In the Absence of the Word: You Are the Manifestation of Christ & A Word In the Flesh

Today’s selected reading begins the New Testament book of Acts which was the narrative of the life and ministry of the body of Christ—the Church—as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first three chapters of the New Testament book. “The former treaties have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he though the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3). “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James; then o fall the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of all the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:1-9).

            ARE YOU EYES ON POLITICS OR ARE YOUR EYES ON THE KINGDOM? THE DISCIPLES ASKED THE LORD CONCERNING THE NATURAL KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, AND YET JESUS CAME PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5). WAIT FOR THE PROMISE! YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED! YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST NOT MANY DAYS HENCE! “When they were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). WHICH KINGDOM ARE YOU SEEKING? THE RESTORATION OF AN EARTHLY KINGDOM OR THE MANIFESTATION OF THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM! “If is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. 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 Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED! YE SHALL BE WITNESSES! THE BAPTISM IS INTRINSICALLY LINKED TO BEING WITNESSES! THERE CAN BE NO WITNESS WITHOUT THE BAPTISM! BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT! THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU! TOO MANY ARE TRYING TO BE WITNESSES WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT! TOO MANY ARE TRYING TO BE WITNESSES WITHOUT THE BAPTISM! “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).

            “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION! THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION OF JESUS & BAPTISM AND WITNESSES!THE MYSTERY OF THE RETURN IN THE DEPARTURE! JESUS WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME MANNER IN WHICH HE DEPARTED! IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE RETURN YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE DEPARTURE!  “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:12-14). UNITY, PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION!

            “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). A SOUND FROM HEAVEN! A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND! IT FILLED ALL THE HOUES WHERE THEY WERE SITTING! AND THERE APPEARED UNTO THEM CLOVEN TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE! IT SAN UPON EACH OF THEM! THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST! BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE! THE CONTINUATION OF WHAT BEGAN IN LUKE WITH ELIZABETH, ZACHARIAS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST! THE HOLY SPIRIT FILLED ELIZABETH WHEN SHE CAME IN PROXIMITY OF THE LORD JESUS! [AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED! THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE ONE THAT WASN’T FILLED! CAN WE SAY THIS IN OUR CHURCHES? CAN WE SAY THIS IN OUR HOUSES OF WORSHIP! A SHARED EXPERIENCE]. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). THE LORD GOD FORMED! THE LORD GOD BREATHED INTO! MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL! THE LORD FORMED THE CHURCH OUT OF ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY AND BREATHED INTO IT THE BREATH OF LIFE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT! “Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them” (Ezekiel 27:4-8). “Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the LORD God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, and exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).

            THIS IS THAT! THIS IS THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE PROPHET JOEL! “And it shall ome to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath” (Acts 2:16-19). “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24). “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom he have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:30-36).

            When you come to the New Testament book of Acts you will essentially find the second part of a narrative which was written by the beloved physician Luke—one which began within the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. If and as you read the New Testament you will find that the beloved physician Luke took to write a narrative and account concerning and regarding the person of Jesus the Christ and all which He began to do and teach during those three and a half years of public ministry. What sets apart the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke from the gospel written by John Mark, as well as the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John is that this gospel narrative not only described the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, but it also described the birth of Jesus the Christ. Not only this, but the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke would describe the angelic proclamation and announcement of the births of both John the Baptist who would be the messenger of the Messiah, as well as of the Messiah Himself. The first two chapters of the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke is one that is actually quite remarkable, for in addition to writing about the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ there was also this narrative of the Holy Spirit that was found within it. You cannot read the opening four chapters of the gospel narrative written by Luke and not encounter the awesome and powerful truth concerning the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—not only in bringing about the birth and nativity of Jesus the Christ, but also within the lives of Zacharias, Elizabeth and John the Baptist, but also in the life of Simeon. Not only this, but you will also find the narrative written by the physician Luke describing the activity of the Spirit within the life of Jesus the Christ as the Spirit would not only overshadow the physical body enabling her to conceive the life of the Messiah within her, but the Spirit would also be personally present and manifested within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that if you wish to understand the person, the presence and the narrative of the Holy Spirit within the New Testament book of Acts it is first necessary and imperative that you understand the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and surrounding the births of Jesus the Christ and John the Baptist. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first four chapters of the first and initial treatise which Luke wrote—not concerning the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ, but the physical person of Jesus the Christ:

            “And there appeared unto him an angel of the LORD standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the LORD, and shall drink neither strong drink; AND HE SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the LORD their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the LORD” (Luke 1:11-17).

