The Holy Spirit Builds the Church
Text: Acts 4
Proposition: The Holy Spirit creates through us opportunity, an enablement to act and a motive to glorify Christ in order to convict the world of sin righteousness and judgment.
Introduction: If you were to attend a trial and were to watch the prosecutor build their case you would see them try to establish three things, Means, Motive and Opportunity. It refers to a person having the resources necessary, the actionable idea to direct them and an unencumbered chance to follow through on it all. Means, motive, opportunity, by these a case is established that convicts a person.  So let’s swing this idea around and remember that the chief purpose of the Holy Spirit is to convict… to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. What methodology do you suppose the Spirit uses to arrive at that conviction? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit uses means, motive and opportunity to build the church today?  Let’s read Acts 4 to see if this holds true and then let’s look at what that might mean for us today. Turn to Acts 4 with me.
I. Opportunity Comes In Ways We Least Expect.
Perhaps the adage here is that opportunity comes at the least opportune time. Opportunity sometimes comes as an interruption, an inconvenience, a detour that causes you delay. Sometimes that delay or inconvenience can even be dangerous. John F. Kennedy was the first person to make reference to the Chinese word for Crisis. He pointed out how it is made up of two characters, one character means Danger and right next to it is a character that can be interpreted as Opportunity.
When Peter and John met the man who had been born lame and now was forty years old they were led by the Holy Spirit into an opportunity and in the name of Jesus they extended healing to an unmoveable man. That in turn created an opportunity to preach the gospel and over 5000 people became Christians. But the opportunity didn’t stop here, it took a strange twist, an inconvenience, a detour, a crisis that had both danger and opportunity. They were imprisoned and left in jail overnight and at daylight were brought before the most powerful people in the nation of Israel. It’s strange how crisis is often a door for opportunity, a car broken down at the side of a road, a person in financial peril, the loss of a job, the loss of health or even the loss of life. When you think back to almost every miracle that Jesus performed it came on the opportunity of crisis. The opportunity before Peter and John was not only to speak to the most powerful people in the nation of Israel, it was what would come out of this as they returned to the church. I’ll get to that but my point here is that the Holy Spirit builds the church through three things, means, motive and opportunity, the evidence is there for opportunity.
II. Means is a Reference to a Tool or Weapon Necessary For the Task.
Have a look at verse 8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”. The Holy Spirit supplies Peter with the means, in just a few verses you discover what those means were. Let me suggest to you that the ‘Means’ is referred to in verse 13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” The means here is the boldness that enabled them to articulate Who Jesus is with authority and clarity. Then there is that peculiar phrase, “And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Boldness begins to look and sound a lot like Jesus. The means that the Holy Spirit uses to build the church is boldness. That doesn’t mean insensitivity or arrogance. It means speaking into an opportunity the truth that this boldness equips you to do. The means is evident, it is in the boldness of these two simple fishermen from Galilee.
III. Motive is a Reference to the Actionable Idea, the Reason for Doing This.
The motive here is seen in what Peter says, “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” The motive is to preach Jesus Christ, to declare that He was put to death by mankind and that that He was raised up from the dead by God. The motive is to preach that by faith in this Jesus we have forgiveness from sin. It’s a faith that believes we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a faith that holds onto and holds out to others that we now, this moment, have eternal life in Christ Jesus. It’s what Peter meant in verse 12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  The exclusivity of Jesus is preached by Peter not as a way of slighting Moses or minimizing Abraham, instead it is preached as a foundational truth that all people were at least meant to be made aware of. The motive is to extend to all people the way of salvation and to hope that they will be able to receive it for just that. It is not a statement about the extent of our spiritual achievements, it’s a statement about how Jesus Christ is come to seek and save the lost. The evidence for motive is clear… “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” It was the name of Jesus that had been used when the lame man was healed. When arrested the chief priest had asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" Peter’s response had been, “… by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” The motive is to take a stand for all of Who Jesus is and all of what Jesus seeks to do. That’s what the name of Jesus means, in short the name of Jesus references the glory of Jesus. The motive is to take a stand for the glory of God. Now let’s look at what happens when people do that.
IV. The Holy Spirit Builds the Church By Conviction of God’s Kingdom.
Though Peter and John are cautioned to speak no more of Jesus, they outright refuse to do so. They are compelled by their own testimony of what they have seen and they are called to obey God above the commands of man. This alone could have caused further persecution, flogging or imprisonment. But the people had all seen the lame man leaping about and they were recognizing the grace of God as the source cause. So the authorities just release Peter and John which sets the stage for the next act of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction. Look at what happens next because I believe that next to glorifying God, this was the ultimate reason why the lame man was healed. “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said…”. What they said we’ll get to in a moment.  What’s there for us this morning is that the Holy Spirit builds the church as the people of the church become absolutely convinced of the power of God to establish the kingdom of God. When the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment He does so as preliminary steps to the establishing of the fullness of God’s kingdom come to earth. Look at what the people of the church said that day, all of one voice they declared these truths:
1. God is the One who has created all things. Creation is more than a resistance against evolution. It is a foundation stone upon which our understanding of the kingdom of God rests. He created it all, He has authority over it all, all of it is meant to glorify Him.
2. Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.  He is the Creator, all rests upon Him and He is the head over all rule and authority. He is the King of this great kingdom and is Himself in subjection to God the Father.
3.God is sovereign in all that He does, even when the kings of the earth gather against Him. That’s not a new experience for God. Back in the times of David it had happened and it will happen again in a final way in the days yet future. Look at what the church said about this,  “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” God’s sovereignty not only overrules opposition, it uses it to His glory.
4. The Holy Spirit builds the church through Means, Motive and Opportunity. Listen to their cry, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
When they had finished praying like this the place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. They were transformed into the church, the Kingdom came.
