Today we begin a ten-part series on the Wind, Catch the Wind. It's a series about the Holy Spirit, about the first five chapters of the book of Acts.
You know, the Wind of God is always blowing. But to benefit from its power you've got to hoist your sails. We're going to show you how the disciples hoisted their sails, because they caught the Wind.
Today we begin a fascinating look at the birthday of the God's Church in the New Testament times, and how the power of the Holy Spirit enabled the fledgling flickering early church to grow to over two Billion people that it is today. The church has really grown. If you were going to start a church would you leave in the care of maybe Bill Gates who has all the money and he could finance the church? You know, Jesus left the church and its responsibility of eleven poor fishermen. A hundred twenty believers is all that the total was. And so, that's where the church got its start. And we're going to look at this and you are going to see that Jesus trusted this group so much that He actually went back home and left it completely in charge of them. Would you do that? A movement that you actually wanted to go some place. And for fifty days, nothing happened. It was kind of smoldering along. It looked like the small feeble band might be no more than a flash in the pan.
But, Acts 1 is a thrilling experience, exciting, and it is the only account of what happened between the lightning of the incarnation and the thunder of Pentecost. Have you ever been in a lightning and thunder storm? Collegedale is famous for those. We have these quite a bit. Between the lightning and the thunder you can count, and while you're counting what noise do you hear? Just the silence or the rain. That's about it. And you are gong to see what happened between the lightning and the thunder. Some exciting things went on. They weren't just counting to five or ten. During those fifty days there was a deliberate preparation for the arrival of this mighty Power that God had promised, that thunder clap that is still being heard around the world to this day. So if you follow the example that is set for you here in the book of Acts you are also going to experience a tremendous surge of Power. Do you need some Power in your life? The Holy Spirit is going to rain down His royal power upon you as He promised them. That promise is for everybody who has ever lived that wants to meet those conditions.
We call this series, "Catch the Wind" because that's what you have to do. The Wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. So, come with me to Acts 1:1. Here, Dr. Luke who was an eye witness that is writing a second volume to his friend, Theophilus, sharing the thrilling story of Jesus. And by the way, did you know that Luke wrote thirty percent of the New Testament? thirty percent of it written by a doctor. The book of Luke is the first installment of his interesting report. The book of Acts is the second installment. And I will tell you that the book is not even written yet because you are participants of that book. And you are key players of the latter rain of which this was the former.
So, let's look now at Acts 1:1. In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach. You see, the book of Luke is merely the beginning. It's just the beginning, just a small portion of what would take place. Jesus' three and a half years of ministry was just a dawning of a grand and wonderful mission that would take place.
Acts 1:2. until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. Jesus did not terminate His ministry by going back to heaven. He empowered that group. The Holy Spirit would continue the work. The heavenly power would no longer be with them but in them. (Romans 8:9)
Acts 1:3. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Jesus was alive! Jesus was no ghost. He had to prove to them that He was alive. You see, you can't be disciples and go out there and says, "Well, Jesus is the King. I'm pretty sure He's alive, you know. You've got to believe that." And Jesus For the disciples to witness they must know Jesus is alive! The King James Version says the proofs were "Infallible." Jesus, as far as I know, appeared to them at least 12 times. That's pretty convincing. One would be pretty good, two would be great. twelve? That's infallible.
As far as I could tell, He appeared to
Acts 1:4,5. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." When you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, you have the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you drove in to church this morning, if you came down McDonald Road you saw some signs, didn't you. And when you walked in you saw our beautiful fruit trees along the side of the road. They look like maple trees, but now they're bearing bananas and every other kind of fruit. [The vacation Bible school people have decorated the trees along the driveway.] And you will produce fruits in your life, the fruits of the Spirit, if you have the Holy Spirit in your life.
So, they were told to wait in Jerusalem. You should never begin working for Jesus half cocked or on your own strength. You need to wait for the empowerment. You need to wait for the strength. You need to be energized. The Holy Spirit will be your strength.
Now, what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? If I were to ask this question in some churches they would say, "It is speaking in tongues." Would they be right? I don't think so. Because it says in Matthew 3:11 that Jesus Christ Himself was baptized with the Holy Spirit and there is no record of Jesus ever speaking in tongues. We don't know. There is no record, none at all. And yet He had the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So, that's not it. It is being baptized with Holy Power in your life! You have power for Christian living. You have power to overcome habits. You have power for witnessing.
Let me ask you another question: Which is the more important, Christmas or Pentecost? How many of you would rather celebrate Christmas or Pentecost? Which is the most important? Without Pentecost, would you have ever heard about Christmas? You wouldn't have heard about Jesus' birth. It was Pentecost that put fuel in the tank giving power to the movement called Christianity. Without that Power Christmas would have been unheard of. Jesus' death on the cross would have been just one more of the thousands of people executed by the Romans. Jesus' resurrection would have been spectacular, but without the founding of the Christian Church you might never have heard of it.
