Partial Christians: Acts 18 - Apollos and the "Ephesian 12"

you

god bless you I invite you to open up to

the book of Acts chapter 18 and as we do

like to ask anyone here like to watch

westerns anyone like the cowboy movies

one two three four okay not too too many

but you know about westerns right what

do you think of when you think of a

frontier person out in the West right

you think of the gun-slinging you think

of the scruffy you think of somebody

maybe hasn't taken a bath in a long time

and it's kind of rough out there right

it's out on the frontier well as the

gospel was spreading as people were

preaching the gospel and as it went out

to the frontier of the Roman Empire

something's got a little interesting

they met some people out there that were

Christians in some rather unusual ways

some people who had taken parts of the

gospel and believed part of it and were

sincere as Christians but they still

left a lot to be desired to straighten

themselves out and get in line with the

apostolic teaching we're going to be

looking today at two examples of people

who were partial Christians they were

genuine Christians they were authentic

but they were partial in nature partial

in their understanding of what it means

to be a Christian and their experience

was also partial people who needed

things to get filled out a little bit

the cake needed maybe another hour in

the oven right to get fully baked and

now we're going to be talking about this

not just looking at them but we're going

to be thinking about us cuz I don't know

about you but sometimes I'm painfully

aware of the ways in which i am a

half-baked christian right painfully

aware of the ways that my own

understanding and my own experience of

God leaves a lot to be desired we're

going to be talking today about how God

wants to fill out our experience with

God and that we need to have a heart

that is receptive to that so Acts

chapter 18

and we're going to start with a

particular man named Apollo's named

Apollo so you ever heard of Apollo's

before we're not talking about the Greek

god Apollo slight we're talking about a

preacher named Apollo's not a great name

the name like that he's got to be

impressive right and he was going to

name their kid Apollo's you know there's

there's something this is a guy you want

to listen to well sure enough that's the

way he was so we're gonna start with

Apollo's and then we're going to

transition to a group of people and all

of this takes place in the city of

Ephesus remember in the New Testament

the book of Ephesians that's a letter

that was written to these people the

people in Ephesus so acts 18 verse 24 x

18 24 meanwhile a Jew a certain jew

named Apollo's a native of Alexandria

came to Ephesus he was a learned man

with a thorough knowledge of the

scriptures he had been instructed in the

way of the Lord and he spoke with great

fervor and taught about Jesus accurately

though he knew only the baptism of John

he began to speak boldly in the

synagogue and when Priscilla and Aquila

heard him they invited him to their home

and explain to him the way of God more

adequately or more accurately verse 27

when Apollo's wanted to go to a Kia the

brothers and sisters encouraged him and

wrote to the disciples there to welcome

him when he arrived he was a great help

to those who by grace had believed for

he vigorously refuted his Jewish

opponents in public debate proving from

the scriptures that Jesus was the

Messiah 19 verse 1 while Apollo's was at

Corinth Paul took the road through the

interior and arrived at Ephesus and

there he found some disciples and he

asked them did you receive the Holy

Spirit when you believed they answered

no we have not even heard that there is

a Holy Spirit so paul asked then what

baptism

you receive John's baptism they replied

and Paul said John's baptism was a

baptism of repentance he told the people

to believe in the one coming after him

that is in Jesus on hearing this they

were baptized in the name of the Lord

Jesus when Paul placed his hands on them

the Holy Spirit came on them and they

spoke in tongues and prophesied and

there were about 12 men and all will

stop right there father in Jesus name I

thank you for the way that you can

complete us lord I thank you Father that

if we have ears to hear you are

constantly speaking that if we have

hungry hearts you are constantly filling

us I pray in the name of Jesus God that

I would not have a heart that is

satisfied but a heart that is seeking

more of you and I pray that we would be

a people that is not satisfied with

anything less than the full experience

of you that you would have for us at any

given time lord I pray that you would

speak to us today that your world would

come alive that your spirit would

convict us and that we would be good

soil today we receive what you have to

say in Jesus name Amen Apollo's Apollo's

and that interesting the characters you

meet when you read the book of Acts that

you never maybe heard of before but

there were important people who did

things that were important to God use

this guy was quite a person he was a

good guy he came from Alexandria yard of

Alexandria it's a city in Egypt northern

Africa it was a big deal back in Roman

times Alexandria was the center of

intellectual learning and study in the

in the world in the Roman Empire at that

time there was a huge library thousands

and thousands of scrolls and books that

were actually burned to the ground

there's some scholars that still tear up

when you mention it to them Alexandria

was a big place if you were going to be

someone who studied and learn

and about things so this man was from