The Holy Spirit Builds the ChurchText: Acts 4Proposition: The Holy Spirit creates through us opportunity, an enablement to act and a motive to glorify Christ in order to convict the world of sin righteousness and judgment.Introduction: If you were to attend a trial and were to watch the prosecutor build their case you would see them try to establish three things, Means, Motive and Opportunity. It refers to a person having the resources necessary, the actionable idea to direct them and an unencumbered chance to follow through on it all. Means, motive, opportunity, by these a case is established that convicts a person.  So let’s swing this idea around and remember that the chief purpose of the Holy Spirit is to convict… to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. What methodology do you suppose the Spirit uses to arrive at that conviction? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit uses means, motive and opportunity to build the church today?  Let’s read Acts 4 to see if this holds true and then let’s look at what that might mean for us today. Turn to Acts 4 with me.I. Opportunity Comes In Ways We Least Expect.Perhaps the adage here is that opportunity comes at the least opportune time. Opportunity sometimes comes as an interruption, an inconvenience, a detour that causes you delay. Sometimes that delay or inconvenience can even be dangerous. John F. Kennedy was the first person to make reference to the Chinese word for Crisis. He pointed out how it is made up of two characters, one character means Danger and right next to it is a character that can be interpreted as Opportunity.  When Peter and John met the man who had been born lame and now was forty years old they were led by the Holy Spirit into an opportunity and in the name of Jesus they extended healing to an unmoveable man. That in turn created an opportunity to preach the gospel and over 5000 people became Christians. But the opportunity didn’t stop here, it took a strange twist, an inconvenience, a detour, a crisis that had both danger and opportunity. They were imprisoned and left in jail overnight and at daylight were brought before the most powerful people in the nation of Israel. It’s strange how crisis is often a door for opportunity, a car broken down at the side of a road, a person in financial peril, the loss of a job, the loss of health or even the loss of life. When you think back to almost every miracle that Jesus performed it came on the opportunity of crisis. The opportunity before Peter and John was not only to speak to the most powerful people in the nation of Israel, it was what would come out of this as they returned to the church. I’ll get to that but my point here is that the Holy Spirit builds the church through three things, means, motive and opportunity, the evidence is there for opportunity.
II. Means is a Reference to a Tool or Weapon Necessary For the Task.Have a look at verse 8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”. The Holy Spirit supplies Peter with the means, in just a few verses you discover what those means were. Let me suggest to you that the ‘Means’ is referred to in verse 13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” The means here is the boldness that enabled them to articulate Who Jesus is with authority and clarity. Then there is that peculiar phrase, “And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Boldness begins to look and sound a lot like Jesus. The means that the Holy Spirit uses to build the church is boldness. That doesn’t mean insensitivity or arrogance. It means speaking into an opportunity the truth that this boldness equips you to do. The means is evident, it is in the boldness of these two simple fishermen from Galilee. III. Motive is a Reference to the Actionable Idea, the Reason for Doing This.The motive here is seen in what Peter says, “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” The motive is to preach Jesus Christ, to declare that He was put to death by mankind and that that He was raised up from the dead by God. The motive is to preach that by faith in this Jesus we have forgiveness from sin. It’s a faith that believes we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a faith that holds onto and holds out to others that we now, this moment, have eternal life in Christ Jesus. It’s what Peter meant in verse 12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  The exclusivity of Jesus is preached by Peter not as a way of slighting Moses or minimizing Abraham, instead it is preached as a foundational truth that all people were at least meant to be made aware of. The motive is to extend to all people the way of salvation and to hope that they will be able to receive it for just that. It is not a statement about the extent of our spiritual achievements, it’s a statement about how Jesus Christ is come to seek and save the lost. The evidence for motive is clear… “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” It was the name of Jesus that had been used when the lame man was healed. When arrested the chief priest had asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" Peter’s response had been, “… by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” The motive is to take a stand for all of Who Jesus is and all of what Jesus seeks to do. That’s what the name of Jesus means, in short the name of Jesus references the glory of Jesus. The motive is to take a stand for the glory of God. Now let’s look at what happens when people do that.IV. The Holy Spirit Builds the Church By Conviction of God’s Kingdom. Though Peter and John are cautioned to speak no more of Jesus, they outright refuse to do so. They are compelled by their own testimony of what they have seen and they are called to obey God above the commands of man. This alone could have caused further persecution, flogging or imprisonment. But the people had all seen the lame man leaping about and they were recognizing the grace of God as the source cause. So the authorities just release Peter and John which sets the stage for the next act of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction. Look at what happens next because I believe that next to glorifying God, this was the ultimate reason why the lame man was healed. “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said…”. What they said we’ll get to in a moment.  What’s there for us this morning is that the Holy Spirit builds the church as the people of the church become absolutely convinced of the power of God to establish the kingdom of God. When the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment He does so as preliminary steps to the establishing of the fullness of God’s kingdom come to earth. Look at what the people of the church said that day, all of one voice they declared these truths:1. God is the One who has created all things. Creation is more than a resistance against evolution. It is a foundation stone upon which our understanding of the kingdom of God rests. He created it all, He has authority over it all, all of it is meant to glorify Him.2. Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.  He is the Creator, all rests upon Him and He is the head over all rule and authority. He is the King of this great kingdom and is Himself in subjection to God the Father.3.God is sovereign in all that He does, even when the kings of the earth gather against Him. That’s not a new experience for God. Back in the times of David it had happened and it will happen again in a final way in the days yet future. Look at what the church said about this,  “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” God’s sovereignty not only overrules opposition, it uses it to His glory. 4. The Holy Spirit builds the church through Means, Motive and Opportunity. Listen to their cry, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”When they had finished praying like this the place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. They were transformed into the church, the Kingdom came.

 

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