            “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the LORD is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS> He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the LORD GOD shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, THE HOLY GHOST SHALL COME UPON THEE, AND THE POWER OF THE HIGHEST SHALL OVERSHADOW THEE: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the LORD; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).

            “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; AND ELISABETH WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the LORD” (Luke 1:39-45).

            “…And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came upon on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the LORD was with him. AND HIS FATHER ZACHARIAS WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, and prophesied” (Luke 1:62-67).

            “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: AND THE HOLY GHOST WA UPON HIM. AND IT WAS REVEALED UNTO HIM BY THE HOLY GHOST, THAT HE SHOULD NOT SEE DEATH, BEFORE HE HAD SEEN THE LORD’S CHRIST. AND HE CAME BY THE SPIRIT INTO THE TEMPLE: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God” (Luke 2:25-28).

            “And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND WITH FIRE: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:15-17).

            “AND JESUS BEING FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST RETURNED FROM JORDAN, AND WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT INTO THE WILDERNESS, being forty days tempted of the devil” (Luke 4:1).

            “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” (Luke 4:14).

            “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:17-19).

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that you cannot truly understand the narrative written within the New Testament book of Acts without recognizing and understanding it as a continuation of the New Testament gospel written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that in order to truly understand the words and language that is found in the New Testament book of Acts it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we first recognize it as a continuation of a narrative that began in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. In fact, I would also declare that the New Testament book of Acts must have as the foundation for it the gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for while the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the physical person of Jesus the Christ—the book of Acts describes the narrative of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ. The New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ describes the powerful activity of the Holy Ghost which would begin to stir, and move, and brood in the earth one more time. There is not a doubt in my mind that it would be during those days when the Holy Spirit began once more to move within and upon the earth, and would not only be involved within the life of Mary the mother of Jesus, but would also touch the lives of Zacharias, Elisabeth, and John the Baptist. What’s more, is that the Holy Spirit would indeed and undoubtedly be manifested within the life of the person of Jesus the Christ, as you cannot read the narrative concerning the public life and ministry of Jesus the Christ without and apart from recognizing and understanding it apart from the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon Him. In all reality, I would dare say that the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ written by the physician Luke was not only a gospel of the person of Jesus the Christ, but it was also a narrative that described the activity, the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost which would be present within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ.

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome and powerful truth that is found and contained within the opening four chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke, for the words which we find within this gospel not only presents us with the manifestation of Jesus the Christ in the midst of the earth as the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, but it is also presents us with the manifestation of the Holy Ghost as the Holy Spirit would not only fill Zacharias, Elisabeth and John the Baptist, but the Holy Spirit would also overshadow Mary together with the power of the Highest, thus enabling her to conceive the life of the Messiah within her womb. Moreover, we find the activity of the Spirit being present within the life of Simeon as the Holy Spirit would reveal unto Simeon that he would not taste death until he saw the Lord’s Christ. Moreover, we read how Simeon would come unto the Temple by the Spirit at the same time as Mary and Joseph would come unto the Temple of the LORD that they might dedicate the child Jesus unto the LORD as was prescribed by the LORD through the Law of Moses. Not only this, but we also find Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost in the beginning and opening verse of the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke—and not only being full of the Holy Ghost, but it would be that same Spirit that would lead Him into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil. After the temptation in the wilderness would conclude Scripture reveals how Jesus would return unto Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit, as He would begin to fulfill that which the Father had sent Him to accomplish. What’s more, is that even before the Spirit would lead Jesus into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil the Spirit would also descend upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove as He emerged and came forth out of the waters of the baptism. Even more, we find when Jesus was in the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth the prophetic book of Isaiah was handed to Him for to read, and when He had found the portion He was looking for within the scroll He not only read how the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him, but He also declared unto all those who were present there on that day that on that day this Scripture was fulfilled in their hearing and in their ears.

