The Price of Pentecost, pt. 3
Time magazine medical section: A man went to psychiatrist/complaining of voices in his head/oh boy!/what kind of voices?/sound like radio broadcasts/how about right now?/clearly!/what’s on?/Rudy Valley broadcasting live from Atlantic City/that’s odd!/pulled out his own radio/sure enough, it was on!/…man worked at a glass factory and had gotten some silica crystals caught in the cavities of his teeth/the combination of silica crystals, saliva, and bridgework had literally transformed the man into a walking radio receiver!/was referred to a dentist who removed the crystals and the man immediately went “off the air!”
A lot of churches have gone “off the air” w/ God/used to be tuned in to a heavenly frequency, but over time they’ve moved in small increments, or allowed disunity to scramble the signal! And now you could change the name on their sign to “The church of the blessed memory!” Their memories are greater than their dreams…they have substituted motion for direction [going thru the motions]/gatekeeping for trailblazing/are keepers of aquarium rather than fishers of men…
We’ve been talking from Acts 1 about how to stay “on the air” w/ God/in tune w/ His signal…it costs quite a bit to receive the signal…the price of Pentecost! Acts 2 cannot exist w/out Acts 1!
Great churches don’t just happen by accident/not determined by location, facilities, or the economy--any more than by climate or skin color!
Great churches occur when God’s people become willing to pay the price…of Pentecost!
Great churches are made up of great families and individuals…and great families have 4 traits of greatness: obedience, unity, prayer, and leadership…churches, too, acc’d to Acts 1…we’ve looked at the first 2…
Judas turned out to be a devil, forsook the Lord, committed suicide, and then there were only 11.
Had to be 12 for a reason: had to correspond w/ 12 tribes of Israel
Today consider: What kind of leader were they looking for? And what kind of leaders do we then need to have in order to be a powerful, spirit-filled church? [Acts 2]
When I say leaders, don’t think we’re just talking about pastors…we’re talking deacons, s.s. teachers, workers, cmte. members, those who serve in any capacity…Jesus said servants are the true leaders…those who get out of the boat/realize we’re not saved to sit but to serve!
In sign language, the gesture for a servant is hands out in front with palms up, moving back and forth between the signer and the signee. This simple motion communicates powerful component qualities about a servant and servant-leadership: trusting, being open, offering help, caring and being willing to be vulnerable.
3 qualities of a Biblical Leader:
A. Leaders must be genuinely converted
v. 22 isn’t it a tragedy the way some churches recruit leadership? On basis of personality/talents/or just willingness!/social status…
…first and foremost, a leader must be born again…genuinely converted!
How many have I talked to? I do the youth! I’m a deacon!…you guys seeing many saved? Umm…what do you mean?
The 11 remaining are being very careful, because they got burned by Judas! A tare among the wheat…a counterfeit Christian…a fake!
And he was a leader! One of the 12!
You can be any leader at any level…but you still must be born again!
It’s one thing to profess Christ/another to possess
Claim His Name/another to submit to His person!
Leaders must be genuinely converted…
B. Leaders must have conviction
Notice 3 things Peter believed about the Bible:
Every leader must believe this or step down, do the honorable thing…otherwise it’s the blind leading the blind!
There’s no such thing as a growing, soul-winning church that is not also a Bible-believing church!
Oh, you can draw a crowd in several ways w/out the Word of God, but you cannot build a true church on anything less… “How Firm a Foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!”
The bottom line is not getting people into the building, it’s what we do once they’re in the building! Isn’t it a tragedy today that so many churches are filling up buildings and preaching a soft-shoe gospel w/ no repentance, no conviction, no new birth, and no preaching on sin…hungry sheep walk in and out of the fold unfed.
Weak excuses for preachers are replacing the exclamation points in the Word of God w/ question marks! God is not blessing a church like that!
Sometimes the truth hurts, and genuine seekers are looking to have their toes stepped on, not their backs patted!
Godly leaders must believe in the authority of God’s Word…
v. 16 the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake!…
[the dual authorship of the Bible!] [breath thru instruments]
v. 16 …concerning Judas!
If Judas had ever bothered, he could have read about himself in the Bible…and so can we! [dividing asunder!]
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Every jot/tittle comes to pass!
If we are going to be the church God wants us to be, we have to have leaders of conviction about the authority/authorship/accuracy of God’s Word.
Leaders must be converted, convicted…
C. Leaders must be Committed [may have to be!]
v. 21 “all the time”
They weren’t looking for someone there one week and gone the next! But “there all the time”! When up, when down, they show up/consistent, committed! They’re on board, in unity, and if not, have the decency to go to authority and try to make it right, or step down!
Leaders are to be examples, in the public eye! If you won’t practice it, don’t preach it!/don’t walk it, don’t talk it!/not willing to follow leadership over you, don’t expect to be able to lead anyone/don’t tithe, don’t volunteer to count it!
You can’t build anything w/ uncommitted people…not a chicken house, much less God’s house!
When I say that, my mind goes to all the committed people we have here, who have caught the vision, and believe it’s going to happen, and just want to be a part.
Of course, there’s always gonna be some who aren’t committed…it pretty much has to be that way…but YOU don’t have to be one of them!
