I often hear Christians ask God to send "another" Pentecost down from heaven. This is how many perceive revival—a time when God comes down. Yes, even though there are moments where we feel as though God has come down and His Presence is strong among us, the reality is He is here.
Perhaps the more home-hitting reality is that if you are a born again, child of God, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God has come down and He is here, living inside of you. You are His house on the Earth! (See 1 Cor. 6:19, 2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 2:22 for powerful reminders of this reality.) We don't need another Pentecost. Truth be told, we need to start stewarding the one we have already received. After all, the Son of God paid a high price for us to walk in the reality of Pentecost every day of our lives.
Does God Need to Rend the Heavens and Come Down?
How many times have you heard people pray Isaiah 64:1—Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! This would be akin to asking for another Pentecost or crying out for revival. Without question, I have prayed similar prayers over the years, desperate to see the power, purpose and Presence of the Acts church restored in our day.
So, what's the problem with this? While the desire is pure and legitimate, the prayer has actually been fulfilled. Isaiah was offering up a prophetic prayer, yearning to experience a consistent habitation of God's Presence. With Isaiah being the prophet that he was, he surely caught a glimpse (as prophets do) of another day—a day, an hour, an era where the habitation of God's Presence would be a consistent reality, not merely a hope.
Old Testament prophets experienced these prophetic foretastes time after time. Joel foresaw a day when the Spirit of God would be poured out on all flesh and all, young and old, would prophesy (see Joel 2:28). Ezekiel saw a time when the face of God would no longer be hidden from His people and His Spirit would be poured out (see Ezekiel 39:29). He also spoke of a forthcoming period where people would not only become inhabited by the Spirit, but their very hearts would be supernaturally transformed by His Presence (see Ezekiel 36:26). Isaiah saw a generational momentum, where descendants and offspring would experience the Spirit's outpouring in a sustained measure (see Isaiah 44:3, Acts 2:39).
These are just a sampling of the Old Testament prophecies that pointed to the glorious day that Jesus would inaugurate.
The Day When Heaven Was Torn Open
"In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove" (Mark 1:9-10, ESV).
The English Standard Version of the Bible most accurately captures the power of this historic moment. Clouds did not simply part over the Son of God; Heaven was torn open. Truly, Isaiah's prayer was being answered. The heavens were rent and the Presence of God was being released into the Earth.
Make no mistake, Jesus was, is, and forever will be God. There is so much confusion on this topic, when there should not be. Jesus did not graduate to godhood. He did not attain God-status. He was in the beginning as God. He was born of the Virgin Mary as God. He lived as God. He died as God. Jesus Christ is God. I want that to be plainly and clearly communicated.
That said, only God could pull off what He did in the person of Jesus Christ. My mind has difficulty processing it, so I have to rely on the inspired nature of the written text to direct my theology here. Jesus was God, but likewise, Jesus was dependent upon the Presence of God. How is it possible that God could be filled with God? That is exactly what happened during Jesus' baptism in the Spirit. God was standing in the Jordan River, being baptized by a clearly overwhelmed John the Baptist. Heaven opened over God, and God descended upon God. I repeat, only God could pull this one off!
So why did God let Himself be filled with the Holy Spirit (God?) Simple. He was giving you and I a model for what normal life could look like being filled with the Spirit. Jesus Christ demonstrated what a consistent habitation of God's Presence (the one Isaiah was crying out for) could look like for every single Christian. It was no longer exclusive for the king, priest or prophet. It was not for the elite. The anointing was not simply task-oriented, where God would come down for a season and empower a chosen vessel to complete a certain job. God made Himself available to all who would call upon His name from generation to generation!
How Do We View Pentecost?
Pentecost is not a one-time experience. It is not a style of church service or worship. It is not a denomination or a movement. It was not an event that happened, way back when. Pentecost is the blueprint for normal Christianity.
Jesus' baptism made provision for the Heavens to open, but it was Jesus' blood that made provision for the Heavens to remain open over you. Until the Day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ was the only human being Who was compatible to receive the abiding anointing. In other words, because Jesus was without sin, the holy Presence of God would live in Him comfortably. He was not anointed for a time or a task; the Spirit came upon Him and remained.
