- Sermon Notes
Empowered for a Purpose
This morning we open to and begin our study of the book of Acts. The book of Acts comes after the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which are referred to as the Gospels. Those books begin what is called the New Testament and they give great detail into the life of Jesus Christ while he was living on earth. Jesus was and is the One predicted and spoken of in the Old Testament, the promised Savior, the Messiah.
He is the center of the focus in each of the four Gospels, we see Jesus revealed, His person, principles, power, people, promises, and presentation as King. We studied the book of Matthew in detail over the past three years and at the end of Matthew, we saw Jesus die on a cross which He has said would happen, resurrected three days later which He said would happen, conquering sin and death for all who would receive Him. And then, He ascends to heaven.
The way Gospel accounts close, give us the idea and understanding that Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension are amazing, but if we stop there we are left with a feeling of, “what happens next?”
This book, written by a man named Luke, is noted as a second account, a volume two, to the Gospel account of Luke which parallels to Gospel account of Matthew we studied in depth. In the last section of the last chapter of Matthew we studied, we saw as Jesus pointed His disciples and followers to “The Great Commission.”
That commission is the end of the book of Matthew. Now one might wonder, how is this possible? Perhaps they were wondering, “how is this going to happen?” Through the book of Acts, we are given many detail as to how it would happen through the power of the promised Holy Spirit.
Illus. Power disk.
- Be Prepared to Turn the World Upside Down
Quote – “Christians are not going to move this world by criticism of it, nor conformity to it, but by combustion within it of live ignited by the Spirit of God.” – Vance Havner
- And combustion we will see, as the church, empowered for a purpose, by the Holy Spirit will be referred to as those “who have turned the world upside down” by Acts 17:6 because they were living for a King they would not keep quiet about King Jesus. Rather they would take the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension to “the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Acts 1:1-2, The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen.
- The writer, Luke, was a physician (Colossians 4:14), one who walked with and ministered with Paul (Philemon 1:24, 2 Timothy 4:11).
- At the beginning of the chapter, Luke answers the question, what took place from the time of Jesus’ resurrection until the events marking the beginning of the church here in Acts?
Acts 1:3, To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things regarding the kingdom of God.
- For forty days, in His resurrected body, Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the kingdom of God, giving many convincing proofs, and appearing to many.
- They were convinced of the truth with proofs for 40 days. They saw Jesus, heard Him speak, touched Him, ate breakfast with Him. Jesus showed us to a room they were in on more than one occasion.
1 John 1:1-2, What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us.
1 Corinthians 15:4-6, He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now…
- And these disciples, these witnesses, would need to be convinced regarding the Kingdom of God, because they were the ones who would turn the world upside down.
Illus. Start with you!
- Jesus told them He had a mission for them to “Go,” they know its God in human flesh, they are ready, zealous to go conquer the world, but in verse four, He tells them that they needed to wait.
- Because though they understood the truth, and they had more than enough proof, though they had a powerful purpose, they would need empowerment for that purpose.
- Proceed in the Power of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:4-5, Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
- Jesus tells the disciples to wait for what the Father had promised and tells them that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- John himself said this is, that he baptized with water for repentance, but One was coming who was mightier than him, he was not even fit to untie His sandals, and that One, Jesus, would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
- This is written in all four gospel accounts (Mt. 3:6, Mk, 1:8, Lk. 3:16, Jn. 1:33).
- So, it was something said and promised, it is noted as something Jesus “would do.”
- And here, Jesus tells the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- While in John 17 a couple weeks back, I pointed you to our foundational belief that there is one God, eternally existent in three co-equal persons (Deut. 6:5, Matthew 28:19). They are one in nature and essence, while distinct in personality.
- We know that the blessed trinity is God in three persons. We sing the song at church from time to time. Our triune God is three in one, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
- Throughout the book of Acts, we will see the work of the Holy Spirit in the church regularly.
- It is important to understand who the Holy Spirit is, and that the Holy Spirit is not a mystical force, or impersonal power, but the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit has a mind, will, and emotions.
- In Acts 5, Ananias lies to the Holy Spirit and Peter tells Him that in lying to the Holy Spirit, he did not lie to man, but he had lied to God.
- The Holy Spirit possesses characteristics of God: present everywhere at the same time or omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-8), He is all knowing or omniscient (2 Corinthians 2:10-11), Ephesians 4:30 tells us the Holy Spirit can be grieved when we go against God’s desires or quenched in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 when we don’t rely on or suppress His work in our lives , Romans 8:26-27 tell us the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, 2 Corinthians 12:11 reveals that the Holy Spirit has a will.
