We are going to be Acts chapter two this morning and starting a series called The Cross Changes Everything. I want to start with a little illustration: One day, a teacher was teaching her young class the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. She carefully explained how Mary and Martha had hurried to clean the house and cook a special meal. Then she paused and asked, “What would you do if Jesus was going to visit your house today?” One little girl quickly responded, “I’d put the Bible on the table!”
What would you do if you knew Jesus was going to be here with us this morning? Well, He is with us now and through The Holy Spirit wants to teach you through what is being taught this morning. This morning I want to ask a Similar Question: What would you do if The Cross Made You Powerful?
The Cross is a Game Changer. The Cross wrecks all that it touches and restores all that we are willing to let it wreck. With God there is always Destruction before Restoration, there is always Hopelessness before Hopefulness and there is always Death before Life. Yesterday at Living Room Worship Isaac spoke a prophetic word about their must be brokenness before there is healing (?).
The Cross is at the foundation of the earth and is the foundation of all of Christianity. Without The Cross, without the Death of Jesus, there is no sacrifice, there is no resurrection, there is no Holy Spirit being sent and there is no Salvation as we know–no Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ (Christ meaning Crucified One).
The Cross purchased Salvation, Adoption, Redemption and Eternal life for us YET it does not stop there. The Cross made all the Big Words possible: justification, sanctification, and redemption are all powerful products of The Cross. The Cross is something we then Choose to carry, to honor, to go to, on a regular basis as Believers, as Followers of Jesus.
Read: Colossians 2:6-15
We Need to Know We Are Powerful. The Question should no longer be: Am I powerful? But rather a statement: I am Powerful.
WHY? Because The Cross brings us into The Family of God AND The Cross makes us Powerful. And, in making us powerful, I mean it offers us Power and we do not have to accept that power. And this is what I want to take a look at this morning.
What does Being Powerful Mean? Being powerful means that I have ‘agency’. To have Agency means that I can act independently of what is going on around me–that I am not a victim to my circumstances, to my past or my present. To have Agency means that I can be different today, far different than I was yesterday and that my tomorrow can even be better.
Why Do We Need to Know We Are Powerful? Well, we love being Middle Class believers. What are Middle Class believers? It is someone who has an opportunity for more in life yet they do not take the opportunity Heaven is offering them. In the SPiritual realm it looks like driving a beat up, old Ford Pinto that barely gets you on the highway, instead of the powerful vehicle you were designed to drive. It looks like living in the shadows of life instead of burning brightly in who you were created to be.
In John 17:22 Jesus says, “I have given them God’s glory” but what is this Glory we have been given? The very divine essence of God, the manifestation of God within us, the honor and the splendor of God is within us, it is part of us. And, even if we do not feel it and even if we do not think we deserve it, we have been given His glory.
How powerful does that make us? How beautiful does that make us?
“He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved! Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation.” (Colossians 2:14 TPT)
Powerful people are creative, energetic, dominating and overcoming in the world that they are in. Sin comes in and ruins everything but God has already embedded the Answer into the structure of the earth and that answer is The Cross and God’s children acting from the Foot of The Cross.
When I say, “I wish I had more power and influence” most people would recoil from that statement as if power and influence were a negative thing. As Christians we are built to have both power and influence. We are given the ability to manifest change and the anointing to influence people and events. There is nothing inherently wrong with that and in fact, thinking differently than that puts us in the cheap seats of spectators or victims in the arena of this world. We are co-laborers with Christ, sons and daughters of God, built for God’s good works here on earth and more than conquerors.
We are not to be victims nor are we to be spectators but we are to be people living life on a mission. If you have ever been around a person struggling with a disease and wished they were well, then you have wished you had more power.
If you have ever been around a parent who is struggling and obviously poorly equipped to lovingly raise up their children and wanted to help them, then you have wished you had more influence. In fact, I would venture to say that if you do not desire to have more power and influence then you are not a very loving person.
If you choose not to be Powerful, which is your birthright, then you will not be able to help those around you. You will come across someone who is in need of a meal but have nothing to give to them.
What Do We Need to Do to Walk in This Power? First, we must experience The Holy Spirit. Yes, in the way the believers did at Pentecost but also in the “Be still and know that I am God way. A continuing experience with The Spirit of God, in the presence of God, is the most powerful thing we can do. The disciples come out of that experience as new People, not pitiful anymore but Powerful. In fact, they changed the world in ways the ministry of Jesus did not. They established The Church, they moved beyond speaking Aramaic and into the common Greak language, they moved into the rest of their region, they brought unity between themselves and The Gentiles, they sent missionaries to parts of Asia and Europe and eventually all the way to Rome where the government of the known world was taking place.