            When you come to the New Testament book of Acts you must not only view it as a powerful treatise concerning the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit during the days of the early church, but you must understand it as a continuation of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost which would begin before the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. It would be very easy to read the book of Acts as a book which describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the one-hundred and twenty which were present in the upper room, and how cloven tongues of fire rested upon them, and how they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance, and to completely miss the awesome and powerful reality that this book is a powerful continuation of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that began thirty-three years earlier. For thirty-three years the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit would be present and manifested within the earth—most certainly and assuredly within the lives of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. We also know that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would also be present within the lives of Zacharias and Elisabeth as the Holy Ghost would fill both of them, thus enabling them to make powerful prophetic declarations concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ who would be born among them in their midst. What’s more, is that more often than not we read the book of Acts and think that this is the beginning of the activity of the Holy Spirit within the earth, and yet this assumption is not only false, but it is also faulty as the Holy Ghost would be manifested within the lives of Zacharias, Elisabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, Simeon, and even the Lord Jesus Himself. There were at least five other individuals mentioned within the opening four chapters of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke which experienced the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit within their lives—either in filling them, or in speaking unto and leading them as was the case in Simeon when the Spirit would not only reveal unto him that he would not taste death until he saw the Lord’s Christ, but would also lead him unto the Temple on the very day and at the very moment when Mary and Joseph would bring Jesus the Christ unto the Temple to dedicate Him before the LORD as was prescribed by Moses in the Law of the LORD.

            As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth and reality that the book of Acts is not only a powerful continuation of the narrative of the activity of the Holy Ghost which would begin with the New Testament gospel of Luke, but it would also be a continuation of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. We know in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that Jesus would deliver some final remarks unto His disciples and followers before He would ascend unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven, and it would be in His absence that not only would the Holy Spirit come and be manifested in His place, but so also would the Church rise up in His place in the midst of the earth. Pause for a moment and think about that reality, for it has the tremendous power to dramatically alter and shift your perception of the person of the Holy Spirit, as well as the Church of Jesus the Christ. Upon reading the New Testament book of Acts you must not only recognize and understand it as a powerful discourse on the person and presence of the Holy Spirit being manifested and present within the earth in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ, but also as a powerful declaration and statement concerning the Church itself which would be manifested in the earth in the absence of Jesus the Christ. It’s worth noting and considering the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts, for the words which we find in this New Testament book is a powerful picture of the awesome manifestation of both the Church and the Spirit in the absence of the person of Jesus the Christ. For three and a half years Jesus the Christ would engage in public ministry among men in the regions of Judaea, Galilee, Samaria, and the like according to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, however, what we find within the New Testament book of Acts is a two-fold manifestation that would rise up and be present in the midst of the earth. The book of Acts is in all reality a direct fulfillment of those words which Jesus would speak unto His disciples in the upper room on the night He was betrayed, as well as the prayer He prayed before and unto the Father which the apostle John recorded for us in the seventeenth chapter of the gospel narrative which he wrote according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for in the absence of Christ—not only did the person and presence of the Holy Spirit rise up and be manifested in the midst of the earth in the place of Jesus the Christ, but also in the absence of Jesus the Christ the Church which was the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ be manifested within and upon the earth. Oh we cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this, for in all reality the book of Acts is a powerful narrative of the partnership of the Holy Ghost and the Church the same way the Holy Spirit and Jesus the Christ partnered together during those three and a half years of public ministry. During three and a half years Jesus who was both Lord and Christ would engage in public ministry within and upon the earth according and unto the power, the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon Him. In fact, the more I read and consider the words and language which is found in the New Testament book of Acts the more I can’t help but think about and consider it as a direct manifestation and fulfillment of that which Jesus had spoken unto His disciples when He spoke unto them in the upper room on the night in which He was betrayed. It would be on that night Jesus would emphatically declare unto them that He would depart from them, and that He would return unto His Father. With His departure and return unto the Father, however—not only did Jesus declare He would come unto them, and not only did He declare that both He and the Father would come in unto those who loved His commandments and kept His word, but this would be fulfilled in the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It would be through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit Jesus the Christ would come unto His disciples and followers, and it would be through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit both the Father and the Son would come unto and come into those disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ who loved the Lord Jesus the Christ and kept His commandments.

