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The Price of Pentecost, pt. 2

Acts 1:12-14

 

 

We have some things the early church didn’t have.  Carport / flower beds / lobby / lighting / nursery / restrooms / grand piano / projector / video camera / baptistery / fellowship hall / gymnasium / steeple / sign / and…Jesse!  We have some things the early church didn’t have. 

 

The early church had one thing most churches today do not have:  The power of God on their ministry.

You might as well write Ichabod above the door because the glory days are in the past, because the glory of God is departed (not His presence, but His power [glory]).

 

I want this to be a place that’s more than just another church, but where people get the help they need, where lives are truly touched and changed!

 

Joke—an enlisted man in military felt sick/wife said to go to military hospital on base/found 2 doors, one for emergency, other for non-emergency/went for non/long hallway/door for “sick”, another for “injured”/ “very sick” or “moderately sick”/officer or enlisted/went thru enlisted, found himself back in the parking lot!

Went home/wife asked if he went to hospital/sure did/get help?/no, but boy are they organized!

 

I see us becoming a well-oiled machine, and there’s nothing wrong w/ that, but there’s so much more that the people are looking for…the real thing!

(We can have greeters in place, music just right, temperature just right {not often}, but w/out the power of God it doesn’t matter a bit!)

 

We’re talking about paying the price to be the kind of church God wants us to be.  Good churches don’t just happen by accident…somebody has to be willing to pay the price.

 

Acts 1 shows us 4 principles which will lead to the kind of soul-saving, community-changing power of Acts 2:

 

  1. We talked about obedience last time …

 

We used the illustration of a spiritual ATM:

Obedience in…

Attendance/Tithing/Ministry

 

Obedience was the first of the 4 areas listed in ch. 1 in order to get the blessings of ch. 2

 

Let’s move on to

2.     Unity

v. 14—one accord

2:1—one accord

2:46—one accord

4:24—one accord

5:12—one accord

 

If ever a church strives for full unity, there’s just no limit to what God can do…we’re trying to write Acts 29, but we need to go back to the beginning…the power of chapter 2 only follows the obedience and unity of chapter 1.

 

Obviously, there was a wonderful unity among these early believers…they had the same goals / vision / purpose / mind.  They may not have cared for every person in their number, but they didn’t have to, because they remembered that they were all sinners, and so blessed just to be there!

 

They sensed that they were on the threshold of something big and great…it was about to happen, and it would change their world forever…and so they agreed this was no time for arguing / petty squabbles / hurt feelings / power struggles.

        Each was living for something bigger than themselves!  That’s the kind of church God blesses.

 

Some may think it was easier for them than for us…wrong!  They were just like us, and I could show you scriptures which show these same people not always getting along…during this 10 day prayer mtg. there was probably a good bit of apologizing which had to be done!

 

Ill.—Martha going to Mary to apologize for being critical of her worship while she was working in the kitchen / and Mary admits she never helped out as much as she should have at home / they hug and make up and are now in one accord (unity)

 

James and John approach other disciples and apologize for sending their mom to try to help them get preferential treatment…they realized it was arrogant, prideful, egotistical…ask for forgiveness, got it, and now they’re in unity!

 

Maybe Thomas stood up to confess his unbelief, and for calling them liars…and the wall that had separated them since the resurrection some 40 days before came tumbling down and they’re in unity!

 

God loves to bless churches like that…where members are quick to forgive / allow for human weakness and frailty / put what’s best for the church ahead of own personal feelings / filled w/ peacemakers instead of troublemakers.

 

I'm not saying people can't be led of God to separate, agreeing to disagree.  Sometimes it is one of His ways of moving one out of the nest to fly on their own. [Paul and John Mark]  But even they should be Christians about it and come together in unity of the faith!

 

Prov. 6 is God’s hate list:

Proud look / lying tongue / hands that shed innocent blood / heart that devises wicked imaginations / feet swift in running to mischief / false witness speaking lies / …and he that soweth discord among the brethren.

 

That means that if you decide that your way is most important, that your feelings matter most, and you take things into your own hands, you’re guilty of doing one of the 7 things God hates the most, as you sow discord among the brethren!

 

Here’s 3 thoughts on unity (very important since it’s one of the prices of Pentecost)

We could call this 3 ways to be a peacemaker…not a troublemaker!

 

Some people have in their nature, wherever they go, to just be disturbers of the peace, the center of the storm, a whirlwind of strife and tension and animosity…but Jesus said not to be a troublemaker…be a peacemaker!

 

The first sin recorded in the Bible separated man from God.

The second sin separated man from man.

But when Jesus came it was as the Prince of Peace, helping make man once again right w/ his God and w/ his fellow man!  But there will be no lasting peace, until the Prince of Peace returns again to set up His earthly kingdom!

 

Now that I’m saved, I’m already a citizen of God’s kingdom, a child of the King, I ought to be a peacemaker, not a troublemaker.

 

But how can I become a peacemaker?

 

1.     I must take a new look at me.  [honestly, soberly, sincerely]

Troublemakers are always exceedingly selfish.  It’s always about ‘how will this affect me / what will happen to me / what’s in it for me / is this fair to me / am I getting my rights and my just due?

 

Jesus said, he that loveth his life shall lose it…in other words, if you always think of yourself, you may think you’re advancing and getting the upper hand, but you’ll always end up getting the short end of the stick…the Lord will make sure of it!

 

Balance:  there’s always a place for legitimate criticism / complaints…a person is not a troublemaker just because they criticize or have a complaint.

