Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Meaneth This?

Acts 2 :1-12
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

We Should live every day in the expectation that God will move ‘suddenly.’ We should preach every sermon, teach every lesson, sing every song, sow every seed, pray every prayer; with the expectation that, ‘suddenly,’ someone will fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be saved, ‘suddenly’ someone will be healed, ‘suddenly’ the chains of alcoholism and drug addiction will be broken, ‘suddenly’ a marriage will be restored, suddenly hope and joy will be restored to someone who suffers from depression, ‘suddenly’ fear will be destroyed, ‘suddenly’ someone will be filled with the Holy Ghost!

The two identifying marks of Pentecost were and still are:

1.     “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

2.     “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

The truth is we need some ‘what meaneth this’ moves of the Spirit in our midst today. Something that has no other explanation other than God. These men are full of new wine. This was spoken critically, but it was spoken truthfully, they recognized that they were full. The sad truth is today, most of us are not full like that. Most people in churches today are satisfied with just enough Holy Ghost to get them to heaven.

The prophet Elisha said to the little widow women who borrowed the empty vessels, to set aside that which was full. Full meant ready for service, we’re not truly ready for service until we’re full. That’s why Lu 24:49 Jesus told his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with Power from on High.

When the upper room got filled, the occupants of the upper room got filled. When the occupants of the upper room got filled, it overflowed out into the streets. And when we get full, we will overflow. When we are truly filled with the Holy Ghost, it will not be limited to church services. Jesus said out of your belly shall flow rivers of living waters.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The first evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost was, they spoke with other tongues. There are many other responses to the Spirit; shouting, dancing, running, jumping, crying, laughing, or all the above, but when we get full there will be an outward manifestation. Many of the Issues we struggle with could be solved forever by this powerful Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

One of the reasons so many continue to struggle with the sinful habits of their past, is that they are not filled with the Holy Ghost. It is not enough to just believe, you must be baptized of the water, and of the Spirit. (Acts 19 shows that you can believe and not yet have the Holy Ghost).

You may be asking yourself or saying to yourself, “why do you Pentecostals always harp on being filled with the Holy Ghost?” because, you cannot be full of the Holy Ghost and be full of lust, full of anger, full of hate, full of unforgiveness, or jealousy, and strife at the same time. The infilling of the Holy Spirit, is the indwelling presence of God in the believer, and God cannot coexist with sin.

This condition of being full must be maintained, it’s not a little dab will do you experience. You must keep in contact with the source. The Apostle Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess but be ye filled with the Spirit.”

That means, keep being filled. Paul is speaking of being full of the Spirit in contrast to being drunk with wine. He is saying that when a person becomes full of the Spirit his or her life will show that they are under the influence. When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you live holy, you think holy, you talk holy. You sing different, preach different, you testify different, walk different, talk different, everything about you demonstrates that you are under the influence of the Holy Ghost. You are drunk on the New Wine!

They said on that day: What meaneth this? Somebody said: They’re drunk that means they are full, intoxicated, inebriated, under the influence of.

The crowd asked the question: What Meaneth This? What meaneth this, when a drug addict is suddenly free from the need and the desire for drugs? What meaneth this, when the alcoholic suddenly has no more desire for alcohol? What meaneth this, when a husband and wife are on the verge of divorce, but they walk out of church hand in hand, like high school sweethearts, head over heels in love? What meaneth this, when someone who has given up on life and given up on themselves and is ready to commit suicide, but suddenly hope springs up and joy fills his or her heart and they walk around singing and praising God and thanking him for the privilege of being alive?

What meaneth this?! How can these things be?!

My friends there are some things that have only one answer, it’s not technical and it’s not confusing, it’s simple: Jesus breaks every fetter!

When the church is truly full of the Holy Ghost, it will still provoke the same question today: What meaneth this?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Two Patterns, Jesus' or the World's: One Choice

 Romans 12:1-2 (King James Version)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Conform: to take on the pattern, through pressure (to be pressed into the mold)
·       behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards. "the pressure to conform" synonyms: follow convention, be conventional, fit in, adapt, adjust, follow the crowd;

This morning, in the light of the fact that school is starting all over America for many young people, and no matter how many years removed I am from youth ministry my heart will always lean toward the youth of our churches; so, I felt compelled to share.

Just like the three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel, we live in a foreign land, a hostile environment, we are strangers and aliens to this place. God never intended that we would fit in or blend in. But that we would stand up and stand out. As Christians, not just those that profess the things of God with their mouth, but actual Christians seeking to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord; we are supposed to be exhibiting an entirely different nature than the world. The worlds nature is darkness, The Christians nature is light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Darkness cannot over power the light; the only way darkness can prevail is for the light to refuse to shine. The devil’s strategy is to convince you to put out your light. How does he do this? Through peer pressure. He tries to make you feel like what you are standing for is foolish, and that you are all alone.

They separated Daniel and the 3 Hebrew children from their own land, houses and families, and then they changed their names. Why? Because their names tied them to their spiritual heritage, and defined their destiny in God:

Hananiah = God has favored (changed to- (Shadrach)
Mishaal = Who is what God is (changed to- (Meshach)
Azariah = Jehovah has helped (changed to- (Abednego)

Satan hates our spiritual heritage, he hates the Holy Ghost, and there is nothing that grieves the devil more than to see our young people, filled with the Holy Ghost shouting and dancing and speaking in other tongues. 

Last Sunday our pastor baptized one of our teenagers who had decided to follow Jesus. I stood there and wept, why? Because all too often, as I spent 18 years in youth ministry, I’ve seen one young person after another destroyed by sin and I couldn’t stop thinking, “In your face devil, this is another one for Jesus; another child that you don’t get.”

For these four Hebrew young men there was pressure from their enemies., but Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings’ meat. This is the easiest battle to win, because it’s natural to fight against our enemies.

There was pressure from their friends. This is where our commitment is really tested, there were many of those who were carried into captivity who were of Daniels brethren, yet they were content and happy to surrender their names and their identities to fit in and be accepted.

There is the pressure from within - this is the most dangerous and destructive of all. All the other pressure was external, but there is internal pressure to conform. This is when like Nebuchadnezzar we set ourselves up an image, and we create in our minds the kind of god we choose.

Worshipers of the image can be identified by phrases like these:

·       Everybody’s doing it.
·       I don’t see anything wrong with it.
·       It’s nobody’s business but mine.
·       I don’t feel any conviction over it.
·       It’s not hurting anybody

What is happening in the hearts and minds of these people, is that they are bowing down and worshiping a false image. They are bowing to a god of our own making.

But when the trumpet sounded, when the world’s music began to play, the young men who had committed not conform, refused to bow down and worship an image created by man. They chose to offer themselves as living sacrifices. The king’s wrath was kindled. Friends this is important to note: For anyone who dares to stand for God, there will be criticism.

The music today is playing, it’s seductive and destructive, it leads to self-will, rebellion, perversity, and violence. Be careful what you allow to entertain you, because once sin fascinates your mind, it will assassinate your soul.

When you turn down that cigarette, that beer, that joint; when you turn down that invitation to a party, and purpose in your heart that you will keep yourself pure, and maintain your virginity; when you refuse to listen to and laugh at dirty jokes, there will be criticism. But you never go through the furnace alone.
Young people you are not alone, Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If you will stand up for Jesus, he will stand up for you. But it is also true that Jesus said:

Mark 8:38
“If you are ashamed of me and my words, in this wicked and adulterous generation then I will also be ashamed of you when I stand before my father and all the holy angels.”