Alexandria we know that he was a learned

man so he had studied right there at

alexandria university if there was one I

don't know but he was learned it he had

studied he was someone who had a

thorough knowledge of the scriptures and

he'd been instructed in the way of the

Lord so he knew about God and he had

studied the Bible and he understood the

Bible we also know that he was a

Christian that he taught accurately

about Jesus so this man was a person who

understood about Jesus but for some

reason he spoke fervently in spirit

passionately but something was missing

something was still missing now we don't

know exactly what it was what it says

here is that he only knew the baptism of

John remember John John the Baptist you

know the guy out eating bugs camel-hair

repent be baptized prepare for the

coming Messiah he had only been baptized

in the baptism of John that's all he

knew but somehow he knew about Jesus

enough to teach about Jesus and

apparently taught accurately about Jesus

so what was he missing well we're never

told exactly what he was missing but

something there was something because

there were two people in the crowd who

were listening to him preach in the city

of Ephesus they were named Priscilla and

Aquila remember them I talked about them

on Mother's Day if you were here on

Mother's Day Priscilla who was a dynamic

teacher and woman of God and she

together with her husband hosted a

church in their house well they were in

the crowd at Ephesus and they were

listening to Apollo speak and they

thought this guy's this guy's got he's

good he's good he's passionate he knows

the Bible but there's something missing

that they could see they could discern I

love how they handled it they did not

stand up and shout out Apollo's you're

not quite getting it right all right

they quietly invited him to their home

and they just said let's come over let's

have a meal and let's talk let's get to

know each other and the Bible says they

explained the way of God to him more

accurately now we don't know exactly

what they needed to explain but they

needed to explain something so that

Apollo's could understand better what it

means to be a Christian and how to

preach the Christian faith and according

to this word apparently Apollo's listen

to them and an already powerful

Christian teacher became an even more

powerful Christian teacher and here's

where we're going today this man for all

his learning for all his passion for all

his talent was still teachable and

humble enough to learn from some people

he had never even met before and here's

what I want to go are you teachable am I

teachable are we still learning from God

or do we feel like we know enough know

maybe we feel good enough no or are we

still looking to God I need to learn

from you I need people from you that I

trust to teach me more about what it

means to be a Christian are we teachable

I want to have a teachable heart think

about the way Apollo's could have

reacted to this think about it he could

have reacted defensively right how do

you feel when people try to offer you

some advice how do you respond to that

that sometimes we might listen sometimes

we might say thank you very much

especially this man he been to Harvard

you know he had a doctorate from

alexandria university he could have said

thank you very much but I know plenty do

you want to see the degrees i have on

the wall right he could have done and

done that he could have been proud about

it he could have been insecure and

thought what do you mean you think i'm

not a sincere christian you mean to say

my preachings not very good my teacher

are you he could have been insecure

about it but instead he had the security

and the humility to listen it takes

security and humility and self

confidence and self-assurance to

oh that I'm still learning and I can

learn from anyone amen could learn from

a child if you've got kids I hope your

kids are teaching you every day and I

hope you're teaching them to of course

amen you know you're learning from them

right but I hope I learned from my kids

every day right and God's got something

to say something to speak to us if we

have a humble enough heart to listen it

takes initiative do you have initiative

to be learning to complete your

understanding of who God is taking

seminars going to church listening

paying attention looking for somebody to

teach you now don't get me wrong I'm not

saying we just go anywhere listen to any

crazy teaching right I'm not saying we

you know but but we're looking we're

taking initiative I love the fact that I

heard a great story about an American

president theodore roosevelt but on the

day he died they say he had a half red

book laying on his chest in bed but on

the last day of his life he was still

reading a new book he was ready to learn

now he wasn't not a Christian I don't

think I'm not saying I'm not endorsing

everything Teddy Roosevelt it but I love

that attitude of saying I'm not done

learning yet I remember i have known our

senior pastor Pastor roberto mudando for

over 20 years right I came here as a

seminarian and and I'm entered under him

and I remember just a few years ago I

was at a Wednesday night service and i

was listening to him teach and I you

know I've heard I took times that I feel

like I know what he's going to say

before he's going to say it right you

know I I kind I know this man very well

right now but I'm listening and I'm

taking notes and afterwards I just felt

the same you know I'm not done learning

from you yet I'm really not know and I'm

not done learning from anyone I love the

fact paso de roberto we were at a while

we're talking about him his birthday

