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The Church in Action


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Title: The Church in Action

The Church in Action
Lesson 5
Lesson TextActs 18
Acts 18 But ye shall receive power, after that
the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all
Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost
part of the earth.
Lesson TextActs 21, 4
Acts 21, 4 1 And when the day of Pentecost was
fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance.
Lesson TextActs 238
Acts 238 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Lesson TextActs 817
Acts 817 Then laid they their hands on them,
and they received the Holy Ghost.
Lesson TextActs 1044
Acts 1044 While Peter yet spake these words, the
Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Lesson TextActs 196
Acts 196 And when Paul had laid his hands upon
them, the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake
with tongues, and prophesied.
Focus VerseActs 14-5
Acts 14-5 And, being assembled together with
them, commanded them that they should not depart
from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the
Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For
John truly baptized with water but ye shall be
baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Focus Thought
God breathed His Holy Spirit into His followers,
and they emerged as a spiritually ignited,
equipped, and empowered people through whom the
church would begin and grow.
Wind and water are both components of storms that
can be destructive and even disastrous. They are
elements of weather that are pervasive and
penetrating. Thunder-storms and hurricanes drench
and saturate everything with rain and produce
winds of phenomenal force.
The Scriptures compare the Holy Spirit to rivers
and wells of living water. In the New Testament,
Jesus invited the spiritually thirsty to come to
Him and drink. Later, when the disciples received
the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, they were
able to drink of the rivers of living water as
Jesus had promised.
Jesus also declared that the coming of the Spirit
was like the wind. After His resurrection, He
breathed on His disciples and said, Receive ye
the Holy Ghost (John 2022). It was as though He
was preparing them for what they would experience
through the Spirits baptism. On the Day of
Pentecost, the sound of a rushing mighty wind
blew into the place where the disciples had
gathered, and it filled all the house. Then they
heard yet another soundthat of speaking in other
tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.
Luke also mentioned that cloven tongues like as
of fire appeared to each of them. This fulfilled
what John the Baptist had declared about Jesus
baptizing believers with the Spirit and with
The likeness of the Holy Spirit as wind, water,
and fire are examples of the impact that the
Spirits baptism makes on an individual. The Holy
Ghost filled the early believers and made them
dynamos of change. Likewise, the church today, as
a Spirit-saturated entity, can affect the world.
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit Ignited the Church
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
Ever since God created mankind, He has interacted
with him to establish fellowship. From the Garden
of Eden, where Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence
of God, to the construction of the Tabernacle and
the Temple, the Lord exhibited a desire to
commune with His crowning creation, mankind.
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
The Old Testament lists many miraculous events
where God called, directed, and delivered His
people. Individually and collectively, they
experienced the hand of the Lord in their lives
in times of need. None of these incidents,
however, was as great as the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit that the prophets had promised.
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
Peter wrote that the prophets and angels desired
to look into that experience (I Peter 110-12).
Although the prophets may not have totally
understood what would occur, they longed for the
fulfillment of this prophecy. Isaiah wrote of God
speaking to His people through stammering lips
and another tongue (Isaiah 2811 I Corinthians
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
Ezekiel prophesied of both a new heart and new
spirit (Ezekiel 3626-27). Joel foretold the
outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh
(Joel 228). These prophecies occurred centuries
before the actual event took place.
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
John the Baptist spoke of the Spirits baptism
just a few years before it happened. A few days
before this event occurred, Jesus reminded His
disciples of Johns words. Mentioning the
promise of the Father and the power they would
receive when the Spirit came, Jesus instructed
His disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait.
A. The Advent of the Holy Spirit
After they watched Jesus ascend to heaven and
heard the witness of the two angels who appeared
to them, the disciples walked to Jerusalem from
the Mount of Olives. The remaining disciples,
Mary, the mother of Jesus, her other sons, and
other men and women comprised a group of about
120 who assembled in an upper room. They all
joined in continual prayer and supplication as
they expectantly waited in unity for the
fulfillment of the promise.
Acts 21-4
And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house
where they were sitting. And there appeared unto
them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat
upon each of them. And they were all filled with
the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance
(Acts 21-4).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
1. The Initial Evidence. An event as momentous as
the promised Holy Spirit would not come and go in
the blink of an eye. After reading all the
prophesies and hearing the teachings of Jesus,
those in the upper room greatly anticipated the
outpouring of the Spirit. Thus, they continued
their united prayer vigil.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
Suddenly, elements of what both John the Baptist
and Jesus had said about the Spirit appeared.
