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Community of Power

Pastor Dan's Sermon from August 11th, 2018

· Teaching

Acts 5:12–21 (ESV) — 12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. 17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Acts 5:21–26 (ESV) — 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Summary of the community of power:

1.     Signs and wonders regularly done

2.     They continue to be of one mind pertaining to mutual consent or agreement—‘with one mind, by common consent, unanimously.

3.     They were held in high esteem or honor. They had credibility.

4.     Some were afraid to join, they were losing some but keeping others who refused to live in hypocrisy

5.     At the same time more people than ever were surrendering to Christ

6.     There were so many people who wanted healing they began lining the streets where Peter walked.

7.     People were hearing about it from nearby towns and coming to see what the hubbub is about. The disenfranchised come to the Apostles.

      a. Jesus -The outcasts and those who were disillusioned with the world came to Him to see Him and to be healed by Him. Jesus said it was the sick that needed the doctor and not the well

      b.   David- The outcasts and those that were considered "ugly" (whether in deed or societally) came to David at the cave of Adullam. David drew these men onto himself and did not cast them off. He made warriors and mighty men out of them. 

      c.     Jesus people Movement. Hippies and disenfranchised of America were coming into churches to hear the good news and some churches were turning them away because they were not the "followers" they were expecting. They were not ready for God's move among the seemingly unmovable.

      d.     Coal miners to George Whitfield. These people were cast-offs from society. They were the hard and "unredeemables." God calls into existence that which is not. Even though they were destitute George was faithful to Jesus' heart to preach the good news to those who were "sick" and they were miraculously healed. 

      e.     Are you ready for the disenfranchised 

And here comes the jealous Sadducees. They’re reputation was at stake. Watch what happens when a reputation becomes threatened. They jail them and try to remove them from the scene so that they can have no "competition" for the loyalty of the people.

8.  You cant stop these Apsotles (even by jailing them!) "Lo I am with you always, all authority in heaven, Spirit will give you power, gates of hades shall not prevail."

9.  Angelic beings are encouraging the Apostles to keep doing the ministry of Christ publicly regardless of persecution

10.  They were obedient to this. (they were just beat in the temple)

Signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.

Signs, miracle can be translated “remarkable thing”

It denotes an event that is an indication or confirmation of intervention by transcendent powers.

Wonder: “amazing thing’

‘All together’

Still of one mind and heart!

“hands” - power through someone

None had the courage to join them!,

But held them in high esteem.

More than ever believers were added to the Lord, lost count :)

As the church begins to walk in more power I guarantee it will make the "Saducees" jealous. It will rouse the "high priestly authorities," and persecution is likely to follow. But God will power out His spirit in ways that draws people to Himself where our own skill is unable to perform.

Peter’s shadow was as efficacious of a medium of healing power as the fringe of his Master’s cloak had been (Mark 6:56)

The disenfranchised came to Jesus. No one else would or no one else had the power to. The same is true for the apostles and for the Church today. Remember the women who touched Jesus garment. She had spent her entire life savings on other remedies and nothing would work. The reality is, we have people all over Parkland and the greater 253 region who are wasting their money, time, and energy on remedies that God has not ordained. They are growing disheartened and looking for a genuine healing which God can provide and intends to through the Holy Spirit working through the church.

God will give grace and confirmation in our ministry as we partner with Jesus.

We have already seen many signs and wonders in the early days of the church.

Pentecost being the inaugural outpouring of the Spirit to the church in signs and wonders. But we see as the church continues the Lord is making it abundantly clear that “lo He is with them always” and “All authority in heaven has been given to them” and the “you will receive power with the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

When the Lord sends an angel to your jail do you think He is communicating anything? Well first of all, angel means messanger, So obviously he is saying something. But even beyond the explicit words, He is confirming to the apostles that “all authority under heaven is with them” “The gates of hell will not prevail against the church”

Is it realistic for us to expect to have such power today? Well, we already do, it’s just not as widespread or consistent. We’re seeing miracles now on a level with those we see there, but we still see far too many go away unhealed. In many cases, there is partial relief, in others there begins a gradual improvement. So, it’s not that we don't have the Spirit’s power today, it’s that we don’t have enough, often enough.

Faith and Power

Before I talk about healing, I want to talk about faith and power. There are undoubtedly people sitting in front of me, or listening, that have done everything they know to do to receive healing for themselves or for others they love, and the healing did not, or has not, come. For them (us) this is a very painful subject.

When we talk about healing the emphasis always seems to be placed on an individual’s faith, particularly the faith of the person who is ill. They’re told they must have faith to be healed (and yes, there are passages that challenge us to believe), but what we observe in the Book of Acts is a remarkable level of power which appears to be resting on the entire church, not just certain individuals. And we see the widespread healing of people, who must have come with very different amounts of faith. Surely not every person lining the streets along Peter’s path had great faith. What seems to be at work here, and has emerged at times over the course of church history, is an environment in which great power is present, and in that environment all sorts of people are touched, even unbelievers, even bystanders.

On occasion I’ve had people ask me, after the death of a loved one, “Pastor, what did I do wrong?” They usually assume they didn’t have enough faith. What I’ve said to some is, “Look, if we have to identify the failure, I would say we as a church (myself included) lack the level of power needed. If we had developed to the point where a strong anointing was present, healing would come much more easily.”

(Steve Schell Senior pastor at Northwest Foursquare Church had the following observations)

What are we learning?

The problem is the skills and insights the apostles learned from Jesus were lost by the church nearly 2,000 years ago, and now we’re left to try to rediscover them through trial and error. We know we still have a lot to learn, but because we have a sizeable number of humble and faithful people who are willing to learn this way, God has been able to teach us some important lessons. Here are a few:

1) Stay humble, never stop learning.

2) Prepare yourself before praying. Alone and together press into the Spirit through confession, praise and worship.

3) Watch for His presence.

4) Listen and watch for His direction in each ministry situation.

5) Follow instructions.

6) Lay on hands. Notice the phrase “the hands of the apostles” (v12).

7) Don’t use formulas, discern each person’s need.

8) Pray with authority. Don’t be afraid of the illness or of an unclean spirit.

9) Be confident of God’s desire to heal and deliver when you come to Him “through” Jesus (Ac 3:16).

• Before you pray, work through the issue of is healing this person God’s will

10) Focus on receiving from Him, not on trying to convince Him to heal.

11) Watch for the Spirit working on that person, don’t be in a hurry, give Him time to minister.

12) When possible, minister as a team. One person gets one thing, another gets something else.

Conclusion:

This passage calls us to change the way we think about ourselves, to realize how much we need each other and how much we can do when we minister together. It calls each of us to recognize the contribution we can make and that we should take ourselves seriously as ministers of His power. And it reminds us His power goes with us every time we walk back into the world. We’re not alone anymore, we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. His hand is on all of us. His power rests on the whole community of His people…on His kingdom.

Questions

1) Have you ever been healed? Where were you when that happened?

2) Have you ever layed hands on someone for healing? How did you pray when you did this?

3) Describe a time when you felt the power of God intensely.

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