Greetings MOL Family!
What condition and experience must be ours (both individually and collectively), before we can receive the promised gift of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
From A Sinner To A Saint
When we look at Peter the night that Jesus was betrayed, and look at him a few weeks later as he stands before the multitude there on the Day of Pentecost, and preaches that wonderful sermon, and then a little later as he stands before the same men that heard him curse and swear, and gives his witness boldly, without flinching; we naturally say, Peter is a different man.
Well, He is, isn’t he? And this is true. But unless we are careful and read the record carefully, we are liable to think Peter got something wonderful on the Day of Pentecost that changed him from a vacillating, undependable fellow, to a man who could be depended on.
Now, it is true that Peter received a great blessing on the Day of Pentecost, as the Holy Spirit was poured out in mighty power. But it’s also true, my dear friends, that the thing that changed Peter from a sinner to a saint, from a man to whom Jesus said “When you are converted strengthen your brethren,” to the man who was converted and strengthened his brethren, was not the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. It was what happened before Pentecost that made Pentecost possible.
Now, there are thousands of people today that are looking forward to the latter rain and the loud cry as a time of marvelous experience. All this is true. But what I want to study with you today is this: Unless we get before the latter rain what Peter got before Pentecost, we will never get in the latter rain what Peter got on Pentecost. It’s the experiences that precede Pentecost that we need to note especially.
We think of Peter there in the upper room and He got a blessing there. There’s no question about it. Jesus said to His disciples after He washed their feet, “You are all clean, but one.” And that was Judas. And when Judas went out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in them.” For the moment, they were united in love for Jesus and love for one another. And yet, dear friends, when Jesus urged them to pray with Him in Gethsemane, already they had lost something. And they lost some more as they slept in the garden while Jesus prayed.
And then as the mob came, you remember that Peter led the fight to save the Saviour, to rescue the Redeemer. Then he led the flight of all the disciples. They ran down the road, Peter at the head fleeing from Jesus. Yes, Peter had lost all he’d gotten in the upper room, for the moment.
Then you remember, of course, the denial in the courtyard. But as we studied, Jesus had said, “Peter, I am praying for you. I love you.” And he went out to the garden of Gethsemane and wept bitterly.
This was the beginning of a new experience for Peter. For the first time Peter realized he, Peter, could not be counted on; that he was not dependable; that he didn’t know himself. And if anything was ever done for him or with him or through him, God would have to work a miracle. There on his face, he poured out his soul to God in true repentance.
This was the thing that Peter needed. We’re told that as a result of that experience God forgave him, but that Peter never forgave himself. That doesn’t mean that Peter went with his head hanging down all the rest of his life, ashamed to meet anybody. Oh, no. But it does mean that from that moment Peter always knew that if he were left to himself, he would deny his Lord. He learned something in Gethsemane. This is not something that came to him on the Day of Pentecost. It came to him in Gethsemane, a heart-breaking sorrow for sin.
Well, He had the various experiences that we’ve studied, beginning with the resurrection through to Christ’s ascension. But I want to notice some experiences in the ten days.
The Upper Room Experience
Let’s turn to Luke 24:49, one of Jesus’ parting admonitions to Peter and the rest of the disciples, as He left them on His way to Heaven:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. – Luke 24:49
What were they to do? Tarry. What does tarry mean? Wait.
Turn over to Acts 1 and we will read it again. Again and again, Jesus repeated this instruction that they were to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit came.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. – Acts 1:4-5
What does baptized mean? Immersed, dipped, buried. They were to receive such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as would literally immerse them. They were to be lost in the Spirit of God. But before He could come they must what? Tarry. They must wait, wait in Jerusalem. As the eighth verse says, God had a work that would take them to the ends of the earth, but first they must what? Tarry, wait.
Peter had been an impulsive man, and even in his converted life he was a vigorous man, ready to do. But now he must learn to what? Wait, tarry. Why? Because without the outpouring of the Spirit, all their work would be in vain. Notice as I read from Desire of Ages:
No amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light without the cooperation of the Spirit of God. – The Desire of Ages, pg. 672
How much education will it take? No amount can do it.
“Oh, if I could take this or that course, or if I could sit at the feet of this teacher or that teacher, wouldn’t that do it?” No, no.
Here’s another quote, similar, Volume 8, page 22. Now, I stress this because, dear friends, we in the Remnant church are to be praying now for the latter rain, as they prayed for the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. And unless we sense that without it we can never do effective and effectual witnessing, unless we sense that, we’ll not pray with the earnestness that this demands.
Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 21
Think of it, friends. We may be as wise as Solomon, we may be as strong as Samson, we may be as eloquent as Paul, but unless the Holy Spirit is in our hearts and working with our witness, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ.
This is something, friends, that unless we understand it, we’ll miss something in our education. An infidel can take a group of infidels and teach them how to build a house, can’t he? It’s done every day. An infidel can take a group of infidels and teach them how to do all manner of things. But when it comes to soul winning, when it comes to reaching the heart, the Holy Spirit is the only One Who can do this.
In our helplessness we must cry out to God. A man cannot sincerely kneel down by a building that he’s working on and say, “Oh Lord, unless You help us we will never get this house up.” Now, of course, it’s true in a sense – in God we move and have our being, and every breath we draw is His gift. But people can build a house without God. It’s true, except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. We need the Lord to do it right. And we need the Lord in order to get the character lessons that come in building. But I think you see what I’m trying to get at, don’t you?
Men can have a measure of success in the temporal things of this life, even though the Holy Spirit is not abiding in their hearts. And unless we’re careful we’re liable to think that working for God is something more of the same. In other words, we think if we can learn enough out of books or learn enough by association with other people, and practice and practice and practice, that finally we will be able to speak in a persuasive way.
A course that has become famous across America is one for business and professional people entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. And I’m sorry to tell you that, that sort of philosophy has had its influence in the church. People supposing that if they will learn certain techniques, master certain skills, and learn how to speak persuasively, that this will make them soul winners. But what do I read here?
Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. – Ibid
And Dale Carnegie doesn’t know anything about this, friends. And he can never teach us this road.
On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them channels for the outflowing of the highest influence in the universe. – Ibid., pgs. 21-22
The disciples had been with Jesus for over three years. They had had the advantage of the tutorship of the Master of teachers. And yet they weren’t ready. Jesus said they weren’t ready. He said, “You stay right here in Jerusalem until you receive this heavenly outpouring, until from on high the gift of the Spirit is yours. Then speak. Then go. Then witness.” And they did exactly that.
Now let’s look a little further here in Acts 1. Let’s see what they did:
Then returned they… – Acts 1:12
(From the ascension, from watching Jesus going to Heaven)
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John… – Acts 1:12-13
And all the rest. This room became their prayer center.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. – Acts 1:14
Read through the chapter. You will find Peter leading out in arranging certain things that had to be taken care of. But the great subject of study and prayer those ten days was this promised gift, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, Acts 2:1, what condition were they in? What does it say?
They were all with one accord in one place. – Acts 2:1
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
There is an opportunity for each of us to have this upper room experience. With everything that is taking place in our world today, we know that time cannot continue much longer. If the Lord shall allow us to gather in August, this holy convocation is one that we should all strive to attend. It’s not too late to register… >> Learn More
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.