            It would be in chapters fourteen through sixteen we find Jesus the Christ emphatically and powerfully declaring unto His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans, and He would not leave them comfortless, for He would come unto them in the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would send the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the earth in His absence, and it would be the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that would help facilitate and continue the ministry which would begin with the Lord Jesus the Christ during those three and a half years He walked among us in the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it helps us to not only understand the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts, but it also helps us understand that although the book of Acts and the days of the early church have come to a close—the life and ministry of the Church has not come to a conclusion, nor has it drawn to a close. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke concerning the last shall be first and the first shall be last in terms of the early Church during those days leading up to the judgment upon Jerusalem, and the days of the final and Last Days when the Church would still be present and manifested within and upon the earth. I read the New Testament book of Acts I find it as a powerful and captivating treatise and statement concerning the continuation of that which had been begun within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. We read the words which are found in chapters fourteen through seventeen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John , and we must recognize that what we find and what we read in the New Testament book of Acts is a powerful fulfillment of that which Jesus spoke and that which Jesus prayed before and unto the Father. It’s important that we understand that within those chapters—not only was there a powerful prayer before and unto the Father concerning the unity of the body of Christ, but there was a powerful statement and declaration of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the earth, and the partnership of the Holy Spirit with the Church in the midst of the earth. For three and a half years there was a partnership between the eternal Son and the eternal Spirit to fulfill and accomplish the divine will of the Father. For three and a half years there would be this powerful ministry that would be engaged in by the Lord Jesus Christ—one that would see the blind receiving sight, one that would see the deaf hearing again, one that would see the lame walking, one that would see the dead raised, one that would see unclean spirits being cast out, and one that would see the gospel preached unto the poor. For three and a half years there was this powerful partnership which existed between the person of Jesus the Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus would not only be led by the Holy Spirit, but Jesus would also through the power of the Spirit fulfill that for which He must needs accomplish within the earth.

            As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the book of Acts—not only as a continuation of that which was begun within the life and person of Jesus the Christ, , but also as a powerful presence in the earth that would be manifested in the absence of Christ. Oh it’s absolutely necessary and imperative that in the absence of Jesus the Christ—not only is the Spirit manifested in that absence, but so also is the Church manifested in that absence. Too often we seem to think that it was just the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that was manifested in the absence of the Lord Jesus Christ after He returned unto His Father who was in heaven, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. It is indeed true that Jesus the Christ departed from this earth and returned unto His Father who was in heaven, and it is true that He would from the right hand of the Father send the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, however, there is another part to this mystery. There is another side to this narrative and story—the narrative and story of the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ—for not only is the person and presence of the Holy Spirit manifested in the earth in the absence of Jesus the Christ, but so also is and so also has the Church been manifested in the absence of the person of the Lord Jesus the Christ. When Jesus returned unto the Father He wasn’t simply going to send the Holy Spirit into the earth that the Spirit might accomplish and continue that which He began to do and teach in the earth, for the Spirit would not do the work of Christ in the earth alone and by Himself. The entire purpose, the entire role, the entire function of the Holy Spirit within the earth would be to come upon, to fill, to dwell within, and to partner together with the Church of Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that when Jesus sent the person of the Holy Spirit He didn’t send the Spirit to carry out, continue and finish the work which Jesus the Christ had begun to do and to teach within the earth, for that was not the reason, nor was it the purpose the Spirit was sent.

            I am sitting here right now thinking about and considering the awesome and powerful truth that we as the Church and we as the body of Christ must needs recognize and understand that when the Lord Jesus Christ from the right hand of the Father sent the person and presence of the Holy Spirit into the earth, He didn’t send the Spirit into the earth that the Spirit might fulfill and continue the work which Christ began. There are a number of men and women who think and feel that the Holy Spirit is that One who need to and is responsible for carrying out the work and ministry of the Lord Jesus the Christ in the midst of the earth, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case, nor should we assume that it was the case. Jesus did not depart from this earth and return unto the Father which was in heaven that He might send the Spirit to fulfill and carry out that which He had begun within the earth. When Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto His Father in heaven there would essentially be this void that would be present within the earth—a void that was left when Emmanuel which means “God with us” departed and returned unto the Father which was in heaven. When Jesus the Christ departed from this earth and returned unto His Father which was in heaven there would be this void that would be left in the earth as the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us would no longer be present in the midst of the earth. Oh I can’t help but think about the fact that it would be into this void the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would come and be manifested in the midst of the earth. Just as in the beginning when the earth was without form and void, and just as in the beginning when darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, so also would the Holy Spirit, so also would the same eternal Spirit be sent into the midst of that void which was left in the earth in the absence of the person and presence of the Lord Jesus the Christ. With this being said, however, it would not only be the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that would enter into that void which was created when the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us departed unto the Father. It would be into that void, and it would be into that darkness that the Church—the disciples, the followers and the body of Christ—would enter and be manifested within and in the midst of. That void which was left and that void which was created in and by the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ would not only be filled and occupied by the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, but it would also be filled and occupied by the Church of Jesus Christ within and upon the earth—that spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ which would be manifested within the earth.

