We Have The Same Mission.
We Need The Same Power.

Acts 2:1-4

I want to express my gratitude for the privilege that was mine to serve as one of your pastors.
And i want to express my thanks to all who planned this 135th anniversary year celebration.

In March of 1871, 46 people met to organize Sharon Baptist Church.
Just think of those people who founded this church first came for worship.
They came on foot or by horse drawn buggys or wagons.
They sang, they prayed, and they listened to the Word preached.
Then, they went home to live out that message until the next Sunday..

As we think back over sacrifices of so many, we remember how those saints loved the Lord
and how they sacrificed so that their children and their neighbors could worship and work
for the Master in a church building dedicated to God.

If you lived from the 1920's through the 1940's, life was a lot less complicated then.
If you lived through those years, you will remember some of the changes we experienced.

Those Were The Days.

TV came to Knoxville in 1953, and all TV's were black and white.

Black and White

"You could hardly see for all the snow,
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
"Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet."

Dependin'g on the channel you tuned,
You got Rob and Laura - or Ward and June.
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I wanna go back to black and white.
Everything always turned out right.
Simple people, simple lives
Good guys always won the fights.

Now nothing is the way it seems,
In living color on the TV screen.
Too many murders, too many fights,
I wanna go back to black and white.

In God they trusted, alone they slept,
A promise made was a promise kept.
They never cussed or broke their vows.
They'd never make the network now.

But if I could, I'd rather be
In a TV town in '53.
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I'd trade all the channels on the satellite,
If I could just turn back the clock tonight
To when everybody knew wrong from right.
Life was better in black and white!"

I read of two men who lived on a houseboat.
One night while they were sleeping, the boat broke loose from its mooring and drifted into the open sea.
One of the men got up in the morning and, going out on deck, noticed there was no land in sight.
Excitedly, he called to his mate, "Joe, get up quick - we ain't here anymore."
Folks, we are not there anymore.

In Alice in Wonderland there is an intriguing conversation between Alice and the Queen.
They're talking about memory, and the Queen is surprised to learn that Alice remembers only things
that have already happened; and the Queen declares:
"Well, it's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards!"

Then, she goes on to explain how she sometimes lives backwards in order to remember forwards.
In fact, the way her memory works becomes so wonderfully complicated that the notion
has captured the imaginations of science fiction writers ever since.
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards!" says the Queen -- and she's right.

Our best memory not only looks backwards to where we've come from.
It also looks forwards, enabling us to understand who we are and where we're headed.
Without memory we have no identity, and if, we don't know who we are,
how can we know what we're supposed to be?

We must always remember that we have a mission to those who are outside of the church.

In 1992 I moved from McMinnville, Tennessee to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church
of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and I was told that our church needed to develop a mission statement.
Many of our churches had contrived all kinds of catchy phrases for their mission statement.

Jesus stated our mission statement.
He commissioned us to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world
." (Matthew 28:19-20)
That is our mission statement.

Our mission is the Great Commission.
We must be busy witnessing, baptizing, and teaching people God's word.
We must continually to tell others about Jesus until He comes again or calls us to come home.

An article from the weekly mail-out of one of our largest churches in America stated that
a remarkable happening occurred in their staff planning retreat.
The article said: "For the first time in anyone's memory there was complete, 100 percent unity
concerning where the priorities should be placed in every area of our church life -- Evangelism
!"

The remarkable thing about that statement is not that their staff agreed that evangelism was
their first priority.
The remarkable thing about that statement is that anyone would have ever suggested anything else.
For a church to decide to give priority to evangelism is like a hospital giving priority to healthcare,
or an airline giving priority to air travel, or AT&T giving priority to communications.

Our first responsibility is to introduce the lost to Jesus Christ.
I love the old hymn:
"Hark! 'Tis the Shepherd's voice I hear,
Out in the desert dark and drear,
Calling the sheep who've gone astray
Far from the Shepherd's fold away.

Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wandering ones to Jesus."

How long has it been since you have heard that hymn.
Maybe we stopped singing it because we quit doing it.

Once upon a time there was a farm.
It was a large farm, much wheat had been planted, and there was a bumper harvest
that needed to be reaped.
Twelve men worked the farm.

Each morning they arrived at the farmyard and put the kettle on.
They would gather a circle of chairs in the largest of the barns and began to talk.
They studied bigger and better methods of agriculture, and they polished the combine,
greased their tractors, and then, they would get up and go home.

The next day they came back, and they studied bigger and better methods of agriculture,
polished the combine, greased their tractors, and then, would go home.
They do this week in and week out, year in and year out.
But, nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest.

Some years ago, Findley Edge describes what the church is doing:
"We meet on Sunday and talk about God and how good He is.
We talk about sin and how bad it is.
We talk about the world and what a mess it's in.
We have prayer, go home, and do nothing.

We come back a Sunday later.
We talk about God and how good He is.
We talk about sin and how bad it is.
We talk about the world and what a mess it's in.
We have prayer, go home, and do nothing."

