When the Day Had Fully Come…
Being brought up within the Pentecostal tradition the whole event of the Day of Pentecost and Acts chapter 2 take on great significance, after all it is here that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh for all believers. An event that signified the coming of gifts like speaking in tongues and the ability to prophesy. I have heard many sermons preached on the events of the upper room experience (although I now think this event happened in the temple courts, but that is another subject) and how that experience is for all of us in the present age. I was prayed for the baptism like all good Pentecostals and in a very laid back way believed I received it and just spoke in tongues ever since. Of course what comes out of this experience and discourse is the importance of being all together in one place and gathering together to keep rekindling the fire. We need to keep on being filled because we leak we were told and therefore keep being prayed for, keep gathering, keep stirring up the gifts, keep coming to church. All of this seemed viable teaching to a young man looking to walk in the things of God in his life. Teaching that was then carried over when I then had to teach others. The whole thing creates a dependence on gatherings and the high priest (Pastor/vicar/minister/missionary) who always seemed to carry a greater anointing, or portion of the Holy Spirit, than anyone else. This would never be admitted to but the man in the pulpit was the man and if someone needed prayer or council this man was the first place anyone would turn. Even with the promised Holy Spirit we still built a temple construction for our church life and behaved just like the Israelites of old who had the chance to be a priesthood nation but chose Moses to represent them. This passage is always read every Pentecost by the Jews, and all they see is the giving of Torah, but what is glanced over is that God wanted his Spirit upon Moses to dwell on all flesh. He wanted His own people who could all come before Him. They chose dependence on gatherings and high priests.
WDJS (What Did Jesus Say?)
Over this present season of Shavuot/Pentecost I have looked at what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit and I was drawn afresh to all that he taught. So used to the coming of the Spirit being all about manifestation, gifts, tongues, outpourings, being together, that I failed to appreciate what Jesus said. Not once did he mention speaking in tongues, not once did He mention power, not once did he talk about outpourings or gatherings. He told us about a comforter, an helper, one called to be our attorney, one who would dwell with us and in us. It was a realignment with His original desire to dwell amongst men. It was a reversal of temple worship, where the importance was upon where you go and who did the Holy tasks. At His death the curtain was torn in two and here on this day His presence got out of the confines of the hidden place. Not now abiding in Holy men chosen without defect, but poured out and into all flesh. The prophets said He would once again dwell amongst men and not in houses made by man, that was now being fulfilled. The same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives in me. Ponder that thought for a few hours, I have spent a life time blown away by that thought. In one moment God deconstructs the dependence on gatherings and high priests. This is now about every man connecting with God wherever and whenever he can. Does this do away with the need for leaders? If we are talking dependence on leaders then yes, but if by leadership we mean leading others into this amazing realisation and seeing them walking in it’s fullness to release others, then we still have a place for leaders, but only when we realise we are all teachers, we are all prophets, we are pastors, we are evangelists, we are all apostles. Maybe different levels of gift mix due to our characters but if we all have the Holy Spirit abiding inside of us we all have the potential of all that He is. How many people in pulpits truly encourage that?
He is My Dependence.
The pulpit will teach you dependence on gathering, leadership, your Pastor, fellowship. That is not where our dependence should be laying. The Holy Spirit, the Helper, comes into our life to make us totally dependent on walking with God. That we do not need to lean on others. Yes it is not good for man to be alone, we are created for connectivity and relationship, being with others is life stuff, but because of what happened on the day of Pentecost I have what I need to keep walking, keep living, keep breathing. Jesus said the Helper would teach us all things and remind us of all things. Surely that is the job of the preachers and the teachers? Surely we must listen to the sermons, after all we need to have the Word regularly? I enjoy hearing what others have to share, at times that does bring a fresh perspective on something, we all see a different side to a coin. But my dependence on living in Christ is not on hearing a weekly sermon but on learning to discern the voice of the one who dwells inside me, who will teach me all things and bring things to remembrance. There are not many Pastors that will teach you that responsibility of the Holy Spirit. He will also guide you into all truth and the revelation. This truth will bear witness of Christ. Can we be guided daily without the wisdom of leadership hanging over us? Can we really walk forward without submitting my ideas and thoughts to a man with position and title? He will guide us into all truth. He does this through convicting us and sowing righteousness in our lives. We can believe for Him to let us know when we mess it all up. We will, but unlike a man He does not do it through condemnation but through loving readjustment. Surely the task then of any who teach is to teach others how to live lives as Spirit filled human beings so they can be non dependents. Not so thrilling when they are taught to not need you. After all they may not be around to pay your salary any more. You may even have to make some tents, now that would be humbling! Yet this seems to be the sort of life that glorifies Jesus according to Himself. That is what I want my life to do.
Not Against but For.
People think I am against gatherings, I am not, I am just for life and life more abundant. If that life abundant creates gatherings of all kinds then I am in there. As I think back over this past seven days I have been gathering all of the time, some organised to align diaries, many spontaneous coming together. When you walk in the Spirit you cannot help but be gathered. Just because I do not sign up with one set local church or under one leader it does not mean I am not gathering all of the time. Jesus never said join a local church anyway! I am not against gatherings, just narrow definitions and experiences of them. People think I am against leaders, I am not. I am just for the release of all people in all their gifting and glory, even when that is covered in the mud of life. Any organisation that points in the direction of one man at the head has little interest to me now. The High Priest was deconstructed when the Spirit came. We do not need representatives anymore for us before God or people. We are fully human and fully divine, and because of that we can enter with boldness. We have become the dwelling place ourselves, so to enter is to actually see what is dwelling inside ourselves and connect with that. I am for us all becoming fully human and fully divine. I am for us realising that because the Gift lives in us, we become the gift. Not certain gift men and women, but all a gift into this world. I am so for that. It is your day to become alive.