The Church Grows

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

  • The Church Received the Word Gladly. 
  • Jesus is the “Word.”  We cannot separate Jesus and the Word.  To receive one is to receive the other.  Christianity is unique among all religions in that our religion is based on a person – not a philosophy or set of teachings.

John 1:1-4, 14 – In the beginning was the Word (logos – a transmission of thought, communication, divine revelation, instruction) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh (refers to the substance of the body) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory….

Jesus is the living logos (John 1:1), the Bible is the written logos (Heb. 4:12) and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken logos (1 Corinthians 2:13).

  • Not everyone received the Word. 
  • Baptism followed belief.
  • Joining the church followed belief.
  • The Church Continued Steadfastly.

Steadfastly (proskarterountes) to continue, persevere, endure, stick, persist.  A person who does not quit, back off, fade away or slip back. 

  • Apostles’ doctrine (didache – the teaching, instruction).  If a church is to grow and persevere, there must be teaching of the Word. 

Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples….teaching them….

2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

  • Worship and the Lord’s Supper – “Breaking of bread” refers to the observance of communion.  They observed the Lord’s Supper often because it points to the cross and all that God has done for us.  It also points toward His return.  The Lord’s Supper was a part of their worship.  Worship together is essential to the church.

Luke 22:19 – And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 – For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he comes.

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,….and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Prayers – The Early Church was a praying church.  Over and over you see them gathering for prayer – when facing decisions, when facing persecution.  Look for the emphasis on prayer as you study the Book of Acts.
  • The Church Experienced God’s Mighty Power – Awe and respect were given them by the people, and wonders and signs were done through their leaders.
  • The Church Experienced Unity and Ministered to the Needy
  • There was no one in their midst who had needs unmet. 
  • They visited from house to house.
  • Their lives were lived in joy and simplicity.

Matthew 19:21; Matthew 19:29; Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:31-34; John 13:35; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesus 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Hebrews 13:5

  • The Church Experienced Worship
  • The Church Experienced Growth
  • God was the one who added to the church.  Only God can draw a person to Him and save Him.
  • The lives of the early church were used of God to draw people to Him.  God has chosen to use the church as the means to win souls. 

Acts 2:47 – praising God and having favor with all the people.

As you study Acts, note how people responded because of the lives and the actions of the church. 

Questions for us: 

  • Are we receiving the Word of God gladly?  Do we make every effort to meet regularly with fellow believers in community and Bible Study, to learn ourselves and to teach others?  Do we diligently study the Word at home?
  • Do we persevere, without slacking off, without slipping back, in study of God’s Word, in fellowship with other believers, in worship and observance of the Lord’s Supper, in prayer with other believers?
  • Are we experiencing God’s mighty power in our midst?  Are we experiencing unity among ourselves?  Are we sharing our lives together?  Are we ministering to the needy among us?  Do we even know what the needs are among us? 
  • Are we truly worshipping God as we gather each week?  Are we really allowing His presence to be among us?
  • Are we experiencing growth in our church – growth that comes as we live our lives in obedience to His Word and He draws people to Him as a result of our lives and actions?

The Day of Pentecost Experience

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses (one who tells what he has seen or heard or knows – comes from the same root word as our word for martyr – one who bears witness by his death) to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

  • The Pentecostal Experience
  • To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Spirit of God.  It is described as an outpouring of the Spirit by which the believer is filled with the presence of the third Person of the Trinity, who serves the believer as Paraclete (advocate of intercessor).  This indwelling as Paraclete gives the believer the special endowment of the power of God. 
  • The Scriptures use the term “baptize” with the Holy Spirit when God poured out His spirit on the disciples on the day of Pentecost.  This term is also applicable to the other instances recorded in the book of Acts where believers received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 8:14-17 – Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:44-48 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.  Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Acts 19:1-6 – And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”  And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”  So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”  Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

  • The special characteristic of this experience is that the believer is filled with the Spirit.  In Ephesians 5:18, this concept of being filled with the Spirit stands in contract to being “drunk with wine.”  To be filled with the Spirit is to be brought under the influence of the Spirit of God so that the Spirit governs the personal nature of the believer in mind, emotions and will.
  • The Holy Spirit is the personal agent for the revelation of God.