They heard the sound of a strong wind from heaven
that filled the house, and tongues like fire
appeared to each of them. John had spoken of a
baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire (Matthew
311), and Jesus had likened the birth of the
Spirit to the blowing of the wind (John 38).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
The house was filled with the sound of a rushing
wind, thus demonstrating that God wants to leave
out no one. While other sensational displays of
Gods power were evident, speaking in tonguesor
other languagesis what received the most
attention. This joyous, supernatural display
continued until a large crowd gathered to hear
and see what was happening.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
People of numerous nationalities present in
Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost were amazed
and puzzled to hear this group of Galileans
speaking in their languages. Moreover, they
understood what was being said, and they
exclaimed, We do hear them speak in our tongues
the wonderful works of God (Acts 211).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
When the crowd inquired as to the meaning of this
phenomenon, Peter stood with the eleven to answer
their inquiry. Some contend that the purpose of
tongues during this time was only to witness to
the assembled crowd of different nationalities.
However, they all understood Peters preaching
that came later and they asked, Men and
brethren, what shall we do? Peters answer
included a promise that both they and succeeding
generations would receive the gift of the Holy
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
2. The Prophetic Evidence Given by Jesus. As God
manifest in the flesh, Jesus displayed the
fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. He
possessed the Spirit without measure (John 334).
During His time on earth, He often referred to
the promise of the Spirit.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
First, He told Nicodemus that he must be born of
water and of the Spirit (John 35). The Book of
Acts repeatedly demonstrates that the apostles
followed this plan as they led people to
salvation. Twice Jesus referred to the Spirit as
water to drink. He told the woman at the well in
Samaria about living water (John 410).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
He also interrupted the ceremonies on the last
day of the Feast of Tabernacles by shouting about
satisfying thirst with rivers of living water
(John 737-39). John explained that Jesus was
speaking about the Spirit that would come to
those who believe according to the Scriptures.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
It is significant that the apostle Paul continued
to use the metaphor of drinking when referring to
the Spirits baptism (I Corinthians 1213). We
drink with our mouth, which also is where we
experience the initial evidence of receiving the
Spiritspeaking in other tongues.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
Jesus promised to send the Comforter, which is
the Holy Ghost. (See John 14-16.) Moreover, He
said that the Spirit of truth would come and
guide you into all truth (John 1613).
Following the Resurrection the Spirit became a
prominent promise. (See John 2022.) Jesus
reminded His disciples of the Fathers promise
and told them to wait in Jerusalem until they
received power from on high (Luke 2449).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
3. The Prophetic Evidence of Joel. Although
several prophets spoke of the Spirits coming,
Peter chose to quote Joels prophecy during his
message on the Day of Pentecost. All flesh
includes young and old, male and female, and
indicates that everyone has the opportunity to
receive the promised Spirit. Since the love of
God and the sacrificial death of the Lord are for
the whole world, so also is the promise of the
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
4. The Collective Evidence. The believers
received a promise in Acts 18 that assured them
of the potential of becoming a power witness,
empowering them to positively impact the whole
world. These Spirit-filled witnesses of Jesus
Christ would begin by spreading the Word to
Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the
uttermost part of the earth.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
Samaria was the next region to experience the
Holy Ghost after the initial outpouring in
Jerusalem and Judea. A tremendous revival had
broken out in an unnamed city in Samaria as many
believed what Philip preached and were baptized
in the name of Jesus. Miracles and signs were
evident (Acts 813), but none had received the
Holy Ghost. Peter and John traveled from
Jerusalem to pray that the Samaritan believers
also would receive the Spirit.
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
As the apostles prayed and laid hands on these
new converts, they received the Holy Spirit.
Evidently, Simon the sorcerer saw something
supernatural take place, far more than just a new
convert raising a hand to acknowledge believing
or stepping forward to accept Christ. He
apparently saw and heard them speak in other
tongues. He saw something that prompted him to
offer money to the apostles to purchase the power
to bestow this gift, which they promptly
condemned (Acts 818-24).
