The book of Acts Continued by Pastor Don
Below is a closed captioned transcript of a sermon by Pastor Don Moore. Remember, what is in [brackets] is what the congregation says.
See if you can find the Book of Acts, the 15th chapter. The 15th Chapter. We’re going to really focus a little bit later on the 16th chapter. But right now we want to just take a look in the 15th chapter. When I was reading this last night and this morning, I thought to myself how interesting it is that we are living in the continuing adventures of the book of Acts. The book of Acts was never concluded for we are the extension of it. We are right in it now. [amen] … And it is just wonderful to get understanding from this.
We want to start in the 15th chapter, cause there’s some important things that we need to be reminded about. I’m going to summarize some of this, but you can follow along as we read it. It says, a certain man, “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be…“” what? [saved] “…you cannot be saved.” So these men, they came down to Judea where the apostles are and they begin teaching the brethren that circumcision is necessary to salvation. Does everyone see that? [yes]
We live in a time where there are new additions being made. Since Jesus left, the apostles laid it out for us early in the book of Acts, what is the key to salvation. What is it, what is it that certifies, establishes us, that we can be born again? That we can live with the security of knowing that God is our Father, Jesus is our Lord, and our salvation is guaranteed. There are many that struggle just with the concept that you can, once saved, you could always be considered saved. And they’ll fight over that. They debate over it on radio, on TV, and they go back and forth and they write books. And there are people that declare all of these different things, that you have to belong to my church if you’re gonna go to Heaven. And you have to do church the way that I do church if you’re gonna go to Heaven. And you have to sit when I sit, stand when I stand, turn when I turn, read what I read, eat what I eat, and dance when I dance, and then you’re going to Heaven. If you’re not doing it the way I say you should do it, and if you don’t do it the way my church says you should do it, then you’re not going anywhere, maybe to the Mall, but not to Heaven. [laughter]
Well, let’s find out how the early apostles dealt with this. And then we can get some understanding. The most important thing I feel is that there is a liberty and a freedom that comes when we know the truth. [amen] When we know the truth, then we can in an honest and forthright manner, we can tell people the truth. We can tell them exactly what thus says the Lord. Let’s look at this now. So these guys come down and they’re building these walls, and they say, you have to do it this way.
In verse 2. “Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute…” Well, no small mean’s what? [big, large] It got hot and heavy, buddy. [unhuh] They were like whaling on each other. Banging. You know, you should be this way, it should be that way. And they’re going back and forth. And then it says, “…certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.” We’ll read that again. You ready. So, “…they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles, the elders, about this question.”… [come on now] Do we see what they are suggesting here?
Why should we not do the same thing today? [hmmmnh] We have in the Scriptures, we have the writings of the apostles, we have the writings of the elders of the Church, that tell us the same information that they had then. [right] I think, can I be honest with you guys? [yes] In all the years that I’ve been ministering and pastoring, there’s one thing that still, I haven’t gotten over. And that is, why would you make major life decisions without consulting the Word of God and consulting those who God has given responsibility for you spiritually? [amen] Why would you do that? [come on, please, say that one more time] Why would you do that? Why would you make major life decisions without consulting the Word of God and the people that God has entrusted over your lives? Why would you do that? Why would you think that you, by yourself, can come up with a right conclusion for your life when your life is a mess? [amen] Because that means all the decisions that you independently made up to that point in time, you messed up. You made some bad choices and bad decisions. So then, when, after you become a believer, where there is safety in a multitude of counseling, why would you then make arbitrary decisions, assuming somehow that you’re gonna be ok?
And so, my personal problem becomes this. After you’ve messed it up, and not consulted with the elders, not consulted with the Word of God…(knocks) [laughter] (knocks) [ring, ring] (knocks) “Pastor Don,” [laughter] “Pastor Don, why is God abandoning me? Where is God? I just kept on calling. I don’t know what I’m going to do? Everything’s a mess and I need help. Where are you when I need you?” In the same place I was that you could have asked me before you needed help… [that’s it, amen, clapping] Well, glory to God.
