Make every day count! Part 2

Days fly into months, months into years and before you know it, seems life has passed you by…unless you are intentional about making every day count!

Nearly 2000 years ago 120 ordinary people turned the world upside down, what they did stretched from Israel, to china to the snowcapped shores of northern Europe to all over Africa in just a few short years today it is still reaching around the world with millions still being changed by the greatest message ever told…today we are blessed because they did, but can it happen again. In this time when politics, religion, and life are in the doldrums for so many can we once again turn the world upside down?

You and I are the modern-day version of those early Christians. You, me and our band of believer were made to make every day count. There are roughly 2 billion people all across the planet who call themselves Christians. Most of those people look at the five billion who don’t and the devastating times in which we live and wonder: How can my effort make any difference?

I’m convinced that if we believe what they believed and do what they did, then we too can turn the world upside down. We will make every day count for time and for eternity! Last week I listed their three core beliefs and how those beliefs affected their passions and priorities. 

They believed… 

Jesus is risen….the message

Jesus is ruling …..the mission

Jesus is returning….the motivation to make every day count

We get all that just from the first chapter of Acts.

In Acts chapter 2. It was the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Pentecost was a celebration of the day Moses came down from Mount Sinai and presented the people with the Ten Commandments. Because God’s law was so important in Jewish life and culture, Israelites came from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem. 

Some estimate that during this celebration the population of Jerusalem swelled from a hundred thousand to over a million inhabitants. Merchants, priests and paupers all lined the busy streets, local inns were overflowing with travelers, and the temple was filled with worshippers. Every element of humanity crammed within the three hundred acres of the City of David. And somewhere in the middle of it all, Jesus’ followers gathered in prayer and preparation. Today would be the day.

 Today I want to focus in on three things these believers did on the day of Pentecost, which if we do today, can make a real difference in our lives and in the hearts and lives of those around us.

  1. They trusted in the Spirit’s power!

God had placed His people right in the middle of the busiest city at one of the busiest times of the year. When he had them and everything else in the exact place He wanted it…

Acts 2:2-4

“Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”

Jim and Connie Rach were recently on Sanibel Island when a tornado came through. Jim said He heard the sound of a locomotive bustling through but he knew their were no train tracks on the island everything was roaring like a train going right by but it was the tornado.

Have you ever witnessed or heard that? I remember seeing and hearing it as a kid. I believe that would be similar to the sound and wind of that day.

Add to that sound of the physical presence of the Holy Spirit appearing similar to flickers of flame on each of the 120….the wind, the roar, the brightness of 120 flames, the presence of the Holy Spirit in full force….can you imagine it?

Two things happened here just as Jesus had promised, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time.

Acts 1:4

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit comes with the Father and Son, only by the hand of God, when someone becomes a believerand like a physical baptism you are plunged deep, into relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit himself. This is what enables us to be born again!

There is a second work of God that is referenced as the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is a complete immersion (like being baptized in water) of the Holy Spirit. A one-time event when a believer choose to desire more that God has for them….then as Paul encourages us there is a second move of the Holy Spirit that happens when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit and happened with the disciples that day…

Secondly, they weren’t just baptized in the Holy Spirit in a second act of acceptance these men and women chose to be filled by Him too which was an empowering to change the world.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We will see later in Acts 4 that the filling of the Holy Spirit needs to be an on-going daily surrender to the Holy Spirit….Paul stresses our regular and perhaps daily filling of the Holy Spirit when he speaks of emphatically and continuously being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18

The Holy Spirit empowered, emboldened, and enabled the Jerusalem Christians to step out on faith, reach into people’s lives, and change the world. I love what Vance Havner said (Leonard Ravenhill was to Charismatics what Vance Havner was to the Southern Baptist they were contemporaries) “We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

The early church had none of the things that we think are so essential for success today—buildings, money, PowerPoint, praise teams, ad campaigns, political influence, social status—and yet the church won multitudes to Christ and changed the course of human history! Why? Because they relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to energize their ministry. They were people whose lives were ignited by the Spirit of God! That same Spirit power is available to us today.

Do you desire God’s Spirit? Do you want to be empowered for ministry and service? Are you tired of just going through the motions? Here’s what Jesus said you need to do…ask!

Luke 11:10 

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

The Spirit fills as prayer flows. The disciples prayed for ten days. Ten days of prayer and patience resulted in Pentecost-power. If you’re ready to rely on his power then pray, “Lord, I receive your energy. Empowered by your Holy Spirit, I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me!” That’s what the early church did. And they also spoke the people’s language.

  • They spoke the people’s language 

Once the wind calmed down, Luke reports something wild happened

Acts 2:5-11

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”

Representatives from at least 15 different nations heard these men and women speaking like trained interpreters in their own language. Because of this they asked the question, “what does this mean?”

What a great question…God loves the people of every tribe, nation, group, sub group culture, sub culture His dream according to Revelation 5:9 is that people from every nation, tribe, and tongue would be gathered around the throne in worship.

This day God gave them a supernatural gift of speaking in a way that every person “heard” their own language. God is still looking for us to speaking the language of the rich, the poor, soccer moms, jocks, geeks, artist, bikers, tree huggers, academics all so they can understand the most powerful message ever given!

If Christ is in you, and He is leading and guiding you, He will give you the language to speak to whomever he brings across your path, teenagers, elderly, business people, millworkers, children….God will give you the ability to speak to whomever he brings across your path because he loves them all.

 If we want to make a difference with our lives, God requires us to cross cultures and touch hearts. Trust in the Spirit’s power, speak the people’s language, and finally point the world to Jesus.

  • They pointed to Jesus, the Savior of the world…

This is exactly what Peter did….as the crowd was puzzled to understand what in the world was going on, he stood up and spoke (un-Peter-like) empowered by the Holy Spirit, he spoke eloquently 

Acts 2:22-24

People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

Later Peter would address the issues of poverty, widows, orphans, bigotry, hunger, and disease but his first order of business was to present Jesus as Lord and savior.

I get concerned that sometimes in our rush to make a difference, we get distracted. We feed people. We encourage, we heal, help and serve. We address racial issues and poverty. And all of those are good things, but we shouldn’t forget our first priority—sharing Jesus.

There are so many distractions in this life we have to focus. There have been times when I walked from one room to another to do something and someone meets me in the other room with something else and I forget to do what I went in there for in the first place…we mustn’t allow distraction to take us from the main thing…there will be plenty of time to deal with all the things we desire but if we want to make every day count we need to keep the main thing the main thing first…

Whatever else we do along the way, we have to remember that our real purpose is sharing the love and grace of Jesus. If we do a good deed, but don’t do it in the name of Jesus, we might make a difference for a time, but not for eternity. A shelter can give a bed, a meal, and valuable counsel. But we can give so much more. Not just help for this life, but hope for the next! That is why I love all of our programs, from Children’s church, to tutoring, to VBS, to single Moms, mentoring it is always about Jesus, first.

So along with the cups of water, plates of food, and vials of medicine, let there be the message of sins forgiven and death defeated—the message of Jesus.

If we want to make a difference in this world, if you truly want to make every day count…

-We need to be filled and Baptized in the Holy Spirit moving in power

– We need to speak the Language of the people so they can understand what we are saying

– We need to remember that our number one thing is pointing people to Jesus

If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, if you are not even sure that you have an actual relationship with Jesus I would encourage you to come and meet Him today