[SW063] 10/14/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
Approximately 2,000 years ago, 120 foolish men and women waited and prayed for 10 days in an upper room for the promise of the Father. The result?
–Tongues of fire to purify, power from on high, the Holy Spirit filling them.
–Preaching that led to the repentance and salvation of 3,000 people at once, from the mouths of a bunch of fishermen and a tax collector.
–Eyes glued to God through the Word and prayer, the Author inside them to light it up and lead them.
–A man lame from birth instantly healed, leading to the salvation of many.
–Preaching and miracles their tongue-tied persecutors could not refute, from uneducated and untrained men!
–Prayer in response to persecution, for the Lord to give them boldness in speaking His Word, and for Him to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through His Holy Son, Jesus.
–The Holy Spirit gives Peter discernment to know church members are lying, and the power of God strikes them dead.
–Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit and grace and power, performs great wonders and attesting miracles, leading to the salvation of many.
–Philip proclaims Christ and performs attesting miracles.
–Peter and John lay hands on baptized believers so they receive the Holy Spirit.
–Peter sees into a man’s heart and commanding him to repent.
–Philip snatched away by the Holy Spirit after leading the eunuch to faith, and depositing him in Azotus. (ADzotus)
–Saul, the enemy of the church, repents and is filled with the Spirit.
–Peter commands a paralytic to walk, and he does.
–Peter commands a dead woman to rise, and she does.
–The Spirit fills the members of a Gentile household.
–Agabus prophesies of a great famine.
–Paul (Saul’s Roman name), speaks, and an evil man is stricken with blindness for a time, resulting in the salvation of the proconsul.
–Great signs and wonders are done by Paul and Barnabas.
–Paul sees that a man lame from birth has faith and commands him to stand up. He does. Many believe.
–Paul, stoned by the Jews and left for dead, rises up as the disciples surround him. The next day (impossible in the natural), he travels on.
–Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia.
–Paul casts out a spirit of divination.
–Jailed for doing so, Paul and Silas sing and praise God, the earth shakes, and all prison doors are opened. The jailer and his household come to salvation.
–Ephesian baptized believers are filled with the Holy Spirit when Paul lays hands on them.
–Handkerchiefs and aprons, prayed over, are carried to the sick and demon-possessed, and they are healed and freed.
–Ephesian magicians repent and burn $4M worth of their books.
–Paul is used by God to raise Eutychus from the dead.
–An angel comes to Paul, declaring all would survive the shipwreck, but would run aground on an island.
–At the island of Malta, a deadly poisonous viper bites Paul, but it has no effect on him.
–Publius’ father is instantly healed of fever and dysentery.
Did it stop there? Several years later in Corinth, we see the believers have the gifts of the Spirit, just like in the Book of Acts, for the common good!
We must become foolish again, like those 120 who waited and prayed.
I read this just this week “Rather than look heavenward for tongues of fire, believers should desire the functional abilities bestowed on the first Christians.”
The Lord said, The church is not foolish. Show them that they must become foolish.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.
Moros. Dull, stupid. a blockhead. About the things of this age.
We need the tongues of fire.
We need the Refiner.
In 2001, I became a blockhead to the things of this world.
When that happened, it pleased the Lord to give me His spiritual gifts of words of wisdom and words of knowledge, for the common good of the church and for the glory of the Father and the Son.
This is a word of wisdom. I’m sounding the trumpet.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
Intelligent. Mentally put-together. Having keen mental discernment. Shrewd. Prudent.
“These things” have been hidden from such ones, and revealed to infants, simple-minded ones, children.
And the Father was well pleased to do it. It was His desire and intention!
What was hidden from the wise and prudent? An understanding that miraculous works that only God can do were being done by Jesus.
These things were rejected by the wise and prudent and sensible. Therefore they did not repent.
If you look back a verse or two, you’ll see that Jesus clearly expected repentance from those who saw Him do what only God can do.
We are so careful! We don’t want to let the Spirit loose. Who knows what might happen?
Can we not trust Him, the very Spirit of God? He will see to it that His gifts are used properly, if we exhort people to be filled with the Spirit. For if the Spirit has possessed us fully, He’s in charge, not us.
It’s true. In Corinth, many Christians were not filled. And they were doing wrong-headed things. They had not surrendered control to the Holy Spirit.
After Paul shared the gospel with King Agrippa (that Christ was resurrected from the dead and would be the first to proclaim light to both Jew and Gentile), here was the response of Festus the governor of Caesarea (kahee-SAR-i-a):
Acts 26:24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. 26 “For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. 27 “King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” 28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “ In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “ I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
I wish to God that all who hear me today might become such as I am. Willing to be considered out of my mind, mad, and foolish by the world. But I will tell them I am uttering words of sober truth.
Perhaps you are almost persuaded to become a Christian. But it seems foolish. Be foolish!
2 Corinthians 11:19 For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly. 20 For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face. 21 To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold — I speak in foolishness — I am just as bold myself.
I am being bold. We in the church are tolerating foolish things, welcoming the wisdom of the world, business models for running the church, demographic analyses, sociology, psychology, psychiatry (all are idolatry, an exaltation of man’s wisdom), loving sinners in an effort to be tolerant rather than correcting them (and to leave them to their sin is NOT loving)!
O repent! I am weak in comparison. I don’t use these management tools and analytical techniques, dear brothers and sisters. They are foolish, in God’s eyes:
1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”;
He will catch you and entrap you in your craftiness, in your attempt to MAN-ipulate the gospel, overlaying your wisdom upon it, de-emphasizing what is emphasized in it and pouring cold water on its hot flame.
Another author writes: “How did they [the early church] respond to this spectacular outbreak of the Holy Spirit? They returned to where they began and immediately put in place safeguards, disciplines, which whisked attention away from the fervor and fever of those exhilarating first days.”
Do we not see that the church prayed and consulted the Word of God because they were filled with the Holy Spirit’s fire and purity and wisdom, and thus knew the Holy Spirit would speak to them and direct them through the Word He authored and through prayer? It was “automatic.”
God was at work! No one wanted to apply the brakes!
But we have. We are careful, prudent, wise. The need for the Holy Spirit’s fire and cleansing and power in working God’s holy and perfect signs and wonders is hidden from us.
We have seen the excesses in some churches and are afraid to let the true Holy Spirit loose.
Do we not see that the early church understood it could do nothing apart from Jesus? That ALL the workings of the Spirit were for the common good? That it is the same today?
O Church, O Christian, will you repent for pouring ice water on God? Will you repent from this sin against God? Will you surrender control to Him, to His Holy Spirit?
Will you become foolish like the 120?
This I pray, with all my heart! Amen, Lord. So be it. Truth!