Sermon:  Prerequisite for Ministry

Summary:  In order to be what God wants us to be and carry out his purposes for us, 
we need to live in the power of God.  This means we need to be filled and empowered 
by the Spirit rather than the flesh and make a lifestyle out of prayer and fellowship 
with each other.

Know:  It is important to have our inner selves, which includes our way of thinking, 
motivations, values, and desires transformed by the Spirit in order to effectively 
minister in a godly way to others

Feel:  The desire to submit to God and let him guide our thoughts and actions

Do:  Reflect on our attitude toward the Spirit.  List some ways that might be helpful 
to become more sensitive to the Spirit's leading in your life.  Identify the greatest 
challenges to spiritual growth in your life and what it would take to overcome the 

Text:  Acts 1:1-14

Scripture Reading:  Gal 5:25

2.  Text:  Acts 1:1-14
	a.  Jesus ascends and commissions disciples
	b.  Spent 3 years teaching and molding them
	c.  Something was still missing
d.  In order for them to be his witnesses they needed to be empowered
3.  God's purposes can only be carried out in the power of God

I.  God's power comes by being filled with the Spirit
	A.  Many today are scared of the Holy Spirit
		1.  Part of it because we scared of miraculous things
			- Can't explain it, not in control
		2.  Part of it because false teaching come from those who claim to 
		     have miraculous powers
		3.  Part of it because we afraid Spirit will control us
			 -  Did not take control of people and cause convulsions
	B.  A lot of confusion - Is the Holy Spirit for Christians today?
		1.  Some of the ways the Spirit is mentioned
			a.  Some of the terms for people receiving it
				- "will come upon you" - Acts 1:8
				- Apostles were "Filled with the Holy Spirit" 2:4
				- "Pour forth of My Spirit" 2:17
				- "Received the promise of the Holy Spirit" 2:33
				- "The gift of the Holy Spirit" 2:38
				- "It is for you and your children and all…" 2:39
				- "We are witnesses…and so is the Holy Spirit, whom 
    				   God has given to those who obey him 5:32
			b.  Looks like the Spirit is for everyone who obeys Gospel
			c.  But not everyone received a miraculous gift
			d.  Receiving Spirit, & receiving miraculous ability - 2 things
				- (1 Cor 12:11) - The Spirit is the one who gives gifts
				- Already have the Spirit, and he may give a gift
				- Rom 12 - Similar list of gifts, service, teaching, 
				   exhortation, giving
		2.  Need to understand Luke's purpose in writing about the Spirit
			a.  Not to give exposition of difference between baptism of 
			     the Spirit, indwelling, measures of the Spirit, etc. 
				- This comes from trying to refute false teachers
				- Looking at the evidence, it becomes clear that Luke 
			  	   didn't use consistent technical terms like we do 
				   (baptism of the Spirit vs. Indwelling of the Spirit)
				- The Spirit is Deity, not a mechanistic power
			b.  Shows that Spirit available to all who obey him
			c.  Luke simply shows that the Spirit of God is the power 
			     behind believers who carry out God's mission
			d.  It is by the power of God, not men
		3.  Most important ministry:  Spirit transformed them - boldness
			a. 4:8 - "Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…"
			b. 4:31 - And when they had prayed, the place where they 
			    had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled 
			     with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God 
			     with boldness. 
			c.  6:3 - The 7 were "full of the Spirit", which included 
			   Stephen (a martyr 7) and Philip (an evangelist 8)
		4.  What Paul said about the Spirit
			a.  Rom 8:7-9 - Without the Spirit cannot submit to God
			b.  Rom 8:13 - Enables us to put to death deeds of the flesh
			c.  Rom 8:26 - Helps our weaknesses  Eph 3:16
			d.  Eph 6:17 - The word of God is the Sword of the Spirit
			e.  Titus 3:5 - Spirit renews us & sanctifies us 2 Thess 2:13
			f.  Spirit enables us to be changed
	C.  ILL:  Like a clay sculpture
		1.  I made a clay head in an art class.  Wanted to take it home
		2.  It looked fine, but it wasn't done yet.  Was brittle
		3.  Needed to be fired in the oven - Gave it strength
	D.  We can be molded by his teaching, but we need power of the Spirit in 
	      our lives in order to have the strength we need

