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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
"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." (Acts 1:6-8)
In the weeks that followed His resurrection, Jesus taught His disciples "things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (verse 3). In answer to a question about the timing of Gods Kingdom, the Lord told them not to be concerned with when the Kingdom will come, but rather to concern themselves with the task He had given them to accomplish before His return. A vision of that task and of the means by which it would be accomplished is given to us in Acts 1:8.
". . . 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."
Gods Spirit was to come upon them to give them power to witness for Christ. Then they would actively engage in Spirit-empowered witnessing in Jerusalem where they were, in the whole country of Judea, then in neighboring Samaria, and eventually to the ends of the earth.

The promise in this verse, of course, anticipated the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Some say that the events of Pentecost will never be repeated. Although dispensational and incidental aspects of that day would be unique, the Christian cannot ignore the fact that many of the days events have indeed been repeated. The most basic definition of what happened is in Acts 2:4, ". . . they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak . . .." Two chapters later almost the same words are used to describe another coming of the Holy Spirit upon the same but much enlarged congregation:

". . . they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)
In some real sense, Pentecost has been repeated again and again, and the pattern of Acts 1:8 has been enacted repeatedly both in scriptural and later history. The ever-expanding witness of the Jerusalem church (from the city to the whole country to the next country to "the uttermost" was re-enacted at Antioch, Ephesus, and Thessalonica without a doubt! Find the records in Acts 11, 13, and 19, and also in I Thessalonians 1.

". . . from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing." (verse 8)
The powerful truth is that the words of the Lord Jesus recorded in Acts 1:8 tell us what God wants to do everywhere!

I. Pour Out His Spirit Upon His Servants.

The Lord said, "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." This coming of Gods Spirit upon His people was promised in the gospels and in Acts 1:5 in these terms: "ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." When it came at Jerusalem, the Bible says, "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:4). In his Pentecostal sermon, Peter referred to it as the experience prophesied in the words, "I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh" (Acts 2:17). Peter later called it "the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). All of these terms were used in the Book of Luke (the first volume of Lukes two-book contribution to the New Testament) and related to the ministry of the Lord Jesus. Find these references in these places:
"Baptized with the Holy Ghost" -Luke 3:16;
"Filled with the Holy Ghost" -Luke 4:1;
"Pour out My Spirit upon" -Luke 3:22, 4:18;
"Gift of the Holy Ghost" -Luke 11:13.

These terms all applied to the same experience, the event that occurred at Pentecost.

Ephesians 1:13 says that when we believed in Christ for salvation, we "were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." Since the Lord Jesus arose and ascended to Heaven, every believer in Him has been sealed with the Spirit when he believed. It happens automatically: Gods Spirit comes to live in our bodies. The sealing with the Spirit requires no conscious decision on our part beyond trusting Christ to save us. Ephesians 4:30 agrees with Ephesians 1:13-14 that the Holy Spirit seals us "unto the day of redemption." We can grieve the Spirit by our sinful attitudes and actions according to this passage, but He will never leave us until Christ comes for us.

Then Ephesians 5:18 commands believers to "be filled with the Spirit." This is a command to be obeyed and requires our conscious cooperation. Therefore everyone who has been sealed with the Holy Spirit has the privilege and the obligation to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is what God wants to do for all of His people. To be filled with the Spirit is to experience the full impact of His ministry in our lives. It is to be controlled by Gods Spirit Who lives within us!

The fullness of the Spirit requires our unquestioning obedience to God.

"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him." (Acts 5:32)
Experiencing the fullness of the Spirit is associated in Luke and Acts with earnest prayer.
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13)
"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . ." (Acts 4:31)
To know the fullness of the Holy Spirit is to enjoy the full range of His ministry in ones life. In order to receive these blessings, believers must submit to the will of God and ask in faith for the Spirits power. In John 14-16 (where the Spirit is called our Comforter or Helper) we find a list of benefits the Holy Spirit came to bring us:
A. Help in prayer (14:13-14; also Romans 8:26-27);
B. Help in obeying Christ (14:15-17);
C. Help in sensing the presence of God (14:18-23);
D. Help in understanding Gods Word (14:24-26; also I Corinthians 2:12-15);
E. Help in having the peace, love, and joy of Christ (14:27, 15:9-11; also Galatians 5:22);
F. Help in bearing fruit for God (15:1-5, 16, 26-27winning others to Christ);
G. Help in showing sinners their need (16:7-11); and
H. Help in getting guidance (16:12-15).