1 Corinthians 2;9-11 – But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

  • His various titles in Scripture identify Him as the Spirit of God. 

Matthew 3:16 – When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

See also Isaiah 11:2; 61:1 and Luke 4:18

  • In Romans 8:9 we see that He is called the Spirit of Christ.  In Galatians 4:6 we find Him called the Spirit of His (God’s) Son.  There are many other titles of the Holy Spirit and special characteristics of these titles are that they identify the Holy Spirit in His relationship in the holy Trinity, i.e., in His divine nature.
  • The experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is promised to those who believe on Jesus Christ for salvation.

John 14:15-17 – “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

  • After giving the promise of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, Christ prayed for the sanctifying (cleansing, purifying) of the disciples in John 17. 
  • To be filled with the Spirit is to be freed from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2-4 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  • It is also to walk in the Spirit, manifesting the graces of Jesus Christ. 

Galatians 5:16-25 – say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

You Shall Receive Power – for What?

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

For many of us who are from or in a Pentecostal church we sometimes forget that the “power” we are to be recipients of is more than the shouting kind of power, more than the jumping-the-pew kind of power, more than the speaking-in-tongues kind of power.  The power we have received as baptized believers is the power to be servants, the power to be witnesses, the power to be hourly and daily over comers living our lives as spiritual creations of our God rising above the sin and strife of this world.

The Word of God says where there is no vision the people perish. 

            I don’t want my family to perish.

            I don’t want my neighbors to perish.

            I don’t want my community to perish.

            I don’t want my state, my country, this world to perish.

God’s Word states that He is not willing that any should perish, but rather all to receive everlasting life.

We celebrate around the world the coming of the power of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and those gathered in the upper room.  His coming was to empower them for service, to empower them with grace, to empower them with the Holy Spirit to go forth and be witnesses and win the lost to Jesus Christ.

We have a great responsibility.  I am not talking about talking in tongues or the gifts of the Spirit.  I am not talking about the other things we equate with Pentecost – the emotional things.  I have no problem with speaking in tongues – it is in the Bible.  I have no problem with being slain in the Spirit – it is in the Bible.  I have no problem with the other emotional things done in Pentecostal churches- it is in the Bible.  I have been involved in these things and it is real. 

But we need to know that the Holy Spirit was not given for you to feel good.  The Holy Spirit was not given to you just so you could experience the emotional things we sometimes exhibit.  The Holy Spirit and His endowment of power was given so we would be witnesses of the grace of God.

The Holy Spirit and power will change your life.  The Holy Spirit and power will give you strength to overcome all the temptations that you are faced with.  No more will you walk around with “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”  You will be changed and you will stand and you will say, “By the grace of God and the power he has placed within me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

God’s Spirit gets down inside of you and you cannot help but tell of the glory of God and His power.  It is time for us to get on fire for Jesus Christ.  It is time to lay down some of the habits that we picked up when we were in the world.  It is time to lay them aside and say, “By the grace of God, I will do what God has called me to do.”

You must stand determined in the power of God.  You must stand in purity and holiness.  You must stand and, having done all, stand.  You must be willing to go forth and be the witness God has called you to be.

When the Gifts of the Spirit Come to Church

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

It all began on the day of Pentecost.  John the Baptist had foretold of someone coming who would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt. 3:11).  Jesus had told his disciples that when He had returned to the Father, He would send “another Helper that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).  Then, just before He ascended into heaven, He instructed them to “wait in Jerusalem” until they were filled with power from on high (Luke 24:49).  He told them that they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8).

The Early Church was founded and grew by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the book of Acts we read where the disciples healed, preached and answered their accusers as they were “filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Peter in Acts 4:8 was “filled with the Holy Spirit” when he answered the rulers of Israel’s accusations after he had healed the lame man.