So the apostles have a problem, some guys have shown up and said, none of these Gentiles can be saved unless they’re circumcised. And this debate begins. And so, let’s see how they decide to solve it. So it says, in verse 3. “So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria…” and then they’re going to go. In verse 4. “And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all the things that God had done with them.” In verse 5. “But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying,…” Now are these guys saved? Yeah, they’re saved. Are they part of the Church? Yeah, they’re part of the Church. But they rise up and they say, “…It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.“…
If it was so clear, then this next meeting would never have happened. But in the very next meeting it says, “…the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute,…” Much whata, whata? [dispute] “…much dispute…” It’s ok to dispute and not agree Church. I don’t know what happened to the Gentiles that missed what the Jews did. The Jews argued. They would argue from sunup to sundown, and love each other, and go home and it was ok. [yeah] But Gentiles, I can’t believe it. If we just have a discussion, and someone doesn’t agree, they part company. [yeah, that’s right] They leave town. And they don’t want to talk to you anymore. You know. How can we, how are we going to gain wisdom if we don’t discuss things. It’s ok that you disagree. I don’t hate you if you don’t agree with everything Pastor Don teaches… I just know that if you study the Word, and after awhile you’ll figure out I’m right. So, I’m not worried about it. [laughter] I don’t have any problem with it.
But the Apostle Paul says, you know, he’s going to dispute. They’re going to dispute and discuss things. They’re going to air things out, so that it’s ok. It’s alright to come to my office and say, “Pastor Don, I don’t believe any of this stuff. I believe what my great grandmomma told me, that if I sprinkle some flowers with olive oil I’m saved… I will sit there and smile. I won’t condemn you. On the inside I’ll be cracking up. [laughter] But on the outside, I will be thoroughly polite with you and listen to your tale of woe. So, what they had was the liberty. Can you say, “liberty.” [liberty] Freedom. [freedom] They had freedom to discuss and debate things in order to do what? Arrive at the truth. Come up with the truth. But you’re not going to get there without a discussion. A person that talks to themselves and only talks to themselves, we call that person schizophrenic after awhile. Thank you very much. Moving right along.
So in verse 7 it says, “And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” So he is saying, God spoke to me and gave me clear instructions so that we could what? We could open up the doors of the church and let in the Gentiles. [right] Isn’t that what he’s saying? [yes] And then verse 8 he says, “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
Wow. This is a major, major passage of Scripture that doesn’t get discussed. In other words, Peter realizes that the Church has a difficult question that needs to be answered. Everybody look up here. Come on now. He has a difficult situation that needs to be answered. That admittance to salvation is the question, and it pivots on opinions. Different opinions. Peter, who has direct instructions from God, [that’s right] who by signs, wonders and miracles received a clear vision from God, that permitted the door to be opened for the Gentiles to come in. Peter, who has had an experience with the Holy Spirit, the confirming Word of God in the Old Testament, as well as in his heart and by his eyes through signs and wonders, Peter is now declaring to them, God built into this system, watch me carefully, a way for us to know the truth. [hallelujah, amen, yes] …
The Church today has rejected this decision making, pivotal, and it is pivotal, cause the Church could have turned many different ways, pivotal way, of analyzing the information to come up with an answer. Why do we speak in tongues and in a spiritual language? Is it just because we want to babble about? Or is it a sign from God of a certification of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in order to arrive at truth and in order to be discerning? Well, what does Peter think? Here’s what Peter thinks. And everyone of you that’s a Gentile needs to hear this. Peter thinks that because of the sign of speaking in tongues, every Jew that was a Jew, and every Gentile that was a Gentile, could be certified by the Holy Spirit, according to this experience, and therefore could validate the presence of active God…
This is not some loose doctrine, that Pastor Don’s trying to push off on you. I’m saying that Peter has made a declaration written down in the book of Acts, that says this. We believing Jews had an experience in the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit certified us as being empowered and present with God Himself… That experience caused them to what? Convert in one sermon. Boy, I’d love to be able to do that. Three thousand people. [amen] Now he says, as a result of that gift and promise of God, from the Old Testament into the New, the promise that the Holy Spirit would come and endue them, or give them power. The manifest sign of that presence and power was their ability to speak in an unknown language.
