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Pandemonium

Pandemonium

The early church was full of the Holy Spirit and known for turning the world upside down. They created pandemonium in Jerusalem, Samaria, and everywhere they went.

What is your spiritual life like today? Exciting; so-so; boring? The good news is that God wants us to be full of life—His life—a life that affects others around us.

Matt 4:18-25 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

The first men Jesus called to follow him were simple fishermen, who were accustomed to boredom, especially when fishing was slow. After they chose to leave their mundane livelihood and follow Jesus, they saw amazing, miraculous, things. Pandemonium occurred everywhere they went with Jesus.

Likewise, God has an abundant life planned for everyone who follows Jesus regardless of occupation, age, or situation.

John 10:9-10  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

There is more to life and God than following a bunch of religious rules. Jesus is saying He has come to make life full, as we walk with Him, just as God intended for mankind in the beginning.

Following Christ will result in an abundant life, but it will cost us everything—including our present life, which we cannot keep anyway.

 Mark 8:34-35 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Following Jesus; denying self; taking up a cross; losing my life; how does one do these things? First of all, the abundant life begins by being born again of the Spirit.

John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

This brings up another question. How can we be born again; how do we do that? It is not something we do. The Holy Spirit does it. He brings conviction of sin and reveals the truth: that Jesus is the Christ, who died for our sins on the cross and rose again from the dead. He gives us faith to believe this truth and that is the faith that saves us. He leads us to repent of our sin, die to ourselves in a watery grave, called baptism, and gives us a new life (born again) by taking residence in us. We become a new creation in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, who continues to renew our mind, will, and emotions. Through this process, the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Abundant life is the life of God, the Holy Spirit, who comes to abide in us. This Life is a gift, not something we earn. It is not something we control. He is Someone who controls us.

The Holy Spirit leads us to follow Jesus, deny self, and take up a cross every time we are faced with a decision. Will we go our own way, or will we obey? The Holy Spirit gives us a desire to obey. We do it out of love for the Lord, and the result of our obedience is peace, joy, and an abundant life.

God spoke to Joshua about obedience when He called him to lead the people into the promised land .

Josh 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

 We cannot go our own way, do our own thing, make our own rules, and expect God to bless it. God has given us an instruction manual for life--The Bible--read it, know it, live it, and your life will be blessed.

Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God has a plan for our life. He will unfold it as we walk after His Spirit. We don’t know the affect, the pandemonium, we will create in other’s lives while we simply focus on following Jesus. We are chosen to declare the praises of Jesus who called us out of darkness, and that is all we need to do and say to be effective.

1 Pet 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

The witness of Christ in our life depends greatly on what is in our heart. This is why we need the Holy Spirit—to produce in our heart the fruit of Christ, which will overflow out of our mouth.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 Our words and actions have power to create pandemonium and change in our homes and community.  We will never know the far reaching effects of a simple act of love and obedience.

Acts 11:19-21 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  

Instead of going to the synagogues where there were people familiar with the Holy Scriptures, two unnamed believers took the Gospel to the Greeks in Antioch, who were steeped in mythology, superstition, and paganism. Look at the long-range effect of their faithfulness. I think all of us are here today because those two men obeyed the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel with those farthest from God.

When we look at the number of people who need Jesus, the condition of our society, and the power of darkness around us, it may seem impossible for us to have any influence.

However, if we throw a pebble in a lake, notice the pandemonium that small pebble creates in the water. We are God’s “pebbles”. We are simply commanded to “Go”. And as we go, we are to share Jesus and what he has done for us with others. Some will listen; some will not, but we have many opportunities and are we empowered by the Holy Spirit to be Christ’s witness.

Sharing Jesus with others is exciting when you see Him affect others, (salvation, healing, delivering, etc.)

Be willing to take risks, make the most of every opportunity in life, instead of being comfortable, predictable, and impassionate—yes, even boring. Otherwise, we will miss God’s blessings when we fail to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.

If you follow Jesus and His Holy Spirit, you will go places you never dreamed existed and experience things you never imagined.

Become a living sacrifice. Place your mundane life before God and let Him lead you to bless others—stirring up hope—a little pandemonium wherever you go.

Following Jesus is not always easy. It will bring persecution from family, friends, and religious people. But following Jesus is not complicated—let Him fill you with His Spirit so you can love God and love people. The reward is God’s peace, joy, and abundant life.

Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Jesus is the reason for what we do. Whatever happens, following Jesus is definitely not boring.

Are you ready to receive the abundant, Spirit-filled, life Jesus died to give you? If you have never publicly confessed Jesus as Lord, come to Him in repentance, make that confession, and submit to baptism. He has promised to give you a new life, the Holy Spirit, His abundant Life, if you give Him your old life.