In Acts 1 we find the early disciples following the Lord's instructions to go to the "UPPER ROOM "and remain in prayerful waiting until they received the promise of the Holy Spirit. They were promised power for life, ministry and witnessing unto their homeland and unto the entire world. They obeyed and Acts 2 records the fulfillment of the promise and the result was the birth of the church and now 2,000 years later God's Church is still triumphant all over this world.
In Acts 1: !3- 15 we read - " And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, ( the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.)"
What always touches my heart as I study this passage is who attended this extended Prayer Meeting! It was God chosen leaders with other followers of Christ. Apostles and other disciples. It was men & women. The mother of Jesus was there along with now the converted brothers of Jesus. Somewhere around 120 of them and only 12 of them mentioned by name leaving 108 unknown to us but certainly very obedient people of God. I am sure many others could have chosen to obey the Lord's command to STAY & PRAY but it was these 120 that God used to birth and propel His Church! Today it is still the same. God uses "UPPER ROOM CHRISTIAN'S" to move His church forward against the " gates of hell".
I would like to point out a few things that happened to these "UPPER ROOM CHRISTIAN'S" because they were obedient to WAIT on the Lord in PRAYER!
THESE MEN & WOMEN WERE CHANGED!
These followers had been genuinely born again . They were faithful men & women to the One who had saved them. These men & women stuck it out during persecution. They were faithful to Jesus and His Word.
They were united people. Acts 1:14 tells us they were of one accord. Their focus was on one goal—to win the world. There is no place for selfishness individualism in God’s work.
They were praying people. Today as then we need people who can get ahold of God. We need God’s power.
They were Spirit-filled followers of Christ. These UPPER ROOM people saw 3,000 people saved at Pentecost as the church was birthed. They were separated people. In this passage, they were set apart from the world in the upper room. They were holy men & women chosen by God, set apart to achieve eternal purpose. Because of God's great work in their souls and their choosing to obey God changed them from the inside out and their earthly and eternal lives would never be the same. Oh how I desire to be an "UPPER ROOM CHRISTIAN!"
THESE MEN & WOMEN HAD BEEN CHALLENGED!
These “UPPER ROOM ” men and women were mission-minded men. They knew no boundaries for the gospel. No sacrafice was to great for them as they had been moved inwardly to take the gospel to the world. No price was to large to plant and help build Christ's local church. We need people in the church like this today. They allowed no distractions to rob them of the challenge God had placed in their hearts to see the church become triumphant. No disloyalty no desertion to the affairs of the world would derail them from a HOLY CHALLENGE. They were motivated to win the world to Christ. And Acts 17:6 says they turned the world upside down. What a testimony!
THESE SPIRITUAL LEADERS WERE PLACED IN CHARGE!
These eleven men were named in Scripture. God uses men to lead His people. And in the days ahead for the church God added more leaders in His church. Godly "UPPER ROOM" Pastor/Teachers, Evangelist, Prophets and Deacons. As spiritual leaders we men should determine to be servant/leaders in our church. We should be the first to say “Amen” and follow that with obedient service, giving and sharing of the gospel. We should be out front leading the way with sacrificial, obedient service leading others to such lifestyle.
These men and women are our examples today. Their lives had been changed, challenged and charged by the Saviour. They had been given a commission, and they knew it was impossible without the divine power and purpose which only is attainable through "UPPER ROOM PRAYER"!
Years ago when our children were young we would put them to bed with “ Patch the Pirate” music. In our church we would also have children drama/ musicals that were written by Ron Hamilton who had trademarked “ Patch the Pirate” material. One of Ron’s earliest songs was “Rejoice in the Lord.” Ron wrote this song back when he first was diagnosed with cancer in his left eye. Eventually he lost that eye and began to wear a patch, thus he became known as " Patch the Pirate."
Though Ron and Shelly did not understand all that God was doing at that moment, they learned to trust in God’s gracious hand and let their sovereign God do what He knew was best.
