Empowerment

Acts 1:4–8

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. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 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.

 

Empowerment

One of the most necessary things to accomplishing God’s will in your life is empowerment. You can’t do the things that He wants you to do if you are powerless, He wants to give you power to do the things that you are unable to do. We know that with God all things are possible, but without him, we can do nothing. There are different forms of power that we require to accomplish the will of God. The first is authority. You cannot go where you don’t have the authority to go, you cannot speak what you don’t have the authority to speak, you cannot cast out what you don’t have the authority to cast out. Authority is a necessary and important part of our walk with God. Jesus said he is going to give us authority to do what He has called us to do. Secondly, you need empowerment. That is, you need to have a strength that is greater than your ability in order accomplish the supernatural things that God is asking you to do. You must faithfully and obediently heed the voice of the Lord and He will give you a power that is greater than your own to do the things that he wants you to do.

In Acts 1:6 Jesus’ disciples asked him if was going to restore the Kingdom to Israel. In other words, they wanted to know if he was going to allow Israel to rule as a Kingdom, free of Roman occupation once again. They couldn’t get beyond their hopes that Israel, as a nation, would rule the world. Jesus let them know that it was not their business what God was going to do, rather their business was to receive the empowerment that comes from God’s Holy Spirit in order to build God’s Kingdom all over the world. He told them that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon them and that they would be witnesses throughout the world of the risen savior. The fulfillment of this in Acts chapter 2 is incredible. As the disciples were tarrying in prayer God poured out His Holy Spirit upon them in a miraculous way. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in a new tongue as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. From this moment, throughout the book of Acts, we see that the disciples have a special power with which to operate through. The Early Church had to learn to release their plans that God was going to restore the physical kingdom of Israel so that they could receive the spiritual kingdom that he was building. The power that we see the Early Church operating in, can only be described as supernatural. That’s the kind of power that the modern believer has access to today. The child of God can be filled with the fullness of God’s Spirit and be empowered to reach their family, neighbors, coworkers, and friends.

Joshua is a great example of empowerment as he was chosen to accomplish some incredible things for God. In the beginning of the book of Joshua, the children of Israel are preparing to enter the land that God had promised them many years earlier. They are immediately confronted with Jericho and have to decide how to react. God had already promised that he would empower them to conquer this land, but they were responsible for faithfully and obediently heeding the voice of the Lord. The Lord’s command to Joshua and the Children of Israel in Joshua 6:3-5 does not seem like a tried and true military plan. They were to march around the city once a day for six days and on the seventh they were to march around the city seven times and on the seventh time the priests were to blow the rams horn. Though this plan might have been very different from anything that Joshua had ever done militarily, God’s word never fails and as they were faithful and obedient to the voice of the Lord, they operated in a power that was greater than their own in order to accomplish the things of God. This is what the Lord wants for every person. He wants them to trust him and rely on his strength and power to accomplish the plans that he has for them.

Prayer

My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. - Psalm 73:26

Lord, you are my strength when I am weak, you are my hope when I am hopeless. You have given me your authority and strength to continue in the work that you have called me to accomplish and I bless your name. Forgive me for attempting to do this work using my own ability. Empower me today so that I can go where you want me to go. I surrender my will, my plan and my ways to you and ask that you be my Lord and take full control of my life this day, amen.

Freedom

Acts 12

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.

And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.

Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country.

And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.

And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

But the word of God grew and multiplied.

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

 

Freedom

In the twelfth chapter of Acts we read that Herod had James put to death. During that time, James was head of the church at Jerusalem.  We also learn that Herod, after learning that it pleased the Jews that he had killed James, wanted to kill Peter also but was not willing to do so during the Jewish festival of Unleavened Bread.  Therefore, Herod had Peter put in prison, intending to Kill him after the Jewish holy days.

This story always reminds me that no matter how bad my circumstance may look, God is still in control and will have the last say. I’m also reminded of the power of a praying Church. Acts 12:5 says something interesting. It says that “Peter was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” In other words, though Peter’s circumstance may have seemed hopeless, the church never lost hope and prayed like there was still hope. God’s word does say in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

There is a real contrast in verse 5 between how bad the circumstance looked and the reaction of the church to the circumstance. These people had learned a few things in the years after the death of Christ. They had learned that persecution is a given. The Romans didn’t like them, and the Jewish religious authorities certainly didn’t want them to continue spreading this new gospel. They were attacked on many different fronts and their reaction to these attacks was to pray. They didn’t just say a quick word of prayer, they “prayed without ceasing.” Their praying was so intense that they didn’t stop, they just kept on, even when it got late, they kept praying, even when they were hungry, they kept praying, even when they had other things to do, they kept praying. Maybe our biggest problem is our lack of willingness to continue in prayer. We do a good job of praying together for a few minutes but typically aren’t willing to tarry in prayer as the early church were directed to do. I’m convinced that freedom is a result of our willingness to tarry prayer.

