The Price of Pentecost, pt. 1
Acts 1:12-14; 2:41
V. 8a We need that same power!
Read text We want that kind of soul-saving revival!
That’s the power of Pentecost. And if we want that old-time power to fall once again…if we want the power of Pentecost, then we need to pay the price of Pentecost.
For ten days the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions and waited for the promised Spirit to come. In chapter 2 we will see the fire of God fall on believers / the wind of God blew across their hearts / the Spirit of God came down and inhabited His new temple / 3,000 heard the gospel and got saved…
Some emphasize that in Acts 2 they spoke in tongues…and they did (for a sign)…but that’s not the big deal of Acts 2 / not a rushing mighty wind / not cloven tongues of fire on their heads…but rather that 3,000 got saved!
And we say, "If only that fire would fall on our church, if only a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit would sweep across our church!"
Here in the 21st century, we need to understand that there’s a price to be paid for Pentecost! And Acts 2 does not happen w/out Acts 1.
In the same way, a growing, soulwinning church making a difference, reaching many for Christ doesn’t just happen…there is a price for Pentecost! And most churches are not willing to pay the price, and so they flounder in the sea of mediocrity!
The last thing we want around here is to be one of these places that never sees God work, but just goes thru the motions, and then says, “Let’s all pray that we will remain faithful.” (faithful to what?!) We were left here to be the church, and write Acts 29, the continuing saga!
There is a price for Pentecost!…and the conditions for it are laid out for us in ch. 1! (not complicated, basic, easy to understand, but hardly followed!)
Any church that makes the decision to become an empowered soul-saving station can do so, if they just decide to pay the price!
4 prices to pay, only the 1st this morning:
v. 12 why important? Because they went there in obedience to Christ (v. 4, v. 8)
They could have gone to any other city, and not experienced the power of God. For Jesus didn’t tell them to wait at Bethlehem…they would have missed it…and when the fire of God fell, they were there, right there waiting for it! Right where they were supposed to be!
We see this elsewhere in Scripture, too…where God says, meet me at a certain place, and I will bless you:
Elijah (brook Cherith, fed him during famine by ravens)
I believe he could have gone anywhere else, even a place not in famine, and yet would have starved to death!
Naaman (leper, dip in Jordan) Why in muddy Jordan?
But it wasn’t a hard thing God was asking of him, he obeyed, and was made whole!
Jesus said, “be there.” Where? Where do you think? They waited in the location where the Spirit would fall…in what would form the first church!
It’s not difficult what God requires of us…just simple obedience to Him! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the Lord would always find members of FBC “there”…where God has told them to be!? Where is there? In God’s will! In God’s house.
God doesn’t pour out His power on churches full of disobedient Christians. There is a price to be paid, and it is the price of obedience…from the pulpit to the pew, we’d all do well to realize our disobedience can affect the whole body, and keep His power out of here! Don’t be that one weak link.
Three basic areas to start: (if we really want the power of God! If we really want to cash in on what God can do…and you’ll remember this later because of the acrostic “ATM”)
No church will ever be great where the membership is erratic in their attendance.
Show me a church whose people come sporadically, only when they feel like it, if there’s nothing better to do, if it’s convenient…and I’ll show you a church that’s just playing games/not doing much for Christ! Why?
Because unfaithfulness in attendance says something about you…it reveals a lack of commitment, and a lack of love.
But let’s not deal w/ this from the standpoint of a lack of commitment (people don’t commit these days…unless they really want to! We can do what we want!)
Ill.—preacher visited in home/noticed they had little housedog/noticed they lavished love on the dog to an extreme/ “I can’t get over how much you all love that dog! You’d make great parents…maybe you should have a child to show all that love to!”/woman started weeping and ran out/pastor knew he had said something wrong, apologized to husband/ “There’s no way you could know, but we had a son, and God saw fit to take him to heaven at a very young age…but that dog was our son’s dog…it may seem silly, but the reason we love on that dog in such a way, is that’s our way of showing love for our son…preacher, we love that dog so much simply because our son loved it so much!”
If for no other reason, you ought to love the church because God’s Son loves the church! Don’t ever say, “I love Jesus, but I don’t like to go to church so often”…that’s a contradiction in terms…you cannot separate Jesus from the church any more than you can separate the head from the body, or a building from its foundation!
It’s not “Jesus-or-the church”, it’s “Jesus-and-the church!”
So, aside from the lack of commitment, unfaithful attendance reveals a lack of love!
With all our faults, and we have many/failures/flaws…God’s Son still loves the church and gave Himself for it,
Eph. 5:25-- Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
…therefore we should love the church and show it by being faithful in attendance!