To have never had a Pentecost would be like having the keys to a Corvette that was out of gas. And to top that off, the last oil well had gone dry 20 years ago and not one drop of gasoline existed in the whole world. Now, what good would that Corvette do you? No good at all. You couldn't even get a speeding ticket with it. Pentecost is more important than Christmas.
Jesus promised high octane fuel to supply the new church with the needed power. But the disciples misunderstood Him. They asked a dumb question: Acts 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" "Are you going to beat the Romans?" They didn't have a clue to what Jesus was talking about.
The disciples wanted the good old days of Israel's dominion to be restored. They wanted victory over the Romans. Jesus looked to the grand times of the future when His Churchly kingdom would blaze in grandeur. They wanted to know the date when Rome would get out of their hair and restore their freedom. And Jesus wanted them to take the message to the whole world. These eleven disciples expectations were so low and the plans of Jesus were so high, they just did not match. They could not get Rome out of their minds. Jesus' plans are far greater for you than your wildest dreams.
Jesus was talking about one thing and they were hearing another thing. Married couples do that. We don't listen. We've got our own agendas. We've got to get together.
Acts 1:7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority."
Jesus is not the servant of time but its master. Why do we always want to set a date for future events? Don't embarrass yourself by announcing a date for Jesus return. Our job is to trust Jesus and let Him do the driving as He sits at the steering wheel of the universe.
In the Greek New Testament, times is "chronos." You all have a chronometer, don't you. It measures time, a watch or clock. Chronometers are good, but it is not for us to know the time. Have you ever had someone come up to you and say, "I know when Jesus is coming. You watch! There's going to be an earthquake and the stars are lined up funny on this date, and Jesus is going to come on this date." Just avoid people like that. We don't know when Jesus is coming. God's appointment book is privy to Him, and not to us. It's private information.
And He said, "Of the times and seasons, you don't know." Now what does it mean about seasons? The Greek word is "kairos." That means the quality. One is the quantity, and other is the quality. You don't know the quality that is coming either. You don't know the precise time and you really don't know the nature of the kingdom God has set up for you. So, you just trust Him. When He gets here you will get His very best. That's what Jesus is saying here.
Now, come to the Key verse in the whole book Acts 1:8. In fact, Acts 8 is an outline of the whole book of Acts. This is the outline of the whole book and the key verse of the entire book of Acts. Acts 1:8. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." That's what's going to happen to you.
You are going to receive, what? What's the first thing we get? We're going to receive "dunamis." We're going to receive power. We're going to receive dynamite. That's where the word, dynamite comes from: dunamis. And here's the promise of true power: when the Holy Spirit comes into your life then the power will arrive. You never want to waste power. Power is precious. Power should be rightly used.
I was in Collegedale on the Fourth of July and there were fireworks. Not by the city of Collegedale. I think that was on July 3, wasn't it> Friday night you could go to the fireworks store and buy some big things. They were shooting them off and there was such a show.
One of our church members here at McDonald Road was enjoying some fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend and she was sitting there enjoying the fireworks. Her husband was shooting them off. He lit a mortar. Now a mortar is about six inches around. This is a big thing. They lit the mortar and it has two stages: one to get it up and the second to explode up there and provide the pretty lights. Well, as they lit this mortar, they ran, which they should do, and it tipped over. She was sitting over here, and it went off and she was wearing blue jeans and it went up the leg of her blue jeans. You know here. She was here for first church service this morning. It went up the leg of her blue jeans and then the second stage went off. It was pretty bad. It was power in the wrong place. It was all just bad burns, pain. Her leg was still all bandaged up [this is the 19th]. Still trying to heal.
What we want is the right kind of power in the right place. And where does His Power want to be in your life? In your heart. And what is His Power for? It's not to damage, it's to witness about Jesus Christ. So, make sure you get the right kind of Power, and make sure it's in the right place.
The Power is coming! Power is promised to us. After many harrowing experiences the great Explorers Lewis and Clark conquered the North West. But a smaller band of men had to take on the entire world... theirs was a mission impossible. Every land must be conquered, every city entered with the gospel. They needed more than guns and horses to conquer the ingrained Hebrew religion, unbelief, paganism, lands and seas, Language barriers and opposition from government.
The Power was for what? The text says "You shall receive power...and you shall be My witnesses." That's what the Power is for. It's for witnessing. And if someone says: "What is your occupation?" say, "I am a witness for Jesus Christ, but I pack boxes to pay expenses." Your occupation is that you are a witness.
