Flip the Switch

Acts 1: 8

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Like yesterday, we are talking about being witnesses to the whole world. Our lives become the testimony of God’s greatness and His absolute devotion to His people.  How, though, do we let Jesus’ victory shine through our lives?  We have seen verses over the last couple of weeks that indicate that we must be agents of God’s power in the earth.  In today’s verse Jesus tells us, rather plainly, that God’s power comes to us through the Holy Spirit.  He is the power of God.  It is not a difficult proposition to believe because we have seen the truth of it since Genesis chapter one.  The challenge has been embracing our role in God’s moves in the earth.

Last week we saw Moses parting the Red Sea.  How did he do it? Miracles are performed through a partnership with God.  He provides the power but we are His hands, feet and mouth in the earth.  Here is some key language from the Bible which helps us to understand this partnership, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men” (Psalm 115: 16). God has given us authority in the earth. He will not violate our authority. Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitude.  He expected them to perform the miracle but we are powerless in ourselves.  Jesus knew how to perform miracles, he did it all of the time.  So, how do we perform miracles when we haven’t any power ourselves? I can show you how.

Do you have electricity in your house?  Where does the power come from to power your lights and appliances?  You don’t produce it, do you?  There is probably a power company nearby that has run lines from their power source to your house.  The effect is that you have electric power though you did nothing to produce it.  Okay, so go home tonight and do not flip on any switches.  You can sit in your living room and pray to God to turn on the light.  You can pray to the power company to turn on the lights.  My guess is that neither is going to accomplish much.  Alternatively, you can flip the switch on yourself and take advantage of the power that has already been delivered to your house.

That is exactly how it works with God.  He has given us the power but it is we who must flip the switch.  What good does it do to have electricity wired into our homes if we never plug into it or turn on the switches? We will end up sitting in the dark all night. In just the same way, God has given us His power. Our prayer should be, “Father, how do I flip on the switch in this situation?” That is what we do when we inquire of the Lord in every situation.  It’s not about getting Him to do something.  It is about receiving instruction from Him as to what we should do.  He has already given us everything we need to live the victorious life.  He has given us miracle working power.  We just need to plug into it and flip on the switch.

Land Lord

Psalm 115: 16

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; but the earth He has given to the sons of men.

Luke 4: 5 – 6

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.”

Here is the chain of title of the earth. God created it and it belonged to Him. Then He gave it to the sons of men. When Jesus came along the devil offered all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory to him. Apparently title had shifted to the devil. Notice Jesus did not debate the devil’s assertion of ownership and control. So how did it go from belonging to people to being in Satan’s possession? The devil tells us in verse 6 that it was handed over to him. By whom then? Well, it wasn’t God because He gave it to humanity.

In the Garden of Eden God gave authority over the earth and everything in it to the people He created. He gave them the responsibility for the earth and its well-being. The earth was created for humanity. It was created to be a home for us but Satan deceived God’s children and they fell. They listened to the word of Satan instead of the Word of God. When they did, the earth became a place of conflict. Their capitulation to the devil gave him authority in the earth.

But then good news came. His name is Jesus. He crushed sin, broke the chains of slavery and destroyed the works of the devil. He went into the pit itself and conquered death, hell and the grave and when he came out he had the keys. In Revelation 1: 18 Jesus revealed that he had the keys of death and Hades but that wasn’t all he won. He redeemed us, restoring us back to our proper place in the Lord. He won back our kingdom and our domain. We are now joint heirs with him but there is a caveat. We must claim our inheritance and enforce our rights. There are squatters on the land thanks to the time that it spent in wrongful hands. In addition, the devil is a deceiver. If you don’t run him off he won’t go and if you listen to him he will trick you, deceive you into believing a pack of lies. When you do that, you forsake your ancestral heritage. You effectively surrender yourself again to the yoke of slavery where Satan is your master.

Your only defense is the Word of God. Only when you know your legal rights and stand on them will the enemy, the undeserving squatters, leave your property. Look, you are royalty if you want to know the whole truth but if you go about wearing rags and acting like a peasant then all you will have is a peasant’s life. Our birthright, our binding contract and our weapon of enforcement are all encompassed humbly but powerfully in the camouflage of a book. But it isn’t only what is between the bindings that is so significant. It is the word who is alive, He that went to hell, defeated Satan and handed you the keys of victory. He is the living word. He was, is and always will be. You find him between the covers of the Bible and then he leaps off of the page in power and glory when you believe what you read there and trust him to be your king and lord.

Let it be Me

Ezekiel 22: 30

“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

Many times people ask, “Why did this bad thing happen” or “Why did God allow this bad thing to happen?” Now you have the answer. God didn’t allow it, we did. God saw the inevitability of seeds that were sown and looked around for someone to stand in the gap for that family, nation or person but when He looked He found no one. God would have intervened in the affairs of man many times but He couldn’t find anyone who would pray.

Psalm 115: 16 reads, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” You see God has given the earth to us. Recall that in Genesis 1: 28 God gave authority to rule the earth to mankind. While we know that God is sovereign we also should recognize that a sovereign has the right to give his authority to another. Once done, the sovereign must follow the rule of law that he has established. All of this is to say that god can no longer move freely in every context in the earth. He cannot make you accept Him as Lord because He gave you authority over your life and choices. We call that free will. This very principle bars God from intervening at times when He would like to. We have been given the authority in the earth so we must invite God to participate and we do so through our prayers. You can personally keep God out of your life or invite Him to participate with you. You really are the master.

In the same way, He cannot just step in any time He would like. Even when you see something like the tragedy of 9/11 you have to recognize that God wasn’t the one who was asleep at the wheel. He tells us in today’s verse that He looked around for a man to stand in the gap for the land but could find no one. Perhaps He tapped me on the shoulder that morning and asked me to pray for the land. Maybe He had been saying to many of us for months to pray for our nation but we were so full of our own lives that we never heard Him.  

There are two points I believe in this message. First, let us stop blaming God for our failures and secondly, we need to make our hearts and ears more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that God can speak to us and in speaking to us, commission us to pray. He wants to spread salvation but He must have someone who will pray. Let it be me.