Intro. Last week we saw how the Holy Spirit was at work protecting the purity of the early church, when two of the members sought for personal glory. Their sin was actually twofold. Not only was there the desire for personal glory, but they were guilty of exercising hypocrisy to receive this glory. As a result of God's severe dealing with their sin, a great fear came on all the church. Also in verse 13, we see that it brought an end to this practice of selling everything and giving it to the church.
I. ANOTHER RESULT OF THIS ACTION BY GOD, WE SEE GREAT POWER MANIFESTED IN THE CHURCH.
A. Luke records:
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
1. Today as we read of the church in the book of Acts, we often long to see the power that was manifested by the church.
2. We read of the signs and wonders, and we wonder why such signs and wonders are not happening in the ministry of the church today.
3. I believe that there is a direct relationship between the purity and the power.
4. There are many today who are promoting signs and wonders, but there is a sad lacking of purity in their personal lives, and their extravagant lifestyles are an antithesis to that of the apostles.
B. How do you explain the miracles apparently done through their ministry?
1. I do believe in the great power of faith in God.
a. Jesus said to one, "According to your faith be it done unto you."
b. In another place He said:
Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].
2. I believe that these men have learned how to inspire others to have faith in God.
a. As the people hear the messages on the power of God to heal, then they see people come forward claiming to be healed of various ailments, that their faith is inspired to believe God to heal them and as a result of their faith, they are genuinely healed.
b. This brings up the age old question, does the end then not justify the means? These evangelists often excuse their ungodly lives by pointing to the fact that people are healed through their ministry.
c. I do believe that it is a great blessing for those who are truly touched by God, and I praise God for His love, grace, and power.
d. I also believe that those who are strutting around getting the praise and glory, and are becoming very wealthy, and living reprobate lives are the ones that Jesus warned about in the sermon on the mount when He said:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
C. A further result of the purity and power of the church was that
Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
1. I am convinced that when the church becomes what God wants it to be, then God will do for the church what He is longing to do.
2. Jesus said, "Upon this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
3. When the church really gets on fire for God, the world will come to watch it burn.
4. In Acts 2:47
, we read, "And the Lord added daily to the church such as should be saved."
5. A great deal of time, energy and dollars are being spent on church growth programs. Ministers travel around the world to find the secrets of how to have a large church.
6. If they would spend the same time and energy in seeking to improve the spiritual quality of the church, God would take care of the quantity.
7. I like that word multitudes.
a. There is such an emphasis today on numbers.
b. Most of the time the quoting of numbers is just for bragging rights.
c. How many were there? Multitudes.
d. How many got saved? Multitudes.
II. HOW THE POWER WAS MANIFESTED.
Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid [them] on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them
A. The inference is that when the shadow of Peter fell on them, they were healed.
B. I would like to address the subject of activating faith.
1. I believe that many people have passive faith. By that I mean that they believe that God can heal, and possibly some day He might even heal them.
2. I believe that active faith says, I believe that God is going to heal me now.
3. There are things that can move our faith from passive to active. I believe that a point of contact is often necessary to activate some people's faith.
a. The woman with an issue of blood who touched the hem of His garment. The touching of the hem was her point of contact.
b. The man by the pool of Bethseda who was waiting for the troubling of the waters.
c. With Paul they took his sweatbands and laid them on the sick.
d. James said to call for the elders of the church to lay hands on them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
e. Here it was the shadow of Peter falling on the person. I believe that in their minds they thought, "If I can just get in a position where when Peter walks by, his shadow will fall on me, I will be healed." They had set that moment for time to release their faith. Faith was no longer passive, but active.
III. FURTHER RESULTS FROM THE PURITY AND POWER.
There came also a multitude [out] of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
A. Here again we have that word multitude.
1. The news of the work of God has spread throughout Judea and they are bring their sick and infirmed to be healed.
2. They were bringing those who were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed everyone.