B. The Evidence of the Holy Spirit
Apparently, speaking in tongues was the evidence
that accompanied the reception of the Holy Ghost,
which is consistent with what had happened in
Jerusalem in the upper room, later with Cornelius
and his household (Acts 1044-46), and with the
Ephesian believers whom Paul met (Acts 196).
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
1. Initial Evidence. The Lord gives concrete
evidence of a spiritual work at each stage of the
salvation experience. Repentance often is
accompanied by tears and the feeling of ones
burdens being lifted. Water baptism in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
initiates a deepening spiritual experience as a
person is immersed in water as the name of Jesus
is invoked over him.
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
Further, a person receiving the Holy Ghost
demonstrates the evidence of speaking in other
tonguesother languages. Every step of the way a
new believer receives clear confirmations of the
spiritual work God is doing in his life.
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
James identified the tongue as a small member of
the body that can cause great trouble. In spite
of mankinds ability to tame many other creatures
to work and to perform, James wrote, The tongue
can no man tame (James 38). Perhaps speaking in
other tongues is divine evidence that God has
taken control of the person who has yielded all
to Him.
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
2. Individual Edification. The apostle Paul wrote
that we have the Spirit to help us with our
infirmities, or weaknesses (Romans 826).
Furthermore, the Spirit helps us when we sense a
need to pray but do not know what to pray for. It
is then that the Spirit begins to intercede
through us as we pray in tongues.
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
Pauls directions to the Corinthian church for
the proper use of the gifts of the Spirit include
a few verses about praying in tongues. He wrote
that someone praying in tongues is speaking to
God rather than to mankind. Then he contrasted
speaking in tongues with prophesying by saying
that speaking in tongues is for edifying oneself
in prayer, but prophesying edifies the church. He
again reinforced the practice of praying in
tongues as appropriate to edify oneself and to
speak to God. (See I Corinthians 14.)
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
3. Corporate Edification. Paul continued his
instruction for the proper use of the nine gifts
of the Spirit in his first letter to the
Corinthians. During Peters message on the Day of
Pentecost, he referred to the Holy Spirit as a
gift (Acts 238), but he never used the words
the gift of tongues. The gifts of the Spirit
can only operate in the life of a believer after
he has initially received the Holy Ghost.
C. The Three Purposes of Tongues
Paul limited messages in tongues to two or
threeone after the otherwith the interpretation
necessary for the churchs edification.
Otherwise, tongues should be used for personal
prayer and the edifying of oneself. It is also
good for opponents of speaking in tongues to keep
in mind that Paul said, Forbid not to speak with
tongues (I Corinthians 1439). This applies both
to using tongues for individual and corporate
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
The Spirit Equippedthe Believers
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
John described the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of
truth (John 1613). Therefore, we expect to
receive guidance into more truth from His
anointing as He leads us throughout our lives.
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
That is not to suggest we do not have the
fullness of truth presently however, as we grow
and mature in Christ Jesus we gain new and fresh
insights to the Word of God. Certainly, we can
receive no new revelation other than that which
the Scriptures present. However, we complete the
process of truth when we apply it to our
individual lives. As we follow the Spirits
leading, He guides us into more of what God
desires to give and to reveal to us.
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
The Spirits anointing is a wonderful blessing in
times of preaching, teaching, testifying, and
witnessing of Gods truth and goodness. We should
passionately seek the saturation of the Spirits
presence in our lives, which prepares us to
witness or to defend the truth.
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
Jesus spoke of allowing the Spirit to speak
through us when we face opposition and
persecution. (See Mark 139-11.) He mentioned
that councils, synagogue leaders, rulers, and
kings would bring the disciples before them for
examination, which the early believers later
experienced. Numerous times, the apostle Paul
appeared before ranking governmental figures.
However, each of the apostles answered thoroughly
and even cheerfully as the Spirit prompted them.
A. With Spiritual Guidance and Wisdom
During times of trial, there is a tendency on our
part to worry about what to say. However, we can
have confidence in what the Spirit will assist us
to say at the appropriate time. A
Spirit-saturated life is powerful proof of Gods
ability to save and to keep those who purpose in
their heart to serve Him.
B. With Spiritual Fruit and Gifts
B. With Spiritual Fruit and Gifts
The purpose of both the fruit of the Spirit and
the gifts of the Spirit is to enable and to
empower the church to supernaturally impact the
world. The spiritual fruit and gifts are a
natural outgrowth of a Spirit-saturated church.