were giving tribute right we were at a

cookout a couple weeks ago and an

elderly member of our church just

started sharing stories of the old days

of how God provided for him and his

family back in Chile and you started

sherry he started regaling us with

stories right and we were all just that

listen and pass it over at though I just

saw him locked

just fixed just listen to this man for a

good hour he went on and on and on but

it was great and afterwards faster

Virgil said you know I really felt the

spirit telling me that I needed to learn

something from hermano so and so today a

humble heart a heart that is always

learning I've shared this story before

that when I under a God provided a

scholarship for me to travel in Latin

America and I've met a lot of

interesting characters along the way and

the two of those interesting characters

were a retired couple from somewhere in

the United States who had retired and

decided we're going to wander around

Latin America to write and I was staying

at a Christian retreat center in

guatemala and i think i was in

panajachel for low choppiness i keep on

a Hot Chelle I was in a great little

Christian retreat center and and I was

there alone in this big building with

this this couple we happened to be there

at the same time and i'll never forget

we were sitting talking too late in the

night the power was going on and off so

sometimes it would be pitch black and we

keep talking and I'll never forget what

the gentleman said to me they were

probably around 70 the gentleman said to

me you know we feel that we have

something to learn from you young man

you have something to say to us what is

it that God has given you to say to us

today I never forget then I felt like

what what do i have to say i don't know

kind of the pressures on right but i was

so dodged this retired couple in their

70s and I was in my 20s and I looked

even younger than that and they were

like you have something to teach us what

is it what do we have to learn from you

today I want to have that attitude all

my life I want to be learning for that

my understanding is not perfect the

wisdom the Bible says those who are wise

let them listen and add to their

learning the wiser you are the more we

listened the more we learn Jesus isn't

going to force this on us even in his

teaching as part of why he taught in

parables he would say for those who have

ears to hear let them hear right he's

not going to force it on us if we know

if we're good if you like you know I

know enough I

good he'll leave us there he'll leave us

there but if we are willing to learn

that God will sign us up in his

University and there will be an ongoing

class in session 24 hours a day with the

Holy Spirit teaching teaching teaching

giving more revelation about what's

really in the Bible and what it means to

be a Christian I want to be like

Apollo's now sometimes we think the

passionate intelligent smart people are

by nature rebellious and unteachable and

that's not true sometimes the most

passionate maybe you are passionate

maybe you have a strong will maybe your

self confident you can be the most

teachable person being teachable is not

an exterior personality type it's a

decision of the heart amen and there's

some people who might seem very quiet

and receptive who are as rebellious as

you get saying I don't want to hear it I

don't want to hear it it's about the

heart listening to God Apollo's was

completed in his understanding because

of that heart now interestingly then he

goes on from Ephesus and then the

Apostle Paul comes to Ephesus and he

finds some the Bible says some disciples

some believers who also were incomplete

in their experience of God now it's an

interesting coincidence that a preacher

in Ephesus only knew the baptism of John

and then the Apostle Paul goes and meets

a bunch of Christians who also only knew

the baptism of John and that doesn't

tell us that there's any connection

necessarily but it's an interesting

coincidence that one thing comes after

the other and I have to wonder could

these be some people that Apollo's led

to Christ and out of his own imperfect

understanding of Christianity he

produced some half-baked Christians no

no I don't mean that in any denigrating

sense but that somehow maybe his

ministry and I think about that no I

think about that in our own ministry we

are imperfect people and that's why we

need to constantly saying God we pray

that you will work

in the community in the church we don't

want to transmit our imperfections and

transmit our neuro sees to a larger

group of people we want your kingdom to

come your will but to be done we want it

to be based on the word so that people

had that direct connection with Jesus

Christ but however they got that way the

Apostle Paul meets some people who had

an imperfect incomplete partial

experience of Christianity let's look at

that again together Acts chapter 19 it

says while Apollo's was at Corinth Paul

took the road through the interior and

he arrived at Ephesus and there he found

some disciples and he asked them did you

receive the Holy Spirit when you

believed they answered no we haven't

even heard that there is a Holy Spirit

and then Paul's like okay let's take a

step back here you don't even know that

there's always spirit okay well it's

what baptism did you receive and they

said John's baptism there we go again

they had the influence of John the

Baptist teaching but there was something

about Jesus and his teaching that they

were lacking so Paul said John's

baptisms of baptism of repentance that's

good but now you need to believe in the

one coming after him that is in Jesus oh