        Some of the best changes we’ve made here resulted from thoughtful input from you! / constructive criticism.  I’ve learned a lot from criticism and very little from compliments!

 

ill—Ruth Graham prepared for interview on TV/cleaned house thoroughly/then TV lights set up, turned on/saw dust she’d never seen before!

        Ever had that moment when 'the light comes on' and you can see your own sin that was once hidden?  Maybe it was because you were focused on scouring for faults in others that you couldn't see your own glaring weaknesses!

        Some feel qualified to spend their energies correcting those around them, but need to shine the lights of heaven on themselves first!

 

I must be emancipated from my self!  I cannot bow at the shrine of self any longer. 

 

A peacemaker doesn’t think little of himself…he doesn’t think of himself at all! 

 

2.     I must take a new look at the many.

I have to learn to see others thru Jesus’ eyes, objectively.  Then I’ll find it hard to say, how can they be like that?  Why do they do that?  The peacemaker knows why…it’s because they are human!  And the best of men are still men at best!

 

We have many new folks here, so I want to share something with you, and it can help all of us: 

How can you continue on in your Christian life, and not be blown away by the behavior of others?

 

Know in advance that sometimes even Christians will fail you and do you wrong.  They may lie about you, they may steal from you, or they may let you down.  Don’t be surprised.  Now, don’t go looking for it, but if it happens, you can be understanding if you know this in advance.  And don’t let it keep you from coming and serving where God puts you!

 

Hurt people hurt people, but we can view them thru the eyes of Jesus, and be a peacemaker.

 

3.     I must take a new look at the multitudes.

The peacemaker has a Biblical worldview, and only wants God to be glorified, and His gospel to be spread, and always keeps the main thing the main thing, focusing on eternity and not temporary values.

 

Whether I have my rights or not doesn’t matter much in light of eternity.  Whether I have been treated unfairly cannot compare w/ the huge difference between heaven and hell after this life!  We who have been found must live for the lost!

 

We must all have 1 concern which outweighs anything else we do:  reaching people who still need to be saved!

        Once we’re all consumed w/ that, it’s easy to overlook the little things in each other’s lives. 

Phil. 1:27      …stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel

 

As long as we all keep our eyes on the goal, we’ll head in the same direction in one accord, in unity!

Then “I” am not important, “they” are.  “My rights” are irrelevant next to “their needs”.  Fishers of men – grab hold of the net and pull in the same direction!

 

Ill—One day all the tools in the shed had a meeting/bro. Hammer stood up to lead, but nobody liked him…he always knocked people!

Bro. Saw was always cutting people down

Bro. Screwdriver went round and round, talking in circles

Bro. Ruler never thought anyone measured up

Bro. Sandpaper rubbed people the wrong way!

        They parted company, went to opposite ends of the shed, but then one day the carpenter from Nazareth came in, picked up the ruler and measured, used the saw to cut, hammered and nailed things into place, used bro. sandpaper to create a beautiful finish, and w/ all these tools the carpenter had built a beautiful pulpit from which to preach the gospel!

        At the end of the day the tools got together and realized all they could accomplish when they stop focusing on each other, and simply place themselves in the hands of the Master!

 

The disciples decided to walk in complete obedience, and unity, and they turned their world upside down…America doesn’t need to be turned upside down, but right side up!  And we can experience the things we find in Acts 2 if we’re willing to pay the price of ch. 1!

 

How can we practically apply these things?

 

  • Learn to control your speaking

Know when to open you mouth and, more importantly, when not to.

James 1:19

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…

 

“2 ears – 1 mouth – Do the math!”

 

“If your lips you would keep from slips, 5 things observe with care:

To whom you speak.  Of whom you speak. And how and when and where!”

 

To a large degree, the difference between a peacemaker and a troublemaker is whether or not you have learned to control you tongue!

 

  • Learn to control your thinking.

It’s not enough to just keep quiet.  You need to have the mind of Christ. 

Proverbs 23:7

    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

 

Troublemakers live acc’d to their feelings.  Peacemakers live acc’d to their will.  They realize they have a choice in the matter!

 

The good news is, if I make my will do what is right, then good feelings will follow.

 

When the Bible says, “Love your enemies” it’s not a suggestion, it’s a command!  It’s true, and I’m living proof, you cannot hold bad feelings toward someone you pray for!  And you won’t pray for someone you are holding onto bad feelings about!

 

The promise:  They will be called the children of God!

 

Children are like their parents.  Maybe you have your father’s eyes, or your mother’s nose.  Well, when you return kindness for anger, or tenderness to someone’s bitterness, you’ll remind people of the God of peace…the Prince of Peace!  They’ll say, wow, she must be God’s child!  They remind me of Jesus!

 

You can do this…at home, at work, at church, out in this community.  Take a new look at me, and get rid of selfishness.

Take a new look at the many, and see them thru God’s eyes.

Take a new look at the multitudes and realize what’s really important.

 

And practically, learn to control your speaking and your thinking, and you will be a peacemaker!

 

There’s something lacking in our area – an old fashioned, heaven sent, soul saving, devil chasing, holy ghost empowered church walking in obedience and unity, not just preaching the Word, but living it, and not just on Sunday, but every day and everywhere, witnessing and inviting to church, where we praise with all our heart, study with all our might, preach with all God’s power, and pray on our knees with humility before our mighty Lord Who wants to use us, the church, in His continuing saga, filled with the power we find in this Bible book of Acts!

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