As the world around us is descending further and further into chaos, it seems that the Church must become more engaged. Jesus has given us authority in the Holy Spirit to witness in His power. Instead of going out to the world, it seems that we have instead elevated prayer as a replacement for us going out.
I believe that we have elevated prayer to a place it God never intended it to be. We are not supposed to sit in our prayer closets pleading with God to send others to do what He has called us to do. He told us that we are to preach His Gospel and that we are to lay hands on the sick! That is our responsibility.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
It is much easier to plead with God to send someone else than to go ourselves. We pray for Him to pour out His power when He already has. The Holy Spirit brought it when He descended from heaven to fall on the 120 gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said that we are pleading God to send would follow those who “believe,” not those who have “interceded”.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
We started to look at this passage in the last chapter. The angel appeared to Cornelius and directed him to send men to call Peter. Peter had a vision concerning Cornelius just before they arrived.
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.
Church historians believe that this experience happened ten years after the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on Pentecost. The believers had not yet begun to preach to non-Jewish people. God gave Peter this vision to prompt him to go with Cornelius’ men and preach the Gospel to a Gentile audience for the first time.
The Holy Spirit gave Peter this vision. People do not experience this level of the supernatural or walk in the miraculous without the Holy Spirit. People have tried and ended up in bondage to some form of demonic activity or another.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Peter went with the men and preached the Gospel to Cornelius’ household. The Holy Spirit fell while he ministered. All present who heard received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
Cornelius and the other people who were with him received salvation and the baptism of the Spirit almost simultaneously. The disciples received salvation and then had to wait for the Spirit before launching out into ministry. Cornelius did not have to wait. I have seen people receive both experiences together and have seen other people have a time gap like the disciples did.
It does not matter whether we receive both experiences simultaneously or with a time gap. The point is that there is a second experience with the Holy Spirit that is separate from salvation. Our spirits are changed, and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) at redemption, but then we are to receive the Holy Spirit and His anointing, which the second experience provides us.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
Jesus never did a single miracle until the Holy Spirit came on Him at his baptism by John. He went into the wilderness and returned in the “power of the Spirit”. If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit, why would we think it would be any different for us? Jesus cannot operate independently from the Holy Spirit. The Godhead is united and works in complete unity. If we are not yielding to the Holy Spirit, we cannot submit to either Jesus or God.
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