After going through such tragedy as they looked back, they were able to see that God was preparing their family for a lifetime of musical ministry to children as “Patch the Pirate.” As you hear of Ron’s testimony, it is clear that he would not change one step of their trial and he is careful to give God the glory, rejoicing in the Lord.
The words of the song have now become very special to those who are going through trials:
“God never moves without purpose or plan, When trying His servant or molding a man. Give thanks to the Lord, though your testing seems long; In darkness, He giveth a song.
“O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold.”
When God sends times of trial they are not meant to be enjoyed but to be endured and enlisted. And if God’s children will enlist them as lessons to be learned then they can trust God, in time they will reveal the divine purpose of such difficulty. While we may not always fully comprehend what God is doing at the moment, we can understand that God never moves by guesswork , but with purpose to shape us, cleanse us, and prepare us for the greatest blessing- Christlikeness!
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2–4)
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:7)
When we go through times of testing, trouble and trial, we must faithfully ask the Lord to help us see His hand as He works to purge us, strengthen us, and clarify His plan for our future. When we do this, He enables us to face each trial and trouble with a sense of His purpose and trust for His good plan for us.
“Now I can see, testing comes from above; God strengthens His children and purges in love. My Father knows best, and I trust in His care; through purging more fruit I will bear.”
The ultimate goal in God-allowed trials is to bring us to the place where we can bear more fruit ( John 15). The testing, the trials, the learning to depend upon Him all work together to make you and me more productive in God’s harvest field and to give us an amazing testimony to bring glory to our Lord! After all God mandates us to bear fruit and in so doing we will bring glorify Him in it.
Whatever trials we have passed through recently. Whatever trials we are enduring this very hour? They can help us grow in our relationship with the Lord, bring us to maturity in the faith, strengthen our resolve, and produce humility of spirit?
Remember that God allows these times of trial to make us holy and our enemy the devil will be at the same time tempting us to be unholy. When we experience our spiritual fruitfulness increasing, then we can join in singing, “O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold.”
3 John 1:2 - Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Proverbs 3:7-8 - Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
The spiritual life is associated to some degree with the physical life, as 3 John 1:2 indicates. In seeking spiritual transformation, it can be helpful to also focus on developing healthy physical habits. Five healthy habits include: Healthy people... 1. Eat healthy foods, 2. Think healthy thoughts, 3. Manage their energy, 4. Enlist supportive friends. 5.Depend on God.
1. HEALTHY PEOPLE EAT HEALTHY FOOD
Daniel 1:15 - And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
1 Corinthians 6:13 - Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
2. HEALTHY PEOPLE THINK HEALTHY THOUGHTS
Luke 11:34 -The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.”
Proverbs 4:20-23 - My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Be careful what you think because your thoughts rule your minds:
Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
3. HEALTHY PEOPLE MANAGE THEIR ENERGY
Two things are needed in energy management – rest and exercise.
Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
1 Timothy 4:7b-8 - But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
4. HEALTHY PEOPLE ENLIST SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 - Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
5. HEALTHY PEOPLE DEPEND ON GOD
Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
The Holy Scriptures teach clearly that before anyone can be saved they must repent of sin. Jesus said twice in Luke 13:3-5 "Unless ye repent ye will all likewise perish." Now that to me is a very clear verse concerning repentance. And what we are to repent of is our sin! Before one can believe on the Lord Jesus, ( John 6:35) and receive the Lord Jesus by faith in God's grace, ( John 1:12) they must first repent of sin. Acknowledging their sinfulness in practice and attitudes. They must repent, by agreeing with God's word that they have sinned and they are to turn from their proud attitudes and action of self works and self righteousness to the only righteous God who can save them. This is impossible apart from the divine aid of God himself as he brings a inner revelation to the human heart that they are sinners condemned and under the judgement of God. II Corinthians 7:10 teaches that " godly sorrow worketh repentance." God himself reveals our sins and brings deep conviction to our souls and then one can repent and receive his forgiveness and salvation or grow harder and reject this work of godly sorrow. But without godly sorrow no one can believe on and receive into their life the Lord Jesus Christ.
