Sunday, February 10, 2019
Unstoppable: The Revolutionary Gospel
Part 5: In the War Room
Think about how you felt that time when God came through and answered your prayer…
Something powerful happens when we pray. When we pray, we connect our lives to the very same God who spoke this world into being.
The very same God who:
Formed the Swiss Alps…Who carved the Grand Canyon…Who planted the rainforest…Placed every single star in it place…
When the church prays, great things begin to happen, and I want to share 3 of those things with you:
1. When the church prays, we become united:
The church as described by Luke in the book of Acts is absolutely a united church.
10 times in Acts, Luke uses a Greek word to describe the early church that basically means that they were all on the same page…. they had the same agenda.
There was no running off in different directions, with no one knowing what was going on or what the others doing.
They were of ONE mind…
In Acts chapter 4 Peter and John are released from prison. They had the fearlessness to believe that the resurrected Christ was still powerful enough to heal a 40yr old man who had been crippled since birth…
They healed him in the Name of Jesus and some of the Jewish leaders got HOT under the collar.
These Jewish leaders had just worked pretty hard to get rid of this man called Jesus and now here peter and John use this Name to heal a a cripple man.
It is kind of obvious that they didn’t really know what to do with these two renegades.
They wanted to kill them but were afraid of what might happen, so they just threatened Peter and John and told them not to speak that Name again…or it might get worse.
What would you do if you were in their shoes?
Think about it…you’re standing in front of the same bunch that put Jesus to death and now they are threatening you…
LOOK at verse 19,20 “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”
Did you catch how Peter and John trapped the Sanhedrin? If the Sanhedrin said that it was right to obey God, then Peter and John were free to continue. If they said, “NO you must stop speaking” Peter and John would be guilty of rebellion against God.
So, the Sanhedrin did exactly what most would do if they didn’t know how to answer…ignored the question. “And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.”
That’s the background…now how does prayer unite the church?
Peter and John made a beeline straight to the church, after being released…WHY? What was the big deal? What could the church do? PRAY!!!
Let’s look at the prayer and notice what they did not pray…For vengeance…to be hidden…for safety…something bad to happen to those who jailed Peter and John…
LOOK at vs. 23,24... “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.’”
v31 “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Their prayer was so united and so powerful that the home they were in began to shake…
That is what I want for FBCR…that we are so united in prayer and that our prayer becomes so powerful that the very foundations of this old building begins to shake.
2. When the church prays, we receive divine guidance:
It has never been God’s plan for His people to grope around in darkness, trying to feel their way through life and ministry.
God already knows where He is taking us, and He is waiting for us to just ask for guidance.
Most do one of two things.
1. We just don’t ask…or we ask wrongly.
James 4:2-3 “You don not have, because you don not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly.”
1 Kings 3:5-9 (Solomon’s pray for wisdom and discernment) “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
2. We wait until we have made royal mess of things before we ask…Then it’s all about having God just bail us out.
In Acts 6 we see the church seeking some divine guidance, as 1000s are being led to Jesus. The Disciples are overwhelmed with so much stuff that they can’t devote themselves to prayer and study.
There was a need for some to step up and help, so they asked God to give them 7 men, full of the Spirit, who would step up to the plate…God provided…
In chapter 15, the church is over 10 years old and more and more Gentiles are coming in…possibly more Gentiles than Jews. The Jews had been worshipping God a certain way for 1500 years…they had lots of tradition. Their minds were set on how “Church” was to be.
For 1500 years “Well preacher, we’ve always done it that…”
They needed divine guidance as to how to deal with such a diverse group of people. They needed to know what was essential and what was just a matter of opinion…God answered…
He will give us guidance if we stop trying to tell Him how it ought to be…
3. When the church prays, God’s Power is released:
In Acts 12, the church was facing some real tough times. Herod had arrested a number of Christians, one was John’s brother James. Herod wasted no time in having him beheaded, scoring some pretty big points with the Jews.
He immediately had Peter arrested, intending to do the same thing to him.
In Acts 12 5-12 Peter is in prison waiting to die and things look bleak for the new church.
Vs 5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”
Now look at what happened when God stepped in:
Vs 6-12 “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.”
The church prayed and God’s power was unleashed…
In Acts 16: 25-26 Prayer caused the power of Almighty God to be unleashed…
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.”
My Bible tells me that God is the same yesterday…today and forever…His Power is the same today as it was yesterday, and He will be just as powerful tomorrow…
The SAME God who broke Peter…John…Paul and Silas out of prison…the SAME God who locked the jaws of those lions for Daniel…the SAME God who took down the Giant as David faced his greatest fear…the SAME God who brought down the walls of Jericho…who walked in the fire with those three Hebrew boys…who parted the Red Sea…opened the eyes of the blind…made the lame to walk…the dumb to speak…AND YES who raised the dead…IS OUR GOD.
He has not changed…He is not growing old…His power is not running out…His strength is not fading…
I truly believe that if are to see a powerful movement of God in our church, we must PRAY!