Call it gibberish if you will, or whatever. But, one thing I’ve noticed is that Spirit-filled people, no matter whether they are Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic, or Pentecostal all know that that experience is real to them. Now, I want you to see what Peter is saying underneath it all. Here’s what he’s saying. If you got it, there ought to be a sign that you got it… If you got it, there ought to be a sign that you got it. If you have it, there ought to be a sign that you have it.
How many of you sitting here today have some money? I got a dime in my pocket right now. A dime. You should have a sign of your wealth if you declare to me that you have some wealth. I didn’t say that you are wealthy. But I’m saying that you should have a sign that you have something…We don’t have any other way of identifying who’s got the Holy Spirit and who doesn’t. There’s no other sign. You can’t look at people and tell. You can’t look at ’em and tell. Cause I’ve seen some pretty shabby looking people who are very filled with the Holy Ghost and with God’s power. I’ve seen some other people that are bold and powerful, you know tall and elegant like me. Impressive. [laughter] Don’t you dare laugh at that. [laughter] Very impressive people. And they don’t have it. They have eloquence. They have charisma…
I was at a big meeting. There were maybe 15,000 people there at this particular meeting. And the fellow that was preaching, at the end of the meeting, he stepped away from the pulpit and he was here. And a young man got up in the audience and ran up to the front of the podium. Cameras are running and everything. And he just reaches his hands up to the guy that was speaking, and he says, he says, “Pray for me.” He says, “Pray for me and I’ll be healed right now.” Held his hands up, “pray for me. I’ll be healed right now.” He had some kind of disease, but somehow in the course of the meeting and through the sermon, his faith had come to that point. And all he did was he stood at the podium, and said, “Pray for me, and I’ll be healed.” And the man who had just preached stepped back from the man. And he says, “You’ll have to wait.” Watch this now. He said, “You’ll have to wait until tomorrow night when Benny Hinn is here.” [oooooooh] … His face, the young man’s face just fell. He was just so crushed and devastated. Cause his faith at that moment.
Think of the boldness to stand up in front of 15,000 and rush the podium, said, “Lay your hands on me and I’ll be healed.” … You know… I saw some of the other dignitaries on the dais, they just, they just died right then and all. And so, as this great man of God stepped back, refusing to lay hands on this sick person, they closed and said his closing prayer. And the other men, careful now. The other men who had seen this went to get this young man, but by then the moment of faith was gone. [pshew]
We can’t know by people’s, we can’t know by their demeanor, the number of degrees behind their name. We can’t know by any of that. Some of the most anointed people I’ve known are little old ladies who just had the faith to believe that they pray for you, something’s gonna happen. [amen] Hallelujah. But if they speak a word of prophesy it’s going to come to pass. [amen] That God can change your frown into a smile and they know that if they pray for you, things will get better. [amen]
The Apostle Peter knew that there was a sign that God had established to identify if the power and the presence of God could flow and be in manifestation. We don’t have any other sign. And some of you might say, well, in the Upper Room, it says that flames like fire emanated from their heads. Do you know, that’s a sign usually of martyrdom? Of, they were going to pay the highest price. The highest sacrifice for the Lord. And that would be that they would be martyred. Everyone’s not going to get that. But it says, that all would be endued with power from on high. And the word used there is not exusia, which in the Greek would be authority, like a badge. But He says, dunamis, like dynamite power. And the only sign of the presence of dynamite power is not boldness, is not arrogance, it is not posturing and charisma. It says that the sign that Peter is acknowledging to the Church of Jerusalem in the Book of Acts, is a very simple thing. They had had an encounter with the Holy Spirit who left them the ability to speak in other tongues…
Whether you believe in tongues or not, just believe what the Word says. The Word says, we should let – here’s what Peter’s saying. We should let the Gentiles in because they have the same sign that we have. Let’s look at it in the Word. How are you guys doing? [good] You didn’t get mad and go home? [no] No, good.