God has placed this church and this congregation here, not to be satisfied,
but to hunger and thirst, and to reach others who are lost and dying without Jesus.

I believe that we have a generation that does not know how to love, and does not know
right from wrong, and who are desperately in need of knowing the God who created them,
and the Saviour who died for them.
Thousands of evils attack our children, our neighborhoods, our schools, our communities,
and our cities.
We have become a nation of tolerance and in the process we have lost our moral backbone
and our ability to love.

Our urgent mission is to proclaim the love of Christ and the good news of the gospel to every family,
every neighborhood, every town, every city, and every country of the world.
God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.
What a pity that we plan to do only the things that we can do by ourselves.

As a nation we have had over 150 years of a strong Christian influence.
But that has rapidly declined.
Today, a practical atheism pervades our society.
We would like to believe that our nation is Christians, but our country has become more pagan.
Almost everything that is Christian has been denied under the cry of equal rights.
Biblical morality is assaulted constantly.
Situation ethics and "do what feels good" has replaced Christian standards.

Materialism, family breakup and breakdown is rampant.
Abortions, sexual immorality, drugs, violence and crime pollutes our nation.
We are at war!
The forces of good against forces of evil.
We are locked in a devastating struggle between God's army and the forces of the devil.
Where is the church while all this fighting is going on?

We would expect to find Christian soldiers "marching as to war with
the cross of Jesus going on before
."
But, instead of marching, we stand silent.
We are afraid that we will be misunderstood.
When the church should be alive with the power of God pulsating through each one of its members,
God finds His army too lazy to fight, and too fat to run.

How can we find our way back to the front lines?
  • What will open our eyes to our ineffectiveness?
  • What hope can we have in the avalanche of lost battles to an enemy that seems so overwhelming?
    What will get us back into the battle for souls?

    It is simple!
    We must no longer depend upon our own strength, our organizations, our programs, and our plans.
    We must have the power of the Holy Spirit!
    Can you even begin to imagine how the power of the Holy Spirit will affect us?

    A pastor tells of an experience with his five year-old daughter who was afraid of the dark.
    One night after they had put her to bed; within minutes, she appeared at the door of the den.
    She explained that she was afraid of the dark.

    Her father explained to her that God is everywhere, and that He was also in her room
    and would take care of her.
    This seemed to satisfy her and she went down the hallway to her room.
    Her father followed her to see if his explanation was going to work.
    He saw her stop in the doorway and as she looked in the darkness of her room,
    he heard her whisper, " God, if you're in there, don't say anything,
    'cause you'll scare me to death
    ."

    If God did make Himself known in some of our churches, it would scare us to death!
    But that is what it is going to take.
    The Spirit of God must intervene into our lives and our churches.
  • We need the power of the Holy Spirit!
  • We have the same mission of our forbears, and we need the same power of that early church.

    In the preface of J. B. Phillips' translation of the Book of Acts, Phillips gives his impression
    of those early Christians.
    He writes: "The new born church, as vulnerable as any human child, having neither money,
    influence, nor power in the ordinary sense, is setting forth joyfully and courageously to win
    the pagan world for God through Christ...this surely is the church as it was meant to be.

    It is vigorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became
    fat and short of breath through prosperity or muscle-bound by over-organization...
    It is a matter of fact...that these men have turned the world upside down
    ."

    These early Christians had undergone a fantastic, spiritual transformation that revolutionized
    every aspect of their lives.
    Jesus Christ touched them with His power, and they touched their world with power. The challenge to change the world still remains. Every Christian from time to time needs to experience God afresh and anew.
    Even the most dedicated Christian needs a fresh experience with God.
    So often spiritual dryness sets in and we just go through the motions of our religious life.

    In so many of our churches, there is no warmth, no holy excitement, and no power.
    We become discouraged, confused, and compromised.
    We need a fresh empowering because it is so easy to become preoccupied with self. One hundred and twenty people in an upper room had an empowering of the Holy Spirit
    that we need today!

    Now let us read our text: Acts 2:1-4:
    "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled
    all the house where they were sitting.
    And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them ---
    And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,
    And they began to speak... And they began to speak...And they began to speak
    ..."

    After the Holy Spirit came and filled God's people, the Jews marveled at their boldness.
    Those disciples who had been frightened like a flock of sheep without a shepherd;
    and who had met cowardly behind closed doors for fear of the Jews; now feared no one,
    for the living Christ was with them.

    We are equipped to witness for Christ when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
    When the Holy Spirit's power fills the church, obstacles are overcome, and difficulties are swept aside.
    A tide sweeps upon the people of God that cannot be resisted.
    God thunders and fire from heaven falls and the world has no explanation.

    The church forgets to be afraid.
    Tongues are loosed, and we began to speak...and we... and we...
    God's people begin to witness and stagnant souls are stirred by the breath of the infinite God.

