ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« The Politics of Epiphany | Main | A Response to John McArthur’s Teaching on Tongues »

Elementary, My Dear Watson

            Proving that there is a God, confirming scripture with some new archeological find, or advancing the argument of intelligent design versus the theory of evolution—all of these are fascinating matters to believers.   Spirit-filled people, however, often struggle to move past these basic tenets of faith and break into a higher realm for which they are well empowered but too often unengaged.  With apologies to Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, this word, elementary, freeze frames the extent to which too many people have progressed in their spiritual walk.  All of us may exult in a well-written article that convinces us all over again that the Bible is true, that sin is wrong and that we should love one another.  But the paramount question of our day supersedes these issues; the real question is what are we doing about them?

            The early church may have needed assurance that God was real.  Indeed, they rehearsed these truths—not to convince the unbelieving world—but to encourage themselves.  “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.   And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is”  (Acts 4:23-24).  Once they reminded each other of who they were, and that God was on their side, they were ready to act.  “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).

            If the most exciting statement of faith we can muster is that we believe there is a God, we are in huge trouble.  This basic affirmation represents the spiritual equivalent of pre-school status.  Mathematics and science exist too, but acknowledging their reality hardly makes one a mathematician or scientist.  Belief in God only represents the prelims.  Even the devils believe this much.  We may be settled on the basics, but the ironic thing is that we may be way too settled to turn them into springboards for action.  So then, what does moving beyond elementary beliefs involve? 

            Spiritual warfare.  It means that it is time for the church to seriously wage spiritual warfare.  The early church clearly advanced from the basics into frontal assaults against satanic strongholds.  In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Paul said “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”)  Apostolics must perfect their sensitivities to the principalities and powers that rage around us.  The Holy Ghost was not given to us to be a spiritual tranquilizer but as our source of power and witnessing.  Let us step up our operation in the dimension of the Holy Ghost.

            Intercessory prayer.  It is time for the church to focus on intense, protracted intercessory prayer.  Prayer saturated every aspect of the early church’s mission.  They were schooled prayer by Jesus; they were experienced in prayer’s miraculous outcomes in the expansion of the church; they were exhorted into prayer by the Apostle Paul who said, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”  Romans 8:26. 

            Spirit-driven evangelism.  It is time for evangelism to be driven by the Spirit.  The greatest revivals in the New Testament did not happen through savvy demographic studies but by the leadership of the Holy Ghost.  New Testament revival accounts show that the hand of God was at work everywhere.  For example, “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…and believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”  (Acts 5:12-14) “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.”  (Acts 8:5-8)

            We are way beyond proving the existence of God or any other pursuit that titillates the intellect but neutralizes the spirit.  Science, philosophy and human wisdom cannot supersede faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Once we have faith, it is time to go on to completion, as the writer to the Hebrews said: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”  Hebrews 6:1-2.  At times, we must return to elementary truths to make sure they remain intact, but the real work of the church lies in the realm of the Spirit.

            I am reminded of President Lincoln’ famous letter to General George B. McClellan, whose lack of activity during the US Civil War irritated him.  The president wrote:  “If you don’t want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while.  Yours respectfully, A. Lincoln.”  General McClellan soon lost his job.  He loved the army; he just didn’t want to use it to fight and win a war.  Even so, the church must not flex its muscles in the mirror of self admiration.  It is imperative for us to advance to the real battle.  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>