Authority of the Believer – Acts 4 – How to receive by Pastor Don Moore
We all need the Authority of the Believer in these days to a greater and greater degree. We want to have anything and everything – all that God has for us. We want His healing, relationship, power, presence and manifestation. People want to receive a touch from the Lord, fall in the spirit, enter into worship, but without proper work and knowing how to receive we won’t receive what we are seeking.
Giving and receive requires acts and basic things.
We can have a love relationship: Husband to wife, pastor to congregation, mother to daughter, parent to child. All these relationships should be based on love. Every love relationship does not have the same dynamic. Not every one in a love relationship has a clear understanding of how to give or receive. For example there is a book out regarding love languages. Some people feel the only way person can demonstrate love to them is by a public act of affection such as holding hands when walking down the street. Others think that small acts of service demonstrate love. If you give the person who seeks a public act of affection some act of service they will not perceive that as an act of love for you are not speaking their love language.
Sometimes a person seeking a particular kind of love language gets frustrated and says, “This ……. is what I want.” The person trying to please the needy one does that action only to have it rejected because the person wanted the other one to do what they wanted without having to be told to do it. So it becomes a situation of yes you did it, but it wasn’t enough. That person needs to learn to receive within the dynamics of what is acceptable.
This inability to receive puts a strain in the relationship and the person feels they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
If we can understand how to receive and give, then we can understand how God stoops down to give to us.
Mercy is God giving something to the pitiful, giving something from the bigger to the lower, God pities us. We can either receive what God is giving or be prideful and reject it. We can in effect tell God, “I don’t want your pity.”
How you receive is very important. The problem is receiving and God gives us good and bad examples of receiving in His Word.
Peter and John arrested.
Acts 4:23-30 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. (29) Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, (30) by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
Verse 29-30 – Believers are to speak God’s Word, and stretch out their hand, seeking His signs and wonders, waiting to receive. They ask for what has already been promised, and now they receive from God. When you ask God for what He has promised it releases great power.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
If we want to receive from God, ask what God has already promised. We are asking God for Churches and He wants to give us the planet. We ask Him for money, and He wants to make us prosperous. Ask God for what He has promised. Ask Him for a ministry and a calling and we know that out of the 12 Spiritual Gifts there is something for everyone. Acquire what has been provided.
They had asked to start a Church in Damascus, but did not get an instant response to that. They asked for Boldness and the Lord shook the building and gave them an infilling of the Spirit with boldness.
The Lord is looking for one who is listening. He is calling someone and is prepared to give us what He knows we need, not what we FEEL we need. We ask God to show us His love, but we also have to be ready to receive it.
Ask God for what He wants to do, and tell Him you will take what He wants to give any way He wants to give it, and be ready to receive it. Find out what the Word of the Lord is on this issue. God has provided signs and wonders, and when we pray His Word to Him in the Name of Jesus, He shows up.
John 16:23-24 And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
The disciples – after Jesus goes to Heaven to be with His Father, ask in Jesus’ Name.
The fullness of joy does not come by satiation of an emotional moment. God wants us to be JOY FULL.
We can ask God for a car, but if we are using it for some illegal purposes, God probably will not give us the car.
John 16:26-27 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
To receive from God is based on our relationship to Him. It is based on I know He loves me. We don’t have to earn God’s love. If we aren’t assured that He loves us, if we aren’t assured of our relationship to Him, it makes it difficult to believe we can receive in the fullness of Joy.
We mess it up every time. Something good happens and we think we did it ourselves. Something happens and we blame God, which is not honoring the Holy Spirit. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. Some people fear that they have blasphemed God. Pastor Don spent some time showing people the qualifications of what it takes to do that, to show us that few believers do blaspheme God like so many fear that they have done. We need to know we don’t qualify.
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
We do not want to go back to laying a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith toward God. We do not need to relay the foundation. That is a phoniness out of the flesh. We are seeking to move to perfection, and we are to move beyond the Elementary principles of Christ – these Paul considered elementary. The first principle is FAITH TOWARD GOD. The second principle is the DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS.
There are several baptisms mentioned in the Bible There is the BAPTISM INTO CHRIST – the fellowship of the revelation of who Jesus is, it is when we are born again. Just because we believe in Jesus does not mean that we have made Jesus our CEO. Jesus is Lord of our life, our Chief Executive Officer.
BAPTISM INTO THE BODY – the Body of Christ (the Church). There are some members that attend church but never connect with others at church, don’t volunteer, don’t spend time with other members. They come to church and just want to worship and go home, but have their walls up regarding others in the church. Pastor Don shared how one time he and Cynthia went to hear a friend speak at another church. After the service they had a coffee hour, no one greeted Pastor and Cynthia, no one welcomed them, offered them coffee or anything. Finally Pastor Don and Cynthia took a cup of coffee, no one smiled, shook hands or anything. His friend came by and said isn’t this amazing – they didn’t even greet me and I was the speaker. People should not come to church and be ignored.
