During our Lenten journey we focused on repentance and being prepared to meet our God. Even though the church is far from where it is supposed to be, there will always be a remnant, but as we saw even the remnant went into captivity. The good news for the remnant is God is a compassionate and merciful and if we return to Him, He will return to us. Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” When God turns His face back to the church, the church will once again have the power and authority we were supposed to continue to have after Jesus rose from the dead. That power as Paul describes Ephesians 1:18 “His incomparably great power for us who believe. 19 is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
In order to have that power, it must come from on High, it is not manmade. When Jesus came to this earth, He showed us the way, truth and life. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The power we saw with Jesus, was also given to His disciples and then on Pentecost given to the church to go to the ends of the earth with the Good news. But the good news was not just words as Paul said, 1 Corinthians 4:20 “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” The Good news must go out by the Spirit of God. Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Jesus said Mark 16:20 “the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” That is how it was supposed to be but as we see in Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.” This is what the church has done. Galatians 3:3 "Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?"
On some calendars you will see a Sunday marked Pentecost. On the Christian year, Pentecost is always 50 days from Easter, which will be May 28, 2023. Over the next 50 days we are going to be looking at the power of the Holy Spirit and how the church is supposed to move in that power. The disciples were told Acts 1:4 “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.” 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.” That power came at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
If you are following along, I recommend reading the Gospels and Acts as if you were reading them for the first time. Pay attention to the power - miracles, healing, demons cast out, signs and wonders as that is all part of Christianity. Try not to read books about the bible, but the bible itself. Remember the bible is not a book but the living word of God. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Ask God to open your eyes and ears to see and hear what Jesus is saying. Set aside what man is saying and don’t be afraid to do that. What I mean by that is, if you are Catholic or Baptist or Methodist or Pentecostal or Reformed and so on, you will have been influenced, more than you maybe realize, by a particular teaching. Just read the bible or listen as there are all kinds of resources. The more you read the bible, the more you understand. Always be careful with the study notes you may have at the bottom of the page. They are not the word of God.
As we take this journey, continue to ask God to revive us again. 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.” Daniel 9:17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”