(June 6, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share serious kingdom thoughts/concerns about some Pentecostals today…
Pentecost Sunday this weekend – the church’s Easter celebration now seems so long ago!
Oh we can never forget the real Easter story… of a Saviour who loved us so much that he freely gave his life for us at Calvary, paying the price of sin, offering everyone full salvation and a way back to our Father God!
Scripture speaks the love that flowed that from Calvary’s hill …
- ‘He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2).
- ‘If you continue in the teaching of Christ, you will have fellowship with both the Father and the Son’ (Romans 8:10, 17).
But… now it’s almost Pentecost Sunday! We need to remember, to joyfully celebrate that the good news of God’s love continues beyond that extraordinary Passover event we call Easter.
Why? God had a further free gift to give to all who believe in his Son Jesus – the outpouring of his Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 2 to enable us to not only praise him in tongues but to serve him in powerful (dunamis) ways and touch the world!
Yet, as shared on Facebook last weekend we had found it dismaying that we hadn’t at that point come across any adverts or articles mentioning this coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Not even the Pentie church we attended last week highlighted it! Hmm! Let’s look at what we’ll term The 5 C’s of Pentecost… Carpeting, Correction! Celebration, Cenacle and Challenge.
Lack of interest in the reality of Pentecost matters observed for years now reminds us of something AG’s late Tommy Evans – that great but unheralded church and Pentecost pioneer pastor – said very seriously to Robert decades years ago: ‘The church, Robert, the Pentecostal church, has forgotten what Pentecost is all about… it doesn’t know how to celebrate Pentecostal Sunday: very few Pentecostal churches do.’ With a tear in his eye, he added, ‘It’s sad… sad. Keep on writing what you teach about the need to really know the Holy Spirit personally.’
Tommy Evans’ concerning observation has become more prominent since that morning over two decades ago: during the past several years we found that various Pentie churches have wrongly, mistakenly swept fundamental Pentecostal beliefs especially speaking and worshipping in tongues out of the way ‘under the carpet.’
A reminder of reported Holy Roman Catholic Church actions when it came to power in the early days of church growth – rites and regulations becoming church standards to be accepted without question? Like the emphasis today on matters such as excessively loud psychologically enhanced ‘generational music’ and unquestioned non-biblical so-called teachings and questionable demands for finance?
It’s been said that if you keep sweeping things under the carpet you’ll eventually trip up over the mess you made! Three questions…
Never mind worshipping in tongues, when was the last time you heard some Spirit-led believer clearly speak in tongues expecting an interpretation by another church attender (1 Corinthians 12:10)? A precious spiritual prompting that when interpreted by another Spirit-led believer brought great encouragement to the church and praises to God! Hmm?
How many of the church’s younger generation today know the Holy Spirit intimately and flow freely in his nine 1 Corinthians 12 supernatural ministry gifts… thus enabling them to move on in God strengthening today’s church and foundation-laying for tomorrow’s?
3) Very serious:
For some time now church leaders have been encouraging congregants to share Jesus with the unsaved around ‘out there.’ But… as you would dare to share do you feel uneasy, hesitating, even a little afraid, feeling that something is missing, that you’re not equipped, not able to move boldly and share your faith? Hmm?
Be encouraged to trust the Holy Spirit’s enabling!
‘Out there’ is also in the marketplace of life – where the unsaved are! So when a God-given opportunity comes along ‘out there’ we take it and allow the Holy Spirit to speak into people’s lives prophetically and with words of knowledge, and we pray for the sick and fare to believe for miracles! Gives unchurched people something to think about and leads to good connections for follow-up!
Our prayer is that this Sunday will see an awakening and renewing in every Christian of the knowledge of all that is available to us from God’s Holy Spirit, promised us by Jesus (Acts 1:4)!
Some have wrongly taught that Pentecost is only all about speaking in tongues and was only ‘back then’ and that day is over!
But, no, Pentecost is definitely about more than glossolalia – tongue-speaking! Supernatural power was released that first Pentecost to anyone who would follow Christ! And this would be power in action to encourage, inspire, others… especially in spreading the gospel.
a) Simple ’in-house’ example:
How refreshing to hear some Christians around us singing and speaking in tongues one recent Sunday! A man, also a visitor, came up to us congratulating us ‘seniors’ on our freedom in God to worship as we did, lifting our hands high in worship and, as he put it, moving with the ‘modern’ worship music yet singing in tongues. In turn we shared an encouraging word of knowledge about him that blessed him meaningfully!
