Prelude to Trust, Expect, Experience.
Where is the Holy Spirit?
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47
Why were signs, wonders, and miracles frequently performed by Jesus, the disciples, and members of the Early Church in Acts but not by Christians today? Why isn’t the Holy Spirit moving this way in the church today?
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” – John 14:11-14
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” – Mark 16:17-18
““Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:22-24
Is it because the miraculous was only ordained for launching the Early Church? Has the time passed?
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – 1 Cor 13:8-12
Why then are we not seeing the miraculous? 3 REASONS
- Unbiblical use of Money.
UnBiblical use of Money. Why does money have anything to do with the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
“Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” – Acts 2:43-45
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” – Acts 4:29-35
Notice in both instances, Money and Gifts of The Spirit are tied together here in Acts 2 and 4. How could this be? Is this coincidence?
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” – Luke 16:10-12
Money is the first power God gives, and it will either consume us and become our master or we will wield it for the benefit of our neighbors. If we cannot be trusted to use the first power we’re given to benefit others, what makes us think we will use even greater Heavenly powers selflessly?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13
There are only two Masters. Which are your serving?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matt 6:24
Jesus’ teaching that there are two masters in life to choose from (God & Money) in Matthew 6:24 is substantiated by Revelation 13:17 where each individual must choose between the Mark of the Beast (ability to buy and sell) or their faith in the Lord (no ability to buy and sell as well as a nearly certain punishment of death).
“The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” – Rev 13:15-17
This is why Jesus used money as the indicator of where one’s heart was; whether one loves self, sin, and the works of the devil or loves God & neighbor.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt 6:19-21
Where my money is going, THAT is what I love. And notice his emphasis to NOT store up treasure on Earth? Yet what do most of us try to do? Get as much treasure stored up in the bank as possible, right? We sacrifice family, friends, children, our neighbors, and the will of God to work a few extra hours for a few extra dollars so we can buy a few extra toys that never satisfy us.
So how does one store up treasure in Heaven? There is only ONE way, one method Jesus has given… and it’s the one that proves which master we’re serving.
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Matt 19:21
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” – Luke 12:33
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Luke 18:22
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Tim 6:17-19
Who is Rich? Anyone with 2 of anything.
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” – Luke 3:8-11
Before walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, we must first be serving God not money by sharing with others. If we cannot use this first power for the benefit of others, God will not entrust us with additional power. Share like the Church in Acts, and watch the power of the Holy Spirit supernaturally and miraculously work in your life!