A Church on a Mission: Kingdom Prayer

by | Nov 6, 2022 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor Chuck Holiday

Scripture: Acts 4:23-31

Summary: Jesus has left us with a clear mission to bring the healing message of the gospel to a lost and hurting world. To overcome the resistance in our own hearts and to experience the power of the Holy Spirit we must learn to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray.

Transcript

[Applause]

[Music]

great to be with you this morning what a beautiful day huh and uh what a glorious Lord’s day and I wish we got an extra hour of sleep every Saturday night at I guess I don’t know I guess there’s no way to do that

as David said this is All Saints Day and I appreciate David what you said about us all being Saints you know there is a there is a danger

I think especially when we talk about evangelism witnessing speaking for Christ I think particularly in this area of our calling as Christians you know there’s there’s a instinctual response in most of our hearts it says let the let the gifted people do that let the professionals do that and even in the ministry that you know I is an ordained minister you know there’s a an assumption even among pastors that well I’m a pastor but I’m not an evangelist they’re A Gifted evangelists in the church they’re the Billy Grahams of the world and and that’s their calling because frankly I’m just not very good at it but I you know I do other things and you know it’s not that witnessing or evangelizing sharing Christ uh it’s not that it’s necessarily more important than all the other functions of the church but but it is a function that God has given to all of us it never was meant to be the um domain of a few selected gifted men and women who are especially good at it that’s just not the way God intended it to be you know in Ephesians 4

Paul says I I why did I give these gifted leaders to the church

he gave some to be Apostles some to be prophets some to be evangelists some to be pastors and teachers why to prepare God’s people for the works of service and it’s interesting he uses the word Saints there to not he doesn’t call the leaders the Saints he says God gave the church leaders to prepare the Saints he is talking about us all of us we are the holy ones in God’s in God’s Mind through Christ we are the holy ones the agias the holy ones the Saints we are the Saints this is uh dramatically portrayed you know David talked a little bit last week a beautiful little historical explanation of how the church actually grew you know there you know when the church really grew was the first real movement of expansion that was significant was in in chapter eight uh after the stoning of of Stephen in the great persecution broke out on the church and it says in it acts chapter 8 on that day a great persecution broke out against the church and all except the apostles were scattered you get that the apostles stayed in Jerusalem everybody else got out of town

and it says and those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went see this was the first great expansion of the mission when when all of God’s people realized it’s on us it’s on us it’s our mission now for two months now we’ve been talking about the mission of the Holy Spirit In the book of Acts to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world for two months now we this is the primary theme of that we’ve been looking at this is the value of staying with one book for a while it’s hard to run away from it you know you can hear a great sermon trust me I I forget my own sermons by Wednesday you know you can you can be moved you can be deeply convicted you can you can resolve to do something different and and next Sunday it’s another topic and you can’t even remember what God was telling you to do a week ago right so there’s a value in sticking with yeah I think and as God put this on David’s heart you know to preach through the book of Acts uh for over a year it’s going to be over a year

what does God want to actually do through us and uh and so we’ve been doing this for two months now talking about God’s call for his church to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in which we live so I just have one simple question how’s it going

how’s it going for you

has it been moving you has it been changing you has God been opening new opportunities for you and I’m trying not to be cynical if I am it’s not about you it’s about me

it’s about me

you know my title is the assistant pastor for evangelism and discipleship trust me I am not putting putting my finger at anybody here but myself