            It is with this in mind that we must recognize and understand two distinct and very important truths which are captured for and presented unto us within the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. If and as you read the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find two powerful and two distinct truths and manifestations which must needs be present and manifested in the earth in the absence of the person and presence of the Lord Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this awesome and powerful truth, for it is this truth which brings us face to face with the awesome and incredibly truth that when Jesus the Christ departed from this earth and returned unto the Father He would indeed send the person and presence of the Holy Spirit into the earth, however, it would not be the person and presence of the Holy Spirit who alone would enter into that void which was left in the absence of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. We must needs recognize and understand that it would be into that void and into that absence the Church would also rise up and step into that they might fulfill, continue, carry out and complete that which had been begun with the person of Jesus the Christ. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that you and I as disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ were and have been called to enter into and fulfill the life, the work and the ministry which began with the Lord Jesus the Christ in the earth? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and hear that you and I were called to enter into that void and absence which was created when Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto the Father which was in heaven? Would it surprise you to think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that you and I were and have been called to enter and step into the absence that was left when Jesus the Christ departed from this earth and returned unto His Father who was in heaven? We must needs recognize and understand that you and I—just as the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ during the days of the early Church—have been called to enter into that void and absence which was left when Jesus Christ returned unto His Father who was in heaven.

            As I continue to think about the tremendous and powerful call that has been placed upon and within your life and my life, I can’t help but think about the truly awesome truth that with this manifestation of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ being manifested in the midst of the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ there are indeed two distinct elements and two distinct realities which surround it. The first part of this manifestation and reality is centered upon the nature of the message we have been called to preach—namely, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the Christ from the dead, and the ascension of the Lord Jesus the Christ which is a type and foreshadow of His return in the same manner in which He departed from the earth. We must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart of the gospel we preach is not only that Jesus the Christ has been raised from death to life after He suffered and was crucified, but also that Jesus the Christ is returning and coming again in the same manner in which He departed and returned unto the Father who was in heaven. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand this powerful truth, for at the very heart of the gospel and message we preach is the emphatic declaration that not only did Jesus the Christ rise from death to life and emerge from the grave after suffering, after being crucified, and after being buried in a borrowed tomb, but also the emphatic declaration that just as Jesus the Christ ascended unto the right hand of the Father, so also He would return from the right hand of the Father to gather together His body which was upon the earth. RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION—THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL PREACHED IN THE ABSENCE OF JESUS THE CHRIST! In addition to this, it is also necessary and imperative we understand that there is a second side and a second part to this mystery and manifestation, and that is the manifestation of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ within and upon the earth. While the very heart and foundation of our gospel is centered upon the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the Christ from death to life and His return to gather together His Church in like manner as He departed from His disciples and followers, we must also needs recognize and understand that there is this clarion and powerful call to be witnesses for and witnesses of Christ in the midst of the earth through, by and according to the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found written and recorded in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, and not only here in the first and opening chapter, but also in the final chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the same author:

            “The former treaties have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3).

            “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him to into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

            It is within these two passages found within the opening chapter of the book of Acts we find and discover the foundation of the gospel and message we preach in this life in the absence and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—namely, that Jesus was raised from death to life and emerged from the grave after suffering, after being crucified, and after being buried in the heart of the earth for three days. These two passages serve as a powerful declaration and emphatic statement concerning and unto the gospel in which we as the Church of Jesus the Christ preach in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ, for we not only preach a risen Christ, but we also preach a returning Christ. There is within the opening chapter of the book of Acts a powerful manifestation of resurrected and risen Christ, as well as a powerful manifestation of the returning Christ. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that not only within this opening chapter do we find a powerful manifestation of the risen and resurrected Christ, but we also find a powerful symbol, picture, and manifestation of the returning Christ. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the awesome and powerful truth that the gospel we preach in the midst of this generation is not only a gospel of the resurrected Jesus Christ, but also the returning Jesus Christ—a Jesus who will come back and return in like manner and in the same fashion in which we saw Him depart from this earth. How absolutely powerful it is to think about the fact that there was a group of disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ who watched as Jesus the Christ was taken up from among them in their midst—and not only this, but they continued to watch as a cloud received Him out of their sight. I can’t help but see within this passage of Scripture—not only a powerful picture of the return of Jesus Christ in the same manner and fashion in which He was lifted up and departed from among them, but also a powerful picture of a Church and body that is waiting for Him to return. I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for what we find within this passage of Scripture is a truly wonderful picture of a people who are waiting and watching for the return of Jesus the Christ in the same manner as those who stood watching as Jesus Christ was lifted up from among them, and as a cloud hid Him from their sight. Oh we must needs understand that not only must we be a people who preach a resurrected Jesus, but we must also preach a returning Jesus Christ—a Jesus who will come back in like manner in which He was taken up and received by the Father and set down at the right hand of all power in heaven.