yeah Jesus okay let's believe in him

Bible says they were already disciples

but somehow they were fuzzy about who

Jesus was and what it meant to believe

in him so on hearing this they were

baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus

and when Paul placed his hands on them

the Holy Spirit came on then they spoke

in tongues and prophesied and there were

about 12 of them in all interesting

coincidence huh 12 guys where have I

heard of 12 before right the 12 apostles

it's as if God says what he did with the

12 on Pentecost she's doing again in

Ephesus amen now in this case for

Apollo's his understanding was limited

in this case their experience of Christ

and of the Holy Spirit was limited and

partial as well they needed another dose

another touch another understanding

another encounter with Jesus to really

be entering in to the fullness what they

needed was to really meet Jesus in a

more complete way they were disciples

but they had never quite crossed the

line

with Jesus now here's where I want to go

with that here is it possible nowadays

to go to church even a good church a

Bible Church and never quite have met

Jesus personally that possible could

that happen even here at Lion of Judah i

know for me i was raised in a church it

happened to be Catholic Church it could

have been any ties raised in a church I

had a certain faith I prayed I would

read some of the New Testament but then

I met a friend when I was 15 who was

like well have you ever prayed to give

your life to God and receive Jesus as

your Lord and Savior and I said well

sorta I go to church I I take catechism

I take sunday school I I believe in god

i'm in i believe in Jesus it's like no

but but have you ever really invited him

into your heart have you ever given him

your life and I'm like well uh maybe and

he said well why don't you just do it

just to be sure and I was like whoa why

not I believe in this anyway can't hurt

right little did I know is gonna rock my

life right so I tried it I said I just

got down to my knees to God I give you

my life I received jesus is my Lord and

Savior I didn't feel anything different

but within a couple weeks I found myself

visiting a different kind of church that

had a where people were talking about

the Bible directly had a personal

relationship with Jesus one thing leads

to another the next thing you know I

become a raving mad lunatic on fire for

Jesus Christian and the world was really

different I start going outside of

looking and like this I by God who

turned nature into HD everything is

brighter the Bible looks different I

feel Jesus in my heart there's this love

I just pray and I feel like I got to cry

go back to Macedon like I get it and

like why didn't anyone tell me it's like

well they had been telling me for 16

years but I wasn't getting it because i

needed to receive Jesus in my heart as

my lord and savior for myself my parents

couldn't make that decision for me I had

to make that decision and I had to

make it explicit I had to pray the

prayer verbally and receive him and

something happened I think there's a lot

of people in church who come who believe

for good people kids and adults who it's

not that they don't believe they're

they're on board but need to cross the

line with Jesus need to accept him as

their Lord and Savior get baptized in

the name of Jesus it's going to be good

what do you got to lose it's more of

Jesus it's not saying that what you

already had is in any way bad or

insincere is just saying there's more

amen there is more I want more of Jesus

I want to know him better and you know

that was a that was a long time ago that

was 31 years ago and I'm not done

getting to know Jesus yet I want to know

him more today than I did yesterday I

want to understand more of the Bible

today than I did yeah I'm not done yet

and the day I'm done is the day I have

died spiritually amen because there's

always more I wanted the Apostle Paul

said I forget what's behind and I press

on for the prize to which God has called

me heavenly I want to know Christ and

the power of his resurrection and the

Fellowship of sharing in his sufferings

I want to know Jesus more I pray that we

never be satisfied that we're always

seeking it's not to say that we're not

happy with where we are but we're just

saying I'm happy I'm grateful that God

has brought me here but I want more of

him there's a healthy push to dig deeper

now there was a second part of this then

the Apostle Paul lays his hands on them

and they receive the gift of the Holy

Spirit see they needed to become

Christians in a more full way so then

also receiving the gift of the holy

spirit that comes when you become a

Christian what happens the Holy Spirit

comes and lives in your heart amen so

they needed to have that experience he

puts his hands on them he prays for them

and they have their own little personal

Pentecost personal Pentecost remember

what happened on Pentecost when they

were there praying and waiting Jesus who

had died ascended to heaven right hand

of the Father he receives the gifts of

the Holy Spirit He pours out the Holy

they receive that power they received

the miraculous power to speak in other

languages and people hear the preaching

in Swahili and like how do you learn

that and Pentecost the power of the Holy

Spirit poured out on them I believe that

the book of Acts teaches that Pentecost

was not a one-time event that the

outpouring of the Holy Spirit was given

from the right hand of the Father once

but then that outpouring is a continual

experience every time new people

experience that gift of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost happens again we have our own