Joke— guy went to prison / 1st day / heard someone holler out from his cell “43” / whole cell block laughed! / 75 / again! / 56! / what’s this? /we’ve all been in for years, tellin’ same jokes over and over…so we’ve numbered each joke, someone hollers a number out, we all think of that joke, we all laugh! / “Care if I try?” / go ahead / hollered out “12!” / nobody laughed (3 x’s) nobody laughed / looked at cellmate and asked, why is nobody laughing? / I guess some guys just can’t tell a joke!
Seriously, when you’re faithful in attendance, you not only say, Jesus I love you, but Pastor, I love you! I appreciate every spiritual meal you prepare for me!
Ill.—a confession: I hurt my wife deeply one time…she had told me before going to work one day about the feast she was gonna have prepared when I got back that night / I got into my day and got busy, and forgot, and then had a big early dinner w/ a friend, then went home, and when I opened the door and took one breath, I knew I was dead!
There was nothing I could say other than sorry, and the only way I could’ve been more rude was to not show up at all…
Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prepared a sermon, and while getting ready God laid someone on my heart, how much this message will help them…well, if it’s happened once, it’s happened 100 times, I’ll look around that day, and they’re not there!
(not talking about being sick, vacation, working, etc., I’m talking about just taking any ole’ opportunity that comes along, or simple excuses Satan provides if you’ll miss!)
Also, not talking about those who travel, and we have several…it’s your right and privilege you’ve earned, and you’re faithfully in church elsewhere / you let me know before you go, and in doing so, you say the same, “Pastor, I love you!” You really say it when you catch the video online. It shows that you are saved and truly thirsty for the Lord, and you didn’t just pray for God to send you a pastor so he would marry and bury you, but you trust that God sent the one to bring you specific messages from Him!
When you’re faithful in attendance, you not only say, Jesus I love you, Pastor, I love you…but also:
One day the great preacher Adrian Rogers asked, “What if your hands had taken the day off today? You ladies couldn’t have put your makeup on!
--every morning I roll over and thank God for a woman…named Mary Kay!” [Glad he’s the one who said it…I feel it would be inappropriate!]
Every single part of the body is important. Good thing your legs are doing their job today…the whole body is intended to function as a unit!
Let’s take a survey: How many of you are more encouraged by a good crowd than when the crowd is down? It’s more exciting, it’s how God intended, singing is better, people get into it, say amen! We’re more open to the Spirit and we have a more spiritual service…every single one matters, and each one who walks in the door is like a spiritual drop of Visine that “gets the dead out!”
Hey, determine in your heart that “I’m not gonna be the reason we’re down” / I care about my brothers and sisters in Christ / I’m not gonna come only when convenient / when I feel like it / I’m gonna be faithful and make the extra effort to make it work!
There’s a price to be paid for Pentecostal power…and if we want God to take us seriously…we’d better take Him seriously! And take His church seriously!
So, we need to be obedient in the basic area of attendance…that’s the “A” (of ATM)…also:
The word “tithe” literally means tenth…ten percent…it’s God’s perfect plan. The wisdom of God planned for us a method of giving which is completely fair and equal to all who will obey, no matter what you make!
It’s a definite portion, and to be brought to a designated place (Mal. 3:10, the storehouse)
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground
God says in Malachi, try me…try this…see if I won’t open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing bigger than you’re even capable of receiving!…see if I am able to take the other 90%, and make it go much farther than 100% ever possibly could.
Then He goes a step farther in v. 11, look at it:
“rebuke the devourer”
There’s 2 plans:
90% and God as your partner
100% and you’re on your own…how’s your plan workin’?
“If God really blesses me, I’ll tithe” (cart before horse)
“We can’t afford to add that to our bills” (you can’t afford not to!) (Won’t work on budget unless it’s first item!)
Hey, I’m not trying to put you into a straight-jacket, I’m trying to set you free!
You can talk about financial freedom all you want, but as a believer, you’ll never be free until you obey this…no Christian can skip over this step. When you tithe, there’s always a blessing, and when you don’t, there’s always a curse!
v. 8-9 curse
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me
for a Divine Purpose
v. 10-- that there may be meat in mine house
We’ve covered the A and the T of our ATM (maybe that’s what we need, a spiritual ATM!)
Everyone’s benefiting from the meat of the Word given out here…even those who “eat free!”
Jesus said “Where your treasure is, there’s your heart”. Jesus says, money talks. That’ll prove you love me and want to obey me.
That’s using our gifts in the church, for we’re not saved to sit but to serve! We must willingly help in needed areas for the Lord’s sake!
(new babies need nursery workers)
The bottom line:
God loves the church / God loves you / and we’re at a crossroads as a church…there’s a price to pay…are we willing to pay it!
Who needs to be saved? We’ve talked about the price to pay…but ultimately, Jesus paid the price for you to be saved!
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