Peter told Ananias and Sapphira that it was the Holy Spirit they were lying to in Acts 5.

When there was a complaint about the division of daily food between the Hebrews and the Hellenists, the disciples’ answer was to find men “full of the Holy Spirit” to take care of the daily administrative needs of the church (Acts 6).

Stephen was “full of faith and power” when he did great wonders and signs among the people.  Acts 6:10 tells us that the Jewish rulers could not “resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.”  When he went to his death he went “full of the Holy Spirit” according to Acts 7:55. 

Another lay person, Philip, went to Samaria and preached Christ and performed miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).   Later the spirit directed Philip to leave the revival at Samaria and sent him into the desert to share the Gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch.  After baptizing the eunuch, it was the Spirit that conveyed Philip away. 

The great leader Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit before he began his great ministry to the Gentiles.  We could speak of the Spirit falling upon Cornelius and his household in Acts 10, of the prompting of the Holy Spirit upon a man called Agabus to prophecy of a coming famine that led to the church at Antioch taking up what was probably the first relief offering in the church, about the Holy Spirit speaking to the church at Antioch to set Barnabas and Paul forth as the church’s first missionary team to the Gentiles. 

The Bible even claims for itself that it was written by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit so our Bible is a book whose writer is the Holy Spirit.  Every time we read the Bible, we are reading the word inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Even our last book of the Bible, Revelation, was given to John as he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).

So, we see that the Early Church was a church in which the Holy Spirit was recognized as an essential part of the Godhead and an essential part of the believer’s life.  As the church began to become more accepted, believers began to allow the beliefs, ideas and philosophies of the world penetrate the church.  Slowly, over time, the church lost its power with God as it gained power with man. 

Still, the church record is full of times and peoples when the church returned to its desire for God’s power.  In those times, there are records of the Holy Spirit falling again as it did on the day of Pentecost. 

There have been revivals of the Pentecostal experience in our recent history.  In the early 1900’s revival came in our southern states and in California giving birth to the Assembly of God and other Pentecostal denominations.  Again, in the late 1950’s there was a move of the Spirit in the mainline denominations.  This is often referred to as the “Charismatic renewal.” 

The word “Pentecostal” – 50 – came from the feast which occurred 50 days after the Passover.  It was the Feast of Weeks or the Day of First fruits, a celebration of the first buds of harvest.  How appropriate that the Lord was crucified on Passover and the Church was born on Pentecost. Charismatic – from the Greek word charismata is used in 1 Corinthians 12 to describe the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

In recent years there has been a great revival of Pentecost in South America.  Pentecostal churches are growing so fast in what was formerly predominately Catholic countries that the Pope is sitting up and taking notice of this move of God.  We look at the church in America and we think the days of signs and wonders are over.  We think “it was only for a particular time or a particular place.”  Yet, everywhere in the world except for the USA, Canada and most parts of Europe, the church is growing by leaps and bounds and it is exhibiting the marks of the Early Church.  People are being baptized in the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit are operating.

Is it important that the gifts of the Spirit operate in our church today?  Should we be concerned if the gifts are not in operation?  Whose responsibility is it for the gifts to be in operation?

It is important only if the following things are things we desire in our church.

  • For souls to be won to the Lord.  We see by what our Lord Jesus said that it takes the power of the Holy Spirit for us to be witnesses.  (To Know, To Be, To Tell). 

Acts 1:8 – The Holy Spirit is the Person and the Power by which assistance and ability are given for serving, for sharing the life and power of God with others.      

  • For the church to be strengthened and to grow.

Ephesians 4:12 – The Holy Spirit gives the Church gifts so that we may each find our place of ministry, fill that place and see the church grow (numerical expansion) and edified (internal strengthening). 

1 Corinthians 12:7 – Profit – to bring together, to benefit, to be advantageous. 

Whose responsibility is it? 