personal Pentecost our own personal

experience of the Holy Spirit have you

had yours have you had Pentecost yet now

if you're a Christian I believe you've

already got the holy spirit in your

heart I'm not saying that but are you

hungry for more feeling and anointing

with that power of the Holy Spirit I'm

not done I want more I want more now if

you look at it in the book of Acts every

time the gospel would spread out to a

new region Pentecost would happen again

so when they're preaching in the outer

neighborhoods of Samaria there were new

believers the Apostles come they pray

for them the people in Samaria receive

the Holy Spirit again when the Gentiles

with cornelius the centurion remember

that a Roman general invites some of his

friends and relatives over the house he

has Peter come over Peters preaching as

he's preaching the Holy Spirit falls on

everyone there and they start speaking

in tongues and prophesied and Peter's

like God poured out his Holy Spirit on

them just like he did us who are we to

keep him from getting baptized Pentecost

keeps happening over and over again and

I believe it continues to happen today

two groups of people as we discover who

Jesus is the Holy Spirit invades our

life too now let's look at how it

happened here Peter or Paul first thing

he does is he lays his hands on them you

ever had a ver wondered why when people

come to the altar here sometimes we have

people

and lay their hands on people maybe

that's why some of you don't come to the

altar you're like no thanks I don't need

anyone touching me a church you know I

don't blame you it's good to have a

healthy you know carefulness there's

nothing wrong with that but there is a

principle of almost like the spirit

being contagious the Bible said to Moses

i will take the spirit that is on you

and i will put it on the men who are

with you the seventy elders and even

some guys that weren't there they were

across the street God took the spirit

that was on Moses and imparted it to

them he didn't lay his hands on them he

was just around and God just made it

happen we see in the case of Cornelius

while Peter was preaching the Holy

Spirit was poured out as he was

preaching he didn't need to lay his

hands on them there so in other words

sometimes the Apostles would lay their

hands on people and the Holy Spirit

would be given and sometimes it happened

in different ways and here's why it's so

important to notice that people are

going to experience the power of the

Holy Spirit in different ways and we

can't make a ritual out of it and say it

has to be just like this but it can

happen through the laying out of hits

the Apostle Paul tells Timothy i

encourage you to fan into flame the gift

that is in you how through the laying on

of my hands so it can happen that way

but it doesn't have to happen that way

sometimes we fall into superstitious

kinds of routines that say you've got to

say just the right prayer in just the

right way and you've got to be in just

the right position for God to move I

heard an interesting story of an

acquaintance of mine shared that there

was a lady who during this is kind of a

quirky story so you'll forgive me during

a power outage she was sitting in front

of her her oven to warm up somehow she

had an oven that still worked during the

power outage and she was warming up in

front of the oven and she was just

praying and as she prayed the Holy

Spirit came upon her and she started

speaking in tongues and it was amazing

so she shared it with her friends guess

what they all started doing sitting in

front of their ovens

yeah someone could have gotten killed

that could have gotten a little risky

right but they thought well it worked

for her that it's got to work for me all

right so they're just say okay what's

the trick what's the trick there's not a

trick Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy

Spirit and the Holy Spirit is like the

wind we cannot put the wind in a box and

say the wind will behave in this way

even after all these years with all our

science it's unpredictable same thing

with the Holy Spirit God does what he

will in his way but he does seek hungry

hearts and he still touches us now the

Apostle Paul laid his hands on them and

they received the Holy Spirit the Bible

says they began to prophesy now I think

in the book of Acts prophecy is used in

a couple different ways one of the ways

means that God gives an inspired message

to people and they transmit it God to

speak to it to the person in their heart

their mind let them know there's going

to be a famine something like that or

tells them something that's going to

happen and communicates there's another

way the prophecy is used and that's just

proclaiming the gospel with the

anointing of the Holy Spirit you ever

done that you ever talked and you're

aware that is not you talking but the

Holy Spirit is speaking through you you

know how you're going to discover how

that works to start talking about Jesus

and watch he will flow through you as

you do that this afternoon as your

meeting new people I encourage you just

pray God how do you want me to reach out

to this person and let the Holy Spirit

flow so God was doing that with these

people also they began to speak in other

tongues I want to talk about that a

little bit I brought this up in the

young adult group a bunch of people

raised in Pentecostal churches and they

were all like whoa what's that because

tongues what does it mean to speak in

tongues even that phrase sounds kind of

gross doesn't it what does that mean in

the book of Acts in Pentecost it meant

that these people receive the

supernatural power to speak and preach

in languages that even they didn't

understand can you imagine that suddenly

you know you know mandarin and someone's

preaching to you in your native language

must have been amazing must have been

amazing but

here in this case and in also other

cases in the book of Acts it says that

people were speaking in tongues but it

doesn't say the people around them

understood that they were speaking

languages that they didn't understand in

other words they're speaking in a

language by supernatural power without

knowing what they're saying and we are

not told that anyone around them

understands them either the Apostle Paul

