By Shannon Baker,BCM/D National Correspondent
TOWSON, Md.—Drawing from Acts 1:8, Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Church in New Orleans, La., preached about how the early disciples were able to turn “the world upside down” in their neighborhoods, cities, nations and the ends of the world.
Estimating that there were about “131 folk” gathered together in the Upper Room after Jesus’ ascension, Luter asked, “How did such a small group pull off such a monumental task of spreading the Gospel?”
Luter, a keynote speaker for the Monday afternoon session of the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in Towson, Md., noted that these disciples “shook some stuff up,” changing thinking, traditions and families by their actions.
Yet, they were very limited in their resources—they had no seminary, no colleges, no books; “they were plain and ordinary men and women,” he said.
“They were simply empowered by another. They had the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit and now they were able to do what they could not do of and by themselves.”
Luter read Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
He explained, “If you wait on God, God will empower you to do what you cannot do by yourself.”
Three things happen when a Christian waits on God: he or she will become a new person, will receive a new purpose and will operate in a new power.
He contrasted the disciples who ran from Jesus’ crucifixion with the same disciples who were being accused of “turning the world upside down” in Acts 17. They had been filled, baptized and empowered, Luter said.
The disciples had learned that it wasn’t about them. Their purpose was to witness or testify about Jesus.
“Their new purpose is evident in their walk, talk and lifestyle,” he said. “People need to know that Jesus is the answer for the world today.”
Luter said that believers must rely on the Holy Spirit to help them have discernment about when and how to speak to unbelievers about Jesus.
“You can’t connect to the lost and dying by yourself,” he said, pointing to his constant prayer, “Give me the boldness that I don’t normally have.”
He concluded, “You must have the power of the Holy Spirit if you want to be His witnesses and turn this world upside down.”