B. With Spiritual Fruit and Gifts
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul provided a
vivid contrast between the works of the flesh and
the fruit of the Spirit. (See Galatians 519-23.)
Although he listed seventeen works of the flesh,
the list certainly was not a comprehensive list.
A person gains nothing positive through any of
these fleshly works. The result or effect always
is negative for each of them, eventually
resulting in spiritual death and eternal loss.
B. With Spiritual Fruit and Gifts
On the other hand, the nine aspects of the fruit
of the Spirit are positive, and they bolster and
build a person spiritually. It is possible for a
person who is not Spirit filled to possess a
general measure of those characteristics listed
as fruit of the Spirit, but he is able to
experience their fullness only through receiving
the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Colossians
B. With Spiritual Fruit and Gifts
The gifts of the Spirit enable a believer and the
church to know, to speak, and to act
supernaturally. The operation of the gifts of the
Spirit is for the benefit of the church and never
to glorify the individual through whom they
operate. Moreover, every Spirit-filled believer
has the potential to operate in any of the gifts
of the Spirit (I Corinthians 127).
C. With Spiritual Leaders
C. With Spiritual Leaders
Along with the spiritual gifts and fruit that the
Lord provides for His church, He also provides
godly leadership. The Lord chooses to work
through those whom He has selected for
leadership. The Scriptures emphatically teach
this concept through the event involving Aarons
rod that budded (Numbers 17). God directed Moses
to place twelve rods in the Tabernacle, one for
each tribe.
C. With Spiritual Leaders
He then declared to him that the rod that
blossomed would indicate whom He had chosen to
lead His people. The next day the rod of Aaron of
the house Levi not only budded, but also
blossomed and brought forth almonds. This
supernatural event demonstrated the
responsibility not only of the people to follow
the leadership that God chooses, but also of the
leaders to provide God-inspired leadership that
results in abundant life.
C. With Spiritual Leaders
The ministry that the Lord gave to the church
includes apostles, prophets, evangelists,
pastors, and teachers for the work of perfecting,
ministering to, and edifying the body of Christ.
Spirit-led leaders are vital to the revival
effort of the church.
C. With Spiritual Leaders
In the Book of Acts, such leaders followed the
Spirit in making determinations on missions,
guidance, and the direction of outreach. Later,
while church leaders fasted and prayed, the
Spirit directed them to select Barnabas and Paul
and send them along with the prayers of the
church leaders.
C. With Spiritual Leaders
Spiritual leadership in the church effectively
exerted itself when God included Gentiles in the
new-birth experience. The church had to decide
how they would receive the Gentiles and what
would be expected of them. (See Acts 15.) The
church then dispatched Judas and Silas with a
message that included the phrase, For it seemed
good to the Holy Ghost, and to us . . . (Acts
A. Power to Crucify Carnality
The Spirit Empowers Christians
A. Power to Crucify Carnality
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
Christ is the gospel message. Believers identify
with Jesus through the death of repentance, are
buried with Him in water baptism in the name of
Jesus, and are resurrected to a new life through
the power of the Spirit. However, continuing to
crucify the flesh is necessary to ones success
in spiritual living.
Galatians 517, 24
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and
the Spirit against the flesh and these are
contrary the one to the other so that ye cannot
do the things that ye would. . . . And they that
are Christs have crucified the flesh with the
affections and lusts (Galatians 517, 24).
A. Power to Crucify Carnality
Paul mentioned that he identified with Christs
crucifixion (Galatians 220 614). Although he
was crucified with Christ, he said that he now
lived through the faith and love of Jesus.
Because of the Cross, he was crucified to the
world and the world was crucified to him.
A. Power to Crucify Carnality
This double death indicates how drastic our
dying to the world should be and how final our
spiritual relationship to it can become. In his
letter to the Romans, Paul declared that the
Spirit would empower us to mortify, or put to
death, the actions of the body. Therefore, the
sinful nature of the body must die in order for
us to live fully in the Spirit.
B. Power to Live Spiritually
B. Power to Live Spiritually
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye
shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh
(Galatians 516).
B. Power to Live Spiritually
There are many things that a Spirit-filled
Christian can do. We can both live in the Spirit
and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 525). We can
worship God in Spirit and in truth, for the
Father seeks such worshipers (John 424). Along
with the spiritual armor that God provided to
help us stand for Him, we also can pray in the
Spirit (Ephesians 618).
