The Greatest Weapon
NAS Acts 5:12 And 1at the hands of the apostles many asigns and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in bSolomon's portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, athe people 1held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more abelievers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly badded to their number; 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets, and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, aat least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 And also the 1people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick 2or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed. 17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is athe sect of bthe Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy; 18 and they laid hands on the apostles, and aput them in a public jail. 19 But aan angel of the Lord during the night opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 "Go your way, stand and 1speak to the people in the temple 2athe whole message of this Life." 21 And upon hearing this, they entered into the temple aabout daybreak, and began to teach. Now when bthe high priest and his associates had come, they called cthe 1Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. 22 But athe officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned, and reported back, 23 saying, "We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside." 24 Now when athe captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what 1would come of this. 25 But someone came and reported to them, "Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!" 26 Then athe captain went along with bthe officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for cthey were afraid of the people, lest they should be stoned). 27 And when they had brought them, they stood them 1before athe Council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, "We gave you astrict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and bintend to bring this man's blood upon us." 29 But Peter and the apostles answered and said, a"We must obey God rather than men. 30 a"The God of our fathers braised up Jesus, 1whom you had cput to death by hanging Him on a 2cross. 31 a"He is the one whom God exalted 1to His right hand as a 2bPrince and a cSaviour, to grant drepentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 "And we are a1witnesses of these things; and bso is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." 33 But when they heard this, they were acut 1to the quick and were intending to slay them. 34 But a certain Pharisee named aGamaliel, a bteacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in cthe Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 "For some time ago Theudas rose up, aclaiming to be somebody; and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. 1And he was slain; and all who 2followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 "After this man Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of athe census, and drew away some people after him, he too perished, and all those who 1followed him were scattered. 38 "And so in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or 1action should abe of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found afighting against God." 40 And they 1took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they aflogged them and ordered them to 2speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the 1aCouncil, brejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame cfor 2His name. 42 aAnd every day, in the temple and 1from house to house, they 2kept right on teaching and 3bpreaching Jesus as the Christ.
Personal: Not a green thumb…
- My parents were never particularly interested in gardening
- I know the essentials… by name
- Good Soil – no chemicals… no impurities… no caustics… PURITY
- Good Sunlight – Photosynthesis… turns the nutrients of the good soil into POWER
- Weeding - … Choke off the Growth… good soil attracts pests and weeds… PERSECUTION
- Watering / Caring – We need to water, check for bugs and weeds… prune, remove dead leaves… etc. Can’t leave it (quickly overgrown… killed off) PERSISTENCE
- Then… it begins to really grow, the flowers bloom, the fruit begins to show… our garden becomes PRODUCTIVE
Bridge: What is the mission?… Acts makes it pretty clear…
The sign of a true church, one full of genuine believers, one that takes scripture seriously, is one that is faithful to the commands of God!!
NAS Acts 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Squamish, and in all The Lower Mainland and the Province, Our country, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
The Hallmarks of obedience to the Great Commission - PURITY, POWER, PERSECUTION, PERSISTENCE, PRODUCTIVITY
1) Purity: v. 5:12-5:14
· Remember Ananias and Sapphira
ii. Unity… One Accord
iii. GET WITH GOD’S PROGRAM
iv. ** Someone on a team not committed to the task… brings the whole team down
· Springing out of Love of Christ
iii. Service / Honour
· All the “more added” to numbers
i. Growth in purity
ii. Growth in Accountability
iii. Growth… because are obedient!!
Touching Our World!! - Purity
2) Power: v. 5:15-16
· Acts shows a very definite pattern in the miracles provided in the new church
i. God gave credibility to his message and to his messengers by demonstrations of his power…
ii. God through his power extends his influence… ** Ya gotta see this… Fireworks… Niagara Falls…
1. vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together
iii. Testimony Powerful
1. Power in Life
2. Power in Prayer
3. Power in Transformation
· God’s Power extends outside our church
Touching Our World!! - Power
3) Persecution v. 5:12-28
Spike belt on the Roadway of Vital Ministry
Challenge from Competing Faith
1) Liberal Theology
2) Other Faiths
3) Secularism (the world sucking the life out of the church)
4) Secularism (distracting people from Faith)
· Opposition against a strong faith
· Army making in roads (successful)
i. Prepare to resist a break through
ii. God strengthens the troops
· Not health and Wealth
· Easy to believe in Good times
i. Witness in trouble
ii. God of the hurting, the sick, the weary, the needy, God of the single-mom, the dying, God of the persecuted, God of the loser… Jesus is the Champion to the loser… if I had it all I wouldn’t need Christ… but before him I surrender all, and I am RICH
Blessed are you when? When all is going well? When your community loves you? When you offend no one? …NAS Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
Touching the World - Persecution
4) Persistence: v. 5:29-32
· If you believe it
i. You stick with it… because God has a plan (failure to stick it… is a failure to believe!)
NLT Ephesians 1:9 God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centred on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure.
ii. Fall back trust test!! (VICTIM)
2 Thessalonians 1: 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
· Falling away is not an option
NAU Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
· Being quiet is not an option
· NAS Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Touching the World… Persistence
Purity… (forgiven but striving)
Power… (demonstrating the vitality of God)
Persecution… (meeting resistance!!)
Persistence… (staying the course?)
5) Productivity: v. 5:33-42
NAU 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Isaiah 55: 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
36 "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
37 "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.
38 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;
39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God
** But we grow are blessed and serve
God’s plan works…
- The closer our hearts to God… the greater the fruit
- The closer our hearts to God… the more the Kingdom grows
- The closer our hearts to God the more vital and effective his church is!!
- OBEDIENCE brings glory, majesty and productivity to our Lord and King
Touching the World… productively
- I know the essentials… by name
- Good Soil – PURITY
- Good Sunlight – POWER
- Weeding - PERSECUTION
- Watering / Caring – PERSISTENCE
Then… it begins to really grow, the flowers bloom, the fruit begins to show… our garden becomes PRODUCTIVE
In Flander's Field
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch-Be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though
In Flanders fields.
- Captain John D. McCrae