you know I don’t want to I don’t want to just make this a guilt producing one more time where we’re going to beat ourselves up and um you know and staff a couple weeks ago we asked the question in our staff meeting what actually is it that keeps us from sharing the gospel with people who don’t know Jesus now let’s not beat each other up for this but what is it and and we all had different answers some of them overlapped but but you know I think we all believe in this now if you’re if you’re here and you’re not a follower of Jesus yet and you’re not a Christian we we respect you and so glad you’re among us but but if if we really believe what we say we believe wouldn’t you expect us to want to share that if we really believe that Jesus is The Sovereign of the universe and he died on the cross for our sins and that by simple faith in Christ you can be forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life and God can give you a new life with power now if we believe that wouldn’t you expect us to share that with somebody who was lost and hopeless and and struggling I think you would respectfully of course you know not ramming it down people’s throats but my goodness if if we have good news you would exp I think of even non-christians expect us to want to share it so what keeps us from it and what keeps you from it I mean for some of us it’s it’s just plain out fear just we just are we’re not we’re not scared of going to the firing squad probably not yet but but we are at least I could speak for myself and I think probably you might we really care a lot about what our neighbors think about us we don’t want to be mean and uh arrogant looking people we don’t we don’t want to have people to get an idea that we’re looking down on them that we think we’re Superior to them uh we don’t we don’t want to be jerks we don’t want to be off-putting we don’t want people to start running away from us when they see us come come down the aisle at the grocery store we don’t want to be those kind of people well that’s legitimate some of us I think maybe we just have to honestly say you know I want to get my lawn done I still got rooms to clean in my house and I don’t have time for this conversation right now right I’m on my way to work I got to get there um all right I just want some alone man when I go to the beach I don’t want to see anybody I want to ride my bike for 30 miles and not see a person that’s that’s my you know dream of a little day off you know uh because I’m not a extrovert but and so you know there’s people it’s this homeless guy here boy he probably he’d probably talk he doesn’t have anything going on but I’m busy right now I you know God bless them take care of them which I mean what is it that holds you back I I mean that sincerely get away from the guilt for a minute and just ask yourself what what has got my heart locked up why don’t I I believe in it why don’t I ever do it

uh I mean it’s just a good question to know what what keeps you kind of locked up and paralyzed from something that you believe in

and and how can you get unstuck

how can we as the Church of Jesus Christ get unstuck

any ideas but well that’s why I’m excited about this passage because you know what the apostles got stuck too and what did they do instinctively what did they do when they were threatened to be quiet now about the name of Jesus what did they do they prayed

they prayed for what they needed and what did they need they needed boldness it didn’t come natural to any of them they were a lot like us weren’t they I mean they had just stood before these rulers with tremendous power they had just healed this this lame man they they had just come off this huge Mount Carmel experience of victory for the in the name of the god of Heaven and Earth and they’re scared again just like you and me they’re scared again and so what do they pray for they pray for boldness my friends this this morning’s sermon is about Kingdom prayer

Kingdom prayer this is what the apostles did this is the this is the example that they laid down for us you know of all the great revivals in the history of the world I think you could probably demonstrate most if not all of them were linked to a Prayer Revival

it’s it’s pretty easy to just go back and historically look at the great revivals in our own country and Europe and throughout the world the great revivals of the church and the great times where the church has moved forward into the world with power have always been linked to prayer revivals it’s interesting many of those prayer revivals were started by layperson not ordained leaders of the church but by laypeople who just knew we need to pray now we pray a lot and and they’re all it’s all good but I want you to specifically thank this morning about what kingdom prayer is okay this this is a little different than just getting together to pray for our our immediate needs this is this is praying in a for the bigger picture of what God’s doing in the world and how he wants to use us in that and this is what this prayer is today that we’re looking at in in Acts chapter 4 and so it’s Kingdom prayer now for there to be Kingdom prayer there has to be a king okay and these people knew who their King was you know they they immediately it looked let me just read it to you again on their release Peter and John went back to their own people their friends and reported all the the chief priests and elders and said to them they just kind of laid it out look guys this is what we got in front of us they have threatened us if we if we keep preaching in the name of Jesus they’re going to lock us up they’re going to kill us they’re going to the whole movement’s gonna going to be doomed they’re going to Snuff it out they just laid it out so then they lifted their voices together in prayer to God Sovereign Lord you made the Heaven and the earth and the Sea and everything in them you spoke by the Holy Spirit through your the mouth of your servant Our Father David and he quotes the Psalms why do the Nations rage and the people plot in vain the kings of the Earth take their stand against the rulers and against together against the Lord and against his anointed one and and he said look and God it’s true you know they they did kill your holy and anointed one Our Savior Jesus Christ they killed him on the cross but then what they say but they did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen the English Standard uses that dirty word predestined some people just hate that word because it sounds like well we don’t get any free will then my friends it’s a Biblical word and of course we have we have the will to choose we you know both are true you know it’s not one or the other but my friends it couldn’t be more plain here they said when the greatest murder in the history of the world was predestined

