Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn

                                                                      Faithfulness – A Key Step to Happiness

Aug 1, 2012:                                             “Born in a meeting!”

Wed PM Worship  Jesus was born in a manger,  the Church was born in a meeting!                             

Text: Acts 1:1-14  (King James Version)         

  “Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people.”

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, “If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;”

 

Act 1:1  The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Act 1:2  Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Act 1:3  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Act 1:4  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Act 1:5  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Act 1:6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Act 1:7  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Act 1:10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Act 1:11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Act 1:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

Act 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

Act 1:14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.him, and they took the city.

 

Let’s pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.  

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice. Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

The disciples returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, where they had just witnessed the most phenomenal event; right before their very eyes Jesus ascended into Heaven, to sit again at God the Father’s right hand in glory. But before He was taken up, He gave them instructions and a great commission. Their commission was to go into all the world and preach the good news, baptizing and teaching all nations in the Name of Jesus.

 

That commission belongs to the Church – it’s for every Christian to obey. The instructions Jesus gave them were that they must go and wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Comforter Jesus had promised them - the Holy Spirit. They must receive Him in all His fullness BEFORE attempting to carry out the great commission.

 

Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit would give them the power they needed to complete the task.

We need to remind ourselves that the Church NEEDS the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him we cannot be all God intended for us to be.

 

The extent to which a person opens up their life to the empowering of the Holy Spirit is the extent to which God can use them in His purposes. Because “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.”

 

 What an awesome thing that the Holy Spirit is working through the Church right throughout the world today. The same Holy Spirit who revolutionized the early church and catapulted them into turning the world upside down with the good news of Jesus. He’s still in the Church today. No one denomination has a monopoly on Him … no one country or place … He moves as He wills, and wherever people are seeking to receive Him. The Bible says to you today, “Be being filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Ephesians 5:18)

So, the ascending Lord gave His disciples clear instructions, and they headed back into town. Arriving back in Jerusalem, they entered the Upper Room, and they PRAYED. THE SCENE IS NOW SET FOR ACTS CHAPTER 2 - THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Would you mark this: the church was born in a prayer meeting! From this upper room where they met in concerted prayer, the river began to flow which spread throughout the whole world, even reaching to the island of Tasmania on the opposite side of the globe - IT WAS ALL BIRTHED IN PRAYER.

If we are ever going to see a spiritual awakening take place in our times - in the church of Jesus Christ, in our community, in our state, in our nation - IT WILL ONLY COME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF PRAYER.

 

The Bible conveys this message to us time and time again as we read countless stories of how God moved on behalf of His people, turned nations and situations around, in response to prayer. And He has declared forthrightly, so that no mistake can be made, "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND.” (2 Chronicles 7:14.)

Let me remind you today, God is not waiting for the world to turn to Him in repentance; He’s not waiting for our leaders in parliament to seek His face; HE’S WAITING FOR THE CHURCH TO GET ON HER KNEES!

Here we read of those very first prayer meetings of the church. Tonight, I want to point out several things about the prayer of the disciples as they waited in that upper room in Jerusalem:

Act 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Act 2:5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Act 2:6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Act 2:7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Act 2:8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Act 2:9  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

Act 2:10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Act 2:11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Act 2:12  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

Act 2:13  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Act 2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Act 2:15  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Act 2:16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Act 2:18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

 

Firstly, note:

1. They Prayed OBEDIENTLY.

As they gathered themselves in that upper room, they did so in obedience to Jesus’ command [Read 1:4].

They obeyed His instruction.

A. Their obedience was IMMEDIATE.
The pace of Acts chapter 1 is furious from verse 4 onwards.

 

Jesus gives His final instructions, He straightaway ascends into heaven, no sooner is He out of sight than the angels appear and stir the disciples to action (v10-11), AND IMMEDIATELY THEY RETURN TO JERUSALEM, get themselves into the upper room and the prayer meeting IS ON!

Jesus’ words were still ringing in their ears! The disciples obeyed IMMEDIATELY.


This is a great challenge, isn’t it?! Why is it that we as Christians are so often putting things off.. we put God on hold. "I’ll get into praying one day very soon - I must do that.” It’s time, folks. Let’s not talk about what we’re going to do “one day” anymore — one day never comes! Let’s just do it.

The disciples obedience was IMMEDIATE.

B. Their obedience was JOYFUL.

Their obedience was not solely out of a sense of duty; they went willingly to wait as they had been told. How do I know that? Because of Luke’s earlier account - Read Luke 24:51-52.
Luk 24:51  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

Luk 24:52  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:


The disciples obeyed JOYFULLY. This goes hand in hand with a third thing about their obedience ...

C. Their Obedience was full of EXPECTANCY.

Here’s the reason for their joy — they were full of expectancy. Jesus had given them the promise of sending the Holy Spirit. They rushed to Jerusalem with joy because they were EXPECTANT to receive the Holy Spirit.

Can you imagine those prayer meetings? — alive with a sense of expectancy; electric! The air was "pregnant" with the hope that Jesus had instilled in their hearts with His words about this "Comforter" who was about to descend. “God’s about to do a whole new thing.” That’s my kind of prayer meeting!