            With this in mind we must also consider the second part to this mystery of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which not only is, but has been called to be manifested in the midst of the earth in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely necessary that we understand and recognize that we as the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ have been called to rise up and stand in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ, and that it isn’t the Spirit alone who is called to fill the void and absence that was left by the person of Jesus the Christ. It is indeed true that Jesus the Christ would send the promise of the Father and the promise of the Holy Spirit into the earth as the means by which He would come unto and dwell within us, but it was also true that there was indeed a two-fold sending that would take place from Jesus the Christ. There would be the sending of the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ into the earth as is evidenced in the words we find in the final chapters of the New Testament gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark, and the physician Luke, as well as in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. What’s more, is that in addition to the sending of the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ into the earth there would also be the sending of the Holy Spirit into and upon the earth. It would be prior to the departure of the Lord Jesus the Christ that He would send forth His disciples and followers, but it would be after He had ascended unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven that He would engage in another sending—a sending not of flesh and blood into the earth, but a sending of the person of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit which came upon Him in the bodily form of a dove at the Jordan River, and the same Spirit that filled Him that He might engage in the work of the Father in the midst of the earth is the same Spirit which was sent within and upon the earth to not only dwell within, but also to partner with and empower the Church of Jesus the Christ. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the awesome reality that before Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto His Father in heaven He would commission and send His disciples and followers into the earth, and it would be after He ascended and returned unto the Father which was in heaven He would send the Spirit into and upon the earth that the Spirit might work together with the Church to carry out and fulfill that which He had commanded them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Synoptic gospel narratives, as well as the words which are found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

            “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).

            “Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 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. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. AND THEY WENT FORTH, AND PREACHED EVERY WHERE, THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM, AND CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING. Amen” (Mark 16:14-20).

            “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. AND YE ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:45-52).

            “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5).

            “When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. 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 1:6-8).

            It is absolutely necessary to read the words which are found within these chapters, for the words we find here in these chapters bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that in the absence of the Word made flesh which dwelt among us the only begotten of the Father would not only send the person of the Holy Spirit into, within and upon the earth, but He would also send His church—the disciples and followers of Jesus Himself—into the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for when we think about the void that was created when Jesus the Christ departed from this earth and returned unto His Father in heaven we must needs recognize and understand that as much as He didn’t leave His disciples as orphans without a comforter, so also did He not leave the world without a witness. Despite the fact that Jesus departed from the earth and returned unto His Father who was in heaven the work which He engaged in, and the work which He began and started during those three and a half years would indeed continue in the wake of His absence. What’s more, is that there wouldn’t really be a prolonged period of time when the work which began with Christ would not be continued and carried out in the midst of the earth, as we know that it would be ten days after the ascension of Jesus the Christ unto the right hand of the Father in heaven the person of the Holy Spirit would be released in the midst of the earth. It would be once the Holy Spirit was manifested in the midst of the earth the work which began and started with Jesus the Christ would continue through the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus the Christ. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for there would be a quick and powerful transition that would take place from that work which was begun and started with Jesus Christ, and it’s continuation and carrying out with and by the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, for just ten days after the ascension of Jesus the Christ we find the sending of the Holy Spirit into and upon the earth. Not only this, but on the very same day the person and presence of the Holy Spirit was released in the midst of the earth we find the manifestation and evidence of the Spirit within and upon the lives of the one-hundred and twenty in the upper room. It would be on the day of Pentecost—on the tenth day after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the right hand of the Father in heaven—that the Spirit would be released, all one hundred and twenty in the upper room would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and they would all speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