Sadly, many Spirit-sealed Christians know little of the Holy Spirits ministry in their lives. There is a great need for them to be Spirit-filled, and God wants to grant this fullness to all of His people. To be filled with Gods Spirit is not a second work of grace; it is to know the fullness of what God gave us in the work of His saving grace!

The fleshly way most Christians live and most churches operate proves the great need we have today for teaching about the Spirit. When believers are full of the Holy Spirit, there is revival. The very definition of a New Testament revival is a return to New Testament Christianity, which can only be lived in the power of Gods Spirit. God wills to pour out His Spirit, and He waits for His people to repent, submit, and seek Him for this blessing.

Let us not stumble over the definition of terms in the crucial quest for revival. Many good people equate being baptized with the Spirit (as in Acts 1 and 11) with being baptized by the Spirit (as in I Corinthians 12). They want to identify Spirit-baptism with Spirit-sealing rather than with Spirit-filling. Disagreement on the definition of this term has existed among Gods people for a long time, but it need not hinder us from seeking revival. Surely it is clear in Ephesians that those indwelt by the Spirit are not automatically controlled by the Spirit. Every believer in Christ should seek to be dominated and empowered by the Spirit of God for both victory and fruit. "Be filled with the Spirit"! God has answered the prayer of countless humble Christians who have sought His fullness over the centuries. He will answer such prayers today!

II. Make All of His People Into His Witnesses.

Jesus said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." When Gods Spirit is poured out upon His people, each of them is empowered to be effective in his witness for Christ. We can see this all over the book of Acts! When the multitude heard Spirit-filled Peter preach the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost, "they were pricked in their heart, and said . . . Men and brethren, what shall we do? . . . and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:37 and 41). The Spirit-filled Christians at Jerusalem went on to win thousands more to Christ in their city in the weeks that followed, according to Acts 4:4, 5:14, and 6:7. These soul-winning witnesses were both preachers and laymen, men and women, old and young, and God used them all! "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:33) God wants to use all of us as His witnesses!

Sadly, soul-winning today is relegated to a very few in the churches. But God wants to make all of us into soul-winners! What we lack primarily is the boldness we need to talk to others about Jesus Christ. When the early church sensed the tendency to be less bold, they prayed for a new filling of the Spirit. See this in Acts 4.

"And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word . . . And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (verses 29 and 31)
The prayer for boldness led to a new filling of the Spirit, and the new filling made powerful witnesses out of everybody!

Chapters 3 through 5 of the Acts emphasize how two apostles in particular (Peter and John) were made powerful witnesses for Christ. Then Chapters 6 through 8 show how He made two deacons (Stephen and Philip) into effective witnesses. Acts 8:4 states plainly that most of the people witnessing for Christ in the early days were what we call "laymen," church-members with no gift or calling to preach or pastor. When the Jerusalem church was broken up by persecution, the members were "scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts 8:1). Then we read that "they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." Non-preachers were preaching the Word! Chapter 9 of Acts tells us that newly-converted Saul "straightway preached Christ" (verse 20). Without question, the great spiritual awakenings of the first century were produced by the boldness of the Christians in proclaiming salvation in Christ.

New Christian churches were organized throughout Judea and Samaria through the witnessing members of the Jerusalem church (See Acts 8:5-6, 12; 9:31). The Ephesian church formed churches all over the province of Asia, and among them were the churches to which the Book of Revelation is addressed (Chapters 1-3). When the members of a Christian congregation were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were made into fruitful evangelizers and their efforts produced conversions and new churches all over the area. Of course, this was the promise of Acts 1:8!