II.  It is imperative to be filled with the Spirit to carry out God's purposes
	A.  Their question in 1:6 showed they were still fleshly & not spiritual
		1.  They were ethnocentric
		2.  They expected a show of force
	B.  Compare a fleshly way of doing his ministry with Spirit filled way
		1.  Jesus' birth and family
			a.  Born in wealthy family with influence in a place like Rome 
			     or Alexandria, groom to be ruler
			b.  He was born in a barn to a carpenter family in Bethlehem 
			     of Israel & placed in feeding trough (like being born in 
		2.  His Name
			a.  Jefferson Worthington III or something like that
			b.  Jesus is Greek version of Hebrew "Joshua"
				- It was a very, very common name
				- Call role in school - "Josh" 3 or 4 kids raise hand
		3.  His Disciples
			a.  Need to have just the right organization
				- Hire public relations specialist for advertising
				- Go to finest theological schools and get theologians
				- Go to Hollywood for front man with charisma
				- Go to Wall Street for financial manager
				- Need Engineers so can build an impressive 
				   headquarters that is a wonder of the world
				- Go to Gold's Gym and get bodyguards
			b.  Jesus organization was a motley crew
				- Fishermen, one with foot in mouth disease
				- Tax Collector and Zealot
				- Common, ordinary people
		4.  His Death
			a.  Jesus should be in a great battle
				- He should be out in front leading his troops
				- His courage and bravery should inspire all
			b.  He was crucified on a cross
			c. 1 Cor - Cross is foolishness to those perishing
				- We cannot relate because we don’t use cross in 
				   same way anymore - They are dignified decorations
				- Take up your electric chair and follow me
				- (1 Cor 22-23) - Substitute electric chair/hangman's 
				   noose, needle, etc. for cross and substitute "Josh" 
				   for "Jesus"
				- Song:  At the electric chair where I first saw the light
	C.  This was potentially embarrassing
		1.  The flesh would say to clean it all up
			a.  Make the feeding trough a manger, bronze the electric 
			    chair to make it look nice, turn it into an object of worship
			b.  Say "Jesus" rather than "Josh."  Jesus sounds better
			c.  Clean up the losers, low lifes, etc. in the church, put them 
			     in suits, ties, dresses, so they look respectable
			d.  Get the church out of the common places and into 
			     beautifully ornate buildings, stay away from the dirt
		2.  Believers did not do this because they were led by the Spirit
			a.  They did things God's way
			b.  They gloried in the message
			c.  They preached "Josh Messiah Electrocuted"
		3.  2 Cor 11 - Power is perfected in weakness
		4.  They went about it weakness so that the God would be glorified 
		      in them
	D.  We need to be filled with the Spirit in order to carry out God's purposes