  • The leaders – Ephesians 4:11-12 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
  • The individuals – 1 Corinthians 12:31 – But earnestly desire the best gifts. Desire – to burn with desire, to pursue zealously, to desire intensely.

How do we see the gifts of the Spirit come to the church? It has always come about when there has been a real recognition by God’s people of a need for renewal in their own lives and in the lives of their church and community.  When there has been a definite effort on the part of sincere believers to receive this power of the Holy Spirit and to allow the Holy Spirit to have control and move in their lives.

Equipping Ministry Gifts – Ephesians 4:11 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers

  • Apostle
  • Prophet
  • Evangelist
  • Pastor
  • Teacher

Body Ministry Gifts – Romans 12:3-8 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

  • Exhortation
  • Teaching
  • Service
  • Administration
  • Benevolence
  • Giving
  • Hospitality

Manifestation Gifts – 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 – for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

  • Word of Wisdom
  • Word of Knowledge
  • Discerning of Spirits
  • Faith
  • Healings
  • Miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Tongues
  • Interpretation of Tongues

What is the Greatest Miracle?

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

The Promise

  • Power
  • Witness

The Event

  • One accord
  • Prayer and supplication

Acts 1:14 – These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:1 – When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Results

  • Boldness (Peter spoke up)
  • Prophecy (the prophet Joel was quoted)

Acts 2:14 – But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

Acts 2:16 – But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel

The great miracle on the day of Pentecost

  • 3000 added to the church
  • They continued faithfully in doctrine/teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread (hospitality and communion) and prayer
  • There was signs and wonders
  • There was sharing with one another
  • There was unity

Acts 2:41-42 – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:47 – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The Holy Spirit is a gift, not a miracle, but it will produce miracles in your life.  

The greatest miracle that happened was the gospel being preached and believers coming to know Jesus as Savior. The only event that causes angels to rejoice in heaven is when one soul comes to know Christ in salvation.  

Luke 15:10 – In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit – What is the Sign and Purpose?

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

  • What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • The initial evidence of the Holy Spirit – Biblical view and denominational view
  • The continuing evidence of the Holy Spirit
  • Some misconceptions of the initial reception of the Holy Spirit
  • Some misconceptions of the reason of and the work of the Holy Spirit in our life
  • Can I speak in tongues or sing in tongues at will?

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

  • You will receive power
  • You will be witnesses
  • No tongues mentioned

Luke 24:48-49 – And you are witnesses of these things.  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

  • Were to tarry until endued with power
  • No tongues mentioned

Isaiah 44:3 – For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.

  • God will pour out His spirit and blessing
  • No tongues mentioned

Joel 2:28-29 – And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.  And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

  • God will pour out His spirit
  • Prophesy – dreams – visions
  • No tongues mentioned

John 14:26-28 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

  • Holy Spirit will be a helper (a comforter)
  • He will teach and bring to remembrance what Jesus has said
  • No tongues mentioned

Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication.

  • Spirit of grace
  • Spirit of supplication (prayer)
  • No tongues mentioned

Ezekiel 11:19-20 –  Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,  that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

  • New Spirit that will give them a new heart
  • They will then walk in God’s Laws and keep His commandments
  • They will be God’s people

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

  • They were all filled and they did all speak with other tongues
  • They spoke in tongues “as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Mark 16:17And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.

  • Tongues would be one of the signs of believers

Acts 10:44-46 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

  • Tongues was an indication to Peter and the other Jews that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentiles – the tongues were used to praise God

1 Corinthians 12 & 13 & 14 – entailed use of tongues in the church

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

  • Gifts of the Holy Spirit are given for the profit of all
  • Holy Spirit gives as He wills

1 Corinthians 12:30 – Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

Acts 19:2-7 — he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”  And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”  So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”  Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.  Now the men were about twelve in all.