John 14:25-26, These things I have spoken to you while remaining with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.
John 15:26-27, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you are testifying as well, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
- The word “Helper” written in the Greek, parakletos, which means one who is called alongside to help, to come to one’s aid. The word is translated helper, comforter, counsellor, advocate.
Illus. Need Help?
John 14:16-17, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.
- It seems to me that there are certain aspects associated with the description of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I will summarize the working of the Holy Spirit in three ways: with you, in you, and upon you.
- Jesus said to the disciples in John 14, the Holy Spirit dwells with you, but will be with you, which was future, it had not happened yet.
- The Holy Spirit “with you” is described as the Holy Spirit’s work to draw a person to salvation.
John 16:8-11, And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment: regarding sin, because they do not believe in Me; and regarding righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you no longer are going to see Me; and regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
- Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.
- The word convict carries the idea of convincing, refuting, exposing.
- The Holy Spirit is working: For Christians, He is a helper, an advocate, and counselor, brings conviction of sin, and leads those who do know Christ to turn from it and receive the righteousness of God in Christ.
- Jesus said to the disciples in John 14:17, the Holy Spirit would be in you, which at that time was going to be in the future.
- For those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit in you is present reality!
1 Corinthians 3:16, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.
- This happened in the church age on the day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost seen in Acts chapter 2, something happened that changed the relationship of the Holy Spirit with every believer from that day forward who is in Christ.
- To His disciples in Acts 1:5, Jesus said they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit.
- Holy Spirit The baptism with the Holy Spirit. Baptism, baptizo. Baptizo means to “immerse in.”
- Jesus said in Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14,…having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
- If you are in Christ, you have been given the Holy Spirit, He is in you. It is referred to as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
- There is more, however, because in the Scriptures we see the Holy Spirit come upon people or groups. This is referred to as the filling of the Holy Spirit; this is seen on the day of Pentecost and throughout the book of Acts.
- In Acts 2, the disciples are “filled with the Holy Spirit and begun speaking in different tongues.”
- In Acts 4:8, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, began to preach the Gospel before rulers, elders, and scribes.
- Acts 4:31 “when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all,” what? “Filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.”
- Paul the Apostle, in Acts 9, was filled with the Spirit. Acts 13, on His first missionary journey he was filled with the Spirit and there was amazement at the teaching of the Lord.
- This filling seems a filling to overflow, that comes on a believer at certain times, for certain purposes, and comes upon them powerfully at different times.
- When we get to the book of Ephesians, chapter 5, we’re given a command to be filled with the Spirit regularly.
Ephesians 5:18, Do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
- Jesus will talk about the power that would come upon them, to fulfill His mission and purpose.
- Jesus’ disciples had certain associations with their expectations of the Holy Spirit. That is why when He tells them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they asked if He was going to set up His earthly kingdom at that time in verses 6 to 7.
- “Is now the time?” They ask.
- Interestingly, the coming kingdom was closely associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- There are Scriptures in the Old Testament that tie them together: Ezekiel 36, 39:28-29, Isaiah 32:15-20, Joel 2:28-3:1, Zechariah 12:8-10.
- Jesus says it is not for you to know the times God has set, and then points them back to the power of the Spirit, essentially, His answer is, it’s not about when, its about what.
- They had an association with the Holy Spirit and Jesus pointed them to the power of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit, the Helper, was going to help them complete their mission.
- They were going to be empowered for a purpose. And we are empowered in that same purpose and mission by the Holy Spirit today.
- Press Forward as Witnesses
Acts 1:8, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.
- The word for power in Greek is dynamis (doo nam iss), it is where we get our word dynamite.
- We also get our word dynamic from it, so is dynamite is too explosive for you, go with dynamic if you like.
- Ultimately it is translated “power,” and when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, that is what they would see, power.
- In Acts 1:8, Jesus said they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Power for what? He continued, “and you shall be My witnesses… even to the remotest part of the earth.”
- This book covers a period of about 30 years, from about 33- 63 A.D. It’s amazing to see that from these few disciples, and then the original group that gathered, to the many thousands of believers, to impacting the known world.
- The work they were be called to do, the mission they were given was impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit.
- A witness gives testimony based upon what they know. Jesus said that would be His witnesses, so they would tell the world what they know about who they know.
- There is something else they would witness in verses 9 to 11.
- They saw Him go, and we are told He will return in the same way He came. He is coming again.
- We do not know the day, or the hour. But we, like the disciples, are called to be Jesus’ witnesses this hour! To the ends of the earth! And we need empowerment for that purpose!
Luke 11:9-13, How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”