The disciples of Christ experienced incredible healing while Jesus was here on the earth. The disciples saw the lame walk again after Jesus healed the lame. The blind had their vision restored. The deaf could hear again. There were hundreds of these kinds of miracles during Jesus 3 and 1/2 year ministry on earth.
The disciples were given the Great Commission by Jesus in Mark 16:15-16:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Christ told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel and have a concern for all people. Jesus wants all to be saved.
The disciples clung to the commission that Jesus just gave them. In the Book of Acts 1:4-8, when the Holy Spirit comes on people, the people have power. If we call ourselves Christians and we do not have power in our lives, then we are missing the boat. Jesus said these things to His disciples because He loved them and wanted them to experience power in their lives.
Did the disciples experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Yes, they did. On the day of Pentecost, the Christian believers received the Holy Spirit power and Jesus was being coronated in the Sanctuary in heaven.
We may not feel comfortable with receiving the Holy Spirit. We may have fear. God doesn’t want us to be fearful. He wants us to have power in our lives and be a powerful Christian witness so that we can go with the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel.
Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
The disciples had power through the Holy Spirit and the Christian church began growing rapidly. What does it mean to be edified? The disciples were willing to recognize their sinful, helpless, hopeless life. They realized without Jesus they were nothing. The disciples were willing to walk in the fear of the Lord.
What does it mean to walk in the fear of the Lord? People may think do I have to be afraid? No, it means to Love, Honor, and Respect the Lord! The disciples were so passionate about Him, that their hearts were fully surrendered to Christ. The disciples honored God by the way they lived. They were not afraid of what others might think of them. It is easy to go to church and believe what everyone at church believes. When we are out in the community, we should not worry about the reaction from people that are not Christians. We should not be ashamed or scared to advance the Gospel.
We should stand up for who we are in our workplace, with our friends, our relatives. Are we worried about what others may think about us? Do the relatives think I lost my mind?
Pastor Korter remembers when he was a child his father was a police officer in New Orleans. His father had to make a choice do I do what is right or what is expected of him. His father knew he had to do what is right, and stand for the Lord Jesus. He did not worry about what others thought of him. Policemen and firemen are in a select group of people. And if you are not in their group, you are an outsider. Pastor Korter’s father was required to go to training on Sabbath. His father decided that Jesus came first and did not go to training exercises on Sabbath. He chose to stand up for Jesus and the Ten Commandments.
The disciples experienced walked in the fear of the Lord-honoring, loving, and respecting Jesus so they did not care what others said or did. The result was the disciples walked in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Jesus will walk with you and give you power and strength. We should do the same-put Jesus first and we also will have the Holy Spirit and Jesus with us.
When we stand for Jesus, He will take care of all our needs. We may get our wants mixed up with our needs. Jesus has stated He will take care of our needs. Is Jesus the most important thing in our lives? When we live this way with Jesus first, we are a powerful witness to others.
Here are some statistics from the times of the disciples. The Roman Empire population was between 180 and 200 million. The percentage of Christians to the world population was too small to calculate. There would have been one Christian to every 1.5 – 2 million people. Today we have 1 Adventist Christian to every 422 people in the world. The task of the disciples was much more immense than ours is today.
The disciples did not have technology, satellite television, publishing house, world wide education system, world wide hospital system or social media. There was no Facebook, Twitter, or the Internet. But the early church during the time of the disciples grew between 15-20 thousand in just 8 weeks. Do you see how nothing is impossible with God?
The New Testament church began and grew so fast that a Roman writer said you Christians are everywhere. Every part of Roman society had believers. They served in the Roman military, in the Senate, in the schools, and in every aspect of Roman society. Ninety years later in 200 AD, Tertulian was a powerful Roman lawyer. He became a Christian. He wrote a letter to the Roman emperor. He boasted that almost all of the citizens of all the cities are now Christians.
In Acts 10, when Cornelius was converted, the door opened to tens of thousands to be converted to Christianity. The churches were edified and they multiplied.
Genuine revival builds up and edifies Christ. It leads to evangelistic outreach. There is no genuine revival without a corresponding evangelistic outreach. Revival without witnessing is either self-righteous or spiritual complacency.
Jesus said in the Book of Revelation. The last church was the church of Laodicea. Jesus said I would rather you be hot or cold but you are lukewarm. God is calling for you today to be a church on fire for Jesus, on fire for the Gospel. When we go outside these doors is when we need to be passionate to share Jesus with others and witness to people.
Acts of the Apostles, page 593.
The Church Triumphant
More than eighteen centuries have passed since the apostles rested from their labors, but the history of their toils and sacrifices for Christ’s sake is still among the most precious treasures of the church. This history, written under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was recorded in order that by it the followers of Christ in every age might be impelled to greater zeal and earnestness in the cause of the Saviour.
The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. By the co-operation of the divine Spirit, the apostles did a work that shook the world. To every nation was the gospel carried in a single generation.
Jesus came on time. The Holy Spirit came on time, The Latter Rain is coming on time. We can take His Great Commission and cooperate with Him. The Christian church went from 120 members to millions without the resources we have today.
Great Controversy page 611
The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel’s message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel.
The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the “former rain” was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause
the upspringing of the precious seed, so the “latter rain” will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
When Napoleon took his armies into Egypt in 1799, he said: “Soldiers 40 centuries have passed and God is looking down today”. If God is looking down on you today from heaven, is there anything in your life that you need to get rid of? Are you going to be ready when Jesus comes?
Say to the Lord this morning: “Lord, I want to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit like the disciples received at Pentecost. I want to experience being a partner with you. Come into my heart now and hear my confession and repentance. Take my heart now Jesus”.
This was the sermon given on Sabbath, 1 October 2011 at Bellingham, Washington Seventh-day Adventist church by Pastor Brandon Korter.