We are part of the WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST – it is nondenominational. When a person is Baptized into the Body, they aren’t baptized into a denomination. And as they look at the members of the Body, they need to realize that they should be treating others of higher importance than themselves. To look out for the welfare and offer kindness to others in the Body of Christ.
The BAPTISM INTO THE FATHER – as we know Jesus, we learn about the Father and develop a relationship with Him.
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – which gives us the fruit of the Spirit.
WATER BAPTISM – The baptism of John the Baptist, immersion in water as an outward sign of what happened inwardly when we were forgiven of our sins when we accepted Jesus.
The other ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES – laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead (yes, that is an elementary principle), and Eternal Judgment.
There are some who are teaching there is no hell, that even satan will be forgiven in the end. That contradicts the Word of God. When a brother in Christ moves out from the foundations of faith, begins to believe doctrines that do not agree with the Word of God, we can be nice and sweet to them, but our fellowship with them can’t be the same for they are not in agreement with the Word of God.
Hebrews 6:3 And this we will do if God permits. The “this” is keeping the foundations of faith.
Hebrews 6:4-5 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
For those who are enlightened about the basic, elementary principles of faith, that fully understood them, have operated in the signs and wonders, and have received the Holy Spirit and operated in the power of the Holy Spirit. – it is IMPOSSIBLE to:
Hebrews 6:6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
The only way that you can blaspheme the Holy Spirit is if you do all the five things mentioned in verses 1-3, and the fall away, it is impossible to renew into repentance. Why? Because you can’t crucify the Son of God a second time – Christ died ONCE for our sins. The bulk of people do not qualify in all five of the areas – so if they fall away, they can repent and return. It would have to be someone who flowed also in the gifts of the spirit – one example Pastor Don gave was Judas Iscariot. Also lucifer who knew God, knew Jesus, did signs and wonders, but fell. There is no way back – it is eternal judgment and ETERNAL JUDGMENT is ETERNAL. Jesus spoke of dead men’s bones, white washed tombs. Not everyone would qualify.
Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;
We receive blessings from God like the rain that the earth drinks, what comes upon it. We receive the blessings that come from God, we drink and cultivate them. We drink what God gives – the blessings and authority. God will not bless what he cannot condone. Pastor Don spoke about a friend of his who always bought lotto tickets, hoping for the big win. Pastor Don offered to invest the money for this friend, give him the increase in advance, all the friend had to do was to promise not to buy lotto tickets. The man did not do that, and ended up dying of cancer in a state of poverty.
How do we receive? We receive BY FAITH, BY THE RELATIONSHIP. We have to know God’s heart and when we do then we CONTROL DOUBT AND UNBELIEF. We fight the feelings of unworthiness, doubt and unbelief.
Pastor Don had us lift up our heads and hands \O/ and open our mouth to receive. We need to look around every corner in life, knowing that everyday something good is around the corner that we can’t see. We can’t see what is around the corner until we get there. We walk through life expecting to receive from God with positive expectancy, fulfilling the joy of our daily existence. We are happy we get up to see what God is going to do. Expect it, it is just around the corner.
SILENCE THE MIND. Our thought life can be our worst enemy. We need to take our thoughts captive. Pastor Don gave the example of what kind of mental thoughts go through our mind when the phone rings at an odd hour.
SILENCE THE MIND – pay attention to our idle thoughts. (Heather’s note I keep mistyping idle as idol – but in reality our idle thoughts can be our idols.) God holds us accountable for our idle thoughts, and he doesn’t want to hear our inner chatter such as – if she says this, I will say that. God wants to give you good things – don’t disqualify yourself by idle thoughts from the blessings God wants to bestow on you.
To silence the mind and receive.
1. Enlarge your spiritual activity. How often do you casually speak in tongues? Some of us only pray in tongues during a church service, but it is not a lifestyle for us. We can speak in tongues quietly, under our breath, as we go through our daily activities. When we are speaking in tongues we kill the idle thoughts that can come in our mind, it helps to empty our mind of garbage. We are told to pray without ceasing. We can’t pray with our understanding incessantly, we would run out of things to say, so when we pray in the spirit, it permits the Holy Ghost to pray with purpose what He knows we need to be praying. It is like turning on a cell phone, and that will guarantee that you receive the call that is coming to you. If you turn off the cell phone, the call won’t get through. If our radio is constantly tuned to an AM station with all of it’s static and business, we won’t be able to hear the still small voice of God. We need to attune ourselves to God’s voice.
2. Take time to meditate during the day – this is not the empty the mind buddhist sort of meditation. Meditation means to quietly mutter the Word of God. We focus our mind, not empty our minds.
Pastor Don spoke of his college days when his roommates were experimenting with the ouija board, and it never worked when Pastor Don had his hand on it. He felt that that spirit of the ouija board hated him. Pastor Don asked his friends to ask the spirit of the ouija board why it hated him, and it was that Pastor Don (who wasn’t a pastor at the time) had a different spirit, and then it informed him that his friend Rita was at the door. Even the spirits know when we are not open to receiving from them, when we have the spirit of God active in us, the other spirits do not want to deal with us.
