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Apr11SatApril 11, 2015If you follow the Christian Calendar Year, Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. This was the time that Jesus appeared to his disciples and also includes the period after his ascension before Pentecost. 1 Corinthians 15:3 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” He had said to them in Luke 24:46 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” They were also told again in Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.” How is it that we think we can go on mission without this power? Oddly though, many churches acknowledge Christmas and Easter but they don’t put a strong emphasis on Pentecost. I believe there is no emphasis on Pentecost because most do not want to acknowledge they are naked, thus placing themselves in the church of Laodicea. Some say that Pentecost was the birth of the church but in reality it was the empowering of the church to carry out the mission (Mark 16, Matthew 28) Jesus has sent us on. We cannot fulfil that mission unless we are clothed with power. If it was the birthday of the church we are a long ways away from the original plan of being set apart from birth. (Judges 13)Since we do not have this power, the only answer to this is to wait just like 120 disciples did and humble ourselves before God and beg for mercy. Over the next 7 weeks I want our focus to be on Pentecost once again. This means praying and asking God to hear our cry and revive us again. I know most people in the church today will say that because the Holy Spirit came at the Pentecost we are also filled and there is no need to wait. But let me ask you this: Where is the power? Do not be deceived by false power occurring at false revivals such as Toronto Blessing and Brownsville. Judges 6:13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” We are not seeing power in the church, only (2 Timothy 3:5) “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Sure the church looks like God is present but in reality he has turned his face from shining on us because of our disobedience. As I mentioned earlier we have seen this false power
2 Corinthians 11:13 "For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” We are like Samson. Judges 16:19 “After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Just over in the next chapter we see these words. 17:6 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” We also see in Ruth 1:1 “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.” This is also what is happening today in the church. Everyone does as they see fit. Along with that we are having a famine. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.”This belief that God will empower us against our enemies no matter what is killing the church. Most of the church today absolutely refuses to acknowledge the missing presence of the Holy Spirit. Haggai 1:6 “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Some have been deceived thinking because they have bodies in the building they are actually building the kingdom. We are talking about eternity, the imperishable not the perishable. How is it we think we have the Spirit of God when we look like Judges 2:10. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.” The problem with the church today is they do not realize they need to be in distress.I will carry on next time with the reason we need to be crying out in distress. We desperately need to be clothed with power once again. As we focus on Pentecost, we continue to ask Psalm 85:4 “Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.”