Series: This Thing Called Church
Sermon: Powered by God
Scripture Readings: John 20:21-23, Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4)
Monday May 21 — Isaiah 40:28-31
The Old Testament prophets spoke both words of warning and words of hope. In their desperate times, the Israelites not only felt hopeless, but also powerless. So, Isaiah’s words in chapter 40 served as a vivid reminder of God’s promises to provide for the needs of God’s people. He said that God gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Have you ever felt hopeless or powerless? How did you experience God in those times? Often, God’s power is only evident when we acknowledge our own powerlessness. Can you do that today?
• Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for strengthening me when I am weak and powerless. Teach me to trust your promises. Amen.
Tuesday May 22 — Luke 24:45-49, Acts 1:8
The Gospels describe Jesus as a power-full man. He was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14) and performed many miracles through the power of God (Luke 4:36, 5:17, 6:19, 8:46). However, Jesus did not keep the power of God for himself. Before he ascended to heaven, he told his disciples that they would receive the power of God—so that they would be his witnesses and continue his ministry on earth. Jesus promised that God will supply power, not only for daily living, but for ministry. How has God empowered you to serve Him?
• Prayer: Promise-keeping God, forgive my lack of faith. Teach me to believe in your faithfulness and trust you with my whole life. Amen.
Wednesday May 23 — Acts 2:1-13
One of the Bible’s great themes is promise and fulfillment. For example: Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the fulfillment of God’s promises to send a Messiah to save God’s people from the power of sin and death. The coming of the Holy Spirit (recorded in Acts 2:1-4) is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Luke 24 and Acts 1. The Good News is that the Holy Spirit is also promised to us—so that we will be empowered to share the message of salvation. How do you know when you are filled with the Holy Spirit? Have you ever been inspired (literally, filled with Spirit) to share the Good News about Jesus? If so, you have experienced the power of God.
• Prayer: God of Spirit and Truth, fill me with the Holy Spirit today. Empower me to share the Good News about Jesus with others. Amen.
Thursday May 24 — 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, 2 Corinthians 4:7
The apostle Paul describes the paradox of God’s power. He says that God’s power is not evident in the same ways that worldly power is evident. God’s power is often most evident in weakness. The crucifixion of Jesus being the best example of power that looks like weakness. Paul insists that his own life and ministry witnesses not to the potential of human power, but to the “extraordinary power of God” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Have you ever experienced the paradox of power? Have you ever experienced the power of God in something (or someone) that appeared to be weak or foolish or powerless?
• Prayer: Loving God, forgive my limited awareness of your power at work in the world. Open my eyes to see more clearly. Amen.
Friday May 25 — 1 Corinthians 4:14-20
It seems that, during the time that Paul was absent from them, many of the Corinthian Christians had become arrogant. Paul promised that when he returned to Corinth, he would confront their arrogance and show that they were all talk, without any evident sign of God’s power. He warns Christians in all generations that arrogance is not a channel for the Spirit and power of God, but often blocks the flow of God’s power in the world. Have you ever experienced the truth of Paul’s warning to the Corinthians in your own life? Has arrogance ever blocked the flow of God’s power in your life? How can you cultivate humility and trust?
• Prayer: Eternal God, remind me once again that you are God and I am not. Forgive my arrogance and self-centeredness. Grant me humility, faith, and trust. Amen.
Saturday May 26 — Ephesians 3:14-21
The prayer in today’s reading asks for the strength of God’s power for individuals, but it also asks for God’s power to be at work in the Church, God’s community of believers. It says that the power of God can accomplish far more than any human being can hope for, ask for, or even dare to imagine. The catch is that God’s power works for the glory of God, not for the glory (the arrogance?) of human beings. How does your life reflect the glory of God? How would your life be different if you sought to glorify God in everything that you do today?
• Prayer: Glorious God, I give myself fully to you today. Fill me with your Spirit. Empower my life. I will glorify you in everything I do. Amen.