An imperative need for man is salvation and without the knowledge of sin one will never be converted . This makes the revelation of sin so important to our life. Before we are save we need sin revealed to us and continually after justification we need it in our sanctificational process. So the question is what are ways that God reveals sin to the lost soul and to the christian after salvation has begun? Let me mention three ways that God is faithful in showing sin to humanity and in so doing it is my hope that each bishirblog reader will be more thankful for the conviction of sin in their life.
I. THE BIBLE!
God will use his supernatural book to reveal what is right and what is wrong, evil and righteousness is revealed on the pages of this Holy Book the Bible! From the first chapter in Genesis to the last chapter in Revelation the Bible contrasts the sinfulness of man and the righteousness of God. The theme of the Bible is - MAN IS A SINNER AND GOD IS A SAVIOR! In God's Word we find what God says are sins and what he says is righteous. In pointing lost people to repent we must use the Word to show them what God says is sins to repent of. The ten commandments are sufficient for such! Once we are saved it is God's words that will lead us to repent of sinful attitudes and practices and bring us to know the righteous ways a d will of God, ( John 17, Psalm 19:12 & Psalm 119:11).
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT!
The Holy Spirit is needed for any person to be saved. It is the Holy Spirit who " convicts the world of sin, righteousness and the judgement to come", John 16:8. The Holy Spirit convinces the lost person they are sinners. They can deny it and resist it but down deep they know they are sinners who have fallen short of God's glory. And when a person repents and receives the Lord then the Holy Spirit moves into their lives and begins a lifetime convicting of sin and righteousness. There is a new conviction in their life, a deeper work of God as He reveals sins to leave and right ways of living to enter. When the christian sins the Lord makes it known by convicting and literally by his being grieved in our spirit, Ephesians 4:30. every true believer knows what I am talking about right now because they can testify that when they sin the Lord lets them know they have done so. And repentance is to follow before joy returns. The closer a child of God follows his Lord the shorter the leash becomes. The great Bible teacher Beth Moore says, " The Lord does not keep me on a leash but a key chain". One of the problems with modern worship is God's people are led to believe they are only to be CHEERED UP ( kind of patted on the back & told how good they are) and never to be CONVICTED of SIN! I don't think our worship services should BEAT UP but I don't always think they should only CHEER UP! If we are in sin God's word and God's Spirit will reprove sin and GODLY SORROW will take place leading to repentance so confession can be made, then cleansing and a return to JOY so we can experience biblical and HOLY CHEER. Not rejoicing in ungodliness but rejoicing in righteousness. Church may we desire the conviction of the Holy Spirit once again in our lives. When we are sick we need a DOCTOR who will tell us the truth and when we are sick spiritually we need faithful preachers and teachers who will be filled with God's Spirit and Word and tell us we are sick and Jesus is the way to health.
III. GODLY BELIEVERS WHO CONFRONT IN LOVE!
Another way God will reveal sin to us is by other Godly Believers who " speak the truth in love" ( Ephesians 4:15). Instead of being hurt or angered when caring believers confront us with sin we should be very thankful that they do so. Now I understand that it very uncomfortable, that our pride is wounded and that we are embarrassed. But it is one of God's ways to help us in seeing our sin and repenting of it. Galatians 6:1 teaches, " If any be overcome in a fault ( sin ) , ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted". On occassion I have had caring, loving brothers and sisters come to me and point out sin in my life and I have had to MAN UP and recognize they are sent by the sovereign God for my benefit.
Sin left unconfessed and unrepented of lead lost souls to a Christ less eternity and for the believer it will lead to failure and broken fellowship with our Lord. God please give us hearts to desire to know what sin is, when we sin to grieve over it and to thank you when you convict us of such!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.