  • Spoke with tongues
  • Also prophesied

Acts 4:31 – And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

  • They spoke the word of God with “boldness”
  • No tongues mentioned

Acts 8:16-19 – For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

  • Obviously something happened that could be “seen” but what is not said
  • No tongues is specially mentioned

Acts 9:17-18 – And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

  • His eyes were healed
  • No tongues mentioned

Acts 13:52 – And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

  • Joy
  • No tongues mentioned

1 Corinthians 14:2-4 – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.  But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.  He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

  • Tongues improves himself
  • Prophesy improves the church
  • The continuing evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life
  • You will be a witness
    • You will have boldness
    • You will have power over sin
    • You will live a holy life
    • You will have a desire for the Word of God
    • You will have a desire to communicate with the Father
  • Speaking in tongues at will?

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

Galatians 2:20 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

  • If Christ lives in me, He is the cause of my speaking.  I am not the one controlling the tongues.  The Holy Spirit is the one who speaks though Me.  He is in charge.
  • Coaxing/encouraging “baby talk”

There are many different ideas of how one becomes “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  People are told to repeat some word over and over.  As they repeat it over and over, faster and faster, it becomes gibberish.  Someone then shouts “Praise the Lord!  They have received the Holy Spirit.”  The individual goes back to their seat filed with unholy gibberish.

Many times people are told to “practice” this gibberish until they become proficient at it.  Can you “practice” the Holy Spirit?  Can you “practice” the other gifts of the Spirit? 

Is there too much obsession with tongues over other manifestations of the Holy Spirit?  What about the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Galatians 5:22-26 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Foundation of Book of Acts (and the Church)

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses (one who tells what he has seen or heard or knows – comes from the same root word as our word for martyr – one who bears witness by his death) to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

  • You Will Receive Power.
  • Ability
  • Might
  • From the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity.
  • He is person – not a “thing,” not an “it.”
  • He acts like a person.
  • He dwells in believers (John 14:17)
  • He teaches and causes us to remember (John 14:26)                     
  • He testifies (John 15:26)
  • He guides into truth, He hears, He speaks, He shows (John 16:13)
  • He spoke to Philip (Acts 8:29)
  • He calls to the ministry (Acts 13:2)
  • He forbids certain actions (Acts 16:6,7)
  • He intercedes, etc.  (Romans 8:26)
  • He possesses qualities of personality.
  • He has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11)
  • He thinks (Romans 8:27)
  • He has knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:10,11)
  • He loves (Romans 15:30)
  • He can be treated like a person.
  • He can be lied to (Acts 5:3)
  • He can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
  • He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)
  • He can be outraged (Hebrews 10:29)
  • He can be spoken against (Matthew 12:31)
  • He is God.
  • He possesses divine qualities.
  • All knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10,11)
  • Present everywhere at one time (Psalm 139:7)
  • All powerful (Zechariah 4:6)
  • He is Truth (1 John 5:6)
  • He is the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2) as God is the living God.
  • He is the Spirit of love (2 Timothy 1:7) as God is love.
  • He bears divine names.
  • Spirit of truth (John 14:17)
  • Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11)
  • He is associated on the same level as the Father and the Son.
  • To be baptized in the name of all three (Matthew. 28:19)
  • Blessing is given by all three (2 Corinthians 13:14)
  • All three live in the Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • For the Purpose of Being a Witness.

John 15:26 – But when the Helper (the Comforter, the Advocate) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

John 16:13-14 – when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…He will glorify Me…

Acts 5:32; Acts 6:10; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:5

  • A witness is someone who KNOWS SOMETHING.

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent (exert oneself, make every effort, be zealous, strain every nerve – the word includes thinking and acting, planning and producing.  It see a need and does something about it) to present yourself approved to God, a worker (one who makes forth effort, who toils) who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.      

1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify (set apart) the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Power of Holy Spirit is given for our ability “to know.”

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 -“. . . Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given (unconditionally given) to us by God. . . but which the Holy Spirit teaches. . . But the natural (physical – living in the domain of the five senses) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually (with the aid of the Holy Spirit) discerned.

  • A Witness is someone who IS SOMETHING.