Look at it again in verse 8. This is Peter, the great apostle. They built churches to Peter. They built great cathedrals to Saint Peter. People cross themselves in front of his statue and all. Why do we listen to his words? What did he say? “So God, who knows the heart…” Knows the what? [heart] “…acknowledged them…” How did God acknowledge them? “…by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,…” Well, how did they get the Holy Spirit? They prayed and believed by faith to receive and then it says, “and they began to speak…as they were filled.”
Can you see filling? No you cannot. Can you sense it? Praise God, yeah you can. And, when a person starts getting filled, and you say to them, “begin to speak.” Their faith causes them to say, “Doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m speaking Jack.” [amen] I’m going to open up my mouth and let it go… Whooawhoo. Yada Yada. Opie, opie, di ay. Zingie boom boom.
You know, it always cracks me up that people can sing in the shower, and when they get to the part where they don’t know the words, they sing in tongues, but get them in the Church and tell them, pray in tongues, or sing in tongues, and they go, “I can’t.” Umn, ha. What do you mean you can’t? You just lied in the shower. You’ll be singing one of them old Beatles’ songs, “I want to hold your hand. I want to hold your hand. And when I jadja mu day acto, hey, hey. I ope zee op hey hoday deeda. I ca hi, I ca hi, I ca hi.” [laughter] You like it that much huh? “Oh, yeah. I’ve got that something, da da da da.”
Come on. It’s such a simple thing. But when we make it all spiritual, walls come up and problems in our heads and we get to go into difficulties. But what God is basically saying is, if you can’t yield to me and do something stupid, how, when I tell you to lay hands on the sick and they should recover, how are you going to believe that? [whoot] You can’t follow a simple command, open your mouth and begin to speak. How are you going to raise the dead? How are you going to pray for a demonic spirit to leave and expect it to leave? If you can’t even bring yourself to get out of the way, to open your mouth and go hash ha mana hey. [amen] Send the pizza today. [laughter, oh and your interpretation] Interpretation, that’s what it was. Where’s my pizza? [laughter] Alright.
So, let’s go on with this and see, because right now I’ve got about a half a dozen people that are thoroughly offended. And that’s good because out of your offense you’ll read the Word. In verse 9. “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts…” how? [by faith] By what? [by faith] “…by faith.” And then he goes to a conclusion. Peter, the great saint. “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Let’s all read the next verse together. Come on. “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Then look at verse 12. Look what happened. “Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring…” watch this. The fruit of this gift of tongues, the fruit of the indwelling of the Spirit, “…they declared how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.”…
Well, what are we saying here? Barnabas and Paul, who had been serving the Gentiles and reaching them had realized that if God gave this gift to us, and in like manner showed up with signs and wonders, then surely God was certifying that this is a gift from Him for all. [hallelujah] … And that by participating in it, we would have a sense of, watch this now, watch this. God inside… [amen]
When we do something that is supernatural, even though we don’t understand it, God will give us a sense of God inside…Not God outside. Not God across the street. Not God down the block. Not where is God? You know where God is. For when you begin to worship Him through your Spirit man, through the gift that He has placed in the body, you begin to realize, huh, I am not alone. God is still with me. How do you know? Because, you cannot continue to speak an utterance, less it is by the Holy Spirit. It says, for they began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance.
In other words, your vocabulary would not grow. Your vocabulary, you’d be stuck with, “pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza” calling it tongues and your vocabulary would never grow. But the Holy Spirit gives you utterance so that you then can begin to flow, for what purpose? Everybody ready? [yes] Your mind is a problem to spiritual matters. [amen] Your mind is a problem to spiritual matters. Your mind is a problem to spiritual matters. Some people will never, ever speak in tongues, and the reason is because of this one simple thing. I’ve heard so many people say, “I can’t do that because it doesn’t make sense.”
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