As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.(John 9:4)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Do you believe you have the POWER?

Think of a friend or someone that you had been contemplating to share the gospel but have not done so. Let’s be honest with ourselves – what were the reasons that you have not done so?

Some of our reasons can be fear of failure, rejection, not knowing what to say, saying the wrong thing and etc. The key excuse is “FEAR” but fear is not acceptable. The Lord expects us to be His witnesses. It’s a pretty scary thought but we don’t have to do it alone or in our own strength. We have help! Do you believe that or not??

Let’s turn to the bible to understand a bit about the first record of the power that had been poured out to the disciples of Jesus Christ. Read Acts 2:1-4. Some of the evidences of the Spirit’s coming were as follows:-

1) Firstly, the audible evidence (what they heard). A noise/sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven. Can you imagine such a sound? It was a sound/noise that came like an earthquake, without warning.
2) Secondly, the visible evidence (what they saw). Fire-like manifestations resembling tongues settled on each person.
3) Oral evidence (what they speak). They began to converse in other languages. At this very instant, the church was born, making its infant cry, joyously proclaiming the gospel of Christ in words the whole world could understand.

Now, we had just witnessed a powerful manifestation of the Spirit upon the disciples. What about us? Do we have our own Pentecost experience? Can you recall an incident whereby you know the power of the Spirit fall upon you that you know He had touched your heart so deeply or in your circumstances so that you sensed God’s love for you? Describe the situation and how it had changed your life.

Let me share my story – After 2 years of my conversion, I experienced a deep sense of His greatness and my dependence on Him. It was a turning point for me. On one occasion, I was sharing my testimony in a youth fellowship meeting. As I was verbalizing God’s love upon my life, I was weeping like a baby and I knew it was the Spirit that had touched me. I immediately made a commitment to follow and serve Him faithfully. It was a meeting I can never forget because it had really changed my life. I remembered I went to the college and quickly seek out the Christian fellowship and somehow, I was attracted to the prayer ministry (bcos it’s the closest ministry to the heart of Jesus) – I remembered the joy of the Head of the Prayer ministry team when he saw a new face in their midst (as you are aware, prayer meetings usually do not attract a big group of people) and I grow ever since. There are of course many other instances after that. Quoting Billy Graham – "one baptism but many fillings." When He filled us, he will work Himself in and through our lives. We need that to do His work and our mission on this earth – to have His power to witness, only then can we be effective witness!

Look at Peter. When he was being filled with the Spirit, what had happened to this ordinary guy? Let’s read Acts 2: 22-24, 32-33, 36. Peter who denied Christ few weeks ago was now able to stand in front of a large crowd and proclaim the gospel. What made the difference? Undoubtedly, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Now, have you ever tried explaining to someone what Christianity is? If you do not know how, whatever Peter had just explained basically covers the essentials – that Jesus is King but came to earth as man – he died on the cross – whom God raised up – and ascended to heaven, exalted to the right hand of God (He is alive today) – God has made this Jesus, whom we crucified, both Lord and Christ! Remember, our mission is to proclaim the good news, the Holy Spirit is the one who will move the people to respond. Read Acts 2:37-41. “They were pierced to the heart” / “cut to the heart” – this is the work of the Holy Spirit definitely because He is the one who does the conviction – the same Holy Spirit that had equipped the witnesses to communicate the message in a way that was understandable and empowered the message when it centered on Jesus and His resurrection.

The day in Acts chapter 2 started with a room of faithful but powerless followers of Christ sat together, praying and waiting but by the end of the day, thousands more carried the flame of God’s Spirit in their hearts. In them new life had begun. The church was born.

As we end here, let Paul’s words help us to have a compassion for those who are lost… “To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some.” (1 Cor 9:22) That is being all things to all people. Remember this life is not about us. We’ve already found the Way but the others have not. God has placed certain people in our lives for a purpose. Find a way to be a part of his or her world, a way to cross boundaries and find common ground to reach out to them.

Today, we have learnt that we have the power and let us not question that anymore but more importantly, how far are we willing to go to see our friends and neighbours come to Christ?

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