1 Peter 2:11-15 – Beloved, I beg you, as sojourners (“to dwell beside” – an alien, one who lives in a land without the rights of citizenship) . . . having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. . .for this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Luke 6:46 – Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do the things which I say?

Matthew 7:21-23; Philippians 2:14-15; James 1:22-25

Power of Holy Spirit is given for our ability “to be” righteous.

Galatians 5:16 – Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts (strong desires, intense craving) of the flesh. 

Romans 8: 13 – for if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians 5:22-23; John 14:15-17; John 14:26

  • A witness is one who TELLS SOMETHING

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature

Luke 24: 46-49 – Preach (tell abroad, publish, publicly proclaim, call out with a clear voice.  The herald is to give a public announcement of an official message and to issue whatever demands the message entails.  The Christian herald is to proclaim the message of salvation through Jesus Christ and issue a summons to repent and receive forgiveness of sins.)

Acts 2:14 – Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said.

Acts 4:4 – many of those who heard the word believed.

Power of the Holy Spirit is given for our ability “to proclaim.”

Acts 4:31 – . . . they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness (outspokenness, unreserved utterance, frankness, opposite of timidity or fear). 

The example of the disciples shows us the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the boldness to speak.  Before the day of Pentecost, the disciples ran and hid.  After the day of Pentecost, they were bold, unafraid and proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. 

  • A Witness of Jesus Christ. – Not of our denomination, not of our local church, not of our pastor, not of our programs, not of our personal ideas and beliefs – but OF JESUS CHRIST!!!

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 – And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified

  • For the Purpose of Being a Witness to the Whole World.
  • Jerusalem (local)
  • Your family
  • Your town
  • Your co-workers
  • Your close friends
  • Judea (national)
  • Your extended family
    • Your state – your country
    • Your grocery clerk, gas station attendant
    • Your acquaintances
  • Samaria (cross-cultural)
  • Race, national differences
  • Economical differences
  • Social differences
  • End of the earth (international)
  • Mexico
  • Israel
  • Brazil
  • Zambia
  • ?????

Living Sacrifices

The Bible teaches in the following passage how we are to live as Christians.  Living sacrifices are a greater influence to mankind in this sinful world, much more than a dead sacrifice.  Martyrs cannot preach the Gospel any more.  Martyrs are not able to witness anymore.  It takes someone alive in Christ to continue the work of winning souls.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!   “For who has known the mind of the LORD?  Or who has become His counselor?”, “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

  • These scriptures speak to us of the greatness, the wisdom, the mercy and the love of God toward His creation.  That’s US.  You and I are the objects of God’s attention.  Did you know that?  That is something to get excited about.  God loves you.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

  • Let us look very carefully at these first two verses of chapter 12.  Note that what is about to be said is not to the world, but to the church, to the people of God, that people who call themselves “Christian.”
  • There is not a worse advertisement for the church and the work of the church than those who call themselves “Christian” and live like the world. 
  • Someone said “If you run with the goats on Saturday night, don’t expect to smell like a sheep on Sunday morning.”
  • There is more to being a Christian than shedding a few crocodile tears at the altar.  It is walking straight after you go out the door.
  • There is more to living for Christ Jesus than the 10:30 or 11:00 worship hour on Sunday morning. 
  • There is more to being a Christian than joining a church or living a creed.  It is called dedication, consecration, sanctification and a whole lot more.  Be a good advertisement for the Lord.

Give your all for Him – He gave His all for you.

