Summary: It is woven into the story of mankind. It is there from the beginning and it weaves all the way until the end. It is the thread that ties it all together.
Pt. 2 - What are you waiting on?
It is small. It is usually unnoticed . . . until . . . the moment a thread is pulled you suddenly recognize its significance and how essential it is to the overall garment, tapestry or storyline. If the thread is removed the picture is incomplete. If the thread comes unraveled the whole is destroyed. Over the next few weeks we are going to examine the most important thread in history. It is a thread that not only runs through our entire story but also ties the story and us together.
We went backwards last week and showed how this thread runs all the way back to the beginning to see some of the first words ever spoken about the thread. Today we will move forward and we look at last words. How many of you know that the last thing someone says is extremely important? When you know are uttering the last words to those who are closest to you those words are weighty. Those words are valuable. Those words are most important. Jesus spoke last words to His disciples. Before He exited the scene and turned this movement that He gave His life for over to this rag tag, uneducated, inexperienced, unlikely group of men He spoke last words. Most of us think the last thing that Jesus said to His disciples is when He instructed them to "Go into all the world and make disciples!" Last marching orders. Last instructions. However, that isn't the last thing He said. After His resurrection and appearing multiple times to the, Jesus measures His last words and looks at them and in:
"I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
This is then validated again in the beginning scene of Acts 1:4 where the writer once again discloses Jesus' last words to them.
His last word to them was to wait! Not go but wait. He tells them that they should gather together in Jerusalem and wait on power.
Acts is the account of obedience to that command to wait. Here we see the scene of the demoralized, frightened, uncertain, discouraged group of men and women who huddle together and wait. That is Acts 1. Then we read Acts 2. Then the rest of Acts (and the New Testament for that matter) is different. It is chalk full of miracles:
lame folks are healed
snake bite being shaken off
dramatic releases from prison
resurrection of the dead
The rest of Scripture is simply a revelation of what happened after they waited. I think it is safe to say that the waiting certainly worked. The waiting was worth it.
This backwards, fearful and weak group of individuals are so clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit that by the time we arrive in Acts 17 the writer informs us that the people of the community described these men as the "ones who turned the world upside down!" What they waited on changed everything for them and for us. To this day the encounter these men and women had in the upper room has launched the fastest growing movement in the world!
I do think it is important at this moment and back up so that we don't make the mistake of thinking that this thread that clothed these men and women with great power was just for them. Let's go back and pick up Joel 2 and learn the truth.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (another version says "I will pour out my spirit on every kind of people)!
So, if the wait was worth it (and it is undeniable that it was) and if what they waited on was designated for every type of person and not some special class or section of society, then the question begs to be asked today . . . "What are you waiting on?"
This great and promised gift from God is ours to have and utilize. And yet many of us haven't encountered or experienced the Holy Spirit. A recent survey revealed that less than 40% of folks attending Pentecostal churches have even personally experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Why? Could it be we are waiting on the wrong thing?
The disciples waited on power.
What are you waiting on? I would submit that we have been waiting on the wrong thing. We wait on powerful services! We wait on goosebumps! We wait on tongues or a prayer language and act as if that is the goal and the end all, climax of the experience rather than the indicator of the beginning of the experience! We wait on gifts! We wait on spiritual shows and displays. We wait on more instruction. We wait on a different answer/solution because this one requires faith/trust and makes uncomfortable. And many times we see and experience those things and discover that the wait wasn't worth it because they are fleeting and don't produce the one thing the Holy Spirit was promised to produce.