III.  Being filled with the Spirit 
	A.  Eph 5:18 - Paul says to be filled with the Spirit, but doesn't say how
		1.  Scripture tells us what being filled with the Spirit looks like
		2.  We see what it looks like in the disciples in Acts
		3.  Being filled with the Spirit means conforming to Christ in thought 
		     and actions
	B.  ILL:  Remember meeting a lady from some big church down south
		1.  She bragged on her church of over 1000 members
			a.  Fountain in the foyer, which was like a mall
			b.  Various programs for all people, fleet of buses, huge VBS
				- Counseling center
				- A Christian School
			c.  Specialize ministry staff, some had MBA, rival any CEO
			d.  High Tech Worship, professional sound, lighting, etc.
			e.  Everything well planned, well done, very professional
		2.  What is all of that compared to the little church in Toad Suck?
			a.  Aging white building on a hill, carpet worn, gravel parking, 
			     were not shiny and polished like this church in Fort Worth
			b.  Clint drove guy to Little Rock, George has people for  
			     dinner, Clara has spare room, all they can do is love you
			c.  When I think of that little church, I don't think of the worn 
			     out building, I think of the simple, godly, wonderful people
			d.  Here was folks who humbly loved God, and loved you
		3.  It appears that the Spirit was missing from the first church
			a.  It shrunk, then moved to another nicer neighborhood 
			b.  The Christian School has same secular curriculum with 
			     Bible class tacked on, counselors use secular philosophy
			c.  Ministers and leaders were CEOs rather than shepherds
			d.  Much of the success was due to human effort.  But was 
	C.  We need to be filled with, led by, and rely on the Spirit, not the Flesh
		1.  1 Cor 2:4 - Paul did not use persuasive words of wisdom, but 
		      power of the Spirit when he preaching
		2.  "95% of what is done in Evangelical churches can be done 
		     without the Holy Spirit."
			a.  Programs, building maintenance, conducting worship 
			    services, can happen without the Spirit
			b.  Can make them appear impressive - Don't need the Spirit 
			      for that
		3.  But lives cannot be changed without the power of the Spirit
			a.  Changed lives is what God wants
			b.  Wants people to come to love him and conform to his will
			c.  Doesn't happen through pop psychology, or through 
			     human wisdom
		4.  ILL:  Missionary to India - Forgot the sermon, drew a blank
			a.  Told them he forgot, and started to sit down
			b.  He almost felt a tug in his heart
				- As if Spirit Said, "Haven't I don’t' anything for you?"
				- "Yes, you have." -- "Then tell them!"
			c.  The man got back up, and shared his own story of how 
			     he found God and God changed his life
			d.  Afterwards, a young man came to him and told him that 
			     he wanted what this missionary had found
	D.  There is a reason why Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Spirit
		1.  Without the Spirit, it is empty
		2.  Don't need a lot of window dressing
		3.  Need to go out in the simplicity and power of the Spirit

1.  God wants us to receive the Spirit (invitation)
2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, then you have received the Spirit
	a.  The lesson for us is to be filled with and led by the Spirit
	b.  How do we do this? 
3.  I have not found a formula for this in scripture
	a.  We need to do what the disciples did - Pray together as a family
	b.  We need to spend time reading God's word as if God were speaking to 
	c.  We need to spend time reflecting on our attitudes and motivations 
	d.  We need to spend time with God in a quiet place
4.  The more you do these types of things, the more you will be tuned in to the Spirit

Sermon:  Prerequisite for Ministry

Summary:  In order to be what God wants us to be and carry out his purposes for us, we 
need to live in the power of God.  This means we need to be filled and empowered by the 
Spirit rather than the flesh and make a lifestyle out of prayer and fellowship with each other.

- What was the most challenging time of preparation for you?  (A class?  college?  training?  
A workout?  etc.)

Explore:  Acts 1:1-14

1.  Why didn't Jesus send out his disciples immediately after his resurrection?  Why sort 
of preparation did he do for them?

2.  Jesus spent the last three years teaching his disciples.  Why would they need the Holy 
Spirit?  (See passages about the Holy Spirit such as Acts 4:8; 4:31; Acts 6:3, etc. also 
Titus 3:5; Rom 8:7-8; Gal 5:22).

3.  How might their ministry have looked differently if they had conducted it according to 
the flesh rather than according to the Spirit?

4.  What did the disciples do while they waited for Holy Spirit?  Who all were they with?  
Why is this important?


5.  What has your attitude been toward the Holy Spirit?  Why?

6.  Identify the greatest challenges to spiritual growth in your life and what it would take 
to overcome the challenge.

7.  List some ways that might be helpful to become more sensitive to the Spirit's leading 
in your life.  

8.  What is God calling you to do right now?

Read Gal 5:25 and reflect on it for your prayer