Scriptures: Acts 1-2, Matthew 3:11, Luke 12:49
When we read about the early church in Acts 1-2 and then look at the church in our culture today, it's natural to ask, "What happened?" We see thousands coming to Christ, people sharing what they had with one another and the needy, and how the early church exploded in growth and boldly proclaimed the Gospel despite persecution. And they did it without buildings, budgets and bands.
Wouldn't it be wonderful instead of moving forward to instead set the church back about 2,000 years? To become the body of believers that we read about in the New Testament? The difference in Acts, as Dr. Merritt explains, is a radical dependence on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 50 times in Acts alone--more than any other book in the Bible. In this message, we'll see how the Holy Spirit came to inhabit believers and gave boldness and mission to the early church--and how we can live this same life of mission and bold purpose today.
"One of the most important words in the Book of Acts is that word 'witness.' It is literally the word that gives us the English word 'martyr.' Today, we think of a martyr as someone who dies for his faith. The original meaning was someone who simply bears witness to his faith. Keep two things in mind about a witness. On the one hand, you can experience something and not bear witness to it. You can refuse to testify. On the other hand, you cannot bear witness to something you have not experienced. This is a good time to ask yourself a question, “Are you a witness for Jesus Christ?” If not, there can only be one of two reasons: either you refuse to testify to the Jesus you have experienced or you have never truly experienced Jesus." --Dr. Merritt
Keywords: mission, church, Holy Spirit, ignite, fire, witness, boldness, Acts, Luke, experience, disciples, Christ-followers, Billy Graham, kingdom, Pentecost, miracle, languages, Peter, preach, sermon, Messiah, Gospel, Christianity, baptism
Pastors Edge provides Bible preachers and teachers with ready-to-use resources and materials based on the preaching of Dr. James Merritt, Senior Pastor at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, GA and host of the international broadcast ministry Touching Lives.