Prayer

Luke 4:18- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..."

 

"Lord, I thank you that you have the power to set me free from anything that has me bound. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords there is nothing beyond your ability to redeem. Forgive me for allowing things to hinder me from being who you’ve called me to be. I ask you to anoint me today to break every chain off my life and create within me a right Spirit. Give me courage to live a life of true freedom that has been established in your blood. This is prayer in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen."

 

Healing

Acts 8:1-8

And Saul was consenting unto his death.

And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

And there was great joy in that city.

 

Healing’s in the Old Testament

I want us to realize that God was at work in the Old Testament performing miraculous works of healing. From the beginning God was watching over his people, providing for their needs.  Just consider a few of the healing miracles in the Old Testament:

 

  • Sarah’s healing of barrenness in Genesis 21
  • Hezekiah's healing from death in Isaiah 38
  • Naaman's healing from leprosy in II Kings 5
  • Miriam is healed of leprosy- Numbers 12
  • The Widows Son raised from the dead in I Kings 17

Healing’s in the Ministry of Jesus

It would be impossible to study healing and not consider the healings in the ministry of Jesus. In fact, we attribute the healing miracles in Acts chapter 8 to the fact that they were, "preaching Jesus". Look at just a few of the healings in the ministry of Jesus and recognize how they deal with a variety of different issues.

 

  • Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5
  • Jesus heals the blind man in John 9
  • Jesus heals Peter's Mother in Law in Mark 1
  • Jesus Heals Jarius' daughter in Mark 5
  • Jesus heals Malchius' ear in Luke 22
  • Christ heals the demoniac in Luke 11
  • Jesus heals the paralytic in Mark 2
  • Jesus heals the man with the withered hand in Matthew 12
  • Jesus heals leprosy in Luke 17

 

Healing for Today

 

Smith Wigglesworth said, "While I was in Ceylon I was sent to a certain place to pray for a woman, who was surely in a terrible condition with cancer, and nearly dead. The house was full of people, and I preached Christ to them. I said, “I know this woman will be healed, but I want you to know the power of my Lord. I want you to know Him who can save you from sin and can deliver you from all the power of the devil.” I prayed for the woman, and her deliverance was so marvelous and it had such an effect upon the people in that home that they went to the newspapers and had the story published. The woman herself came to the meeting and told how the Lord had completely healed her. Christ told us, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” What is it to believe? It is to have such confidence in what the Lord said that we take Him at His word, simply because He said it.

 

There are healing miracles taking place all over the world every day. Wherever there are faith-filled people who are asking God to heal them and genuinely believing that He is able, there will be miraculous signs and wonders of healing. In Acts chapter 8 we encounter such a people that had traded their hopelessness for hope and their sadness for joy. They believed that whatsoever they asked according to the mighty, powerful, precious name of Jesus would be given them.

 

You need to know that you have access to the healing power of God simply because you are a child of God. Belonging to the family of God grants you the right to access his presence and it's in His presence that you will find everything you need. When we pray for God to heal us, we should fully expect God to heal us.

 

We must recognize the sovereignty of God, while at the same time asking and believing for him to completely heal us. The greatest prayer recorded in scripture is when Jesus prayed, “not my will but thine.” This suggests that we should surrender our will to his and allow his plan and purpose to become our priority.

 

Prayer

Psalm 103:1–3

Bless the Lord, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:

 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;

 

"I thank you today Lord that you are the same yesterday, today and forever. I thank you that you are no respector of persons, and I recognize your sovereignty and your awesome power. Forgive me for any sin that I have committed against you and give me the power to forgive those that have hurt me. I ask you to heal my physical body, my marriage, my relationships with my children, my finances, and my attitude. I ask that you give me wisdom so that I can make decisions that honor you. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

 

Boldness

Acts 4:29-31 NKJV
29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.


They needed boldness to ask God for things that seemed impossible to man.

