“Empowering and Equipping” Series: “You Will Be”
Psalm 47: Acts 1: 1-11; Luke 24: 44-53
Pearl: Our empowered identity in Jesus Christ.
Function: This first sermon in the occasional “Empowering and Equipping” series will acquaint worshippers of our core, empowered identity as Jesus’ followers to be “on mission.”
“You will”…receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…
“You will”…be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth.
The risen Lord remained with his disciples for a bit of time before he left this physical earth to return to heaven. This was an important preparation time for the “empowering and equipping” that was to come.
- This first chapter of Acts includes Luke’s “Great Commission” of Jesus picking up from Luke 24:48.
“Great Commission” according to Luke was not so much about what Jesus’
followers were “to do” but about “who they were!”
do you remember the most? Do you remember what people “did” for you or do you
remember the “people” most?
- Maybe you remember how that coach taught you to throw but likely you remember the coach the most: her habits, his ways, his smile, her voice.
- I forget how to do geometry proofs but I remember my teacher’s sense of humor. He talked about the “dangling distributive disease” which I didn’t understand but loved to hear him talk about.
- What do you remember the most? Do you remember what people “did” for you or do you remember the “people” most?
told his followers to wait upon the empowering of the Holy Spirit which would
happen and is recorded in the second chapter of Acts. It is the story of
- Once that empowering happened those 12 followers (Judas was replaced by Mathias) went on to plant seeds for the gospel of Jesus Christ to take root and for the message of the kingdom of God to expand and change the world.
happened because of “who they were” in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit empowered them and made them into new people.
- It is because of who they became,
empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit that most of them ended up being
martyred for their identity in Jesus.
- God empowered them and equipped them to do far more than they could have asked or imagined and to do what is recorded about them in Hebrews 11—they “…suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword…they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy” (11: 36-38).
- It is because of who they became, empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit that most of them ended up being martyred for their identity in Jesus.
But you have to “be” in order to “do” the things which these average men and women did who were Jesus’ first followers.
We “are” the church. Jesus’ followers “are” people with an empowering and an equipping straight from God.
said, “You will be….”
- Jesus did not start by giving a “to do” list. He did not hand out stone tablets containing “The Gospel Expansion Plan in Seven Easy Steps.”
- Jesus looked his followers in the eyes and told them, “You will receive power…and you will be….”
- Jesus’ entire plan for the expansion of the gospel of the kingdom of God was to empower and equip people who would go on to join with God who was already at work in the world which he so loves.
Jesus has not changed his method over the last 2,000 years. He is continuing it into the next 2,000 years: By the power of the Holy Spirit God is empowering and equipping people connected to Jesus Christ to make a lasting difference with their lives in all their realms of influence.
is the beginning of an occasional sermon series which will extend into the fall
and beyond based on The Acts of the Apostles which I am calling the “Double E,”
the “Empowering and Equipping” series. In college I remember my friends who
studied “Electrical Engineering” and who called it “Double E.” One of the
resources I will draw upon is Right Here Right Now, (Alan Hirsch and Lance
Ford, Baker Books, 2011). They wrote:
- “What marks Christianity as distinct is that it is truly a people movement: every believer (and not just some presumed religious elite) is an agent of the kingdom and is called to bring God’s influence into all the realms of human existence” (p. 36).
We are more than we may realize. More is entrusted and invested in us than we ever imagined! This is profound! It is not a new idea but one we need to rediscover.
- We are all “sent people.” We are “on mission.”
- For many centuries “mission” was about sending a certain few people into faraway lands to share the gospel. But from the beginning Jesus meant for every one of his followers to see themselves as “on mission” and so as “missionaries.”
notion is being rediscovered more now because the day when we could just open
the doors of the church and people would file in with their children is not
- Is God doing this to reacquaint us with our age-old calling?
- The previous era of churches filled to over-flowing and the appearance of “successful churches” because of their overflowing services and Sunday schools is an illusion of “church success.”
church, which is “we the people” are successful and more faithful when we know
ourselves to be on mission for Jesus in every dimension of our lives and in all
of our activities.
- Since the people are no longer so much “coming to us” we have to do what we were meant to do from the beginning, and “go to them.” We have to be witnesses for Jesus in every sphere; every area of our lives is an area of influence—an area of mission.
We “can” do it because “we are” empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit! “You are the church before you do church” (Hirsch and Ford, p. 33).
we think we have to get certain training or skills before we can do much. Often
we think we have to be a certain age before we can do much. We think we lack so
many things. Such thinking is from an attitude of scarcity rather than an
attitude of abundance.
- Actually, God has empowered and equipped us far more than we realize.
is active and moving in the world which he loves. Those who love God are fully
empowered and adequately equipped to join in on what God is already doing in
- You can trust that God is already at work in the lives of everyone you meet.
It is a little stunning how much God entrusts the church with the expansion of his realm in the world. Will you live up to and into God’s hopes and dreams?
- It is a challenging question!
- It requires a different mindset. To catch on to a new way of thinking, living, and ministering does not happen easily.
is not new, though. It started with Jesus… He said, “You will be….”
- He didn’t say, “Do this….”
- He said, “You will be….”
How is God prompting you? Ask the Lord to inspire your imagination. Be open to how the Lord can love the world through you.
You can do it! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! (Phil. 4:13).
You CAN…because YOU ARE….constantly being empowered and equipped by God’s Holy Spirit!