So, if we are full of The Holy Spirit, anointed and appointed to be salt and light to this world, why do we still struggle so much with walking in His Salvation Power?
How full of The Holy Spirit are you?
Second, we must start telling ourselves a different story and that story must be based on Faith in God’s Goodness AND NOT on what we have experienced or what has been spoken over us. We must start agreeing with God’s Story about US.
The difference between being Pitiful or Powerful is determined by how we see ourselves. 10 of the 12 spies saw themselves as Grasshoppers when they were in Their Promise Land BUT God say them as more than Conquerors. David’s brother, the soldiers, his King and Goliath all saw David as a Grasshopper but David saw himself as a Giant Killer (even before he had killed a normal sized man, let alone a giant).
The Disciples felt powerful when they were hanging out with Jesus, being part of the miracles, getting provided for miraculously and getting the latest greatest podcast teachings of Jesus before anyone else did. While Jesus is being arrested Peter feels powerful for a moment. Yet, Jesus rebukes that Soulish, Physical Power, as He had rebuked so much of the Disciples wrong paradigm of Power. Then, the power drains from the 11 disciples when Jesus is taken from them and they go from Powerful to Pitiful in a few hours.
Then, to summarize quickly, Jesus is crucified, resurrected, ascends into heaven and the Holy Spirit comes anew and we see those same 11-Disciples become Powerful Again and start to dominate the region and eventually the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What Happened? Their circumstances, the facts in their story looked worse than ever because Jesus was no longer with them. Soon the Believers, considered a dangerous Cult by Judaism and Roman law, they started experiencing more and more brutality and Men like Saul, soon to be Paul, were hunting them down, imprisoning them and wanting the dead. At the same time The Church Exploded onto the scene and changed all of history.
Third, we must Stay Focused. Well, we are full of The Holy Spirit, we are walking in Real Freedom and yet, still we do not feel or act like the Powerful Children of God we are. Why? So often it is because we are distracted by all the shiny things around us. Instead of doing the small, daily practices that access this power we spend that time on FB, watching Netflix, overworking, and overindulging. When we spend that time to concentrate, spend some time and energy regularly being in conversation with God and being in His presence, then we will start being Who We were created to be and Doing what we were designed to Do.
Distraction is the biggest reason why we are Pitiful instead of Powerful.
Illustration: One morning a farmer told his wife that he was going out to pluck the ripe fruits from his field. He got off to an early start so he could warm up the truck. He needed more petrol, so he went to the store to get it. On the way to the store he noticed the pigs weren’t fed. So he proceeded to the corn crib, where he found some sacks of feed. Beside the sacks were potatoes that were sprouting. Then when he started for the potato pit, he passed the wood pile and remembered that his wife wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks, an ailing chicken passed by. He dropped the wood and picked up the chicken.
When noon arrived, the frustrated farmer had not even gotten to the truck, let alone to the field. By now, it was very hot. Some ripe fruits have dropped.
My Friends, there is ripe fruit all over the place for you to enjoy and for you to give to others. There is more righteousness, peace and joy than you can imagine. There is more hope, love and kindness then you can hold, so much so that you would have to pour it out onto others.
Like the Farmer, do you keep getting distracted by everything you see? Turning your eyes, your mind and your heart towards what is constantly being offered to you?
Technology… Media… social media…religious practices are all highly addictive things that move our eyes, brains and hearts away from God.
8Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. For they operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of this world system, and not the anointed truths of the Anointed One.” (Colossians 2:8 TPT)
10 of the 12 spies who were spying out the Promised Land were distracted by The Giants so could not see the Giant Grapes. They were distracted by their own thoughts and opinions so much that they could not even consider God’s commandments and promises to them.
Martha was distracted by good works. The Rich Young Ruler was distracted by position and wealth. The Pharisees were distracted by Religious rituals and rules. The 10 Spies were distracted by what they saw, so much so that they could not see what was right in front of them.
It is not the Devil. It is not immorality. It is not bad preaching or false teachers.
How distracted are you?
And the greatest difficulty in a Believer being Pitiful and Powerless is that when God speaks to us he is speaking to us as Powerful People, not Pitiful people.
He tells powerful people: Keep my commandments.
He tells powerful people: Love your enemies.
He tells powerful people to: preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons.