Dear Loved One,
Have you ever experienced a moment in time — maybe it was something subtle or something momentous — when you felt that, from this time forward, things will be very different?
Well, a number of years ago I preached a messaged titled, “The Day the Other Sermon Started.” I remember thinking there was something prophetic about that title because it spoke of an unfinished sermon. I realized I had never thought about New Testament life in those terms before the day I received that revelation from the Lord. You see, as believers, we never really quite get “done,” and that is a trait that was born into the life of the early church.
When we talk about a “sermon,” what we basically mean is preaching the Word. Jesus was the declaration of God’s Word and Will. He was the sermon in Himself. He was the very manifest proclamation of all that God is.
The healing, powerful, miracle life of the Living God flowed through Jesus to all who would come and receive. This flow of life in Jesus’ ministry continued through His sinlessness, through His miracles, through His death and through His resurrection.
When He died and rose again, He said, “Now, here’s an assignment for you. I’m going to work on a wider scale. The works I did, you will do, and greater works than these you will do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) He told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father. And that promise was the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told His disciples they would, “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)
In Acts 2 we see that day’s arrival, and on that day, the other sermon started. The first sermon was the Word of God made flesh in His Son Jesus. The other sermon is the life of Jesus coming alive in the Body of the Church.
The life we are living is the other sermon!
The Holy Spirit that filled Jesus Christ was, on the day of Pentecost, poured out on the whole Church. The other sermon started that day, as the Word became flesh and began to minister through people.
The Church was born with a miracle on its lips.
The day the other sermon started, it started with a supernatural manifestation, which was the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and it came forth in miraculous utterances.
Some around those receiving the Holy Spirit recognized this out-pouring was from God. But some struggled to acknowledge that what was happening was beyond them. They felt the need to make it seem they could handle this miracle by explaining it away on human terms, by saying, “Oh, those guys are just drunk. That’s all that is.”
Friend, I don’t really believe this mockery was so much scorn, as much as people were afraid to take seriously the possibility that God would work a miracle in their midst. I think one of the great dangers of human nature is doubting the readiness of the Lord to work a miracle in everyday life.
On the day the Church was born, it was born with a miracle in its mouth, and the other sermon began. A life-flow was poured out on the Church that day, and that flow has continued on, right up to this moment. That’s how the other sermon started, and the way it continues is through people moving into that stream of prophetic fulfillment.
Please hear this, dear friend: We are still moving along in the same stream. We are the people God spoke about from time almost in memorial, because He has always said there would be a people He would raise up for Himself. As believers, we are those people!
“Pastor Jack, how do I move into this stream, so the life flow of the Holy Spirit can minister through me?”
The early Church had the same question! Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’”
Peter responded to them and said there were three things they were to do. The first was to repent. Simply put, the word repent means to change your mind and turn away from the way you’ve been going. It means to turn to the Lord.
The best contemporary translation of the word “repent” involves the mind; in essence, to “get your head straight.” That is a modern way of saying what the word “repent” really means—it means to get your head straight and turn your mind toward the Lord.
The second thing Peter told the early Church to do was to be baptized. Why? Dear friend, the reason is because Jesus said so. I could give a lengthy and detailed explanation of water baptism and give you good reasons, spiritual reasons, Biblical reasons, practical reasons, psychological reasons and emotional reasons to be baptized.
And I don’t say that jokingly. I can give you all those valid reasons, but the main reason is that Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Glory, and Resurrected Savior said for all believers to be water baptized.
Now we come to the third thing, and this is what it all pivots on. Peter says, “. . . you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) The “shall” is from God’s side, and the “receive” is from your side. Peter is saying, “The Father has this gift for you, but it’s up to you to receive it.”
Basically, Peter is telling the Church what they need to do is first, get right with God and repent. Second, be baptized and show that Jesus is your Lord. Third, and this is so important, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, because if we don’t do that, we haven’t received the promise that Jesus gave the Church. The Church cannot be what Jesus was or what He wants us to be without the life flow of the Holy Spirit.
The sorted and sad parts of Church history over the last 2000 years would not be written the way they were if the third thing here—receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit—had always been a part and portion of the Church’s experience and manner of operating in life.
The rise and fall of the Church depends on it moving in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit entering the Body of the Church, we just have people – and, friend, we don’t have what it takes on our own. This is why the flow of the Holy Spirit is so critical. When the work of the Holy Spirit is active in the Church, the life of Jesus can flow through and override the limits of humanity.
We still don’t have perfection, because there’s enough humanity still involved that we don’t quite arrive, but people can tell that Jesus, the resurrected Lord, is still in operation. Blessed be God! What He began, He’s still continuing.
Loved One, allow me to share something that may sound strong, but that I most certainly do not mean to sound condemning. The believer who does not receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit can be a major hindrance to the body of Jesus Christ.
This is because people see believers as a part of the Body of Christ, but, without the fullness of the Holy Spirit, a believer cannot operate in the same dimension and life-flow that Jesus intended His Church to operate in. This creates confusion and chaos in the Body of Christ and dilutes the witness the Church has to the world.
The Church and its ministering power does not rise or fall depending on whether or not we have been born again. The church and its ministering power rises or falls depending on whether or not believers are filled with and moving in the fullness of the Spirit.
What kind of sermon are you living?
Whether we have been born again determines if we go to heaven. Whether we have been filled with the Holy Spirit determines what we do on earth. And there’s a lot to do on earth. So, Loved One, let’s do it! Let’s keep the sermon going.
The other sermon got started on the day of Pentecost. But it’s up to us to keep declaring God’s Word and Will! May we let the Word come alive in us, as we keep ministering Jesus’ life to the world around us.
Grateful for His Holy Spirit,
P.S. Loved One, you or someone close to you may long to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but perhaps it seems like it just isn’t going to happen. I assure you the power of the Holy Spirit is available to every believer! To help, we have prepared a special resource that can help you, or a loved one, better understand how to release the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Take a look at the information below to find out more.