We don’t empty our mind, for if we empty our mind we can let anything or anyone into our minds – and if it is anything other than God it is dangerous.
When we meditate we can sit for a few minutes each day and think of scriptures. We can look at nature’s bounty and thank God for the beauty of His creation, we can look at bits and pieces of the Psalms and quietly mutter one of them. We are focusing on the Spirit and beauty of God. The Holy Spirit will tell us what He wants us to learn through this.
3. MENTAL PROCLAMATION – We must make our minds come in line with the Word of God – tell our mind it is willing and ready to receive from God. Mentally tell our spirit man what the Spirit of God is wanting him to do. Dictate to our ind and spirit, that I am going to hear from God. God speaks to me. Proclaim it. We bring our mind, body, and spirit in line with the Word. We can reduce hypertension, increase our health and wisdom. Pastor Don recommended praying Daniel 2:20-23 …Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand.
4. Choose your PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT and control it – the time and place where you get something from God. Pick the times and places. For example, Pastor Don expects to receive from God on Sunday, that he will get a Word from the Lord for the people. The world is a noisy place, and we need to find a place where we can get quiet before God.
MAJOR DON”T DO – DON’T GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.
You grieve the Holy Spirit by formulating assumptions and ignore the commands of God, not taking His Word as commands. Taking what you learn from the Holy Spirit and then assuming another thing later on. Here are some examples from Scripture.
Acts 5:38-42 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
The Pharisees and Scribes grieved the Holy Spirit because they said that what the apostles were teaching was not of God. Gamaliel told them to leave the apostles alone, for the fruit of their work would show it to be false or not.
Acts 6:12-14 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.”
They accused Stephen of sin, and lied. He would be the first martyr, which we see in Acts Chapter 7.
In Acts 12, Peter is in prison and the church is praying for them.
Acts 12:5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
An angel releases Peter, initially Peter thought it was a dream. Acts 12:11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
Peter walks to the disciple’s place of residence and knocks at the door.
Acts 12:13-16 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
Peter knocks, but when Rhoda answers the door, she is so excited she leaves him standing outside and runs to tell the others. They don’t believe that he really was released, but he kept knocking and then the disciples find that it is true and it astonishes the believers.
They were praying continually for something to happen but not believing that it would. They rejected it when it did happen, initially. This is mild in comparison to the following example.
Acts 5:1-3 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
They lied to the Holy Spirit. There was nothing wrong with holding back money for their own use, what was wrong was pretending that they had given all to the Church when they had held back some.
Acts 5:4-5 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
Ananias’ wife did the same thing and lied to the Holy Spirit.When Born again members of the church lie, it grieves the Holy Spirit, and in this case he killed them.
Pastor Don then mentioned about Simon the Sorcerer who wanted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit, and Peter says:
Acts 8:20-24 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
Judas Iscariot took the bread dipped in oil (the Holy Spirit) and ate it, then went out and sold the Savior for 30 pieces of silver. This grieved the Holy Spirit. Judas had formulated the assumption that God’s not doing what he prophesied he would do, and assumed that Jesus would come in a certain way, and Jesus came in a different way.
One other thing that believers do is pray for one thing with their mouths but want something different in their hearts. They are not sharing their real issues with God.
They are making the assumption that they are afraid to bring their hearts desire to God, for fear that He will not respond to this desire. We need to share with God what we really want. He wants us to be honest with Him. Some are afraid to ever pray to God about their real concerns, and the devil is waiting there to come in and cause havoc, for the people haven’t been honest with God.
We will reach deeper levels of trust only when we can trust God. We don’t need to tell God how to do what we need. We can trust that He will do what He’s going to do, and He’s going to do it in His perfect time, His perfect way. We can trust that He has it under control.
The devil hears us when we pray. Pastor Don gave an example from the movie Ghost Busters where everyone had to keep their minds empty, and one person decided to think a seemingly harmless thought about the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man – and had no idea that it would turn into something so huge that it destroyed cars and people.
We can’t do that to God. We don’t want to box God. Give God free reign in your life. If you try and tell God how to do it the way you think that it should be done you will be in serious trouble. We want to do it God’s way in God’s timing.
Jesus could have avoided the cross had he chosen to bow to satan – and Jesus would have had the rule of the Kingdoms of the Earth, but He never would have risen to greatness if He did not go by way of the Cross.
Paul suffered much for Jesus, and was willing to go through what he went through, although probably in his flesh he would rather have had a different answer to prayer.
We do not want to tell God how to do what He wants to do for us. Instead, just be ready to receive and trust Him. God is not out to hurt you or withhold from you. Sometimes receiving your blessings takes time. Never confuse the fleshly desires with God’s desires for you. God wants to feed your soul more than your ego.
We then went up to the sanctuary and sat waiting on God, with the prayer in our minds that He will bless me tonight, and we are praying to receive what God has for us, and we are ready to receive.
God showed up big.
Heather’s note – take some time today and ask God what He wants you to receive, and receive it. He has great blessings for you.
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