The Container

  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4........."The world is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity. It's waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity." Leonard Ravenhill


Francis Chan asked the question, "Would we really want to be a part of the Church depicted in Acts 2?" There is and has always been a lot of talk about wanting to see the power and life detailed in the first century church come to pass here in the 21st century. Really though, how much of that is little more than "nostalgia?", on par with our warm memories of simpler times in our culture. We like, even love those memories, but truly, would we want to go back to those days? Days that would lack so much of what we have come to depend upon, grown comfortable with, even couldn't do without? In a more probing question, how many of our fellowships, how many of us, would be comfortable and at ease if something akin to what takes place in Acts 2 were to happen in our church this coming "worship" day? T. Austin-Sparks, writing a generation ago, said that the church doesn't understand anything that isn't organized and structured. In other words, that isn't controlled. Who's really in control of what we define as modern worship?

There are a growing number of voices in the professing church that are openly questioning the reality of what has been commonly defined as revival. Voices that say that what we call revivals are most often just based in the emotions rather than the Spirit. They caution against our seeking such things. I have been present in such gatherings, where emotions, not His Spirit reigned, but I have also been present in places where His Holy Spirit did come upon all, and it was real. Our problem is that we are losing the ability to discern the difference, and since we can't, we reject all of it. Sparks also said that the church has sought to reduce the mystery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit down to what we can understand rationally and intellectually. I think the fruit of this is seen everywhere in the church today. Someone has said that we are a Holy Spirit centered church afraid of the Holy Spirit. The symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove, may be depicted on our logos, but how powerfully is He manifesting Himself in our midst? John Bevere said the biblical meaning of "manifest" is, "to bring the unseen to the seen, the unheard to the heard, and the unknown to the known." Oh, that this would take place in the church in the west. That it would take place in us, in me.

 

It has been said that we need another Pentecost, another outpouring of His Holy Spirit. We don't. Pentecost has already come. His Spirit has already been poured out. Our part is to receive what has already been given.
For that to happen, we must first realize that we are empty. That must be confessed. We must confess that we are not only empty vessels, but unclean ones as well. Bevere said "The Father has a lack of clean containers into which He may pour His Spirit." We can't clean them, but He can, and does so through our confession and repentance of that spiritual condition. The result; revival, awakening, renewal, newness of life. In short, wholly transformed lives and fellowships. The manifestation of the Kingdom in the church. In you, and in me. I believe such a move of God is already upon us. We will either be a part of it all, or we will miss it. We must "bring the vessels, and not a few." The question for you and me is, will our container be a clean, or an unclean one?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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