it happened because God planned for it to happen now there’s a comfort in that there are no accidents there is a king there is a king over all the kings and he rules over the kingdoms of the earth and he rules over our hearts he’s the king of kings and the Lord of lords so can we have Kingdom prayer yes because we have a real king now you see there’s a sense in which

all of us are just looking for who our King is who is the worthy one who is the one who has the power and who is the one who uses it justly and rightly is there a worthy King my friends Christianity says yes there’s one and all of all of creation will end at the Bowing at the Throne of the Lamb crying Worthy worthy Worthy is the one who is slain and raised back to life again for us my friends we have a king now there’s a sense in which all all prayer is Kingdom prayer the only question is whose kingdom are you praying for

because everybody’s prayer is oriented around a king

and most of our prayers frankly would would have us be king right

my will be done

right it’s it you know so Kingdom prayer is as simple but for it to be Kingdom prayer it has to be focused on the real king the real Kingdom and not all our little kingdoms now how many of our prayers are really Kingdom prayers

one of these questions you can ask yourself you know how many times does my prayer life just leave me angry and frustrated because God just doesn’t do it

do you ever get bored with your own prayers

imagine how boring they are to the angels here we go again one more time

right just reciting the Litany of all the all the things we need and all the things we want all our own little lives the king the biggest kingdom we can imagine

and my friends God does care and he tell he tells us come and praise little children just asking for what you need but it’s got to be oriented you know our lord gave us a pattern Kingdom prayer didn’t he we see we a beautiful part of our liturgy we say it every Sunday Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven and then it’s give us today our daily bread in the context of having looked up acknowledge the great and Sovereign Lord Of Our Lives see we’ve got to reorient ourselves Jesus didn’t say when you pray pray this he said when you pray pray like this the disciples said Lord teach us to pray he said pray like this Kingdom prayers big prayers for The Sovereign of the universe to have his work done in this world for there to be a day of Justice when all that’s wrong will be made right when all that’s broken will be healed and everything that’s been lost will be found pray for that

now in the context of that he said ask what you need and can you see how this is what the apostles do here how do they start praying Lord you’re the sovereign all that happens in this world happens that your by your plan by your decree you have all the power you deserve all the honor Jesus Christ is your anointed one and we’re here to Proclaim his name so Lord we’re scared and we need help

and by the way a few more miracles would help they pray for boldness and more miracles because this is how they’re going to move forward with the gospel isn’t it beautiful this is what they asked for in verse 29 now Lord consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness they didn’t even ask for safety they didn’t even ask that their lives would be spared they didn’t even ask that they wouldn’t have to go to jail again they said Lord please give us courage because we’re scared

the other thing I want you to notice is they it was corporate prayer they knew they needed to pray together now God knows that we should all have a private prayer life it’s the it’s the backbone of your of your relationship to God it’s your private prayer life or you’re talking to God in private but but there’s also this great uh gift that God has given the church for us to come and pray together we need it we need it you know I I can’t remember where there’s uh one of those great penguin movies March of the Penguins I think or something you know but I remember seeing the picture you know when in Antarctica where there’s uh it’s so cold and it’s such a long winter do you know how they survive they they get in this huge circle compact Circle uh you know of maybe 100 000 Penguins you know it’s it’s pretty dramatic if you see the and if they fast forward the speed of the film you can see that they’re not stationary they’re all moving all the time and the ones on the inside are gradually moving their way to the outside of the of the group and the ones on the outside are gradually moving their way back to the center because it’s hot it’s warm in the center from all the body heat and it’s really cold on the outside edge so this this constantly moving throng of penguins it’s really what a great illustration right my friends that’s the body of Christ that’s the church our hearts will grow cold without each other we will lose our way we will lose our vision and specifically that’s why we need corporate Kingdom prayer