God wants you to be a powerful witness for Christ. God wants your church to be a great team of Spirit-endued soul-winners! There are many that no one can reach except you. The world will never hear the Gospel as long as Christians depend on the pastors and evangelists to do all of the witnessing. We can be sure that God desires to transform the lives of believers today to make them all dedicated ambassadors for His Son.

III. Give Every Local Church a Worldwide Ministry.

It was to the core of the Jerusalem church that the Lord Jesus said,

"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."
A very important word in this promise is the word "both." Every local church is to witness for Christ "both" in its local community or city, and in the surrounding area, and also in the neighboring country, and finally to "the uttermost part of the earth." Unfortunately today, many "missionary" churches have a weak evangelistic impact in their own communities. Sadly also many "evangelistic" churches have very little to do with missionary evangelism in far-off places. We have problems with the word "both"! Clearly, the Lord does not present each church with an "either-or" choice, but instead He calls for every Christian congregation to minister the Gospel "both" locally and globally. There were only one hundred twenty in the prayer meetings that led to the first revival at the Jerusalem church, but Jesus told them that they would "be witnesses" for Him "unto the uttermost part of the earth." So He says again to any church that will seek the filling of His Spirit and submit to His command to evangelize!

In 1700, a man was born who was to play an important role in the history of revival, evangelism, and missions. He was Nicholas von Zinzendorf, the son of a wealthy nobleman who was brought up under the "Pietist" teaching of the godly Francke. As a young man, Nicholas dedicated his life to the service of Christ after viewing a powerful depiction of the crucifixion in a great art gallery. When he assumed control of the family estate in Moravia, Zinzendorf opened the property as a haven for Protestant refugees from all over Europe. A community of Christians seeking asylum from persecution grew up on the Zinzendorf property, and it was called Herrnhutt. But all was not peaceful at Herrnhutt. The ethnic, language, and doctrinal differences among those who settled there produced conflicts that deeply disturbed both Count Zinzendorf and the Herrnhutt pastor. In 1727, several efforts were made to establish unity among the brethren. The earnest prayers and remarkable gatherings of the Moravian church in those days led to one of the most amazing revivals in history. A participant described it this way: "The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days, great signs and wonders took place in our midst." The people put themselves at Gods disposal for the evangelization of the world! Up until that time, the Protestants had made no effort to spread the gospel to heathen lands, although the Reformation was already two centuries old! An around-the-clock prayer vigil was organized at Herrnhutt, with families agreeing to pray for the needs of the world at a certain hour each day. This amazing vigil lasted one hundred years! Members of the church volunteered to go as missionaries and evangelists to other countries. Moravian missions to Jamaica, Surinam, England, the American Indians, Labrador, and other lands and peoples began the Protestant missionary movement, and provided inspiration for later missionary efforts. One of the Moravian evangelists was Peter Bohler, who went to England and was instrumental in the conversions of John and Charles Wesley and in the igniting of spiritual fire in the heart of George Whitefield. The ministries of these great men were very important to the great eighteenth century revivals, both in England and America. Truly, God gave the congregation at Herrnhutt a world-wide ministry, "both" at home and "unto the uttermost part of the earth."

God wants to do these things at your place, too: (1) pour out His Spirit upon His servants, (2) make all of His people into His witnesses, and (3) give every local church a world-wide ministry. He did it in Jerusalem; He did it in Antioch; He did it at Ephesis; He did it again in Thessalonica. He will do it anywhere His people will believe and surrender for Him to do it.

When the group gathered upon the Mount of Olives heard these words of Jesus, what did they do about them? They gathered the little flock for a ten-day prayer meeting that ended at Pentecost. Churches today should also begin to pray together for God to fulfill Acts 1:8 where they live and serve. Some will object and say that "our little church" certainly cannot be expected to have a world-wide ministry. Surely, some will think or say, Acts 1:8 cannot be about us! But this is the crucial point. These amazing things are not about us, who we are or what we can do. They are about God in us, what He can do and wants to do through us! Surely we must let God have His way and glorify His name in our lives.

This Article Was Written By
Dr. Rick Flanders
Based Upon A Sermon He Has Preached
In Several Conferences on Revival

Monthly Article
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

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