Greatest need in our community is a powerful church

Published 1:48 pm Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pentecost Sunday marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. It occurs 50 days after Resurrection Sunday and was observed this past Sunday. The Bible records the Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13.  
Pentecost comes 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. It is known as “the birthday of the Church.” Pentecost launches the large-scale spreading of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. Acts 2:41 records that after Peter spoke to the crowd after receiving the Holy Spirit, some 3,000 people were baptized. It is obvious that Pentecost was one of the most important New Testament events. 
Jesus said in Luke 24:49, ” 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.” He instructed his followers to wait in Jerusalem until the power of God descended upon them from Heaven.
Jesus had finished his earthly ministry and had ascended back into heaven. The whole world waited to hear the Gospel message Jesus came to deliver, but not a sound could be heard. The disciples who had been called and trained by Jesus to carry his message to the ends of the earth were all locked up inside the upper room. They hid from the very people they were supposed to challenge with the message. They whispered to each other behind locked doors rather than shouting to Jerusalem the message of salvation. I would guess they told stories and reminisced about the times they spent with Jesus, and how much they missed him being present. 
When the Spirit of God rushed into the upper room as a mighty wind, they were filled with the power of God that Jesus had promised.  Peter began to preach the word of God and everyone listening heard it in their own language.  What a day!  Right outside their doors were the blind, the crippled, and the sick. Jesus had touched such people and restored health to them, but now that task has fallen upon these that had received this power from on high.  Right outside their door were Roman soldiers who were imposing their will on other nations through force of arms. Jesus had already told Peter that if you live by the sword you will perish by the sword. Right outside their door were people who were going through the motions of religion, saying prayers that held no meaning to them and still sacrificing animals, which had no long-term effect on them.  This community in Jerusalem needed a church filled with power of a living God to guide and direct them declaring the truth.  This is also true today!  Our world needs a church prayed up, fired up, and ready to serve!
Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled with the Holy Spirit. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  If we would allow the Spirit of God to increase in our lives, we would have less of ourselves to contend with!  The world around us needs less of us and more of HIM!  Jesus said in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  The church needs to be a powerhouse of hope, healing, and encouragement!  We have a world that is sinking deeper into sin, hopelessness, and discouragement, and they are turning to alcohol, drugs, sex, and money for help when real help is found in Christ alone! 
In the midst of the darkness that surrounds our world, God has given His people, us, a light to enlighten our world to make known the greatness of his power and might. The same overcoming power that was given to the early church is available to us as we obediently submit ourselves to guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Can we be honest, sincere, and genuine and admit that we are failing as the church?  Church was not created as a building nor a social club for upstanding individuals. It is not a cruise ship sailing towards heaven!  It is a battle and rescue ship made up of people that know the true power of God that are on a mission to assist those that are broken and hurting. It is high time for the church of Christ to get about the Father’s business, and meet the needs of the community and in doing so lead others to Christ.  Our community needs the church now more than ever! 
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)

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