Power 120 Acts Series
The Kingdom Strikes Back! • It almost sounds like a title for a Star Warsmovie. • But, it is a description of the real cosmic warfare. • This is the battle between the forces of Light and the dominion of darkness. • The Kingdom Strikes Back is actually a good way to describe what is happening in the book of Acts. • Jesus said it best when he described Paul’s future calling:
Acts 26:17-18 – Rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (NASB) • That is a good description of what we are to do. • This should put it all in perspective for us. • The story of Acts is about how the dominion of darkness is pushed back nation after nation.
Mark 1:14-15 – Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (NASB) • When Jesus began to preach, the Kingdom of God is here, He was making a declaration of war against the devil. • Ever since Satan stole the right to rule the earth from Adam and Eve, God had set into motion a plan to restore the world back to its rightful owner. • Now, Jesus has arrived and announced the time to recover the earth had come.
In the next few verses, we are given a glimpse into this clash between the 2 spiritual kingdoms: Mark 1:21-27 – They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!"
25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" 26 Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." (NASB) • Understand this: the 2 kingdoms are not equal. • There is no way that a created being—Satan—could ever even compete with the Creator. • But this is a clear picture of the clashes which exist between the 2 kingdoms.
What are the signs that the Kingdom of God has arrived? Mark 1:32-34 – When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
These are the signs of the Kingdom. • Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). • Sickness & demon oppression are manifestations of the dominion of darkness. • He has now transferred that ministry to us. • Jesus made it official with His death & resurrection. • Satan is now defeated. • He has no legal right to rule, but it is up to us—the Church—to enforce God’s rule in the earth. • We are to take the Gospel of Jesus to ends of the earth—pushing the devil back nation after nation. • It is the Kingdom Strikes Back to victory!
But, Jesus told the disciples that they were to wait before they fulfilled this plan. • Wait until they had received Power from on high. Acts 1:1-3 – The first account I composed, Theophilus, • Theo = God & Philus= Love • Theo + Philus = Lovers of God 1b . . . about all that Jesus began to do and teach. . . • Began – Luke: Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were only the beginning of what He came to do. • The rest is contained in the book of Acts and is continuing to this day.
The rest of the story is how the Holy Spirit has empowered us to complete the task Jesus began. 2 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. 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 the things concerning the kingdom of God.(NASB) • Jesus’ teaching subject: The Kingdom of God
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; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." • They were to wait or tarry (KJV) in Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Father. • Don’t leave home without it!
What is the Promise of the Father? Luke 24:48-49 – "You are witnesses of these things. 49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." • Promise of the Father =Baptism in the Holy Spirit • Luke only restates it here in 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; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
The Holy Spirit’s power for advancing the Kingdom of God would come through the Baptism in the H.S. • This is Power 120! • What is it? • If you drink a glass of water, the water is on the inside of you. • But, if you jump into the ocean, the water totally surrounds you. • When you were saved, you took a taste of Him. • But, when you are Baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is like you are immersed in Him—inside and out.
Greek: baptizo= baptism • It was literally used to describe a ship that had sunk to the bottom of the sea. • It was completely submerged in water. • This is a good description of what happens when we are Baptized in the Holy Spirit. • Imagine the difference it can make in your life to be totally submerged in the Holy Spirit!
The question invariably comes at this point: I thought I received the Holy Spirit when I was saved? • Yes, you did! • Because He is a Person, you cannot receive any more of a Person than you already have of Him. • The difference is the immersion in His Presence. • It is the difference between drinking water and jumping into the ocean.
Let’s look at what I am saying from the Scriptures. John 20:21-22 – Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you." 22 And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” • When Jesus breathed on them, they received the Holy Spirit. • This event took place before His ascension and around 10 days before the Day of Pentecost. • So here’s the question: If they had to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to fill them, why did Jesus give them the Holy Spirit here?
This is where the disciples were born again. • They accepted Jesus and the Person of the Holy Spirit came to live in them at this point. • It was not until 10 days later that they received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. • This shows that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation. • It can happen simultaneously (Cornelius’ household) or at a separate time (Samaritans).
Luke 24:45– Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. • This is the way Luke explains their salvation experience. • Is that not what happened when you gave your life to Jesus? • Before the Bible didn’t make any sense to you, but after salvation, it began to open up to you. • Some may say at this point that this was a unique experience for the disciples. • Let’s answer that by looking at part of Peter’s 1st sermon on the Day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:37-40 – 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins[water]; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." (NASB)
We have already established that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit = the Promise of the Father. • Who is the Promise for? • Look at 2:39 again: The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. • Guess what?You are far off! • The Promise of the Father, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit,is still for us today! • We still need the power to advance the Kingdom of God in our generation. • Probably as much as in any other time in history.
Look at one of the other examples in Acts where believers were Baptized in the Holy Spirit as a separate experience from salvation: Acts 19:1-7 – While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" • Question: If this experience was the same as salvation, why did Paul ask this question?
They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
The Ephesian 12 were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. • For them, it was an immediate consequence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. • Is this experience for me? • YES!!!
Look at what Jesus said were signs of being a believer: Mark 16:17-18 – These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (NASB) • How many here are believers in Jesus? • These signs will follow you!
Look at these signs in the context of spreading the Kingdom of God &pushing back darkness: • Cast out demons—we have authority over the devil. • They will speak in tongues – Supernatural communication with the Lord (B. in H.S.) • Pick up deadly snakes – Authority over the forces of nature which will try to stop us. • Drink any deadly poison – We have authority over human plans to stop us. • Lay hands on the sick – Push back the affects of sin and darkness on mankind.
Why these signs? Mark 16:20 – And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. • We are a part of a spiritual Kingdom, fighting a spiritual battle using spiritual weapons. • The signs confirm the Good News we share. • People in the West balk at these signs because they are outside the realm of the natural world. • As believers, we are not fighting flesh and blood but spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. • We need spiritual weapons to fight the battle.
Several points about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit: • The difference is like the difference in watching a movie in black and white or in living color. • Just because I am Baptized in the Holy Spirit does not make me a better Christian. • It is not necessary for salvation either. • You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. • And, nothing more can be added to it! • This is an experience for all believers. • It was the normal pattern for the Early Church.
You do not have to wait to pray in tongues. • At Cornelius’ household, it is evident that the Gentiles believed in Jesus and were baptized in the Holy Spirit simultaneously: Acts 10:44-48 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
There is not a specific pattern. • The only thing that has to happen first is salvation. • You have to believe in Jesus before you can be filled with the Holy Spirit. • Some will try to say that this is the book of Acts and you should not base doctrine on it. • But, I beg to differ. 2 Timothy 3:16a – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine . . . • If you believe that Acts is just as much a part of the inspired Word of God as any other book in the Bible, then it is profitable for doctrine!
Conclusion • Remember what I said at the beginning? • In order to understand the purpose of this book, you have to believe that God is still working through the Church today as He did then. • We still have the same commission. • We still face the same enemy. • And we are still fighting the same battle. • Therefore, we still need the same weapons. • What a wonderful Promisefrom the Father!
Power 120 Acts Series