Temple Baptist Church - 10-30-2011
Acts 2:1-4, 14
A. There is some division over the actual beginning of the New Testament Church. Some believe that it began at Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. Others believe it began during the ministry of Christ. I personally believe that the church was in existence during the ministry of Christ because Christ declared its foundation in Matthew 16; instituted church discipline in Matthew 18; and set forth its ordinances (The Lord’s Supper and Baptism) before His ascension. I believe that Acts 2 was the empowering of the church through the fullness of the Spirit. I do not fall out with those who believe different from me as long as they stand for the local church.
B. In our text, we find the filling of the Holy Ghost which was the empowering of the church.
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Many in our day believe that the evidence of being Spirit filled is the sign gift of speaking in tongues. The power given to the church was manifested in Spirit filled preaching! (verse 14) Previous to Acts 2, the Apostles followed Christ as He did most of the teaching and preaching. Now, He is gone and the torch is passed on to God called men. Peter preached to the Jews and Jewish proselytes in Jerusalem and 3,000 were saved. Before I go any farther, let me say,
1. “Do not equate Spirit filled preaching with great numbers saved or decisions for Christ made!” Some of the greatest pastors, evangelists, and missionaries that I know have faithfully preached the gospel to the lost for years with little visible results. Spirit filled preaching does not negate personal choice in salvation!
2. “Do not equate Spirit filled preaching with eloquence, loudness, or delivery.” Though, at times, each of these may be used effectively, they are not necessarily producing sound doctrine nor do they bring about desired results.
C. I said all of that to say this: in the early days of Acts, the church was characterized by Spirit filled preaching that turned a world upside down for Christ.
1. The history of the New Testament Church has a rich heritage of Spirit filled men of God who unapologetically preached the whole counsel of God! They were imprisoned, tortured, exiled, martyred, and maligned by those following the “god of this world.”
2. They did not preach for numbers or filthy lucre but preached for the glory of God and the souls of men. Some built great churches in times of little resistance while others died in obscurity on some mission field or in an area of little renown. There were and are no big preachers or little preachers. Some plow out the field while others plow out the corners of the field.
D. In these last perilous times, we find few men of God who are still Spirit filled and preach the Word of God as it is to men as they are. The “itching ears” crowd has rejected these men of God for the hirelings and “teachers” of 2 Timothy 3-4. One of the last Landmarks and a very important one has become a rarity, even in the Bible Belt. Men pleasers are, as a general rule, not God pleasers! We need to remember that it is God’s Word, God’s called men, and God’s results as we plant and water, but He alone gives the increase.
E. I want our church to be known as a Preaching Church. Singing is great but God is not looking for a Singing Church. The principal thing is the preaching of God’s Word. There was a time when people came to church to hear preaching but now it is for the entertainment that they find. The most common question people ask me when inquiring about our church is, “What do you have for the young people?” That lets me know that preaching of the Word is at best secondary and more than likely much farther down on the list of priorities.
F. Preaching is important because:
1. Preaching Exhorts The Believer
2. Preaching Evangelizes The Lost
3. Preaching Encourages The Discouraged
4. Preaching Edifies The Church
G. Old fashioned preaching is what the church needs.
1. Preaching is to be Uncompromising. Jonah 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee! (Preaching is neither hard nor soft. Biblical preaching is to be straight and exact. I still believe that God meant what He said and said what He meant. Preachers are to be God pleasers.)
2. Preaching is to be Loving and Compassionate. Jude 22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (I have heard all kinds of preaching and some of it has been mean spirited. God’s men are to remember that they are preaching to God’s people! I find no place in the Bible where our Lord ever got angry with His sheep. He got angry at the religious crowd but never at His sheep. Loving, compassionate preaching will be accepted by even the chief of backsliders.)
3. Preaching is to be Bold. Jeremiah 1:17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. (The messenger is not to be apologetic for God’s message! I do not get mad at my mail carrier when I get an unexpected bill. She is just the delivery person and has never driven down to my house to apologize for a letter. God’s men, if they are preaching the right doctrinal message with the right spirit, should never apologize for what God said.)
4. Preaching is to be Comprehensive. Acts 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (I often say, “What characterizes a preacher is not only what he preaches but also what he will not preach!” Many liberal churches have preachers who preach good messages. Their messages are doctrinally sound and homiletically developed but there are certain subjects that they are afraid to preach on because they are “job scared.”)
5. Preaching is to be Spirit Filled. 1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (Once again, let me say that Spirit filled preaching is not a performance; Spirit filled preaching is obedient! God’s men are to be led by the Spirit as well as filled with the Spirit. He knows what and when something needs to be preached. That is “in season” and “out of season!” When it is popular and when it is not popular.)
6. Preaching is to be Doctrinally Correct. John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (Spirit and truth are placed on equal ground with the Lord. The church is the “pillar and ground of the truth!” I have been shocked by the lack of biblical understanding of many independent pastors. They base much of their beliefs upon what someone else believes while rejecting clear scriptures on certain subjects. I remain a Biblicist! If they tell me that they believe in something, then they should be able to give me scripture for it!)
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.