When we come to God in such a spirit of expectancy great things will always happen. Is this the way YOU approach God in prayer? Realizing Who He is; what He can do; and what He has promised?! Hebrews 11:6 tells us what God’s looking for whenever we come before Him: “... he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

The disciples came in that posture; they obeyed with EXPECTANT HEARTS.

So, then, our first observation is that the disciples prayed OBEDIENTLY. As they gathered in that upper room to wait on God for His empowering by the Holy Spirit they did so in IMMEDIATE, JOYFUL, EXPECTANT obedience.

The call of God is out for His Church to PRAY. It’s not our prerogative to think about prayer as a good option – it’s up to us to simply OBEY the Lord in seeking His face in prayer!

The second thing we must observe is that once they began praying:

2. They Prayed CONSTANTLY.

Look with me to VERSE 14 [Read].

Note that word: "they CONTINUED ...". Your version may translate it "they CONTINUED STEADFASTLY ...". Others have translated it "they WERE PERSEVERING ..."; "they ENGAGED CONSTANTLY in ...".

Strong calls it "being constantly diligent".

It’s the same word as we find in Acts 6:4 … "We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word". The leadership of the early church appointed deacons to take care of the day to day running of things so that they would be free to "GIVE THEMSELVES CONTINUALLY" to PRAYER and ministry of the Word. In the book of Acts they never lost these priorities, and that is how they maintained that revival for so long. Continuous prayer was the vitality and power of the New Testament church.

Here in Acts 1:14, at the very outset, the disciples are learning about "HOLDING ON" in prayer.

What a change had taken place in these men. Do you remember the very different scene in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus died? The disciples fell asleep. Jesus said to them, "COULD YOU NOT WATCH WITH ME ONE HOUR?" But these men were altogether different now — they had seen Him die, rise from the dead, and then gloriously ascend into heaven. They had His promise of the Holy Spirit, and so they held on in prayer to receive.

When Christians can’t get motivated to pray, when weariness prevents us from laying hold on Him, it’s time for a fresh revelation of Jesus in all His glory: the dying Saviour, the death-conquering Lord, the ascending King. I’ve tried to talk Christians into praying before now. Many people chastise others for their lack of zeal. It rarely works. We must pray for the church to see Jesus afresh — for people to have a new vision of Him.

And what about His promises to pour out His Spirit when we seek Him — don’t they motivate us to come to Him often with EXPECTANCY?!

Oh, friends, if EVER the church was in need of seasons of continuous persevering prayer — IT’S TODAY!

3. They Prayed in UNITY.

The disciples prayed, we are told, "with one accord". This speaks of "UNITY OF MIND/PURPOSE".

 

It’s a wonderful word, and it’s interesting to note that it occurs eleven times in the New Testament — NO LESS THAN TEN OF WHICH ARE IN THE BOOK OF ACTS! It occurs in only one other place (Philippians 2:2). So it is seen then as a major characteristic of the early church story — THEIR UNITY WAS OUTSTANDING.

You’ll recall the words of Psalm 133: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity ... FOR THERE THE LORD COMMANDS THE BLESSING."

So those early disciples got TOGETHER and they started to pray. Jesus had told His twelve, you read about it in Matthew 18:19, “If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” And so they did it. They prayed the prayer of agreement.

There’s power in the prayer of agreement. God is going to do great things as we do that. I have NO doubt about it – because there’s breakthrough power in the prayer of agreement.


These early disciples could come together in such outstanding unity because they were not focusing on all the things that were different between them. God had given them an unshakeable foundation of unity and they focused on that. They focused on the fact that …

A) THEY WERE UNITED BY A COMMON SAVIOUR.

(They were partakers of a common grace).

It is amazing to read these words, that they were "in one accord", when you consider who we are dealing with. These were eleven very different men. Men who, just prior to Jesus’ death (Matthew 20:20-28), were vying with each other for "greatness" — for power.

They were all so different — some from poor backgrounds (Peter, James, John), others wealthy (Matthew) — here now united in Jesus Christ their Saviour. All lost men, but for the grace of God! United by a common Saviour.

B) THEY WERE UNITED IN A COMMON QUEST.

They had all heard the same instruction from Jesus — to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit.

* All had that same desire, that they might be filled.

* They were together in seeking the Holy Spirit — united by human need.

* They were united in a common quest.

C) THEY WERE UNITED FOR A COMMON GOAL.

They had all heard a second instruction from Jesus — to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

* Beyond Jerusalem lay a lost world that they had been commissioned to reach.

* There is a special bond that unites men who are thrown together to fight alongside each other in battle. They must rely on one another; their success depends on their unity.

These disciples were united for a common goal. Thrown into the greatest war of history – the Kingdom of God advancing against the god of this world to set men and women free.

Church, our unity this morning is not based on such fickle things as how we feel, or whether we agree on everything in life — WE MUST CLING TO OUR COMMON GROUND — we are "of one accord" because we have been:

* saved by the same Saviour;

* redeemed by the same blood;

* we have looked to the same cross;

* we seek hard after the same God;

* our souls pant after the same cooling streams;

* we pursue the infilling of the same Holy Spirit;

* we share the burden of labouring for the same lost world.

"Therefore" (Paul says in Galatians) "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus".

When we come together for prayer to seek God for His mercy, we need to come “with one accord". We need to maintain that unity of spirit, so that when we’re on our knees in our private places — even there we will be praying in agreement one with another.

Amen.