says why would someone want to do that

why speak gibberish right what's up with

that why would they even do that the

Apostle Paul explains in the book of

first Corinthians chapter 14 he says

when I pray in a tongue my spirit prays

but my mind is unfruitful but my spirit

is praying directly to God in sort of a

supra intellectual way my spirit is

communing with God as I express myself

in a language that even my brain doesn't

understand how about that it's not

anti-intellectual but it is supra

intellectual it's something that the

mind can't grasp the Apostle Paul says

when I do this the person who prays in a

tongue edifies themselves they feel

closer to God but it's better if you can

pray that you can interpret what you're

saying so you can give a message of the

people around you can understand and

edify the community right it's not just

about edifying yourself but there is an

element that when a person prays in this

supernatural language that they their

spirit is just feeling stirred up and

closer to God so I remember asking

someone when I was 16 and I first

started hearing about this why would I

do this and this friend simply said well

why not if it's going to help you feel

closer to God why not I how's that for a

profound argument right why not can be a

pretty bad argument to do all kinds of

crazy things but i'll tell you why not i

think a lot of us resist new experiences

and i'm not just talking about tongues

here but any new emotional experience

with god because of all of the different

abuses that we have observed over the

years right

we have observed in churches where

people are manipulated into having an

emotional experience in it it seems like

hype and we're like oh I don't want to

get manipulated I don't want to get

sucked into hype and so we get resistant

we think I know thanks or maybe we've

met people who have had certain

spiritual experiences and because

they've had those experiences they think

they're better than everyone else right

there are first-class Christians because

they have a particular spiritual

experience and because of that they've

made us feel inferior because we haven't

had that experience huh and so because

of these negative experiences we develop

a resistance to further experiences with

the Holy Spirit I'm going to encourage

us let's not throw out the baby with the

bathwater just because there have been

abuses just because you've met people

who handle it in the wrong way why

should I allow that to keep me from

experiencing something that might be

helpful for me whatever that is we

should have an attitude of God if it's

of you whatever it is why not I want it

I want more of you I encourage our young

adults in those groups i purge them come

forward come to the altar get prayed for

why not you got nothing to lose you're

in a church you trust you trust the

teaching here you trust that we're not

going to manipulate you we're not going

to try to push you over we're not going

to try to teach you to fake and

experience so that you feels you know

we're not going to do that kind of stuff

here we're going to lead you in a way

that you can seek in a way that is non

manipulative and sincere so why not come

forward and say God do whatever you're

going to do and i love it i love when i

come forward and sometimes young people

pray for me and I feel closer to God why

not what do we have to lose I have a

buddy of mine you may remember he came

to visit about a year ago Peter Noonan

the missionary in a in the Middle East

remember Peter tall dingo remember my

buddy he stands next to me and I come up

to like his belt remember Peter he's a

missionary and the Muslim world has been

for the past 30 years or 20

years probably closer to that but it was

a great man of God when I met Peter I

was a freshman in college he was a

sophomore he had been a Christian since

he was 12 he loved Jesus he read the

Bible he knew the Bible cover-to-cover

he would spend as a sophomore in college

he would spend two hours a day praying

for the gospel to spread around the

world sophomore in college two hours a

day praying especially for Muslims

around the world this guy really had his

act together but he was from a more

conservative Church and he had met

Christians that tried to make him feel

down here because he hadn't had certain

experiences right they say oh you can't

be a really mature Christian because you

don't do whatever right and so he had

developed sort of a resistance to it so

once I'm hanging out with my buddy Peter

and he happened to have a cold I think

I've shared this story but I gotta go

ahead and repeat it I think he had a

cold that night he was sick and we're

talking and praying I say what would you

pray for you to feel better he said yeah

I feel awful pray for me so we're

praying and we're just feeling the

presence of God we're praying together

and then he says yeah you know why don't

you pray for me for some of your weird

Pentecostal stuff too I think ton's

whatever just pray for me for whatever

you want to pray for so I prayed for him

for that too and he said god I don't see

why I would need this but if you want to

give me the gift of speaking in tongues

head why not whatever you whatever you

want god it's okay i want it so we

prayed and God was really there it was a

special moment I went back to my room

about an hour later he comes down the

house is Greg can't believe would happen

you prayed for two things God answered

one of them and i'm still sick let me

know what leave it leave it to Peter to

make a joke out of it the guy makes a

joke out of everything that's why God

sent him to the Arab world knew he could

he be happy wherever he goes he received

that gift in tons and he said you know

it didn't change my life dramatically I

already was praying a lot i already

spiritually felt close to God but it's

helpful if I'm spending hours a day

praying for people i don't know well

it's nice just to kick into that mode

sometimes so for him it wasn't a huge

deal but it made a difference in his

life he's like why not just because I've

had some bad experiences why am I going

to let that hold me back if it's

thing that I believe is biblical and

from God now here's where I'm going with

this I want to encourage us to be people

who have a heart that views God as a