            I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in these chapters, for one thing we must needs realize and recognize concerning the absence and departure of the Lord Jesus the Christ would not only be the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, but also the Church. Oh dear reader it is my prayer that you would realize and recognize that in the absence of the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us you yourself have been called to step into that void and into that absence as the manifestation of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and beautiful reality, for it is this reality which brings us face to face with the powerful truth that when Jesus departed from this world and returned unto His Father who was in heaven—not only did He not leave the disciples as orphans, but so also would He not leave the world without a witness. What’s more, is that even though Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto the Father the work which He had engaged in during those three and a half years would continue and would be manifested in the midst of the earth. Even though Jesus would depart from the earth and return unto His Father which was in heaven He would still be manifested in the midst of the earth—not only through the spiritual body which is the Church, but also through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. We dare not, we must not, we cannot afford to miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing and captivating reality, for to do so would be to miss out on how absolutely powerful it is that when Jesus departed from the earth He would ordain and appoint His disciples and followers to continue and carry out the work which He had faithfully carried out and executed during those three and a half years. The Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us would indeed depart and return unto the Father, however, He would raise up manifestations of that same Word through the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. Although you and I are not the Word made flesh which dwelt among men we are indeed words in the flesh which are present among men that the work of the kingdom might be manifested in the midst of the earth. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that you have been called and chosen, I have been called and chosen, and we collectively have been called and chosen to step into that void that was left when Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto the Father which was in heaven.

            It was indeed true that the Word was made flesh and would dwell among us, and it was true that Jesus would indeed by Emmanuel which was God with us, however, we must needs recognize and realize that we as the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ have been called to step into that void which was left when He departed unto His Father . We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for we have been called to an extraordinary task, mission and assignment within the earth as in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ we as the spiritual body have been called to rise up in the midst of the earth and carry out and fulfill that which He commanded us. Oh that we would come to terms with the powerful truth that in the absence of Jesus the Christ as the Word made flesh which dwelt among us there was not only the sending of the Church into the midst of the earth, but there would also be the sending of the Spirit into the earth to work and partner together with the Church. What’s more, is that although the Church was sent out into the midst of the earth in the absence of the Lord Jesus the Christ, they would not be sent forth without and apart from the person of the Holy Spirit. It was indeed true that the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ would be sent forth into the earth, but there was indeed this process and period of waiting and tarrying that needed to take place beforehand. They were indeed called to be witnesses in their generation beginning with Jerusalem, and then continuing within Judaea and Samaria, and ultimately unto the uttermost parts of the earth, however, they could not be and there would be no witness without and apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for there are a number of individuals who think and believe they can be witnesses—regardless of whether it’s in Jerusalem, or Judaea, or Samaria, or even in and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—and believe they can do so without the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.

            In the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find the beloved physician Luke recording Jesus instructing His disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, and declaring unto them that they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days thereafter. What’s more, is that within this chapter we also find Jesus declaring unto the disciples and followers that they would receive power, after that the Holy Ghost had come upon them, and they would be witnesses unto Him both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within these chapters, for the words we find in these chapters confronts us with the powerful truth that into the void and absence that was left by the departure of the Lord Jesus the Christ the Church and spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ would be manifested in the earth. Jesus the Christ would indeed depart from this earth and return unto the Father who was in heaven, and it would be in this departure and void the Church and body of Christ would be called on to step up and step into the void. When Jesus returned to the Father which was in heaven it wasn’t merely about Jesus sending the person of the Holy Spirit to enter into and fill the void that was left behind in the wake of His departure. In all reality, I would dare say that the Church has just as much a role and just as much of a responsibility in the midst of the earth in the wake of the departure of Jesus from this earth and returning unto the Father who is in heaven. It is without a doubt true that the Spirit has been sent and released into the earth by Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the Father who is in heaven as the means of His coming unto us, and as a means of both the Father and the Son coming unto us, however, we must also recognize that the work which needs to be done within the earth is not entirely and altogether up to the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t send the Holy Spirit into the earth so you could sit comfortable in the pews of the church buildings while the work outside the four walls of the church is great. It was Jesus who spoke of lifting up our eyes to see the harvest for the fields were white unto the harvest. It was Jesus who emphatically declared that the harvest truly is plenteous, and yet the labourers are few. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the ninth chapter in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the opening verses of the tenth chapter:

            “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).

            “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease…These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:1-8).

