Power 120 Acts Series
Power 120! • In our 4th week of a study on the book of Acts. • Acts is the exciting story of how God supernaturally empowered 120 believers on the Day of Pentecost. • And has, through them, changed the entire course of human history. • The really exciting part of this for us is that this empowerment has continued to this day.
Acts 1:1-3 – The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 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)
The theme of Jesus’ teaching during the 40 days between His rez & ascension: the Kingdom of God. • The global expansion of the Kingdom of God through believers is what this book is about. • Last week I described Acts using The Kingdom Strikes Back! • This is the battle between the force of Light and the dominion of darkness. • Paul said it best when he described his 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. • The Kingdom expands & Satan’s defeat is actualized.
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. • The Promise =Baptism in the Holy Spirit • The Holy Spirit’s power for advancing the Kingdom would come through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. • This is Power 120!
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. • We are still fighting the same battle. • Therefore, we need the same empowerment! • Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).
Acts 1:6-11 – So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 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."
9 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. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 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." • Always remember that you have to put this book in its context. • Expanding the Kingdom of God and pushing back the dominion of darkness.
6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" • Jesus had just told them to wait until they had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. • Now, the disciples wanted to know if this was the time that He would overthrow Rome. • And, set up His literal reign on earth where they would each have key positions in the government. • They had not fully grasped what the purpose of Jesus’ first comingwas.
He came to set up the spiritual Kingdom 1stbefore He would rule physically. • His literal reign would wait until His 2nd Coming. • This is the point which most Jews of their day missed. • They were looking for a conquering Messiah. • They didn’t realize that He needed to defeat Satan’s dominion first. • Even the guys on the Road to Emmaus missed it. • Look at what they said about Jesus:
Luke 24:17-21 – 17 He asked them, "What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” . . . "You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn't heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days." 19 "What things?" Jesus asked. "The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth," they said. "He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and He was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people . . . 21 We had hoped He was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel . . .
They were looking for a Messiah who would conquer Rome. • And, restore Israel as a great nation like it was under King David. • They were missing the point. • Look again at Jesus’ response: 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 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."
Do you see what Jesus did here? • He shifted their focus back to advancing the spiritual Kingdom of God. • And, not on the physical Kingdom which will come in the future at His 2nd Coming. Mark 13:32 – But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. • Jesus reminded them what He had told them before. • Date setting is God’s job alone. • You are to simply focus on the task at hand.
This is true for us. • We should not become so focused on endtime prophecy that we forget what we have been left here to do—advance the Kingdom of God. • Some can become so consumed with the endtime that they forget we are to occupy until He returns. • As I stated in our study on Revelation, the study of the endtimes should motivate us to share our faith more, not less!
8 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. • Notice how He begins this verse? • But . . . In other words, don’t just focus on the dates • He shifts their focus from the temporal to the spiritual. • BUT let’s look at the expanding the spiritual Kingdom of God until it fills the earth. • This is what the prophets of Old Testament saw:
Habakkuk 2:14 - For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Daniel 2:35b - . . . but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. Verse 44 - In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.
HEAD = GOLD-Babylon • CHEST & ARM = SILVER-Persia • BELLY & THIGH = BRONZE-Alex • LEGS = IRON-Greek Generals • FEET = IRON & CLAY-Roman • STONE = Kingdom of God
Remember the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven? • Jesus said, The Kingdom of heaven is like . . . • This is the message—The Kingdom of God will expand until it fills the entire planet!!! • It started with 120 in the upper room, but it has now expanded until it is filling the earth. Isaiah 11:9 - They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
BELIEVERS • 1970 – 277 million • 2006 – 900 million PENTECOSTAL/CHARISMATIC MOVEMENTS • 1970 – 72+ million • 2006 – 588+ million • There is now a born again believer in every country on earth. • The vision which the prophets saw is coming to pass in our generation. • The glory of the knowledge of the Lord—people calling upon the Name of Jesus Christ—is covering the earth as the waters cover the sea!
8 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. • This is the 5th place the Great Commission is mentioned in the New Testament. • Each Commission emphasizes a different aspect:
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. • What is it when you have a group of people who have been baptized and are studying the Word? • A church! • Matthew emphasizes that we are to plant a church in every tribe in the world. • This shows the prominent role the local church plays in extending the Kingdom of God.
Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” • This is the evangelist’s commission. • Go into all the world &preach with signs following! Luke 24:46-47 – And He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. • Luke emphasizes the message. • And, that it would begin in Jerusalem and then fill the earth.
John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." • John emphasizes the sending aspect of the Great Commission. • We are sent by the Father . . . • But, John is the only one of the 5 which does not mention the international aspect of the G.C.
5 Points about verse 8: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . . • Power = Dunamis – dynamite, explosive power • Why do we need this empowerment? • To defeat our spiritual enemy! • We do not overcome the enemy by our wisdom or intellect. • We overcome him through the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit. • When we do, we are declaring Jesus’ Lordship!
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you [why?]; and you shall be My witnesses . . . • Witnesses = Marturos • Where we get the word martyr. • This means we have the power to defend our faith even to the point of death! • The enemy will come against you, but I have empowered you to stand strong even in the face of intense opposition.
A witness is: • One who not only proclaims what he believes • He lives what he believes • He is what he believes • And he believes it so strongly, that if necessary, he'll die for what he believes. • You can't stop him. • He's not afraid to die for what he believes. • Your greatest weapon is killing, but my greatest weapon is dying. --Romanian Pastor
Remember to put all this in the context of advancing the Kingdom of God in the face of opposition from the dominion of darkness. • Another aspect of witness is that the Holy Spirit not only empowers you to witness. • But, He empowers you to be a witness—to be able to live a godly life in a world controlled by darkness. • A godly life declares the Lordship of Jesus!
8b –you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. • This verse gives us the scope of our witness—to the remotest parts of the earth! • If you will notice the wording of this verse, it is not a progressive witness, but a simultaneous witness. • We are to be witnesses here and to the ends of the earth at the same time. • That is why our church supports local works, national ministries and missionaries overseas. • You are mandated likewise to be involved in this through going, giving and praying.
Outline of Acts: • Jerusalem – Ch’s 1-7 • Judea & Samaria – Ch’s 8-12 • Ends of the earth – Ch’s 13-? • Now you can see why this verse is also the theme of Acts. • We are to go into all the world empowered by the Holy Spirit as witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus. • We are to advance the Kingdom of God and push back the forces of darkness! • Establish the Lordship of Jesus wherever we go.
The Ascension 9 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. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 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.
It is like these 2 angels were saying: Why are you standing there looking into the sky like a couple of clueless guys. He’s coming back the same way He left. Meanwhile, you have work to do! • Are we better off without Jesus? • Look at what Jesus said: John 16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. (NASB) • Helper = Holy Spirit
Jesus: It is better if I go away. • For the task of global evangelization, having the Holy Spirit living inside of us is better than having Jesus standing beside us. • Why? • Because we have access to His limitless power 24/7 to overcome the enemy. • That power is made available to us now!
Conclusion • What we read in the book of Acts is available to each of us today through the Holy Spirit. • You may be in the Kingdom of Light now. • But, that will not stop the enemy from attempting to render you powerless and ineffective as a witness for Jesus! • We have the same commission. • We fight the same enemy. • And we need the same spiritual weapons they needed in the 1st Century!
Power 120 Acts Series