This is the Fifth part of the series “The Holy Spirit – Who Is He?”
“And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak………But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth” Acts 1:4&8 (Amplified)
It is important to note that this wasn’t a suggestion by Jesus. I like the emphasis that the Amplified text gives here, in verse 4. Jesus actually commanded the disciples to WAIT! He wasn’t asking them to do him a favour; or themselves for that matter. He was very sure that the information he had spent time imparting to them should be impetus enough to get them to realise the importance of following this command.
To suggest that these people had no choice in the matter would be without merit. Given Peter’s personal disposition to get impatient he could have chosen, at any time, just as he did when Jesus had been buried, to return to his fishing. Or, he could have gained a senses of self-importance that he and the other disciples had been ‘especially’ blessed to have seen the risen Christ and headed off under his own steam. Because he was very aware of the potential for this to happen Jesus took no chances and using the strongest language possible gave them a very clear picture of what they were to do.
It must have been effective, because:
“AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place” Acts 2:1 (Amplified)
In another translation it says that they were all together and in one accord. There were at least 120 men in that upper room and it says that they were in one accord. That was a miracle in itself, if you think about the behaviour of these disciples over the previous 3 and a half years. They were of one mind, working together, pulling in the same direction. There was no dissent between them. They had come together, in the same place and had resolved any differences. They were unified in one purpose.
This was all so important. As Jesus had emphasised. They were to receive the World changing, dynamic, earth shattering POWER (dunamis) from and through the Holy Spirit. they were to be equipped for the work that they had been specifically selected and mentored to do; to be able to spread the Gospel; to continue the spread of the Gospel that Jesus had begun to spread abroad from that sabbath in the synagog in Nazareth in Luke 4:16-18.
An important point in Peter’s declaration to the masses gathered in the street after the commotion caused by the arrival of the Holy Spirit is that he said “This is the BEGINNING of what was prophesied by the prophet Joel.” The Beginning, not the culmination, not the pinnacle. He was declaring the beginning of the church age; the beginning of the times of the end of all time. The time of preparation for the return of the soon and coming King of Glory.
To believe that, at its inception, the church needed to have the supernatural manifestations of the Power of the Holy Spirit and that in the modern age those manifestations are no longer required requires more presumption than I can possibly lay ahold of. I can’t even begin to suggest that it would require Faith, because that would be a dishonour to the Vital force that we all require to please God. No, it is presumption, plain and simple hubris, pride, call it what you will. But, it smacks of the belief that “we’re too sophisticated in this ‘Modern Age’ to need superstition and such demonstrations to persuade.”
It is perhaps this pride that has caused the great Apostasy of the young from the church; religion; the beliefs of their ancestors; in general from the very tenets and beliefs that have controlled their forebears. In their place they are drawn to alternative religions; the acceptance of witchcraft and wicca in general; to a belief in the dark path spiritually and the embrace of anything New Age. The very nature of the drug culture that so besets the western world, in particular, is driven by the desire to enter altered states of consciousness and thereby, if not the supernatural, then at the very least the preternatural and all it has to bind them with.
As one preacher put it, many years ago: “You told them about Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Jesus. The first 3 turned out to be lies and you’re expecting them to believe you about Jesus and your church teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit petered out when Peter petered out! What do you expect?” What do you expect, indeed? If they’ve ever picked up a bible and read about the miraculous things that happened in Jesus’ ministry and then in the ministry of the apostles (in the book of Acts and they’ve read the Gospel of John, where Jesus says that: “whoever believes in the things you see me do, will do the same and greater than these.” John 14:12-14 and “I pray for these you have given me, but not just for them. But, for those who will believe on me through their message; through their testimony.” John 17:20) then they will also begin to doubt the authenticity of the Jesus they have been taught about.
The truth is that NOW, more than ever, the church has the need to embody ALL that the Holy Spirit has the ability to manifest, through those willing to be used by him for the demonstration of the very signs and wonders that the prophet Joel prophesied so many years ago. The coming revival and the rising up of the church, from amongst all of the denominations around the world will require an openness to accepting and walking in these supernatural manifestations. The Charismatic renewal that swept across the earth in the early latter half of the 20th century will be regarded as nothing compared to the promised outpouring.
The stage is set, the leaders are being moved into place. The rise of the affirming movement amongst the GLBTIQ population and the call to holiness, rather than the imposition of a code, is a step in the right direction.
We are all called to be ready. We are all called to intercede and pray this revival into being; it is our responsibility. Stand up and take your place.
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