We Need Another Pentecost
In spite of the fact that my statement will probably annoy the theologians, I repeat with emphasis that the great need of the Church is another Pentecost!
It is very doubtful whether any promise of Christ was more related to the effectiveness of the Church than, "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8). The fulfillment of that mighty promise turned midgets into giants, and a hesitant company of believers into a machine capable of upsetting the strongholds of heathenism.
Thrifty people, with an eye to the needs of the future, were utterly transformed so that, with rare abandon, they sold their possessions and placed their money at the disposal of Godís servants. Pentecost changed the world!
Use Whatever Terms You Will
Let no one remind me that God sent His Spirit once and for all to abide in and with His people!
Waste no time in informing me that what once was called "the baptism of the Spirit" is now more fittingly expressed by the term "the fullness of the Spirit." All these facts I discovered long ago. Use whatever terms you prefer; express your doctrine as you like, I still maintain that our greatest need is another Pentecost, for Pentecost was an experience given to the Church and not something exclusively reserved for a gifted man.
We need another visitation from heaven, when self-centered people will be consumed by a passionate passion for the Master; when human weaknesses will be obliterated by an enduement of supernatural power; when arrogant evil-doers will be amazed and dismayed by the anointed utterances of all who know the Christ.
There are three basic features to be recognized: (1) The sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; (2) The enthronement of Godís Son at the right hand of the Majesty on High; (3) The coming of the Holy Spirit to take charge of Godís Church. Christ crucified can be my Saviour; Christ enthroned can be my Lord; Christ in the fullness of the Spirit can be my sufficiency for all things.
"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8). These words should be written in letters of gold! They suggest three vital requirements of Godís people.
Power to Perceive
During our Lordís earthly ministry, the minds of the disciples thought only of an earthly kingdom, and the boundaries of their own private ambitions. The writings of the prophets were never fully understood; the messages which the disciples preached bore the hall mark of self-desire.
And then Pentecost performed a miracle! The old Scriptures glowed with a new light, and utterances which had seemed unimportant became pregnant with new meaning. The disciples now handled parchments which had "come alive" in their souls, and in all their subsequent preaching, said, "Thus was it fulfilled which was written by the prophet." Those Spirit-filled men discovered a new book!
Surely we need another Pentecost for our preachers need to make a similar discovery. Then our sermon preparation will cease to be a drudgery; a living flame will burn in our souls; new vistas of truth will thrill our hearts, and we shall be like the prophet who said, "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bonesÖ" (Jer. 20:9).
Power to Prevail
Whether we are preachers or not, within us remains a great deal of the old Adam. It is so possible to reveal standards of truth and yet ourselves to fall short of our own lofty ideals. We may speak of the evil of anger, and yet possess a vile temper. We may denounce lust, and yet harbor base desires. A profession of holiness can easily be a cloak for spiritual bankruptcy. We may thunder against thieves, and yet at the same time rob God of what is due to Him.
When Pentecost reached Peterís heart, his former failings were completely overthrown. He who had fallen before the tantalizing eyes of a maiden and gone in fear of his life, suddenly found new courage and, in glorious abandon, preached as he had never preached before.
That there was an imminent possibility of his being stoned never seemed to occur to him. The Spirit of the living God had brought victory to Peterís own heart. He was able to proclaim deliverance because it had become a reality in his own experience!
Endued with Power from on High
Sent out by the Master, there is reason to believe that Simon Peter had preached many times in company with other disciples; he had gone forth to proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom. Then came Pentecost, and in one amazing service he saw about 3,000 souls yielding to the claims of his Lord. Formerly, his hearers seemed clothed with impenetrable indifference; now they were cut to the heart!
There was nothing particularly beautiful about Peterís phraseology. None could claim that his was perfection in preaching. Nevertheless, unmistakable power made his words to be arrows, reaching human hearts. Then the Church was born; then Christ saw of the travail of His soul; then the kingdom was established in the hearts of men and women; then hell trembled.
The Christians did not argue whether or not they should tithe; they did not even go the extra mile Ė they went all the way! They sold their possessions and brought as much as possible to pour their love and wealth in the common treasury. Then their every need was supplied by the Lord, and their enemies spoke of them as the people who had "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).
Yes, we need another Pentecost! I need it! My brother ministers need it! Our Sunday school teachers need it! The leaders of our women need it! The members of all our churches need it Ė another Pentecost!
Then our sleepy indifference will disappear as shadows before the rising sun. Then our stubborn wills will be broken, and our cheeks will be wet with tears, as we think of the former years of half-hearted service.
Then our most conservative members will be possessed of a new passion, and will go forth to astound their friends and associates as they speak of the new life in Christ.
Then we shall never need to ask Godís people to tithe, for they will bring their gifts without asking. The prayer meetings will be overcrowded. Drinking dens will be empty. The Church will be revived! And the world will be evangelized!
Pentecost was for the Church Ė and not merely for Simon Peter and the one hundred and twenty disciples. Oh, for another Pentecost! Pentecost changed the world in that day! Another Pentecost will change the world today!