Sunday Service (M873) | Mount Zion Church | 16 June 2019 | Shaken and Filled | Pentecost Series | Acts 4:23-31
The promise of the Holy Spirit was given in the middle of troubles and persecutions. In the middle of darkness God gave His eternal light, the powerful fire, the fire of Holy Spirit, a fire from heaven, so that all people may see the glorious and mighty power of the Holy Spirit! The apostles keep teaching all people and preached Jesus everywhere, proclaiming that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. While thousands of people believed and became the follower of Christ, the priest get upset and the Jewish leaders arrested John and Peter, put them in the jail. The leaders called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard Ac.4:18-20.” The power of the Holy Spirit gave them a very brave heart to overcome any intimidations. God will never leave His children alone as He already promised Jn.14:18. When the people united together to pray, the place was shaken by God and then they were filled (again) with the Holy Spirit so that they can spoke the word of God with boldness!
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 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, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “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 28 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.” 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. Acts 4:23-31 NKJV
THE KINGS OF THE EARTH V.S. THE KING OF KINGS
1 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” Psa. 2:1-3 NKJV
From time to time, ‘the kings of the earth’ always try to attack the Lord and also His Anointed. Jesus Christ is the Messiah (Greek: Christos, Christ = “anointed”) and we are Christian, we are also anointed by the Holy Spirit. As we already decided to follow Jesus and be a Christian, we must fully aware with the consequences that ‘the kings of this earth’ will get upset with us! We receive our first anointing when we decide to receive Jesus as the only Saviour in our lives and submit our lives to Him. And then we can receive more anointing when we let the Holy Spirit fill our live 1Jn.2:27, this is the anointing from the highest place Lk.24:49. As long as we have Holy Spirit within us, we do not need to be afraid with anything that wants to be against the Lord. God who is in us is greater than he who is in the world 1Jn.4:4. The kings of this world will always try to command the believers not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. The devil will always try to shut our mouth. We need to be aware with the mute spirit Mrk.9:17-18! Being mute is not normal for Christian. We must declare and proclaim God and all of His goodness. We live to declare the works of the Lord through our mouth and through our lives Psa.118:17. We must rebuke and overcome the mute spirit. The power of Holy Spirit will definitely overcome the mute spirit. We must let the Holy Spirit fills and works mightily within us, so we will be able to say just like Peter and John said in the presence of the Jewish leaders: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
GOD LIKE TO SHAKE HIS CHILDREN
10 “He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, 12 so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. Deuteronomy 32:10-12 NKJV
God explained the life of an eagle so that we can understand why God like to stir up and shake our nest. In other translation, the same word also means to make someone keep awake! God don’t want His children to fall asleep spiritually. God like to shake our life so that we can keep awake and then stay close with God. He may shake our life with troubles, problems, difficult conditions, medical conditions, weaknesses, financial issues, failures, and many other things so that the eyes of our heart keep open and look unto Him. The book of Acts is fully loaded with miracles and mighty acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and disciples. But we must also understand that all of that miracles were preceded with troubles, persecutions, threats, intimidations. In His miraculous way, God let the early church faced so many persecutions and it made them keep awake! This early rain of Holy Spirit was surrounded with so many shaky conditions. 3,000 believers were baptized and then Peter and John go to jail. Many believers came to Jesus but James the apostle was killed with the sword by Herod Ac.12:1-3. The church getting bigger, but Stephanus was stoned to death. We must not give up with any shaky conditions, do not lose our heart as the problems come because we understand how God will fulfil His promises through all of that!
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1 NKJV
God is going to shake the church so that He may find Christians with good quality! Our faith must be tested with fire so that the genuineness of our faith may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed 1Pet.1:7. The book of Acts was not about one man show only. It was not about Peter nor Paul nor John working by himself. The book of Acts was about the great army of Christ that was raised up together in various places. All believers were scattered to all regions of Judea and Samaria. Philip preached Christ in Samaria, fulfilled the command of Jesus to be witness to Him in Samaria. Paul and Silas went to the Gentiles. We may simply find lots of names in the book of Acts because the Holy Spirit worked mightily among the shaken church! When God shakes His children, actually He is going to put something more in our life. In those days, when people want to measure something, they like to press it down, shake it together so there will be more spaces, and then put something more in it, press it down again, shake it again, and put something more, even until running over!
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38 NKJV
In Acts chapter 4, for the first time the apostles were put into jail. Peter and John had that privileges to be the first preacher in the jail and they set an example also a warning to the church that God was ready to shake His church! His friends then keep praying and praying. They didn’t fall asleep again just like what happened in the Gethsemane. They were really awake as now they really felt that shake happened to them. The prayer was lifted up, more people come to pray. They were shaken and then God gave something more. They were once again filled with the Holy Spirit. Every time the shake happened to the church, just wait for something more that God is going to give! Stephanus was stoned, but then God gave Saul to the church as a powerful and passionate apostle for Christ. The church was shaken, but then God brought His church to the new dimension. Let’s believe that God, because of His greatest love for us, will never let any shake happened in our life without a reason! If He let the shake, so He will let something new and good also come to us.
It happened in the days of King Jehoshaphat that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So, Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord 2Chr.20:1-3. Jehoshaphat was not a bad king, he was one of the good kings in Judah. Even he did a big reformation in his days, he went out among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers 2Chr.19:4. But what happened after that was not good, even the multitude of enemy came to attack Judah. That was the biggest shake in the life of Jehoshaphat, but it brought a good awakening indeed. He proclaimed a fast to all people and they did it. All people gathered together to ask help from the Lord. The whole story can be read in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. And at the end of the story, we find how God gave them something NEW after all that shaking process happened. They learned how to believe in God, they learned about the power of praise and worship, they get the new meaning and new experience with one valley in Judah which is the Valley of Berachah (the valley of blessing), even they get so much spoils, even more than they could carry away.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
Do not afraid with the shake! The mother eagle will always come and stir up the nest again and again so that all young eagle could learn how to keep awake and achieve a new thing as they grow. God shake us so that He can find more spaces in our life and then fill it with something more important, something more valuable, something more precious in His sight, something more eternal! Do not angry with this shaking, do not upset. Let’s follow the example of King Jehoshaphat when the shaking came in his life, let’s decide to set ourselves to seek the Lord more and more while we wait for whatever God will bring to us.
Insights and impressions:
We definitely need to be filled with the Holy Spirit more and more. Let’s understand the shaking process as God’s way to fill us more with His Spirit. God need to shake our life so that all wastes in our life could be thrown away then replaced with something more important.
We may pray just like David like to do: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting Ps.139:23-24. Let’s learn to see all shake as God’s way to bring us to be a better person, to let His Spirit fill more spaces in our life. AMEN.