for My power is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
2 Corinthians 12:8,9
We can pray and ask that our circumstances will change, but often the change of circumstances is that we are given grace to bear up well under our suffering. Jesus, then, and His power is exalted, and this is why Paul boasted in his weakness. Paul was saying, "When I am weak, you don't see me, you see Jesus." Our weakness, is Jesus exaltation...
These are my sermon notes from Pastor Bubba Jennings message on Acts 4:1-22... We are in a sermon series entitled Acts: Empowered for Jesus' Mission. This Sunday's message was on Spirit-empowered leadership.
Christian leadership (and discipleship) must be powered by the Holy Spirit
1. Spirit-empowered leaders/disciples testify that salvation comes through Jesus alone.
Acts 4:12 - "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
We are made for more than the American dream.
The question isn't, why aren't there more ways? It's the truth - there is a way, one and only one way, and it's Jesus!
The Father ordained salvation.
The Son accomplished salvation.
The Spirit applies salvation.
Praise be to our Triune God!
Pride thinks too little of God's Word and its authority, and chooses unbelief. We need to humble ourselves, let God be big, believe in Jesus alone, for salvation.
2. Spirit-empowered leaders/disciples exemplify that Jesus changes people.
Acts 4:13 - "Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."
Peter went from denying Jesus to bold and courageous proclamation of Jesus.
Why are people different? Because they have been with Jesus.
A Christian leader is someone who follows Jesus and helps others follow Jesus.
3. Spirit-empowered leaders/disciples endure opposition for their faith in Jesus.
Acts 4:3 - "And they (the priests, captain of the guard, and the Sadducees) laid hands on them (Peter and John) and put them in jail until the next day..."
Acts 4:15-18 - "But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, 'What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.' And when they had summoned them, they commanded them to speak no longer to any man in this name."
Peter and John take the threats.
4. Spirit-empowered leaders/disciples do not compromise the message or the mission of Jesus.
Acts 4:19, 20 - "But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Peter answers - What is right in the sight of God? What does God say about this? We will obey God, not you.
Never stop talking about Jesus. If we stop talking about Jesus, people will not get saved.
When we come broken to Jesus over our sin - we receive forgiveness. If we remain prideful - we will be crushed by God's wrath.
"Mystery" - vv. 3,4,6,9 - used 27 times in the NT, 20 times by Paul. A mystery is not something we haven't figured out, but new truth that has been revealed. It's something that wasn't understood clearly before but is now clearly understood.
An insight made available to Christians which was not clear in the OT. Something previously undreamed of which is now seen and experienced.
Examples of mysteries -
1 Corinthians 15:51 - We will not all sleep (die before Jesus returns), but we will all be changed.
Ephesians 5:31-32 - Marriage is to be a demonstration of how Jesus loves His church.
Colossians 4:3 - Christ Himself. First coming, suffering Messiah. Second coming, King Messiah.
Ephesians 3:6 - Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ. Gentiles are on the same standing as the nation of Israel - joint heirs through the gospel - Jesus would love and stand in the Gentiles place, too.
Some Bible teachers are saying that today, God is still in the business of revealing mysteries. The gospel is not fully contained in the Bible. The Bible is still being written today - the Bible has trajectory. Things written in the NT, are now clear today. The problem - who decides where the Bible is up to date and where is it obsolete? When truth becomes moveable, it can be made to mean anything. When following this way of interpretation, it becomes more about the teacher than God's Word.
The time is now here when people will not endure sound teaching. 2 Tim. 4:3,4
God does not need to be updated, we need to go back to what His Word says.
Bad things happen to believers. Bad things happen to believers because we are believers. Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel. The more we lead a consistent, Christian life, the more likely we are to suffer for Christ.
Paul viewed his suffering as God working His purpose; that others were benefitting from his suffering; that the suffering, everything, paled compared to knowing Jesus.
We are most used when we are most tested. When we are being persecuted, we have the opportunity to be a testimony. Children and grandchildren will be watching how we respond when life gets difficult.
God uses the church to reveal His wisdom, love, and grace to the angels. 3:10 Angels observe worship in the church and are learning about the love of God. 1 Peter...
It didn't matter where Paul was - anywhere he was at, (and he was writing from prison) whether he was free or not, was a palace, because His Father was the King. Paul did not want his readers to lose heart, because he was in prison. From prison, from anywhere, we have confident access to Jesus through faith.
God sets our identity.
Paul's prayer - that our relationship with Jesus would consume what we were and define who we are - that we would experience the transforming love of Jesus.
Our primary identity is to bring glory to God. When we do, we will experience the greatest joy.
Let your identity be set by who Christ is...don't let sin or feelings define you...let Jesus be everything to you. We belong to Jesus. The King of Kings, the Sinless Savior, the Risen Lamb, our Perfect, Spotless Righteousness, does not disappoint.
Is there anyone or anything greater than Jesus Christ?
How we view this question - whether or not we evade it - how we answer it - ultimately determines how we live our lives and where we will spend eternity.
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." Colossians 1:15-18