  • I beseech you – I implore you, I beg you.  Remember this verse is addressed to the people of God.  Did you know that some people in the church need to be coached, begged, counseled, and convinced of what is right and what really is the truth?  People attending church may point to a particular sin and say, “I would never do that.”  Yes, you would if sin is in control.  If you have not been truly changed by the saving grace of Jesus and the indwelling power of the Spirit, who knows but God what you are capable of doing.
  • Brethren – to the house of faith.  That is you and I.  This passage is addressed to us, the church, the believers, the body of Christ.  One passage of Scripture states that “Judgment must begin at the house of God.”  Another states, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, what of the ungodly?”  As ambassadors of Christ, we must be holy, blameless, walking worthy of the calling that Christ has called us to. 
  • Is holy living popular today?  In some churches it will get you in trouble if you preach it.  Let’s look at someone who lived in the early 1700’s who was not popular because of his stance on holiness – John Wesley.  Here is a single passage from the journal of John Wesley:

1738
Sunday a.m., May 7, preached in St. Lawrence’s, was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday p.m., May 7, preached at St. Katherine Cree’s church, deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday a.m., May 14, preached at St. Ann’s, can’t go back there either.
Sunday afternoon, May 21, preached at St. John’s, kicked out again.
Sunday evening, May 21, preached at St. somebody else’s, Bennet’s maybe, deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.

1739
Tuesday, May 8, afternoon service, preached in a pasture in Bath, 1,000 people came to hear me.
Sunday, September 9, preached to 10,000 people three weeks in a row in Moorfields

It may not be popular, but most people really do want to hear the truth.

  •  By the mercies of God – How do you measure the mercies of God?  Were it not for the mercies of God, you and I would not be here today.  It is only His great mercy that we are able to get ourselves out of bed, dress ourselves, feed ourselves and find our way to the House of God.  We take so much for granted.
  • It is only because of His mercy that we were born in this great country.  Yes, it is a great country even with its sin. 
    • It is only because of His mercy we have a place like this beautiful sanctuary to worship in.
    • It is only because of His mercy that somebody somewhere told us about the saving grace of Jesus.
    • It is only by His mercy that we have a mind capable of coming to the conclusion that He is the one who will take us, shape us, and make us in the image of his own self.  GLORY!!!
  •  That you present your bodies – You cannot present your body to serve God and continue to allow your mind and your will to go unbridled and service the flesh.  It’s all or nothing. You cannot walk the fence and serve God.  The devil, the enemy of your soul, can duplicate everything in the Christian’s life.  Everything except one thing.  Think about it.  The devil cannot duplicate consistent holy living.  You must have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing and holy before God.  You are just not strong enough on your own.  You need help!  God’s help – daily, hourly, every moment 24/7 365.

Psalms 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength.  A very present help in time of trouble.”

James 4:7 – “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

You cannot get past the temptation if you are debating the devil or continuing to dwell on the temptation.  The scripture says to first, submit to God.  Another passage says He will give you a way of escape.  To resist the devil so that he will flee from you may take many forms.  One way would be, instead of dwelling on the temptation, go and do a good deed, start singing praises to God, or reach for your Bible.  Do anything except debate the devil unless you can quote him a scripture or two.  BUT IT STARTS WITH SUBMISSION TO GOD.

Ephesians 5:8 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light.

  •  A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God – A lot of things have come down the pike regarding the term “holy” or “holiness.”  What does the Word of God say about the matter?  It is not what Aunt Tillie, Uncle Joe or grandmother says.  It is not what a church organization says.  It is not what some ecclesiastical potentate of some sort says.  It is what “thus says the Lord.”  Are you pleasing to God?  That is what matters.
  •  Your reasonable service – Reasonable, rational, intelligent, logical, not in any way unreasonable.  He never demands or asks anything you cannot do. 

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

1 Corinthians 6:20 – “For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

  •  Do not be conformed to this world – You do not belong to this world any more.  You are a child of God.  Act like it; speak like it; live like it.  You are fashioned after, shaped as, conformed like Him if you indeed have received Him.  You are not your own.  You belong to Him and you belong to each other.  When you live in a manner less than your Heavenly Father intends for you to live, you bring reproach on Him, on the church and on each other.  We are all part of the same body, so we need to have respect for Him, for the church, for each other.

