It Took Pentecost To Shake Jerusalem
As it took Pentecost to shake Jerusalem, it is going to take a great move of the Holy Spirit to jolt us awake today!
Peter minced no words on the day of Pentecost. Pointed, piercing, personal, definite, direct were His burning words: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up…" (Acts 2:22-24).
Conviction of Sin!
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37).
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you…" (Acts 2:38).
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
One of the predominant and delusive sins – right in the midst of the most spiritual people in the world today, is this: earnest and sincere people of God confess a lack of true heart holiness – a lack of a deep and abiding spirit of prayer, a lack of that divine love abiding in their hearts, such as is described in First Corinthians, chapter 13, and they are really disturbed about the spiritual condition of their lives.
They talk about this need, and bemoan their condition to others, but at the same time they neglect to seek God wholeheartedly and to definitely pray through in order that they shall have no condemnation on their heart but have in actual experience, a day by day walk "in the Spirit."
Holy Violence Needed
We are exhorted to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). It requires not only yieldedness to God, but also earnest, even violent seeking, to get the whole life in a place where the Spirit of God actually is in control (Matt. 11:12). It is only when we seek God with all our heart that we find in Him an abounding sufficiency to live a life of uninterrupted victory (Matt. 7:7; Jer. 29:13). Oh, that I could jolt you awake today!
face the facts! Many of God’s people have good desires, but they never apply
themselves and seek God with all their heart until their great spiritual need is
met by God’s superabundant supply. We are all rushing to the Judgment Seat of
Christ (Rom. 14:10-12). Oh, let us stir up ourselves and take hold of God (Isa.
64:7) before it is forever too late!
The devil fights those who are determined to have an overcoming life and testimony. Brother, Sister, set your face and battle through in prayer until you actually have the experience of continually walking in the Spirit with a heart that is right, and conduct that is right, and words that are right with both God and man. There is a real overcoming life lived by the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us!
The Peril of Coming Short
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it!" (Heb. 4:1). The danger is not that we go too far with God, but that we come short. "I press toward the mark," Paul said (Phil. 3:13-14). Jesus says, "Strive" (Greek, agonize), "to enter in at the strait gate" (Luke 13:24).
By admonition, example, precept – the Bible shows the unutterable need, on the one hand, that we press on with the Lord and on the other hand, the awful danger of shameful failure if and when we do not put heart and soul and mind and strength into our sincere and wholehearted service of love to our blessed Lord. If we truly deny ourselves we never even consider what we would prefer but only seek, as did Jesus our Lord, what God’s will is (John 5:30).
Not only our own desires and preferences are to be forgotten in our intense seeking to do God’s holy will all the time, but also – and this is tremendously important – the desires and notions of our most dearly beloved ones – when their desires and ideas are contrary to the known will of God. Michal, Saul’s daughter and David’s wife – despised David when he danced before the Lord, but that did not deter David from worshipping God "with all his might" (2 Sam. 6:12-23).
It is a sad day when an evangelist, or pastor or preacher holds back part of the truth that God has revealed to him simply because he knows that his deacons, or his rich church members, or some of the choir leaders – or even his own wife – would get offended if he did preach the truth of God as he knows God is asking him to preach it.
Such a preacher would rather offend God than to offend the people! What a cowardly sort of a hireling such a man is! A frightful judgment came on old Eli when he honored his sons above God. (See 1 Samuel 2:12 to 1 Samuel 4:22).
"The Leaders of This People Cause
Them to Err"
With leadership comes responsibility. Woe unto us if we deliberately lead people astray and for fear of reactions, we withhold part of the truth of God. "Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets!" (Luke 6:26).
God forbid that we covet the good will of the people at the expense of grieving the Spirit of God. God forbid that we "sell out" to the devil and help damn the souls of those who listen to us, just to be on good terms with the people and incidentally, to be "good for nothing." Salt that has lost its savor (Matt. 5:13) has also lost its sting and we need to sting people into action! Let us have salt in ourselves (Mark 9:50). By God’s grace, let us get our lights out from under the bushels that they may shine in this dark day! (Matt. 5:14-16).
Is God going to excuse us from giving the truth, when He lays it definitely and strongly on our hearts to give it, just because some will get offended? Of course, God will not excuse us at all. He holds each and every one of us to strict accountability to give out the Word that He lays on our hearts to give out. What others do with the message is between them and God.
"In Every Thing Give Thanks"
1 Thessalonians 5:18
We ought to sincerely thank the Lord when some sermon gets us under strong conviction of sin, even if our feelings are terribly hurt and our hearts broken. The Lord Jesus heals the broken hearted (Luke 4:14-21). Life is a battle – a warfare against sin and self. "Fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12). "Take heed to yourselves" (Luke 21:34-36). "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion!" (Amos 6:1). God help us to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3).
Let us fervently thank God for every means He sees fit to use to get us stirred up to holy living and to keep us stirred up lest we settle on our lees (Jer. 48:11), and become lukewarm! (Rev. 3:14-22). To help yourself get stirred up, don’t go to church or listen to the radio or watch TV or read a Christian paper or book just to be entertained. Rather, earnestly seek to get help from God that you may press toward the mark (Phil. 3:13-14) more effectively, that you may serve God better (Luke 19:13), and that you may, by God’s grace, be READY when the Lord Jesus comes (Matt. 24:36-44), and that you may help others to be ready for that great event!
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). This idea or ambition to want to be a "popular" preacher, or to try to "stand in" with hypocritical church members – is all wrong. "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world [world system] hate you" (1 John 3:13).
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23-24), says: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you….The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:19-20).
"Be Not Conformed to This World"
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:15-16). "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4).
Many popular preachers who have preached to please the people will stand at the judgment bar of God with the blood of a thousand souls on their guilty hands. "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezek. 33:7-8).
"He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue" (Prov. 28:23).
If the people are conforming to the ways of the world, tell them so, "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), and believe God to send conviction of sin. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).
If even the supposedly most spiritual people in your church are guilty of the sin of prayerlessness, tell them so, and expect God to so bless His Word that some at least will get down to business with God and begin to really pray and to pray through for themselves and for others!
W. C. Moore (1890-1980) was founding editor of Herald of His Coming.