***By popular demand***
God has a people. They are His not by the might, nor the power of man, but by His Spirit. Much of the church world is so busy working for God that should the dust ever settle I’m afraid we’d see the Spirit trying to get back into the church so He could do a work for us.
When the Church of Jesus Christ falls into a neat mold of denominationalism it’s always an indication that something has gone wrong. In what is perhaps the greatest hour of the church, many churches today are suffering from an acute attack of artificial Penticost.
How many times have we hard the “This is that” sermon of Acts chapter 2? In these last days it would do us all well if we’d slow down from our busy schedules to consider what was that “this,” that brought the spirit of courage into Peter to preach that day.
The first chapter of Acts records the very last words of Christ before he ascended into heaven. Jesus instructed the people, which the Apostle Paul numbered at about 500, to return to Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father. After they were baptized, Jesus promised that they would receive the power to be His witnesses. At some point in the next 10 days 385 of these people disappear from view, but 120 “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” and when the day of Penticost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. They began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance.
There was absolutely nothing soulish or earthly about these events. They were all the results of God making a promise, man agreeing that the promise was true and God fulfilling it. Peter preached another sermon later in Acts 2 that was rather lengthy and 3000 gladly received the word and were baptized. Of that first christian church the Bible says, “and they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The key to this great outpouring of the Spirit wasn’t Peter, it wasn’t the great message he preached. It wasn’t in the wonderful Bus Ministry program, or the youth outreach. It wasn’t because of the charitable ladies and their good church suppers. It wasn’t in the Evangelist or in his notebook of persuasive sermons. It wasn’t in the Pastor or his wise, thoughtful counselling. It wasn’t because the upper room was recently refurbished into a lovely church auditorium, and it certainly wasn’t because of the great choir singing, or the sweet stylings of some pianists nimble fingers. Besides, the bible doesn’t even mention who played the piano in the upper room.
As an Evangelist I have been in just about every kind of church imaginable – outdoors, indoors and sometimes no doors. But I have found something in common everywhere I have been… Some of the people want the Spirit of the Lord to move and others are too busy helping keep things stirred up – just in case the Lord doesn’t show up.
At one church I ministered, the Pastor came to me, almost in tears, to apologize because there would be no pianist for our 2 weeks of meetings. A piano is nice, but it is not one of the essentials in worshipping God. All Christ wants is you. For the next 2 weeks all I heard at home and from the pulpit were excuses and apologies about not having a pianist. The people were unintentionally brainwashed into believing the Lord couldn’t move without a piano player. This isn’t as petty as it seems because all over the land churches are going spiritually dry because they keep depending on one form of man’s ingenuity or another, and because it’s failing, “God must not be moving.” So while we tell the world that it’s not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit, we keep a few programs in reserve just in case God doesn’t send down the fire.
Pastor, who played the piano in the upper room?
What every true church wants is the fire of Penticost. Not a wildfire, but God’s Holy Fire. As soon as word comes back that ‘Pastor so and so’ has had revival in his church the wheels go in motion – what did he do to have revival? If perhaps the Lord blessed him through a bus ministry and a special youth outreach then that’s what we’ll start in our church – and off to the drawing board. Methodical, strategic, logical planning is fine, so are all the different ministries mentioned thus far, but none of these methods will induce revival, they are the result or by-product of revival, otherwise they become Idols.
Elijah challenged 450 false prophets to meet him at a great Sunday School Convention on Mt. Carmel. The theme of this convention was “The God that answereth by fire, let Him be God” and the seminar presented but 2 classes, the method (Idol) and the Spirit.
1 King 18 – The method (idol) teachers worked and planned. They called on Baal, they danced with all of their might. They screamed and hollered, but that didn’t work. They even went so far as to cut themselves and prophesied well on into the afternoon. The teacher of the Spirit class granted them an extension because he knew it wouldn’t take long to bring his message across. Finally, almost as the sun was going down, the people realized that the method (idol) system was full – full of nothing, and it was Elijah’s turn.
Elijah did some work too. His consisted only of 3 things:
- With 12 stones he rebuilt the altar – This was a sign of repentance and worship
- He put the word in order – A sign of obedience to the Lord
- He cried, “Hear me O Lord – A sign of humility and recognition of Lordship
And the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and it even licked up the water Elijah had ordered to make the entire event even more miraculous.
Christian worker – who played the piano in the upper room?
At any time the workings of your hands come before waiting on the Spirit and the Spirit of unity all that is accomplished is a work of the flesh. Even in this great day of grace many people hope in what they can accomplish. “I’ve worked for God. . .” is something that fills the air too much.
The bible says the work of the flesh are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like.
Some one will argue, but faith without works is dead – to which I agree. The works James speaks of is the work of a regenerated, liberated soul. The bible teaches us that some will have saving faith, but it will be as by fire. There are saved people around us now whose only reward will be the merest experience of salvation. Howbeit, thank God for that, but they could have had so much more.
It was the continuing with one accord of Acts chapters one and 2 that produced an atmosphere of christian growth. Not the working or planning of man, but the Spirit that only comes from God. Christian worker can’t you see that the Spirit of oneness that we have, first with Christ and then with one another, is what will produce the revival and the Evangelistic outreach we’re hungry for.
In Matt 18 Jesus said “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father which is in heaven.”
That is a powerful statement. Do we want to stand on what it says and receive it’s promise, or shall we instead work out our own solutions. Which seminar do you agree with, the method (idol), or the Spirit?
It always brings tears to my eyes when I am called in to preach an Evangelistic Crusade and I see all sorts of preparations and promotions completed with a “don’t spare the expense or the effort” attitude and only a minimal effort given to waiting in the Spirit, trusting God.
Friend, I would rather have one Elijah any day than 450 idol men.
The next time you feel desperate for a move of God, don’t set the wheels of promotional methods in action. Call a prayer meeting and get into a Spirit of unity and love and watch how Christ will move any obstacle just to add to the church such as should be saved.
After all, who do you think played the piano in the upper room?
Wow, this is still such a timely message. Come Lord Jesus come ??
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