    We can be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and God wishes to fill us.
    But there is something we must do.
    God has said in Isaiah 59:2: " But your sins have separated between you and your God
    and your sins have hid His face from you and He will not hear
    ."
    We must confess our sin.

    1 John 1:9: " If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin
    and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    ."
  • We must confess our sins of ingratitude.
  • We must confess our lack of love for God.
  • We must confess our neglect of God's Word.
  • We must confess our neglect of prayer.
  • We must confess our neglect of worship attendance.
  • We must confess our lack of concern for lost souls.
  • We must confess our neglect of our families.
  • We must confess our sins of worldliness.
  • We must confess our sins of envy, pride, greed, and bitter spirits.
  • We must confess holding grudges, slander, gossiping, lying, cheating, hypocrisy,
        robbing God, temper, malice, ...
    All these things and others must be confessed; put away; given up for good.

    And, when sin is confessed, God forgives.
    We are cleansed.
    Our sins are buried.
    Then, we must consecrate ourselves; we must yield ourselves to God.
    Yielding is victorious living.
    Yielding all to God; letting God have His way in every phase of our lives.
    We must give God 100%.

    Then, God will fill us with His Holy Spirit.
    And, when this happens:
  • Little sins will no longer be tolerated, but will be confessed and forsakened.
  • Broken fellowship will be repaired.
  • Hearts will become super-sensitive to the slightest sin that has not been confessed and forgiven.

    There will be a new sense of urgency about spiritual things.
  • We will want to tell every one about Jesus.
  • We will see that so much of our service has been done in the flesh.
  • We will see that self has intruded even into holy things.
    We will see that it is I who made the plans, I, not the Lord.

    When God's Spirit fills us:
  • Conduct that has always seemed acceptable will be seen as unbelievably wicked.
  • Words carelessly spoken will rise from their forgotten graves to haunt and torment us.
  • God has forgiven us and we are right with our brethren.
  • Long-forgotten sins against members of the body of Christ will be remembered with grief.
  • So powerful will be the conviction of sin that those who thought themselves worthy of heaven
        stand in wonder and amazement that they are not already burning in the fires of hell.
    And from the depth of our being will come the cry: " O God, save me from my self
    my sin; from my wickedness and depravity; or slay me, but do not let me persist another day
    in this awful condition
    ."
    And all the demons in hell and all the servants of wickedness on earth will not have the power
    to keep God's people from consecrated and devoted love to the Lord Jesus.

    After we are filled: God's timing, God's purposes, and God's plans will rule and direct our lives.
    And all that stands in resistance before Him will be broken and cast aside.
    Even more glorious, we will find ourselves enabled to do what God has called us to do.
    We will become witnesses!
    God's people will become instruments of evangelism!

    Wave upon wave of divine blessing will break upon a parched people for God Himself has blessed!
    And what no one person could do by himself; and what no group effort could accomplish;
    the Lord God Almighty will accomplish.
    We will see the power of the Living God in all His grace and glory.

    The sleeping giant awakens!
    When the Holy Spirit moves upon us with His power, the giant not only will stir and awaken,
    but will move with dynamic power and such glorious impact that all will know God has acted.
  • Can you imagine the entire body of Christ in this church, in this city, in this county,
        this state, in this nation, in this world, moving throughout this world with unified purpose
      with the power of the Holy Spirit?
  • Consider every Christian in this church marching together in perfect harmony.
  • Imagine, not one sleeping Christian left; not one backslidden believer remaining;
        all surrendered completely and dedicated; to see the will of God carried out.
  • Unleash all this transforming power against the forces of sin in this community and in our nation,
        experience Pentecostal power.
    That is what happens when the Holy Spirit moves in!

    We must pray for God's Holy Spirit to come in all His mighty power into our hearts
    and into every Christian in this church.
  • We must wait upon Him to do what He alone can do.
  • We must wait until He blesses!
  • We must refuse to settle for anything less!
  • We must pray until the heavens open and until God pours out such blessings
        that the whole world would not be able to contain them!

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what Thou doest love
    And do what Thou wouldst do.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God
    Till I am wholly Thine,
    Till all this earthly part of me
    Glows with Thy fire divine."

    "I had walked life's way with an easy tread.
    Had followed where comforts and pleasure led.
    Until one day in a quiet place,
    I met the Master face to face.

    With station and rank and wealth for my goal;
    Much thought for my body, but none for my soul.
    I had entered to win life's mad race
    When I met the Master face to face.

    I met Him and knew Him, and blushed to see
    That His eyes full of sorrow were fixed on me;
    And I faltered and fell at His feet that day
    While my castles melted and vanished away.

    Melted and vanished and in their place
    Naught else could I see but the Master's face.
    And I cried aloud, " O Lord, make me meet to follow
    The steps of Thy wounded feet.'

    My thought is now for the souls of men.
    I have lost my life to find it again.
    Ere since that day in a quiet place.
    I met the Master face to face."

    Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White