Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 NKJV
What has happened to the American church? We have never had a generation of church leaders that have so ignored evangelism as this one. For two hundred years – 1750 to 1950 approximately – American preachers preached salvation with fire and fury, people believed and got saved and got right with God, and God blessed America abundantly. Today, one guy starts meetings in Modesto, California and we think it’s the greatest thing since Post Toasties. It used to be that those meetings were going on all the time in every state! Apostles, prophets and evangelists crisscrossed the nation continuously, hammering the Gospel until whole towns went to church on Sunday. That was normal Christianity. What has happened to the American church?
Just for the record, Carl and I have crisscrossed America for five years now, with a growing team of friends, visiting dozens of cities, looking for the man of peace that we can help to win their cities for Christ through house churches. In Jacksonville, our first stop in 2016, we asked for an army. I want to tell you – the army is standing up and showing up…
So…look where we are today! The USA is the third largest mission field in the world. Out of a population of three hundred thirty million, a population which has doubled in my lifetime…maybe, JUST MAYBE…one hundred million are really saved, leaving two hundred thirty million unsaved, putting the USA just behind China and India as the third largest unsaved nation population in the world. Obama was right when he said we weren’t a Christian nation anymore. We have a godly heritage, but the enemy is working hard to unravel – can you say ‘1619 project’? – even that! What is the answer?
…he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also… John 14:12 NKJV
What if every born again one was thoroughly trained in all nine gifts of the Spirit? We could evangelize the world in a week, maybe ten days. Wildfire spreads rapidly, as I learned last fall…
The precedent was set on the Day of Pentecost for every born again one to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Miracles would become normal, like they are supposed to be (…and these signs shall follow those who believe…Mk.16:17). We would preach the Word and confirming miracles would be there every day (Mk 16:20). What if we demand of our preachers that they have confirming miracles when they preach?
The apostles spoke in tongues for several hours on the day of Pentecost before Peter got up to preach. They demonstrated the reality of the miracle working God. They did it without consciously trying to do it. They spoke in tongues and the Holy Spirit made everyone there to understand everything that was said in their mother tongue, just the opposite of what happened at the tower of Babel. Do you see it?
The precedent set on the day of Pentecost became normal Christianity.
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. Acts 8:14-16 NKJV
When the Samaritan saints DIDN”T receive in Acts Eight, the apostles at Jerusalem sent the big dogs Peter and John to minister the fullness of the Holy Spirit to them. It was unthinkable that born again ones would not be filled with the Spirit!
In Acts Ten, Peter preaches himself into the Gentile Pentecost with Cornelius’ household at Caesarea. Interestingly, Peter the fisherman, the rude and uneducated knife fighter, the denier of Jesus, and probable mentor of Paul, proclaimed the grace of God, and salvation through Jesus’ death, resurrection and Lordship, and both Jews and Gentiles got filled. Unbelievable! Don’t you just love this stuff!
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…Jude 20 NKJV
One of my students, Collins, sent me pictures yesterday of a dear one whose broken back was healed instantly, having thrown away her crutches and walking pain free…normal Christianity, all nine all the time!
And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 19:1-2 NKJV
When Paul first visited the disciples in Ephesus, the first concern on his heart was whether they were filled with the Holy Spirit. How about that? He didn’t ask if they had a Wednesday night youth group, or ‘have they started a building fund?’ No! He wanted their faith to be confirmed and built up by the great gift of tongues. Of course, this stirred up demons and caused division. So, Paul apologized and backed off, right? No, he took the believers to the school of Tyrannus, and proceeded to rock the nation! EVERYONE got evangelized. Do you think I make this stuff up?
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Acts 19:10 NKJV
A dear one googled speaking in tongues and healing, and my name came up. She called and got healed. It’s a nice reputation to have on the internet! I get criticized by religious pastors for emphasizing tongues too much in their estimation. I say, You keep your empty chairs and pews, and I will keep seeing people get healed, blessed and filled.
But the hour is coming (PENTECOST! ACTS 2:4), and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. John 4:23 NKJV
Let’s face it…speaking in tongues is worship, in spirit and in truth. It’s praise, and it’s the Spirit of God enabling our spirits to pray out the perfect will of God for our lives. In that sense it is perfect prayer. The other gifts of the Spirit get released as we pray much in tongues. Faith gets built. If I ever get discouraged, I just pray much in tongues and soon I’m back to shouting and singing. You can’t stop a mighty river! It’s amazing to see how many lives just get better and better when they get filled and then begin to pray much in tongues. Hearts come alive and on fire, old habits of barely covered up wickedness gets cleansed and healed. Lives get direction and purpose, and the Church just grows like a mighty mountain to fill the whole earth!
We have the answer. The only question is – will we do anything about it? People say they are waiting for a move of God. I say, God moved at Pentecost, now it’s our move, my move and your move. I choose to move! I choose to obey Jesus’ command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to my next door neighbor. I choose to make Jesus an unavoidable reality that everyone I meet needs to confront. And, I choose to have more fun doing that with signs and wonders, because with the gifts of the Spirit, I can walk with all nine all the time!
Remember dear one, we must be about our Father’s business…