B. Power to Live Spiritually
The Holy Ghost also empowers us to become living
sacrifices, renewing our minds so that we do
not conform to the continual pressure from the
world (Romans 121-2). Consequently, we are able
to fulfill the will of God in our lives because
of His mercy enabling and directing us.
C. Power to Overcome the Devil
C. Power to Overcome the Devil
The Scriptures present the contrast between the
abundant life that Jesus promised and the enemys
stealing, killing, and destroying (John 1010).
Nothing the devil does for people results in
long-term, positive benefits. He will steal a
persons joy and happiness, kill his hopes and
dreams, and ultimately destroy him.
C. Power to Overcome the Devil
When Jesus sent out His disciples to do His work,
they returned rejoicing and reporting that even
the devils were subject to them through His name
(Luke 1017). Jesus told them, Behold, I give
unto you power to tread on serpents and
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy
and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke
C. Power to Overcome the Devil
Later the disciples would realize even greater
power through the indwelling of the Spirit. Thus,
they waited in Jerusalem to be endued with power
from on high (Luke 2449). Although the physical
presence of the Lord was no longer with them,
they soon received a greater spiritual presence
than before. Certainly, the abiding presence of
the Lord through His Spirit is a powerful
resource to overcome Satan.
D. Power to Witness
D. Power to Witness
Before He ascended, Jesus reminded the disciples
about John the Baptist and water baptism, and
then He promised that they soon would receive the
Spirit. When the disciples asked about kingdom
restoration, He instead pointed them to their
impending baptism of the Spirit. After receiving
the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, their
changed lives and anointed lips for preaching
evidenced what the Lord can do through a life
surrendered to Him.
D. Power to Witness
Peter and John appeared before the Jewish
religious council to be questioned about the
matter of the lame mans healing. The council saw
the boldness of Peter and John and marveled,
acknowledging that they had been with Jesus
(Acts 413). That statement was true, but even
more marvelous was that the Spirit of Jesus
Christ was in them.
D. Power to Witness
After the council forbade them to teach or preach
in the name of Jesus, Peter and John gathered
with other disciples and began to pray. They
specifically asked for boldness to speak the Word
of the Lord and for the Lord to demonstrate His
power through miracles.
D. Power to Witness
The place where they prayed literally began to
shake as they were again filled with the Spirit.
Moreover, they began to speak the Word of God
with boldness. Great power and great grace were
with the apostles as they gave witness of the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
E. Power for Resurrection
E. Power for Resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a common
theme of the apostles preaching. The believers
knew the power of the Resurrection personally.
Paul taught the Romans that the death, burial,
and resurrection are what the believer
experiences in salvation. He compared walking in
newness of life to Christs being raised from
the dead.
E. Power for Resurrection
Further, he said that identifying with Jesus in
the likeness of his death results in the
likeness of his resurrection (Romans 65). This
powerful change in the believers life produces
freedom from sin.
E. Power for Resurrection
The apostle Paul stated his strong desire to know
Jesus in the power of His resurrection. (See
Philippians 310-11.) He also focused his faith
on the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,
further stating that he looked to heaven and the
Lords return. Pauls emphasis on the
Resurrection reveals the believers hope of being
caught up in the rapture of the church (Romans
811). (See also I Corinthians 1552-54.)
Romans 811
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up
Christ from the dead shall also quicken your
mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you
(Romans 811).
The twenty-first-century church can be saturated
with the Holy Spirit as was the first-century
church. Only then will it grow and show the
increase that the Lord intended. A Holy Spirit
saturated church will light the world with the
fire that also equips it to act, to speak, and to
know supernaturally through spiritual gifts.
It also will be fruitful through godly qualities
of the Spirit as it gives witness to the Lords
power through miracles, healing, and deliverance.
However, the most important work of the church is
to show others the way of salvation.
The Holy Ghost enables believers to experience
more than only emotional release through joyful
and exuberant worship. The Spirit provides even
more than the power for a believer to speak in a
language unknown to him. The primary work of the
Spirit is to change believers into the Lords
likeness (II Corinthians 318). Every believer
should prepare for that day of ultimate change
and reach out to others to help them prepare as
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