Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are You a Branch Or Kindling

Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Luke 24:49
“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[a] until you are endued with power from on high.”
I believe that the most critical need in the believer’s life in the age that we are living is the power of the Holy Ghost.  We are living in an age where preachers have stopped preaching the Holy Ghost.  Churches have opted to entertain rather than teach the word of God.  All because a group of statisticians have said traditional church turns people away from God. 
The largest attended church in the United States has a pastor who reads a short passage of scripture, then spends a half an hour spouting feel good non-sense, calling it a sermon, all to increase his own book sells.  Meanwhile thousands who sit in his church search for life changing power to overcome sinful habits that are destroying their families, ruining their health, shattering their finances, and sending them to hell.
Jesus knew that the number one need for the Church at its inception was the power of the Holy Ghost, and so He told His disciples to wait for it.  They were not to go out preaching, they were not to attempt to make converts, they were not to go lay hands on the sick or cast out demons, and they were not to start writing books (of course Jesus never mentioned writing books, but Paul later said that all scripture is God breathed) until they had been endued with the power of the Holy Ghost.  And I believe that still to be the case for the Church today, the number one need of the church today is the power of the Holy Ghost.
Regardless of what all the experts say about, “doing church,” the evidence in scripture is clear: when men and women are full of the Holy Ghost people are attracted to them, the sick are healed, the afflicted are set free, and people come to God daily.
Acts 5:12-16
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.  13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.  14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,  15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.  16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
It’s right there in black and white, because they waited for the power of the Holy Ghost to come upon them, and He did (Acts 2:1,2): they performed signs and miracles, the people (The Worldly People) esteemed them highly, many were added to their number, the afflicted were set free, and the sick were healed. 
Maybe the church growth experts can answer why this is not happening in most churches in America today, maybe they can tell us why church attendance in America is decreasing, the divorce rate among believers is increasing, and our children are turning to drugs, alcohol, and suicide because they have lost hope.  No?  Well, let me answer that question for them.  Because we have turned off the power in our pulpits and in our prayer.  Because too many pastors and believers have opted for popularity of pop culture instead of being endued with the power of the Holy Ghost.
When need to find our way out of the darkness of popularity and back to the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The number one prerequisite for this power is hunger.
Matthew 5:6  
“Blessed are they, which do hunger, and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
The most dangerous thing that can happen to a believer is to lose their hunger and their passion for the presence and the power of God.
John 7:37-39
“37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow Rivers of living water.”  39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
This is speaking of an abiding life, a life lived in connection and in communion with Jesus Christ, a life that is created by the infilling of the Holy Ghost, it is speaking of a life filled with power.  Power to live for God and power to lead others to God.
John 15 speaks of a life marked by the presence of God by using an illustration of the vine and the branches.  Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches and that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, then we shall bear much fruit.  But He also said if we do remain in Him that we would wither and die and that we would be thrown into the fire and burned.
The secret to abundant life, is a life lived in fellowship with Jesus.  Our goal is to have the presence of Jesus, we do not seek for the power of God we seek for the presence of God.  In other words, we do not thirst for power but for a relationship with Jesus.  Through this relationship with Jesus the power of God flows through us just as the life of the vine flows into the branch and it produces fruit.   Without this life giving power of the Holy Ghost, the Church and the believer will wither and die and become useless to God’s kingdom.


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