First of all I want to say that – praise be to God – I believe He is already blessing us with a move of His Spirit just to bring us to this point where we are thinking, talking, and acting as we are today. It is His grace and Spirit that leads us to where we now stand. Having said this, as we talk about our need for divine intervention, for a Pentecost experience of some kind, and, as I prayerfully look to scripture for guidance, a few things stand out.
In Acts in the account of Stephen’s testimony in 7:24 our text states, “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God….” And in 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” Why did the author choose, in these instances and timing, to highlight this fullness or filling in the manner he did, and what exactly is being indicated? Looking at Acts 4:31 we read, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” As I look closely, I begin to see this as well as some of the other examples as indicative of some kind of special, different manifestation of God’s spirit, as these same disciples had just been given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is the kind of outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we now seek; but there seems to be some requisite.
When we look throughout the Bible – even the Old Testament – and see great things being done by God through man, we begin to see a pattern. In the Old Testament God acted supernaturally and in profound ways when man went about, in faith, to do God’s will through great, and daunting…even “impossible” methods. And in the New Testament we see God not just provide the believer with The Holy Spirit at salvation but, apparently, provide The Holy Spirit in even greater ways when man was going about to do the will of The Lord and was set to great – and quite daunting – works…basically works that couldn’t be accomplished short of a supernatural act of God or a different kind of anointing of His Spirit and empowerment. Though supernatural acts still occur, from the time the Holy Spirit was given onward, God’s working through the Spirit-filled man to accomplish His will becomes prevalent and is a significant aspect of God’s plan for life on earth.
Here is where the “rubber meets the road.” Do we need The Holy Spirit now, more than ever, just to get through life? Absolutely. (Or maybe it was always this way and we just didn’t understand). But if we are seeking an anointing so great, an outpouring of Spirit so powerful, a tangible manifestation of God’s power so profound like we have never seen before, this special manifestation is given to men and women who seek God for, and place themselves by God’s grace into, positions for not just life but abundant life. It is time we recognize that the abundance we like to refer to likely has more to do with abundance for God than abundance for ourselves, though we are the beneficiaries and partakers of His glory. You see, we are not just being called to survive, we are called to great works for the glory of and good pleasure of our great God. Yes, we need the Holy Spirit now more than ever…just to survive; and I believe God is calling us out of some things, because we are about to go through some things. But…don’t get it twisted…God is calling the believer to a blessed life of sacrifice, dedication, great works, and abundance – abundance that implies there is fruit. I believe as the world around grows darker, and as our own inner struggle and His calling comes into greater focus, there is greater abundance ahead if we repent of sin, put ourselves in positions where only a miracle will do, and call upon the name of God for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit that is sufficient for a life completely abandoned to God’s will.
It is time we seek The Lord for His purposes, and ask for the incarnate power to see them accomplished, rather than seeking Him for our own. I believe, if we do, we will certainly see a greater manifestation of His Spirit and power as His will is done on earth.
It is my belief that we are nearing or have already arrived at a time when answers to the questions God currently poses to man are required. Yes, this has always been a fact of relationship between God and man, but new questions are being posed to you, to us, right now. Just as “now is the time for salvation” for the unbeliever, now is the time for the believer to respond to this calling from God. If we cannot now, standing before a loving and gracious God in the current circumstances of our lives, answer the call, and trust in faith and follow, then how will we ever stand before man, when compelled by threat of life or liberty or possession, and answer rightly? I’ll leave you with a verse and a warning from those Israelites gone before us, who faltered at God’s calling and leadership. Though the context was the subject of the Sabbath, the greater context was God trying to lead His chosen people out of captivity and bondage and into a promised land of plenty.
“Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Therefore, since the promise of His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have the good news proclaimed to us just as they did, but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who heard (and did believe).”- Hebrews 3:18-4:2
One more word of caution for the believer…
The Bible says “You have not because you ask not.” But why do we want to see God’s manifest power and Spirit so greatly right now? If it is for any other reason than to see His will be done and to bring about His glory then it is all for naught. It is time to rid ourselves of our self-serving plans and requests of God and first make sure we are asking the right things for the right reasons…and then boldly ask.