So many of us think to ourselves, yeah, but that was Jesus. The Spirit could remain upon Him and move through Him because Jesus was perfect. That is true. Jesus was without sin. And yet, Jesus' work at the cross of Calvary made it possible for all to receive the forgiveness of sin and become eligible to be filled with His Presence.
As supernatural as it was for that thick curtain in the temple to be torn down the middle, a greater veil was opened in the heavenlies because of Jesus' blood. Heaven had become open to all who would place their complete faith and trust in this eternity-defining act. However, Heaven did not simply become a place of future destination, but an experience of present demonstration. Heaven is a glorious eternal destination we all get to look forward to, but here is the encouraging message of Pentecost—you have received a down payment of the age to come in the here and now. His name is Holy Spirit.
With this, I want to give you three practical ways that you can experience the power of Pentecost in your everyday life.
1. Stop Looking for Another Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has already come; we don't need an upgrade or 2.0 version. Remember Paul's words to the Romans: "the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11, NKJV). When we are always looking for some "new spiritual experience," this positions us for deception and potentially, heresy. I like how prayer leader Corey Russell, puts it: Revival is not out with the old and in with the new; it's out with the old, and in with the even older. Instead of crying out for a "new" Pentecost, let's return to the age-told blueprint that we see in the Book of Acts. Let's mine the depths of Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal everything that we have been freely given in Him (see 1 Cor. 2:10-12). We only look for another Pentecost when we do not have a full revelation of what we received in the first one. I believe that as we rediscover the glorious inheritance we have received in the Holy Spirit, revival will shift from being a series of meetings or season to a sustained lifestyle.
2. Freely Give What You Gave Received. Jesus gives us the secret to living in sustained revival: giving away what we have received. While commissioning the disciples, he tells them "as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:7-9, NKJV). People experience powerful "mountaintop" moments in God's Presence, but then, go back to "normal" life very quickly. Why? Often, we are not discipled on how to carry the Presence in a relevant, everyday way. We are given theories, not instruction. We are given theology, not a model. Theology is wonderful, and it must be accurate, but theology was always intended to lead us into an encounter. Pastor Bill Johnson says it so profoundly: "The Holy Spirit is in me for my sake; He is upon me for your sake." We are saved and sealed for Heaven because the Spirit lives within us. This is worth celebrating for sure. At the same time, I want to live an effective life where I carry the Presence and power of God into impossible situations. I want to see the sick healed and the tormented set free. I want those who don't know Jesus to see His nature accurately represented through our lives, and this representation comes through demonstration. We need to learn how to give away what we have received in the Holy Spirit, in both our Christ-like character and demonstrations of power.
3. Cry Out for More. It is legal for you to want to experience more of the Holy Spirit. No, you are not asking for "another" Holy Spirit. Rather, you are desiring to encounter more of the One you have already received. Big difference, even in how we ask. If we feel like we need a new, more upgraded Holy Spirit, and God is holding out on us, we become inclined to beg like paupers, hoping that our begging will compel the Father to give us a "new measure" of anointing. Ridiculous. You are anointed. You have the anointing. God Himself lives inside of you. It goes without saying that you can't graduate from that! However, Paul writes in Ephesians 5:18 for us to be filled with the Spirit. The Greek for "filled" suggests a continuous, on-going process of being filled. Note the word, though. Paul does not talk about receiving another outpouring from Heaven; he is discussing being filled with the One Who already lives within us. I want the Holy Spirit to fill every area of my life, and I imagine you do too! Yes, I celebrate the power and gifts He has made available, but I also desire for the Holy Spirit to supernaturally fill my mind, my words, my relationships, my attitude and my character to where every area of my life is under His divine influence. When we cry out for more, we are basically asking the Spirit Who lives inside of us to start resting upon us. This is what produces the fruit of Pentecost, for when God's people are filled with His Spirit, they represent His Son and release His Kingdom.
Larry Sparks is a conference speaker, blogger, columnist and host of the weekly radio program Voice of Destiny (thevoiceofdestiny.org). Featured in Charisma magazine and on CBN's Spiritual Gifts webcast, Larry is also founder of Equip Culture—a ministry that equips believers with the tools and resources to live victoriously through the supernatural power of God (lawrencesparks.com). His new book, Breakthrough Faith, will be released with Destiny Image Publishers on October 21. You can follow @LarryVSparks on Twitter to receive messages of encouragement and empowerment.
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