Summary: There is little hope of revival or a large harvest of souls until we clean up our own backyard.

I believe there are too many dictators among the cessationists and too many false prophets and con artists in the Charismatic movement because people do not read the Word in context. Their hermeneutic is experience, not sound doctrine.

In the Cessationist groups if you question a pastor you get the "touch not my anointed" or "don't go up against God's man" rants. In the Charismatic world you get called "Legalist" or "Heretic hunter." Both are convenient ways to shut down anyone who dare question your actions or doctrine. However, the Word does not say you can never question and elder or accuse him of error.

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Indeed, the same procedure for anyone in Matthew 18 is what is required for addressing pastoral/elder/bishop or whatever title a leader/teacher calls themselves. Paul, though “one called out of due time,” did not have a problem chastising Peter, one of the inner three, when he acted hypocritically.

The Church has adopted a blindfold or live and let live attitude for so long rather than do what we are supposed to do by "marking them that cause division" or calling them out by name as John the Baptist and Paul did. Thus we have numerous popular "pastors" and "prophets" that are fleecing the sheep and putting on "Holy Spirit" sideshows with people in chairs being levitated and flipped or people acting like chickens, barking like dogs or hissing like snakes. People look for the sensational manifestations as proof that the Holy Spirit is present, yet there are people who do those things and are not saved. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

As in Isaiah 6, the building shook when God showed up, but notice what happened to the people. There was no dog barking, running up and down the aisles, no clucking or other bizarre activity. They spoke the Word with boldness. The Greek speaks to frankness or bluntness and publicly. Breaking open the jail with no one escaping was a sign and wonder that led to the salvation of the jailer, not just a show of power. God could have gotten Paul and Silas out of jail like He did Peter. That was a wonder as well, not something done to just be sensational.

They were in a time of persecution as verse 29 says and the prayer was that they would be able to speak with boldness and not just in the church house. You do not need boldness to speak the Word in a group where they agree with you. Speaking in to boldness to a negative audience requires boldness.

If I walk into the pulpit at my church and passionately declare Jesus is Lord, I may get a few Amens or at least heads shaking in agreement. Standing up in a group of atheists and saying the same thing will not get me the same support. Looking at Scripture, much of the time when John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles stood up they stood before either a completely antagonistic or at least a partially antagonistic crowd.

When the Holy Spirit came upon them in Acts 2, they went into the street and passionately preached Christ in such a way that made people think they were drunk. Indeed, People witnessing about Christ in front of a minimum of 3,000 dedicated Jews would make you think they are drunk, demented or dedicated. If they were howling like dogs or laughing uncontrollably, they would have good reason to think that, but they were speaking about God in their dialect and they knew they were Galileans. It would be like me showing up in Paris and walking up to a group of people and speaking perfect French in their local dialect. Closer to home, it would be like me going to a Cajun area and speaking like I grew up there when they know I am not from there.

That would truly be a sign and wonder being used for the purpose of evangelism. When Jesus knew the people were just showing up for the miraculous food, he shut that down and dropped some deep theology. Then they walked away. Jesus and the Apostles used miracles to show they had the authority to preach the Word in power. They did not do them without a purpose. They did not perform them at 10, 2 and 4 for three week meetings to draw a crowd and a good offering. They did not say, sow a seed of $100 and God will give it back tenfold. Paul never charged those he was ministering to, but relied upon the graciousness of other churches like a modern missionary or worked with his own hands as a tent maker. He did not live in a huge house driving around in a 24 horse drawn chariot made out of gold and adorned with other jewels.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion