Come, Stay, & Go: Part II

THE NECESSITY OF THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST

  Having addressed Christ’s command to come, we now consider His directive to stay. Notice his words in Luke 24:49…   Luke 24:49  …tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.   The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the heavenly equipping of power essential for effective ministry. No one is truly prepared to preach the gospel until they are baptized with the Holy Ghost. Consider what Jesus said in…   Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…   The Greek word, doo’-nam-is, translated “power” means force, especially miraculous power, and ability.  Indeed, the one spiritual characteristic that sets Pentecost apart is power. Now, power from on high is our most pressing need and Pentecost’s greatest promise. As Jesus promised…   John 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.   Power is the distinguishing mark of true Pentecost; sweeping, enabling, invigorating, God-glorifying power.  It provides divine power for service, praise, worship, praying, and preaching. Indeed, it touches every aspect of the Christian life.   John 15:5 …for without me ye can do nothing.   This divine, Holy Ghost power is the difference between God’s ability and man’s ability. It enables and lifts us up into the heavenly realm where God and angels dwell.  It’s that which makes the crooked straight and the rough smooth. It bridges the gap between heaven and hell.  People wonder, “What’s missing in our Churches?”  The answer is plain: true, heaven-sent, fire-baptized, Pentecost! Show me a man/Church filled with the Holy Ghost and I’ll show you a         man/Church that cannot help but display, express, speak, and yes, GO.   John 7:38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.   A running fountain cannot be contained.  Let God’s people be filled with God’s Spirit and they will be, and only then, equipped to declare the Gospel.  We were brought out to be brought in, apprehended to attain, redeemed to realize, and utterly filled to completely fulfillPentecost is God’s answer to a vessel born of the Spirit, washed in the blood, and prepared for His glory.  To be filled with the Spirit of the Lord is the Church’s appointed destiny.  Now, a lack of overcoming power is always an indication of a grieved Holy Ghost.  God has never been glorified by sin or defeat. This gospel is a message of victory, yet, we will never realize the victory if we violate God’s means (which includes Pentecost, regeneration, etc.).  We must remember, Pentecost wasn’t merely 120 random individuals filled with God’s Spirit, but it was the entire local Church at Jerusalem. However, this couldn’t happen apart from the individual fillings that took place.  We must all be filled if we are to experience Pentecost, and we must not fall short of true, Biblical revival as defined by the Book of Acts.  Listen to this quote from John G. Lake, the early 20th century preacher, as he received these instructions from an angel in a vision as he read through the Book of Acts….  
“This is Pentecost as God gave it through the heart of Jesus.  Strive for this.  Contend for this.  Teach the people to pray for this.  For this, and this alone, will meet the necessity of the human heart, and this alone will have power to overcome the forces of darkness.  Pray, pray, pray.  Teach the people to pray. Prayer and prayer alone, much prayer, persistent prayer, is the door of entrance into the heart of God.”  -John G. Lake
  Pentecost, which is nothing more than being utterly filled with the person of  Christ, is God’s solution given to the Church for the impossible.  Above all, it gives us power.  I see three significant and fundamental areas of power represented in Pentecost.  

PENTECOST IS POWER TO DIE

  Acts 1:8b  …and ye shall be witnesses   The Greek word, mar’-toos, translated “witnesses”  here literally means a martyr. The command to be filled is indirectly coupled with the command “to die“.   Mark 8:35  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.   God is revealed in Scripture as just…   Exodus 21:24-25  Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot…   Furthermore, He has set certain unchanging spiritual laws in motion…   Galatians 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   If we commit ourselves to Christ, He will commit Himself to us.  
“If our prayers are answered with Pentecostal power, we must pay Pentecostal prices.”   -G.D. Watson
  John 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.   We cannot read the gospels and overlook this obvious spiritual fact. Without an emptying, there can be no filling. New life cannot be gained, until first, the old life is forsaken.  However, the command to be filled is intrinsically linked to the command to die.  The crisis of fulfilling the latter, compels us to submit to the former. In other words, we realize we can never fully have the new unless we’re first willing to thoroughly bury the old.   Mark 2:22  …new wine must be put into new bottles.   Likewise, God has His means to bring us to this point of desperation. Remember, the 120 had seen Christ, hence, they had seen God’s Word displayed.  They well understood their obligation exceeded imitation and impersonation. The crisis was this: they must BE what they had seen.  How could this be done?   John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.   This, and this alone, is the remedy for our helplessness to produce Christ in and of ourselves; Christ living in us by His Spirit.  There is no other way to truly embody and personify Christ.  The old man, with his schemes and plans, must fully embrace the cross and then, and only then, can the Spirit have His way.  People wonder, “Why can’t I produce what I know?”  Our problem is not our location, it’s not our times, nor the seemingly impossible task before us, but our great problem is us.  When the us is removed then we will enjoy the power of a living, resurrected Christ. Don’t suppose for one moment those 120 didn’t have busy schedules, including jobs and families. However, they were brought to a place of decision.  A place where they understood that their agendas, their lives must be utterly sacrificed to receive the power to fulfill their call. God is calling us to fully lay down our lives so as to completely realize His.     

PENTECOST ALSO GRANTS THE POWER TO LIVE

  Acts 1:8c  …and ye shall be witnesses   The fullness of Christ’s resurrection life is bestowed in Pentecost.   John 14:19-21  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me…   The only life on the other side of Pentecost is the life of Jesus.  Mortal, fallen life cannot survive the fires of Pentecost. Nevertheless, God has ordained that we…   Ephes. 4:24  …put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.   Who is this new man?   Romans 13:14  …put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ   When we identify, by faith, with Christ in His death, we therefore, experience resurrection life in and through Him.   Romans 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   Only then do we have the spiritual right and the spiritual means to claim the Spirit of the Living God.  Because Pentecost provides power to live, we are freed to simply yield and cooperate with God. Indeed, what a life of peace and rest it is…   Matthew 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   When we are dead and Christ is alive, He can be fully seen in His people.  He is able to live, to breathe, to respond, and to act through His Body, the Church.  Pentecost grants us this privilege by filling the Body with the very Spirit of Christ.   Romans 8:10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  

FINALLY, PENTECOST EMPOWERS US TO REPRESENT

  Acts 1:8d  …and ye shall be witnesses unto me   We are authorized with power as ambassadors for Christ. God’s ultimate aim is to inhabit His people so as to secure a vehicle of divine expression.  As we’ve learned, that must be not only in the individual but also the corporate sense – we are all pieces to a larger puzzle.  
“Christ alone can save the world, but Christ can’t save the world alone.”   -B.H. Clendennen
  If we are dead to the old life and alive to Christ, then we will accurately represent Christ. This should be the heart cry of every true believer.  Pentecost is when the Church has the Spirit of Christ to overflowing.  Only Pentecost can empower us to truly represent Jesus.  When He said “greater works than these shall ye do”, was He not referring to men who had been described as ignorant and unlearned?  Yes, but nevertheless, he saw in them the material through which He could pour His life.  They were unlearned, but He would teach them.  They were ignorant, but He would enlighten them – all by the indwelling, empowering, overcoming life of the Lord Jesus Christ. That divine life is full of divine appointment and equipment and we cannot be filled with this life of God without a manifestation of that power.  This is God’s will, this is God’s desire, this is His purpose for us – to once again receive power, that we might be witnesses unto Him.    May God fill us afresh with His Spirit….     -B.W.
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