1 John 2:15-16 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Romans 6:6-7 – Know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

  •  Be transformed by the renewing of the mind – When you came to Christ, you had a heart transplant, but you also needed your thinking rewired.  That did not happen necessarily at the same time.  You were changed, but the change did not happen automatically.  The mind changed when God’s presence so overwhelmed you at your request and His delight as you became one with Him in the sanctifying grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
  •  That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God – If we are living as we should, we will show forth the Lord’s glory in our life and be in His perfect will.  Are you living in His perfect will?  Is your life bringing glory to Him?

Being holy is not a dispensational thing.  God has demanded holiness from all time.  Look at one more example of a man who tried to live holy – John Chrysostom.

John Chrysostom was one of the greatest of the Greek Church fathers.  He lived in A.D. 347-407.  Pastor of Antioch and Bishop of Constantinople, he was called “Golden Mouth.”  He preached a lengthily series of sermons on Genesis, Matthew, John and Romans, most of which are still available today.

As a very young Christian he was brought before the emperor, who said that if he would not give up Christ; he would be banished from the country.  Chrysostom said, “You cannot, for the whole world is my Father’s land.  You can’t banish me.”  The emperor said, “Then I will take away all your property.”  “You cannot.  My treasures are in heaven,” was the reply.  “Then I’ll take you to a place where there is not a friend to speak to.”  Chrysostom replied, “You cannot.  I have a friend who is closer than a brother.  I shall have Jesus Christ, forever.”  The emperor finally threatened, “Then I’ll take away your life!”  The answer was, “You cannot.  My life is hid with God in Christ.”  And the emperor said, “What do you do with a man like that?”

I AM

Jesus said “I AM”

  • “I am the living bread.”  John 6:51
  • “I am the bread of life.”  John 6:48
  • “I am the good shepherd.”  John 10:11
  • “I am the light of the world” – John 8:12
  • “I am the door of the sheep.” – John 10:7
  • “I am the door.” – John 10:9
  • “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  – John 14:6
  • “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” – Rev. 1:8
  • “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” – Rev 1:18

Who am I: – married, in love with my spouse, talkative, college grad, music lover, gardener

What describes you?

  • I am a child of God, heir with Jesus Christ!

Romans 8:12-17 – Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

  • I am not ashamed!

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

  • I am redeemed from the hand of the enemy!

 Psalm 107:2 – Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

  • I am forgiven and delivered from the power of darkness!

Colossians 1:13-14 – He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

  • I am persuaded!

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

  • I am saved by grace through faith!

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

  • I am crucified with Christ – I am alive!

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

  • I am free!

John 8:37 – Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

  • I am a new creature!

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

  • I am more than a conqueror!

Romans 8:37 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

  • I am what I am by the grace of God!

1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  •  I am my brother’s keeper

Cain asked:

Genesis 4: 9 – Am I my brother’s keeper?

Jesus answered that:

Matthew 19:19 – He said you should love your neighbor as yourself.

Freedom and Responsibility

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 6:5-7 – For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Romans 6:13-14 – And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

  • Setting our minds on what the Spirit desires is not something that happens automatically after salvation.  Following the Lord is still an act of our will.  Remember that Jesus does drive His sheep; He leads them.  When we are being driven, we have no choice but to move.  But when we are following, we can choose to move or not.
  • After we are saved, after the Holy Spirit takes up lodging within, we have a kind of “barometer” at our spiritual core.  This barometer senses any decrease in fellowship with God, warning us that something is amiss.  We can make things right again by asking Jesus to expose our old bad habits or whatever is disrupting our fellowship with Him.  This is called daily confession.  As we allow ourselves to be refined our communion with Him is restored on an even deeper level.  No earthly pleasure is worth losing that communion—not even for a short time.
  • Things may be difficult.  Things may be hard to understand and at times things may seem like they are going nowhere but down, down, down.  Put your trust and confidence in Jesus and they will change.
  • Don’t give up.  God says, “I will bring to pass what I have promised.”  God says, “Don’t’ be discouraged by the enemy.  His is a defeated foe.  You will be victorious.  You must stand in Christ.