As long as we keep witnessing, His power will keep flowing. I think when we stop witnessing, the power stops. This does not describe a big reservoir but a pipe. Christians are supposed to be conduits not storage tanks. We are not a reservoir to hold all this back and consume it all upon ourselves. We are a conduit so don't hold it in. When you get a powerful blessing from your daily Bible study don't hold it in but go share it. Then and only then will you receive more and complete power. Do you have your dynamite? You need to go get it and keep it coming by sharing it with others.
So, they were commanded to be witnesses. And this command was not limited to the twelve disciples but to every one of us. The truth is that every one of us are called to witness. Not to be attorneys and argue the doctrines but eye witnesses of what you have seen God do. Tell everybody what Jesus has done for you. "This is what happened to me." That is not hard. That's all you have to be to be a witness. Just share what God did for you. What God is doing through you.
A blind Chinese farmer had his cataracts removed. A few days later the doctor looked out his bamboo window to see the formerly blind man holding the front end of a long rope. Holding on to the rope were other blind Chinese farmers. The man had been a good witness. - Anders. P 7.
God does not purpose to squander His awesome power on us for our personal enjoyment but that we might share it with someone else. And who is that someone? The Divine blueprint, Acts 1:8 says: "You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." First look around Jerusalem, around your house. Maybe your teenager, your wife or husband. Maybe a relative. Next why not help someone in your church family that is in need. Then focus on your neighbors. Then direct your energies on the people at work. Next direct your attention to the needs of the conference and then the whole world. The circle gets wider and wider. Which is more important... Home Missions or Foreign Missions? They're both on the list so they are equal although your family should be first.
The truth is that none of the 12 made a move outside Judea until Philip, a deacon, went to Samaria. Only after the 12 heard about his great success did they launch out. Praise the Lord for deacons and deaconesses.
This command echos Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...
We are doing that in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Are you aware that our church about thirty years ago went into overdrive? We are growing at a phenomenal rate. Eight out every hundred Seventh-day Adventists lives in North America. Most of us live somewhere else. You've read these figures. Did you know that one out of every three Seventh-day Adventists lives in Africa? Of all the Seventh Day Adventists that have ever lived, two thirds of them are still alive today. We are growing fast. We are a very new church, one of the fastest growing churches in the entire world. It's explosive growth. Two people are joining every minute. I think the Holy Spirit is alive and zestfully active among Adventists. -source: Review, NAD edition, July, 2003, p. 16-22.
Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
The glorious ascension was from the Mount of Olives near Bethany ( Luke 24:45ff) and Jesus stepped out of time as He went back to the future. That's about what happened. Jesus' resurrection was in stealth but His Ascension was visible and clear. Now the world had been acquainted with resurrections before. But here was something new under the sun. Without the aid of a chariot or anything, Jesus defied the law of gravity and slowly began to rise. Up, up, up and away He went. God in a human body became a floating flying object. He who created gravity used an unknown power to transcend gravity.
Acts 1:10,11. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." He's coming back! Jesus is going to return.
Now, little did they know, they thought maybe that will be a year from now, "Maybe He'll be back tomorrow." They didn't know. They didn't know it would be two thousand years, or maybe even longer. None of us knows the date. Jesus went that He might return at the second coming. Jesus is further on ahead beckoning us to new heights. We now have a human Advocate in heaven. We've got a Mediator in Heaven, Somebody to represent us. What had started in a cradle now ended in a cloud. Someday soon Jesus will return in the same manner as He went. He will come with clouds of Angels, at an unexpected time.
The thunderstruck disciples gawked up at their disappearing Friend. Finally He became a small speck. We've all done that. You blink and it is all gone. The first coming faded away. Now the focus was the second coming. Do you look intently for Jesus to come? Are you ready?
The Wind of God is Always Blowing. Are you willing to hoist your sails? If you really want to that, then I want you to be here for the other sermons in this series because you're going to see how the disciples were able to be victorious throughout the entire the then known world. If you want soar with the Wind then you stick with this series and you're going to learn how they soared with the Wind, what they did to connect with the Power, how they used that Power, and I think this will help you to live your life with new Power, new, fresh energy that you need that you have not had before. So, stick with it.
Part 1 of a 10 part series entitled:
July 19 - The Promise of the Wind
Sources: The Communicator's Commentary, by Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Word Books Publisher, Waco, TX. Holman New Testament Commentary on Acts, by Anders and Gangel, 1998, Broadman, Nashville, Tennessee. Exploring Acts, The John Phillips Commentary, 1986, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Acts of the Apostles, by Ellen White, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA. 1911. Hymn of Praise: #230, All Glory, Laud and Honor Scripture: Acts 1:3-5 Hymn of Response: #498, Still, Still With Thee 030719#536
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last updated 7/20/2003 by Bob Beckett.