because it helps us now here’s Peter and John they they were the apostles they could have prayed by themselves just the two of them would have been still corporate prayer but they instinctively went back to the rest of the guys in the in the ladies that were part of their group and and they said look here’s the mess we got to pray so they all prayed now this is how the book of Acts started back in chapter one Remember When Jesus ascended before he sent the Holy Spirit you know what do we what do we find them doing in chapter 1 verse 14 they all joined together constantly in prayer they knew it we need it we can’t do this alone and we can’t do it without prayer so let’s pray together now I’m not sure you know I think so far I’m not saying anything that all of you don’t know already know and agree to and believe in and you know so how’s this going to move us how’s this going to change us one one thought I had was my first thought was well we need to start a new prayer meeting Kingdom prayer but what if we you know we have a lot of prayer meetings we pray all the time I mean that’s good you know we pray Tuesday Morning the men’s group Monday morning the men’s group The Women’s Bible study I’m sure you guys pray on Fridays uh our Fellowship groups all pray we pray on Sunday mornings what if we just tried to specifically think of how can we take opportunity with the groupings that we already have and what more specifically take some time for Kingdom prayer Kingdom praying does that make sense not not don’t stop asking God for what you need you know your your kids and your health and your you know your car whatever is on your your business all those things matter to God but but how about if we just try to orient ourselves to the fact that God has not left us here to do church he has left the church here to do mission

and Lord we want to be about our father’s business so Lord help us help us give us what we need are we too attached to the things of this world are we too in love with our Comforts Lord release us give us a higher vision are we are we afraid what what is it that keeps us that prevents us Lord begin to ask God for the thing that will change us and help us you know just in um in closing this so I want you to think again about Jesus well you know when you talk about when you talk about Kingdom prayer is there a greater example than Jesus in the garden getting ready to die on a cross for the sins of the world getting ready to face the separation the hell of being separated from his father’s presence

and Jesus says to his disciples we need to pray

and Jesus pouring out his heart for the world that’s lost but but for his own strength father I heed the strength to do this and and God sent his angels to minister to him but he was sweating drops of blood the egg and he was so deep on his heart

the Son of God the Sovereign lord of the universe afraid and Confused

but Lord not my will but thine be done begging God lord is there some other way is there some other way

but if there’s not another way then Lord I want to go father I want to go do your will

but you know this this really blows my mind

that the one thing that he he asked his Apostles to do with them on that night was what please would you pray with me

I don’t think I can even do this by myself would you please pray with me and they fell asleep

the father asked him to go through a valley that he never asks us to go through

he’s given us one another to help each other he’s already done the great work on the cross we are saved if we witness or not

you know if Jesus failed the world is lost so this is not pressure this is not guilt it’s all been done but the father says you are part of this great work of bringing the gospel to the ends of the Earth and that starts with your neighbor starts with a student in your class at school it might might start with a homeless guy at the beach but but it starts for all of us where we are but it always starts with prayer before we go we must pray but then we must go after we pray we must do both and I have learned through many many years of ministry that I can’t do this by myself

whenever I’ve been able to be effective at all it’s because God’s given me some prayer partners and some people who will say Chuck let’s go let’s go do something let’s go somewhere let’s talk to somebody and usually somebody else’s courage is you know what gets me going you know but we’re in this together my friends it’s God’s work and he wants to use us and he is using us but he wants he wants the trickle to become a stream and he wants the stream to become a great River a River of Life for the healing of the nations may God use us amen

[Music]

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