Will the Real Church Please Stand Up – Empowerment


Peninsula Community Church

Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?

The Empowerment of the Church

October 16, 2011

Matthew 28:16-20 Now, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And, when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And, Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:7-8 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When Jesus finished his earthly ministry, he made some final statements that behoove the church to take note.

Famous death bed sayings:

  • Are you guys ready? Let’s roll – Todd Beamer on flight 93 over Pennsylvania.
  • Oh, yes; it is the glorious Fourth of July. It is a great day. It is a good day. God bless it. God bless you all. He then lapsed into unconsciousness; he awakened later, and mumbled, Thomas Jefferson…
  • This is the last of Earth! I am content! – John Quincy Adams, US President, February 21, 1848.
  • Let me die in the old uniform in which I fought my battles for freedom, May God forgive me for putting on another. – Benedict Arnold; he wanted to wear his old Continental Army uniform.
  • How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden? – P. T. Barnum, circus entrepreneur
  • Tell mother; tell mother, I died for my country. . . . (looks at his hands) useless . . . useless . . . – John Wilkes Booth
  • That was a great game of golf, fellers. – Bing Crosby. He was playing the whole 18 holes of golf (even when his doctor said to only do nine). 20 minutes after the game, he suffered a fatal heart attack.
  • One last drink, please. – Jack Daniel
  • I am not the least afraid to die. Charles Darwin

Much has been made about one’s last words as they are some of the most telling and insightful about one’s life.

Jesus was no exception. In the passages, we read today, we see that Jesus’ focus was not on Himself but was on the future of the church. In Matthew, He calls the church into ministry and in Acts, He promises to empower them to accomplish what He has called them to do.

Christ never calls us to do anything that He does not empower us to accomplish. He is not like some government agencies that require local governments to do certain things but they do not give them the tools or the ability to do so. Jesus does both.

Christ has equipped and empowered the church to accomplish all that it has been called to do. It has been said that God does not always call the equipped but He equips the called. He does this for churches and He does it for people as individuals. The key is to understand what we have been called to do and what He has purposed for us.

 

  1. It is God’s plan to reach the world with the gospel message. Jesus’ proclamation in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28 is not the first time this idea of reaching the world was proposed. In Isaiah 49:6 and 42:6 Isaiah prophesied that Christ came as a light for the nations in order to bring light to the nations. Luke confirms this in Luke 2:32. All that God has done both in the New Testament and the Old has been to reach the world with the message of hope.
    1. Matthew 28:16-20 – Now, the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And, when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And, Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
    2. Mark 16:15-20 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
    3. Luke 24:45-53 – then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
    4. John 16:7-16 – Nevertheless, 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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
    5. Acts 1:8 – He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  2. God has designed his plan in such a way that his disciples would be the agents that would accomplish this calling.
  3. God not only calls his disciples to be a part of this process but He also empowers and equips them to make it happen.

 

In John 16 and Acts 1:8 Jesus shines a light into how He does this through the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7-15 Nevertheless, 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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

  • He will be our helper. – The Holy Spirit will come as a paraclete which is one who comes along side to help and direct.
  • He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. His job is to convict people. It is not ours.
  • He will guide you into all truth. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide those who love Him into the truth – God’s words, false world views.
  • He will glorify the son. – His primary role is to glorify the Son.
  • He will declare what the Son has spoken and what the Father has declared.
  • And in Acts 1:8 we see that the Holy Spirit will empower us to be witnesses. Therefore the power to witness is not in our power but it is in His.

 

  1. God’s desire is that we would have His passion. When we have His passion we will gladly accomplish His will. When we have His passion we will have a passion for those we have been called to. Where our passion is there our heart will be and that is where we will focus and be excited.
    1. The first word of empowerment is that Jesus has promised to be with us always. By this we can have a boldness to share and to proclaim the living word of God.
    2. The second is the promise of the Holy Spirit which will empower us for service.


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