giving father who constantly wants to

give us more if our son asks us for

bread are we going to give him a stone

know if he asked for a fish are we going

to give him a scorpion of course not

Jesus says if you though you are evil

very nice huh he said that right to

people's face though your evil know how

to give good gifts to your children then

how much more will your heavenly Father

give the Holy Spirit to those who ask

for him I find it interesting but don't

we just received the Holy Spirit once

forever well yes when we become a

Christian we receive the Holy Spirit but

there's always more there's more

experiences and feelings it doesn't need

to fit a mold I don't need to sit in

front of an oven and speak in tongues

like a particular lady in New York City

but I want to have my filling with the

Holy Spirit today now I'm not going to

do it in an insecure emotional lyst way

that I feel like if I don't have a

certain experience that God doesn't

really love me i'm not really special no

nothing like that but i want to have an

attitude that says god i need more i'm

not going to stay packed with what I've

got because what because God invites us

to push with him right he says seek and

you will find knock and the door will be

opened to you because everyone who seeks

finds every one who knocks the doors are

open and to him who asks he will receive

we need to ask we need to seek we need

to be open are we doing that or are we

comfortable I'm not done learning and

I'm not done experiencing what God has

for me today God has something for you

he has something for you has something

beautiful for you he wants to

revolutionize your life what if you say

well he already has revolutionized my

like great he wants to revolutionize it

more and that's a good thing it's not

detracting from what I've already

experienced but it's saying god I want

to go deeper with you because the days

are evil the pressures that the church

is under

are so great and so extreme today that

what worked in the past might not work

now right I the deceptions that are

floating around our society are so

strong that if I am NOT constantly

learning more of the Bible and what the

Bible teaches my mind will be swayed by

the arguments of the world around me now

is not the time to coast now is the time

to dig into this book more than we ever

have if we really believe it's living

and active sharper than any double-edged

sword now is the time to say God I want

to be obsessed with learning from the

Bible I want to know what your were

teaches now is not the time the

temptations that are faced and I see

this every day are so strong the

addictions the temptations the things

that we struggle with that our youth

struggle with are so severe and so

pervasive just look at the look at the

promiscuity in our society today there

is always been promiscuity there was

promiscuity back in the time of the

Bible also but now you have access to

smut 24-7 on your phone right the

temptations are different from what they

have ever been before the violence in

our society has reached a level where

our society has a bloodlust that's in

the entertainment that's in the games to

where mass shootings are a weekly affair

what happened this week in Tennessee

it's shocking to see is this even big

news anymore my goodness the society we

live in and again I don't want to be

alarmist I don't want to freak you out

there's always been sin there's always

been evil but we are living in a time

the end times where what is bad is

getting worse and what is good has got

to get better we now is not the time to

say I just want to be a nice Christian

no no I want to be a Christian who is

daily full of the Holy Spirit who is

daily learning more of your word I want

to be like Apollo so I want to be like

the Ephesian 12 I

on more of you because of what worked

yesterday my old man is going bad I want

something fresh today amen and God will

do this if we want to stay where we are

he will respect us enough to leave us

there but if we're willing to get

uncomfortable and take on new challenges

and to do things that make us until

that's why I love seeing young adults

who who go on mission trips and do

things that make them uncomfortable

because they come back on fire for the

Lord if we're willing to push I'd get

uncomfortable for God and to learn

something new he will do his part and he

will fill us and it is good the rich get

richer spiritually God says that to the

one who has more will be given the one

who doesn't have even what he thinks he

has will be taken away the best is yet

to come do you believe that that the

best is yet to come in your life do you

believe amen do you believe that what

God has for you tomorrow now I'm not

saying that life gets easier necessarily

but the best in terms of your

relationship with God your best day with

Jesus is not yesterday or today it

should be today and tomorrow that's my

best day with Jesus now I best my

closest relationship with him in the

good times and the bad times I'm going

deeper with him I want to know you more

and that is how we stand firm it I'm

going to end with a fee with Philippians

chapter 3 I think it is the Apostle Paul

talks about how to stand firm in the

Lord right I'm expecting be strong stay

right where you are but the Apostle Paul

argues we don't stand firm by staying

still we stand firm by moving forward

Philippians 3 verse in verse Philippians

3 in verse 7 it says whatever was gained

to me I now consider a loss for the sake

of Christ what is more I consider

everything a loss because of the

surpassing greatness of knowing Christ

Jesus my Lord

for whose sake I've lost all things I

consider them rubbish that I may gain

Christ and be found in him not having a

righteousness of my own that comes from

the law but that which is through faith

in Christ the righteousness that comes

from God on the basis of faith I want to

know Christ and the power of his

resurrection and the Fellowship of

sharing in his sufferings becoming like

him in his death and so somehow to

attain to the resurrection of the Dead

it's not that I've already obtained all

this I've already arrived at my goal but

I press on to take hold that for which

Christ Jesus took hold of me brothers

and sisters I do not consider myself yet