Seven weeks after the death and resurrection of Jesus, 120 early believers gathered together in an upper room and prayed for God to send his promised Holy Spirit to them. Suddenly the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them giving them power and boldness to tell others about Jesus, to confidently face persecution, and very importantly, to know that when they asked God, even if it seemed impossible, God would respond to them with his power. This is the case in Acts chapter 4 when Peter and John go back to their community of believers and tell them of all that had just happened. The early believers banned together, prayed and asked God to give them boldness to speak His word to all they would encounter. They also asked God to heal and perform signs and wonders, all of which were impossible with man.

In Acts 4:31 we have the response of God to the prayer of these early believers. When they prayed the place was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God boldly. This was their prayer answered! God had heard them and granted them the very things the needed to be able to accomplish His purpose and plan in their community.

They needed boldness to face persecution.

The Early church faced an incredible amount of persecution. There daily lives were not like ours in the sense that their government was not friendly to their new-found faith and the religious establishment resented all the attention that they were getting. These two things combined would make life difficult for the early church, and yet they persevered and grew in spite of the massive persecution they faced. How can this be? How could they have been going through so much difficulty and still manage to accomplish the heart of God? It was because of their prayer in Acts chapter 4. This prayer for boldness in Acts 4 is a result of the persecution that Peter and John had faced because of their willingness to heal the lame man at the gate called Beautiful in Acts chapter 3. Their persecution came in multiple forms, one of which was physical and the other accusatory. 

Peter and John boldly declared that Jesus is the son of God who has power to save, heal and raise from the dead. All these things would have been astonishing to these religious leaders who didn’t believe that the messiah had come yet. In the end the proof of this man standing before them was undeniable and they had no choice but to admit that a miracle had occurred. Astonishingly, they continued to threaten them so that their influence didn’t spread any further.

They needed boldness to tell others about Jesus.

To many people living in Jerusalem during this period, the Christian believers were not very popular. In fact, many people didn’t know Jesus personally and certainly didn’t believe that he was the son of God. The Jewish authorities were threatened by Jesus and his disciples because it endangered their power, revenue, and standing in Jerusalem. In Acts 4:18 Peter and John were commanded to no longer teach or even speak to anyone about Jesus.

In response to the Jewish authorities Peter and John boldly proclaimed that they would heed the voice of God over any other. We must remember that Peter and John had been with Jesus when He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, they were present when he healed the lepers with only the sound of his voice, they had seen him restore sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. They knew Jesus personally and intimately and could not deny the authority of Jesus even if it cost them their lives.

 

Why Do I Need Boldness?

I need boldness to tell others about Jesus.

I need to be filled with supernatural boldness so that I can share my faith with the people that God has put around me. Much like Peter and John, I must boldly confess the reality of Jesus and his power to save, deliver and heal. If I will pray for boldness I am confident that God will fill me with the same boldness that he filled these early believers in Acts 4:31.

I need boldness to overcome fear.

Fear is the antithesis of faith and spurs worry and doubt and does not come from God. In fact, Paul told Timothy in 1st Timothy 1:7, “God has not given you as spirit of fear…” Fear shouldn’t be a part of my life because it will hinder my ability to do the things that seem difficult or even impossible.

I need boldness to fulfill God’s purpose in my life.

God has a plan for every life including mine. He desires that I willingly yield to his purpose for my life and understand that he would never bless me with something that would be contrary to his purpose and plan. Matthew 7:7 say’s, “Ask and ye shall receive…” This means that I can ask God to bless me with the things that will help me to accomplish his will in my life and his word says that I will receive them.

 

Prayer

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Lord, you have blessed me in so many ways and I am incredibly grateful for your mercy and grace in my life that are evident and abundant. I recognize how much I need you today and I thank you that I have boldness to enter into your presence. Forgive me for allowing things in my life that hinder me from being who you want me to be. Give me courage to tell others about who you are and how you can radically change their lives, fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I can confidently fulfill your will for my life, and remove all fear from me so that nothing separates me from your love. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Service Times:

Sunday 
Sunday School - 9:30 a.m. 
Worship - 10:45 a.m. 
Nursery (0-3) and First Kids (ages 3-12)- 10:45 a.m.


Wednesday
Adult Bible Study - 7:00 p.m. 
First Students Youth - 7:00 p.m. 
Royal Rangers - 7:00 p.m.
Girls Ministries - 7:00 p.m.

 

© 2019 First Assembly of God, DFW Texas. All Rights Reserved.