Daniel Kolenda relates a story about a tired pastor getting on a flight and hoping to just get some quiet time. The passenger next to him asks what he does for a living. The tired pastor says he is a pastor and so is the other man. When the man finds out our tired pastor is a Pentecostal pastor he wants to debate if God still speaks today. Finally, the tired pastor asks if the other pastor believed he was called into ministry. He replies that he is and our lad asks. "By who?" and turns to look out the window leaving the other lad speechless.
Cessationists often speak of being called to something. A pastor will say that God gave him the message. Yet, they do not believe that He speaks about anything else though they will say they are being led. In their perspective the Holy Spirit can lead and convict sinners and saints, but say very little else and cannot do much of what He did in the 1st Century.
With such beliefs when they are filled with the Spirit, as they will claim they are, He brings a lot less to them than He did for the 1st Century Christians. What exactly is different about the needs of the Church and the world in the 21st Century that was not the same as the 1st and even more so?
They believe that God the Father said He changes not. They believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, but the Holy Spirit is not as active as He once was. Did He run out of power or needs to conserve it? Is He getting old and not as spry as He once was? I don't think so.
We have more unbelieving sinners than ever. We have more wickedness rampant and it will increase as we get closer to the end of time with evil men getting worse and worse. We battle the same demons the 1st Century had to deal with as none of them retire. We have all seven of the Church types in Revelation. We have Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Zealots as well as even more religions and ideologies than the 1st Century Christians had to contend with.
1 Cor 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
We need to be people of the Word and Spirit. We send men to seminary for up to 15 years to get a ThD/PhD. They come out with a great amount of knowledge. Some are great orators, but where is the demonstration of the Spirit and power? The Greek word for and is kai, but it can also be translated even so it could read demonstration of the Spirit even power.
2 Tim 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I have always considered this to mean those in cults and apostatized groups of Christianity. I am afraid that verse 3 could also apply to many Evangelicals that deny that we have the full power of God today. Sadly, verse 6 is also true in many groups because they are not empowered by the Spirit and just knowledge of the Word will not tame the lusts of the flesh.
Because they have denied the Holy Spirit full power in their ministry they continue to go to classes, conferences, revivals, etc. etc. ad infinitum and never coming to the knowledge of the truth that they are absolutely cutting themselves off from He who would bring victory to their lives and fruit to their ministry.
Religion, like exercise, profits a little. Relationship with Christ and reliance upon His Spirit functioning fully as only God functions is what will bring about personal and national revival.
Father, help us to cling to Jesus and allow the Spirit to have complete control to bring the power this world and Your Church needs to see. Amen!!!