to have taken hold of it but one thing I

do forgetting what is behind I press on

towards what is ahead I press on toward

the goal to win the prize for which God

has called me heavenward all of us then

who are mature should take such a view

of things we stand firm not by staying

still but by pushing forward am I

satisfied or am i seeking I want to

invite us to really ask that question

right now when is the last time you have

learned something new from God when is

the last time you've experienced a

personal encounter with him again not to

say that we're based on our feelings but

we're saying that we want more amen i

invite you to stand with me and let's

say a prayer together saying god i want

to have that teachable heart before you

I want to have a heart that is receptive

to you dear god I thank you that you are

with us every day and I thank you that

your love is unchanging and that you

cannot love us today more than you did

yesterday I thank you that your love is

unchanging that your person is always

there with us Lord God but father I pray

for my own life and for us as a

community that we would be a people that

know you

every day a people who are constantly

discovering treasures in your word a

people who are constantly going deeper

with you entering into what you have

prepared for us the purpose for which

you have laid hold of us we're not done

yet and I pray God today for any people

here who may feel because of experiences

that they have had or struggles that

they have had they might think that

there done that it's over the best is

behind them I want to tell you in the

name of Jesus you're not done yet you're

not done yet the best in your life your

calling is yet to come god I pray for

people who might feel because of

mistakes they've made that they've

grieved away the presence of the Holy

Spirit I pray that they would know today

God that the best is yet to come there

were sin abounds grace abounds all the

more and your mercy in your kindness is

new every morning greatest thy

faithfulness Lord father I pray

especially for those who are newly

seeking who are disciples who believe in

you God who have learned some things

about you but maybe they've never

crossed the line and accepted Jesus as

their Lord and Savior I pray that they

would do that today and just now in the

quietness of this moment with the music

playing I just won't invite if there's

anyone right where you are and you feel

like you haven't quite crossed the line

with Jesus and you want to today you

want to make it official with Jesus you

don't want to just just be sort of

around him you want to be sure that

you've invited Jesus into your heart as

your Lord and Savior I want to invite

you to you that I ask everyone to

continue with your eyes closed and just

praying in the Lord and I invite you if

you want to accept Jesus in your heart

today's your Lord and Savior do you want

to make it official with him i invite

you to raise your hand as a statement of

faith to God and say God bless you god

bless you I see that there any others

who want to make that commitment

bless you and God bless you bless you I

see there's several people anyone else

that you have never quite prayed the

prayer for yourself and you want to be

sure that you do that today you want to

really decide and just make it official

with him you do believe you do believe

but you want to make it clear very good

very good now I am going to do something

I don't usually do and i am going to

invite you to come up just up up front

at the altar and i'm going to lead you

in that prayer so if you could accompany

Austin come on up Alexander you can

accompany your daughter and come on up

and if there's others who want to over

here if you raise your hand and you want

to pray this publicly I invite you to

come forward as a symbol of faith I

usually don't do this but I'm doing it

today because I feel like I feel like

there needs to be this public

declaration of the fact that you're

accepting Jesus into your heart today so

god bless you Linda go ahead god bless

you okay and I'd invite some leaders to

accompany these folks who are making

this prayer amen anyway and God bless

you brother Roy god bless you i divided

family members or leaders to accompany

some of these individuals beautiful now

what I'm going to invite you to do I

know each one of you already has faith I

know all of you what you're doing is

you're just making it official with

Jesus you're inviting him into your

heart you're being explicit about it

publicly I'm going to invite you to

repeat this simple prayer with me it's

not a magical formula it's not about

getting the words just right it's about

your heart inviting God into your heart

giving your life to the Lord putting

your faith in Jesus so i invite you to

to repeat this with me and to do it

verbally to to say these words after i

say them to God if you believe them and

that's something you want to do okay

dear god I thank you that you love me

I confess that I am a sinner I have

failed in so many ways but thank you for

your forgiveness I believe in Jesus that

he died on the cross and rose for me I

give my heart to you and received Jesus

in my heart as my Lord and my Savior I

want to live for you I want to be a

Christian and follow you all the days of

my life in Jesus name man and father we

together as a community extend our hands

to these brothers and sisters and we

pray for a special impartation of your

Holy Spirit upon them that they would

receive that spirit we read about God

that that spirit would fill them and

touch them and bless them that they

would experience the closeness of God in

the intimacy of their inner being Lord

God I thank you Father I pray in Jesus

name that you would break the power of

the devil in each life here represented

and we say the enemy who comes to steal

kill and destroy these ones belong to

Jesus and Jesus has come that they would

have life and they would have it

abundant to leave we break every chain

we break every addiction we break every

negative

plan of the evil one we declare God's

goodness over these lives in Jesus name

in Jesus name in Jesus name the joy of

the Holy Spirit in their lives the piece

of knowing that they belong to God write

your name on their foreheads I pray in

Jesus name in Jesus name Amen