Yes, we had been worshipping in tongues just as happened with those first Christians at Pentecost… but we also moved in the Spirit to benefit/encourage someone… as we regularly do both inside and outside the church!
b) Simple ‘outside the house’ example:
After lunch in a local suburb recently, we wandered through the shopping area and were unexpectedly Spirit-led to climb up some steps to a certain shop. The consultant was alone; we got chatting and as we were congratulating her on her store display she suddenly opened up and began to share problems. Interrupting, with Holy Spirit-given words of knowledge, we spoke into her life comforting her as we touched on some deep issues. She wept, realising we, strangers, couldn’t possibly know about what we’d just shared! Comfortingly we took the opportunity, shared Jesus and led her into salvation. (Only then did we say we were ministers!).
Our point here is that Pentecost is not all about vocalising in tongues, singing to God glossolalia-wise as some – even some Penties – wrongly think!
No, it’s the next step in our growth in Christianity after our salvation and our willingness to serve our Saviour. Pentecostals believe that tongues are an evidence that something supernatural has happened within! And we move on from that first experience, not disregarding but enhancing it in our understanding and outworking
Being baptised in the Spirit as recorded in Acts 2 and released to worship in tongues is only the beginning to moving in supernatural power to share Christ and in building his people and expanding his church!
When asked to preach on Pentecost to a Pentecostal church one Pentecost Sunday, we pointed out that the first disciples were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they broke into supernatural glossolalia worship. ‘Want to do likewise? Shall we celebrate?’ we challenged – and virtually everyone joined in spontaneously singing joyfully in tongues.
Then we asked if they wanted to do the next thing those first disciples did? The response was a resounding ‘Yes!’
Robert said challengingly, ‘Well, those first Christians immediately hit the streets and witnessed Jesus. Let’s do the same!’ He then jumped off the platform and headed for the door, stopping suddenly to turn and find only the pastor following him! No one else had moved to minister ‘outside!’
We went back to teaching more on the importance of recognising that Pentecost Sunday is not only a celebration of the real birth of the church (Acts 2, not as some teach John 20!), and the gift of tongues, but a reminder that every Christian can receive God’s free gift of the powerful Holy Spirit, the gift of supernatural power that enables us to boldly witness Christ!
We encourage you to prayerfully read Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes’ Reachout article Suddenly – Power From On High in which he shares the evangelistic heart of that ‘first Pentecost Sunday.’ Also, Dr Jim McClure’s sharing on the dunamis aspect of the church’s birthday – Dynamite happy birthday
We have good reason to celebrate because in receiving the Spirit we are filled with power! It’s the gateway to operating in the supernatural ministry gifts that Paul, knowing them and the Spirit, mentions in 1 Corinthians 12 and…
- Discovering an inner awareness of available supernatural power within
- Activating our ability to boldly and wisely witness Jesus
- Daring to pray for the sick and boldly casting out demons
- Knowing the Holy Spirit in a deeply personal way
- Building a meaningful relationship with him
- Moving in the Spirit and encouraging prophetically with words of knowledge
- Allowing him to lead us in enterprises that glorify Father God, not us!
Visiting Jerusalem often includes a guide to the ‘Cenacle’ – supposedly the actual large upper room where the 120 disciples met; praying in expectation and the Spirit first fell. When there some decades ago the room then had some un-railed steps to a higher level and one lady in our party climbed to the top.
On the ground level we began talking about the Holy Spirit’s activities 2000 years ago in the upper room. Then, just as we boldly declared that he is the same powerhouse today, there was a resounding ominous crack! The lady had fallen off the top edge, crashing heavily on her head on the hard floor below.
Rushing to assist her, we called on that powerhouse for help. He responded! We prayed in tongues, confident that the Spirit would do whatever was needed for our fellow traveller. Our friend arose unhurt! In fact, she spoke of being elated, warmly touched by an unseen hand, even on-fire with the Spirit!
Inspired afresh, we left the cenacle challenged to take every Spirit-given opportunity anywhere on earth to share Jesus!
Today we need on-fire Christians in on-fire ‘cenacle churches.’ Such Christians are ministries who will take faith steps to do whatever the Spirit challenges. Just like those first missio Dei disciples, immediately leaving the upper room blessings and hitting the streets to evangelise, locally and abroad.
Now you don’t have to visit Jerusalem to be powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit! No, you can find the him anywhere – and you can freely witness and evangelise anywhere, moving in the supernatural!
We should value our local church, pray and believe for it to be Holy Spirit on-fire. We should look around our Great South Land of the Holy Spirit country and take countless God-given opportunities to reach people from both here and other nations.
As the anointing – the power and presence of the Holy Spirit – always makes the difference in the believer’s and a church’s life, hopefully your church has something special planned this weekend, and is open to the Spirit falling afresh. After all, churches sing that encouraging chorus Let the Fire Fall with those inviting lines Holy Spirit, Set my life on fire!
Empowered anew we can take our steps of faith to success for Jesus and go ‘out there’ journeying to fulfil the Matthew 28 great commission.
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s link is firstname.lastname@example.org / Facebook (Scripture and other emphases in this Onliner ours). Relating links: George Forbes’ Suddenly / Jim McClure’s Dynamic birthday!