By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
Spirit of Pentecost is becoming overshadowed by a new generation of believers who have rejected the teachings of yesteryear.
A Bible commentary noted: Teaching concerning the Holy Ghost (that of God's Spirit) has been both neglected and distorted but the subject deserves careful attention as one reads the New Testament.
The Day of Pentecost provided two symbols of the Spirit's presence: the wind, which was associated with the Spirit, and the fiery tongues which divided and rested upon each person present, showing that the Spirit's baptism included all: And there appeared to them cloven (or divided) tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them (Acts 2:4).
Apostle Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, in speaking to the people gathered together, said: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:38-39).
A report revealed that the Spirit of Pentecost grew national and international acclaim through the Azusa street revival that began in 1906 at the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission at 312 Azusa street in Los Angeles, California.
That old frame building on Azusa street became a spiritual center for many years attracting many. There was enthusiastic congregational singing, spontaneous testimonies, prayer in unison, with sermons on simple biblical themes by lay preachers.
Many ministers, who had previously been influenced by the Holiness movement, believed that the complacent, worldly, and cold formal church needed to be revived by another great outpouring of God's Spirit. Desiring to rid their churches of formalism and worldliness; they wanted to transform their congregations into Spirit-filled communities like those described in the Book of Acts.
Sometime prior to his death, General Booth of the Salvation Army, uttered this significant prophecy: I consider that the chief dangers that confront the coming century will be Religion with the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; Forgiveness without regeneration; Morality without God; and Heaven without Hell.
Those words are coming home to the church in these latter days. The immorality of this world is party due to a withdrawal from the soundness of God's Word; with the preaching of the Unadulterated Word of God being sadly neglected.
A legendary evangelist of the first Great Awakening, Charles G. Finney stated: Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours to a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of Justice, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact; but let us lay it to heart, and awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.
Scripture reveals: Even the Spirit of truth (or that of God's Spirit) whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you (John 14:17).
It is unfortunate that we are entering a period of time that not only the world cannot see the Spirit of truth; but many in the church have lost sight of Him as well. The Spirit of Pentecost is slowly being ushered aside because of the allurement of this world. Worldliness is replacing sanctification, righteousness, and holiness.
Jesus revealed: But the Comforter (or Helper), which is the Holy Ghost (or that of God's Spirit), whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you (John 14:26). And when he is come, he will reprove (or convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8).
When one neglects the Spirit of Pentecost, not having sensitivity towards ongoing outpourings of the Holy Ghost; with such movements as that of the Holiness and Pentecostal movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, they will not see the spiritual aspects of such in their own churches.
In speaking through the prophet Amos, the Lord God said: I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).
The apostle Paul revealed: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts, they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth , and shall be turned into fables (or that which is fictitious) (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Preaching is the God-ordained means to prevent defection from the truth. Teachers who appeal to itching ears tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. It is sad that both of the above mentioned verses are taking root today.
Scripture reveals: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Peter 2:20-21). It does not mean that repentance is unavailable; but if one is unaware of their dilemma, they will not seek to renew their former commitment to the Lord.
The Spirit of Pentecost brings conviction towards the misdeeds of sinfulness; but if one is unwilling to allow that conviction to bring them to a place of repentance; they can set on a pew in the church, in a sin-ridden condition, no longer committed to the Lord of their salvation.
Many Pentecostal churches no longer live up to the Spirit of Pentecost; just as many nations no longer live up to their once godly values. The origin of Pentecostalism in the early church has, in many cases, given way to ordered, formal worship, without the Pentecostal power of God's Spirit being prevalent or even sought after.
The enthusiastic congregational singing, spontaneous testimonies, prayer in unison, and Spirit-filled sermons, reported in the Azusa street revival, are being replaced by planned services with little or no spiritual value.
One of the earlier ministers, who helped influence the Holiness movement, believed that the complacent, worldly, and formalistic church needed to be revived by an outpouring of God's Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost.
He instructed his people to pray, fast, study the Scriptures, and like the Apostles, wait the blessings of God's Spirit to be poured out. Not an attitude of indifference but of excitement as to what God had in store to those who would seek His power and blessings from on High.
The Spirit of Pentecost needs to be revived; more than ever before, to counteract the formality of so many present day churches, where the move of God would not even be understood. On the Day of Pentecost a new phase of the revelation of God began. It did not end there, as some might think, but continues even to this day!
Again, the words of the apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost: For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:39). Allow the Spirit of Pentecost, that of God's Spirit, to be a part of your life as a believer in Christ; to actively invite Him into your heart and life.
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