We have some committed leaders…we need some more!
S.S. teachers/Children’s workers/nursery workers/singers/building maintenance needs…these are all good problems to have!
We need more willing to take our outreach assignments on Wed. nights!
The fourth price of Pentecost:
v. 14 “prayer and supplication” (& fasting)
It takes a lot of prayer to have a powerful church! People willing to pay the price of intensive, genuine, heart-agonizing prayer. Nothing of eternal importance is accomplished apart from prayer!
This early church is our example:
Ch. 1—prayed for guidance
3—went to the temple at the hour of prayer
4—prayed for courage
7—Stephen prayed as he was being stoned!
8—Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans
9—Saul of Tarsus prayed for 3 straight days after being saved
…and Peter prayed before raising a woman from the dead
10—Peter prayed on the housetop, and God told him of Cornelius, opening the door to the Gentiles!
12—believers prayed for Peter in prison and he was miraculously rescued! [Rhoda]
13—church of Antioch fasted and prayed prior to sending out Paul and Barnabas
16—at a prayer mtg. God opened Lydia’s heart to the gospel
…also in 16, prison doors were opened…Paul and Silas this time!
20—Paul prayed for his friends before leaving them
27—he prayed for God’s blessings in the midst of a storm
28—he prayed for God to heal a sick man…
…and these are just the recorded instances of prayer in the early church [the world couldn’t contain the books!]
Clearly, from ch. 1 thru 28, it’s obvious that things happen when God’s people pray! The prayers began in ch. 1 and the blessings began falling in ch. 2!
I’m all for modern methods of reaching people, and as money allows there’s many proven ways we can try to go forward….and yet, nothing, no programs, no advertisement, no music, no gimmicks, no organization, no location, no alliterated outline will substitute for the Pentecostal power that falls from above—only thru prayer!
There is a difference between man-made excitement and Holy Ghost endowment!
I love to read after the old-fashioned revivalists, because they were there, they saw it happen w/ their own eyes…and they all can impart great truths we can gain from. How to have a church on fire! I’ve had a taste of that, I’ve been in a place that had it…some of you have been there before, you remember what it’s like…
I look thru my library and think of some great men of yesteryear and their writings about how it happened:
John R. Rice, Hyman Appleman, R.A. Torrey, J. Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday, Oliver B. Greene, D.L. Moody, J. Vernon McGee, W.A. Criswell, G.W. Truett, Spurgeon, and others…they all bring different angles to the table…but ONE common denominator that they ALL bring out is…prayer! They all say that if you’re not willing to pay the price in prayer, don’t expect the power to come!
John R. Rice tells of when he was 20, new pastor, called to do a revival in a country church outside of Decatur, TX (I’ve been there!) He was part of a 2 man ministry team w/ a Bro. Ross [preaching]/Rice was leading the singing/found out they hadn’t had a single person saved in 2 yrs./dead!/actually warned not to expect too much/but they were young, zealous, enthusiastic, believed in prayer/sang and preached on Sunday…nothing happened/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/…on Saturday morning they met and talked about the week, and what was wrong, committed to make Sunday a day of fasting and prayer/Saturday night told the church we’re gonna have a full day at church, come early to pray before s.s., and let’s stay all afternoon and fast, have a 3 pm service, then pray until evening service, let’s tell God we’re not letting go until He blesses us!/…they did it, the church got excited and believed God could do it/all morning, nothing happened/stayed all afternoon fasting and praying/3 pm service…nothing happened/end of service took testimonies and prayer requests/elderly lady said her request is for someone to get saved/Rice went to Bro. Ross and said, let’s believe God for 10 souls in the final service!/do you believe it will happen?/Rice: I want it to happen/but do you believe it will?/ok, yes, I do!/…they and the church continued fasting and praying until 7, no one wanted to leave the building, or their knees, they didn’t talk and fellowship, they prayed earnestly./…looked up at 7 and the building that was only half full before was now packed!/they had to put people in the choir loft/windows looked like picture frames as people tried to peer in from outside!/Bro. Rice led the singing, Bro. Ross gave a simple gospel message, gave invitation…said the first man came fwd. to be saved from the choir loft, a known bootlegger!/many others flooded the altars repenting of sin and praying for God to move!/another man in the choir loft was under such deep conviction that he didn’t use the aisles but just stepped in front of him on empty seats to get to the altar/they continued counseling w/ people, leading them to Christ, one after another, until 11 pm that invitation continued, and no one went home/everyone could feel the Lord’s presence, and most everyone was at the altar sometime in there, many several times!/…Bro. Rice recounted that at 11 they were done counseling, there was nothing left to do, but no one wanted to go home, they all wanted to know the count!/they had believed God for 10 souls, not much more than 100 could even fit in the building…but they anxiously lined them up across the front, how many were there?/there were 23!/Why?
Why? Because some people decided--we don’t need more programs, activities, we just need to pay the price of prayer, get a hold of God, and beg down His blessings!
No music/no fellowship here / take it to the lobby when done praying /when I say go I’ll invite you to go to the altar / if no room at the altar, use a pew, stay as long as you like / I will come around and join each!
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