Recently, I went through the book of Acts and took notes when there was a salvation. I noticed a pattern of how God’s kingdom expanded in the 1st Century. I believe this pattern is what gave the power to expand to the 1st Century Church. I want to share this pattern with you in the desire that we can learn from it.
I found 4 steps to salvation. I gave each of these 4 steps a word starting with the letter S. This is why the title has 4 Ss in it – SSSSpanding the Kingdom. 4 S steps to expand the kingdom. The 4 S Steps are : Supernatural, Speaking, Sensitive, and Salvation.
The pattern didn’t always have all 4 Ss. But I did always see the 1st 2 S’s – Supernatural and Speaking. Let’s start with the first salvation listed after Jesus ascended to heaven in Acts 2. The entire story covers 41 verses. I have summarized the 4 Ss I saw below in these verses:
Example of Pattern in Acts 2
verse 2:11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” [Supernatural – Speaking in Tongues]
verse 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. [Speaking by Peter]
verse 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart [Sensitive / Conviction by Holy Spirit]
verse 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day [Salvation].
Example of Pattern in Acts 3 and 4
verse 3:7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. [Supernatural – Lame Man Walked]
verse 3:12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: [Speaking by Peter] “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
verse 4:4 But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand [Salvation].
In this example, Sensitive / Conviction was not mentioned. But the pattern of Supernatural and Speaking was done to produce salvation.
Example of Pattern in Acts 8
verse 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, [Supernatural – Signs He Performed]
verse 8:6 they all paid close attention to what he said. [Speaking by Peter]
verse 8:12&17 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, [Salvation] both men and women… 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit [Salvation].
Again, in this example, Sensitive / Conviction was not mentioned. But the pattern of Supernatural and Speaking was done to produce salvation.
What Did I Learn from This Pattern of Ss?
We need the supernatural to convince the world that Jesus is real. He is desiring a church that will believe in the supernatural. This is the engine of expansion. Jesus said to his disciples to not go out and witness until they received power.
Acts 1:8 (NIV 1984) 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.”
Power – to bring His Kingdom into the earth AND be my witnesses. It was not power to be my witnesses. The power gave us something to witness about. He is desiring a church that will believe in the Supernatural. This is the engine. It is also because He wants to partner with us – (super – God)(natural – us). Some of the supernatural acts I saw in the Book of Acts was speaking in tongues, lame man walked, many signs and wonders, healings, deliverance, paralyzed man healed, and resurrection
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NIV 1984) My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Supernatural Power is Needed
Mankind, whether Christian or not, can do much good simply by, well, doing good. We can feed the hungry, serve sacrificially, give extravagantly, smile, hug, encourage, befriend and do much good for mankind. This isn’t bad, it’s good.
In the church realm the same thing can happen, we can pray for the sick, visit shut-ins, teach the Bible, pass out gospel tracts, attend small groups and much more that doesn’t necessarily require the power of God to accomplish.
He is challenging us to step out in faith and add God’s power to any of the above and the impact will be dramatically different. Let’s start asking God for this. Keep doing what we’re doing, but ask him to accompany us in power.
One reason for the massive falling away from the faith, is because churches are devoid of supernatural power. The supernatural church is arising in these dire end-times. Without a prophetic mantle and the ability to advance in extreme Holy Spirit power, we have no hope. This is how the Kingdom of Darkness is going to shatter. Seekers will witness undeniable supernatural power and the Holy Spirit will overwhelm them as they hit their knees and cry, “Holy!”
Supernatural Presence is Needed
The pollsters now say that among people who regularly attend worship services at Christian churches in USA, 50% have not experienced God’s presence in their lives at anytime in the past 12 months and maybe as many as 1/3 say they have never experienced His presence.
This is why we should put a premium on spending time in waiting on Our Heavenly Father in our meetings. We are constantly looking for Him, seeking His face, and forever lingering in that place that welcomes His presence.
Believe for the supernatural to be a normal part of your Christian life. Christianity is to be spirit, soul, and body. Not just an intellectual exercise in giving the gospel. Be open, expectant, anticipate moving in the gifts of Holy Spirit. See the need Pray for the need.
I saw that when the gospel was given it was a presentation of who Jesus is. It often included the Cross, why the Cross was necessary, and His resurrection. Jesus is enough. We don’t need complicated presentations. Jesus is the hook Holy Spirit needs to convict (sensitive) people. The gospel of salvation is very powerful. Holy Spirit loves to work with it.
We often try to make the gospel less offensive. We feel that the raw truth of the gospel is doomed to be rejected as foolishness, which is precisely the very power of its message.
“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He might nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (I Corinthians 1:27-29)
When we embellish this gospel to make it appeal to carnal men, we destroy its power to set them free and we ourselves begin to drift from the path of life. For this reason, Paul preached nothing but Christ and Him crucified.
The Holy Spirit isn’t drawing seekers into a tepid environment. He’s not looking to ease people into a new life in Christ. God is calling all to the cross, to full surrender and right into the furnace of His presence. This is the model we see in the book of acts.
Look for opportunities for the supernatural and then speak about Jesus who just brought the supernatural event. It is a powerful punch that gives an opportunity for Holy Spirit to create a sensitivity to God that they need to respond too.
Supernatural followed by Speaking followed by Holy Spirit creating a Sensitivity is our best opportunity to Salvation.