He was an ordinary guy…an emotional guy…a fly by the seat of your pants guy…a bit of a hot head guy…but still an ordinary guy. That is, until he was baptized by and filled with the Holy Spirit…then He suddenly became Mr. Extraordinary.
· When the Holy Spirit came in wind and fire upon those 120 ordinary people, Peter suddenly became a preacher. Filled with courage and words and extraordinary power he let fly with an amazing public sermon:
Acts 2:22 page __________
"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. Acts 2:22
· what followed was a concise telling of the story of Jesus and a searing indictment on his listeners…
36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:36-41
· Imagine 3000 baptisms! …but this became a commonplace event. I can imagine every pond and every river being turned into a baptistery.
This is one of the clearest public evidences of revival! Conversions started to happen hand over fist. People were getting saved left and right. Thousands and thousands began to surrender their lives to Jesus.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47
More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. Acts 5:14
· whole households and whole cities suddenly became followers of Jesus.
Beginning then this has become a pattern in revival…this is what happens during a spiritual awakening.
· New England – 1730s and 40s: 1st Great Awakening. 250,000 people converted to Jesus
· The second great revival began in Kentucky in about 1800 where there were about ten thousand converts.
· In Wales in 1904 - Seventeen men began to pray and 100,000 people surrendered to Jesus in just 5 months.
Honestly this is one of the key reasons we started to wonder about whether we were beginning to experience revival with 650 people baptized in 9 months. And likely more this weekend on all 3 campuses.
When the Holy Spirit moves people surrender their lives to Jesus.
There is a twist…during revival people come to Jesus seemingly through more unusual circumstances. Conversion happens in more unconventional ways…and this has an impact on how we, who are followers of Jesus should practice evangelism.
· Conventionally – Evangelism is the art of persuading another to surrender their life to Jesus.
o you have a person in your life who is not following Jesus – your “1”
o many times that person is far from Jesus…many times because of the credibility gap
§ you “get in the room and stay in the room” – you love them.
§ you share your life and your story
§ you patiently engage
§ at some point you try to persuade them…and hopefully they do choose to surrender to Jesus.
o Yes, this can be slow, tedious but crucial work!
· But, during a revival it seems the Holy Spirit inserts Himself more in the situation. He becomes uber active. And He works unconventionally.
o He comes upon people with spontaneous conviction (a sense of guilt and remorse) (which we’ll cover in a few weeks)
o He reveals Himself through dreams and visions.
o He ramps up healings.
o Coincidences begin to happen that are really divine appointments.
If you think I’m making this up I want you to hear a real story…and I want you to meet DeeDee Feeney:
· DeeDee and Shawn Feeney and their family have been at Grace for 21 years and have served in a variety of roles.
· This is a story of when DeeDee was 20 years old
o living in Japan for a year with some missionaries you knew as a child growing up there.
o you lived among college students and taught English
Q - at one point early on you were feeling discouraged. Missionary friend challenged you to study the Holy Spirit. Right? How could God use me! What happened?
· learned about fruit of people coming to Jesus
· God in a box
· asked to be filled with the Spirit
· fell asleep praising God
Q – What happened the next day?
· The next day I got up knowing I was filled with the Spirit. While walking to the train station that morning I wanted people to move over and make room for God walking beside me.
· I got on the train and a Japanese man came up to me and asked if he could practice his English
on me. I said sure. He then said, "Tell me about your God." Wow.
Q – Later that day you had English classes scheduled
· I had two English classes that day and only the Japanese gal I asked to assist me showed up. That gave us a chance to talk. She asked me if I believed in only one God. I told her I did and she said that she
had decided that this year was going to be the year she was going to decide to either if the gods of her ancestors were real or if there was only one God. She then said "isn't it funny that you came this
year." I could not explain what was happening. All I knew is that God was bringing people to me and giving me the words to say. This began the first of many, many miraculous encounters.
· Near the end of my year in Japan, I was on the train and had the overwhelming feeling that I must get off and call my friend. (A cell phone would have been nice.) I wasn't even sure I remembered her phone number. Anyway, I got off and made the call in the phone booth on the train platform. When my
friend answered she said, "Oh DeeDee, I was hoping you would call." She was leaving the next day and today would be the last time I would be able to see her before I returned to the States. I met her at a
coffee shop and she asked me all kinds of questions about my faith and about the Bible. She stopped me in the middle of one of my answers and said. "DeeDee, you are talking right now , but it is not you is
it?" I asked her what she saw. She said she could tell that something or someone was speaking through me. Wow. I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking through me, but had no idea she could sense that as well.
Q – I know you saw other remarkable evidences of the Holy Spirit in action. In particular one with an older Japanese man in a coffee shop?
Q – How did this experience shape you life today? Do you pray differently? I would assume you don’t see things as coincidences anymore?
· These days you and Shawn have become reverse missionaries (hosting international students). And you’ve see God work in their lives.
See… When the Holy Spirit moves people surrender their lives to Jesus.
So, what do we do with this? These days we need to approach evangelism differently…with more intentionality and passion…so that we can join the Holy spirit in what He is doing.
· first…keep doing what you are doing with your “1”
· pray to be filled with the spirit like DeeDee
· Start watching for coincidences and divine appointments
· Start praying for dreams and visions to occur in others.
· Practicing healing prayer
· Listen for “words of knowledge” and don’t be afraid to share them.
· Watch for divine conviction over people and respond by directing them to God.
I don’t know if we will experience 3 or 300 or 3000 but we will see people surrender to Jesus…if indeed we are living in a revival!
The world is not waiting for a new definition of the Gospel, but for a new demonstration of the power of the Gospel. Leonard Ravenhill