technology so advanced and so available that people seldom think of resorting to God for help; and on top of all this the relative weakness of the church very enmeshed in the values of the world they are supposed to confront with a radically different Christ.

If the early Christians, with their first-hand experience of the risen Christ and their immediate access to apostles and eye-witnesses needed to seek a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to carry on in their situation, how much more we. (PIPER)

We find that most of this prayer is an affirmation of the Sovereignty of God!! Notice first of all that they prayed to “Lord, You are God” they literally called upon God as "Sovereign Lord" or "Despot." The Greek word despota is the word we get the English word “despot” from and it means one who has absolute authority and here it means that God has absolute authority over his universe and his church. They were appealing to the highest authority for their protection. They presented themselves as His “servants” (v. 29) literally doulos or slaves. They were not making demands of Him.

 


“Pray for Revival”

Clip No. 7 … Study by Michael Catt

THE BIG QUESTION: What does it mean to ask God to send revival?

SCENE: Coach Grant Taylor discovers that a spiritual revival has hit the Shiloh Christian Academy campus.

Multiple students have simultaneously made decisions to follow Christ, confess their problems, and

forgive one another. A man who has been asking God to send revival continues to pray for the students

while the revival goes on.

SCENE LENGTH: 1 minute, 45 seconds

TOPICS DISCUSSED: Prayer. Revival. Endurance. Forgiveness. Intercession. Salvation.

BACKGROUND INFO: The attitudes and actions of the students at Shiloh Christian Academy are foolish and apathetic. For

years, however, an elderly man named Mr. Bridges has been quietly walking the halls of the school,

asking God to send a spiritual revival to the students as he passes their lockers.

KEY STUDY SCRIPTURES: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What does it mean for the Lord to send revival? What does revival mean to you?

2. Why is it important for Mr. Bridges to see the Lord send revival to Shiloh?

3. How does Mr. Bridges pray for the students at Shiloh?

4. What causes the change in the student body at Shiloh?

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked

ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

TACKLING THE BIG QUESTION: So, what does it mean to ask God to send revival?

Iain H. Murray wrote, “The characteristic of revival is that a profound consciousness of sin is produced in many persons at the same

time by an awareness of God.” We must be desperate in our pursuit of God, not just in our pursuit of revival. If we don’t come away

changed as a result of our importunate praying, then we are pleading in vain. God wants to send revival. Persevere in prayer until you

see God send a fresh movement on our land. Are you willing to pray for revival in your home, church, and world?

Copyright 2006 Sherwood Pictures / Written by Michael Catt

 

 

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