            I feel absolutely and completely compelled to call and draw your attention to the absolutely remarkable and astounding reality that Jesus didn’t send the Holy Spirit into the earth so we could build bigger and better churches, to we could build ministry empires for ourselves, or to even create a name and reputation for ourselves. When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the earth He sent the Spirit that the Spirit working together with us might step into the void that was left with and from the departure of Jesus the Christ when He returned unto the Father and ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that we have just as much of a responsibility within the earth to step into the void left in the wake of Jesus’ departure as the person of the Holy Spirit does. Not only this, but Jesus didn’t send the Holy Spirit into the earth so we could somehow escape any responsibility on our part to carry out, continue and complete the work which Jesus Himself began to do and to teach in the earth. We must recognize and understand that Jesus didn’t send the person of the Holy Spirit into the earth to carry out the work He engaged in while He was within and upon the earth so we wouldn’t have to. Jesus didn’t send the person of the Holy Spirit into the earth to carry out and complete a work which we have been called to carry out and complete. The Holy Spirit was never sent into the earth so we could remain in the comfort and convenience of our churches. Oh tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—what good is it if “Christians” are in the Church while the Holy Spirit is outside the four walls of the church building working as Christ would have done? Is it possible that there are countless churches that are wondering where the person and presence of the Holy Spirit is in their midst and the Spirit and Christ are speaking unto them that if they want to experience the power of the Spirit they need to get out of the four walls of the church building and join the Spirit? Oh I would dare say there are countless churches and ministries that are seeking the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to be manifested among them in their midst and yet they fail to realize that the person, the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit is needed more outside the four walls of the church buildings than inside.

            Oh I sit here today and I can’t help but think about how many churches, how many ministries, and how many organizations want the person of the Spirit to come in among them and align Himself with their agendas within the four walls of the church and they fail to realize that what is ultimately needed is their getting outside the walls and pews of the church and align themselves with the agenda of the Spirit. Oh there are countless ministries and organizations that are seeking to person and presence of the Holy Spirit to somehow come in among them in their midst and anoint their agenda, anoint their plans, anoint their purposes, and anoint that which has been produced by and from the imagination of men, and they fail to realize that what is ultimately needed is bringing ourselves in alignment with the work which Jesus the Christ began, and aligning ourselves with the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality, for we dare not, we cannot and must not allow ourselves to get caught up in the false reality of the Spirit needing to enter into our midst and somehow align Himself with our agenda rather than our getting out of ourselves, and getting out of our buildings and pews that we might bring ourselves into alignment with the agenda of the Spirit. Oh my brother, my sister—quit trying to invite the Spirit to come into alignment with your plans, your purposes, your agenda, your desires, your “work,” and your “ministry.” There is absolutely no time for those churches and those “Christians” who are unwilling to align themselves with the work and ministry of the Spirit, and who would rather seek to have the person of the Spirit somehow align Himself to their agendas, their plans, their purposes, their “ministries” and their “works.”

            We as the people of God have been called to step into the void that was created when Emmanuel—which is translated as “God with us”—departed from this earth and returned unto the Father. When Jesus the Christ departed from this world and returned unto the Father He did not leave the world without a witness—yea, without witnesses—for Jesus emphatically declared unto His disciples and followers that they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judaea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. We must needs recognize and understand this powerful truth and this powerful reality, for it brings us face to face with the awesome reality that you and I have been called to step into a void that was created when the Word which was made flesh departed from the earth and returned unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. We must needs acknowledge and truly come to terms with the powerful truth and reality that Jesus the Christ sent the person of the Holy Spirit into the earth to partner together with us as those who have been sent out into the world, and as those who have been sent into the harvest. Jesus didn’t send the Spirit Himself into the harvest, but rather He sent us into the harvest anointed and filled by the Spirit. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, and whether or not we are truly filled with the person and power of the Holy Spirit. We must needs recognize that Jesus didn’t send the Holy Spirit into the earth to carry out and complete the work which He began in the earth so we wouldn’t have to. What’s more, is Jesus didn’t send the Spirit into the earth merely as a guest in our midst, and as someone we invite among us when we see fit, and when we desire Him. Jesus sent the person and presence of the Holy Spirit among us into our midst so we could be witnesses and not bystanders or spectators. OH that we would realize and recognize that one of the greatest dangers in many churches today is that there are men and women who would rather be bystanders and spectators in what the Spirit is doing rather than being partners and witnesses together with the Spirit to carry out and complete the work which Jesus the Christ has ordained and appointed in the earth. It is with this I leave you with the final words written and recorded within the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).

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