We must jealously guard our heritage
My concern this morning is how we can preserve and pass on our Pentecostal heritage. Jude urges us to contend for the faith that was once and for all entrusted to God’s holy people. (Jude 3) In our case we must fight hard to keep and transfer the Pentecostal heritage to the next generation.
By heritage we mean the teachings, values, and culture we have inherited. So, the Pentecostal heritage is the doctrines, practices, values, and culture—the way we do our things—we have inherited. You are alien to your own culture when you don’t speak the mother tongue. When you don’t frequently eat the local dish, you are a member of that culture only in name and similarly when you don’t identify with the way of dressing. Unfortunately, a significant many are becoming alien to the Pentecostal heritage.
Mark 16.17-18 says,
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (NKJV)
Jesus was talking about an empowered life. To be a Christian is to live an empowered life. The empowered life speaks in tongues. It manifests spiritual power. It has no phobia for other powers but emanates strength and exudes charisma. The empowered life comes by the Pentecostal experience. It is a Spirit-filled life.
The distinguishing features of being Pentecostal
1. The baptism in the Holy Spirit
2. The habit of speaking in tongues
3. The manifestation of spiritual gifts in the corporate life of the church
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the single distinguishing feature and the source of our empowerment. Some people have joined the culture but you must be born into it. May God give us the grace so that those who have joined us will be born into it.
The empowered life is our heritage. This conference is about empowerment—preserving and passing on our heritage.
The Pentecostal cultural elements
Luke 24.49 says,
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (NIV)
You cannot properly consider yourself Ghanaian if you don’t know what kente is because it is distinctive to our culture and heritage. Similarly, the Holy Spirit baptism and the habit of being continually filled with the Spirit constitute the attire of the Pentecostal culture. Each of us must be clothed with power from on high. You are not Pentecostal because you attend the Church of Pentecost. You are Pentecostal because you have got the spiritual kente.
Jesus said his food was to do the will of his father who had sent him. (John 4.34) We must do his will everywhere—at work and at home. We don’t witness here at church but the witnessing is done after church. How does my wife describe me? What does she think of me? That is my witness. It is the witness we give at the workplace and at home that is our food.
We have our cloth, our food, and our language. Our language is tongues, not spoken in noise but in love.
In between 1 Corinthians 12, 14 is the chapter on love. Thus the spiritual girts must be exercised in love.
Dunamis is an explosive power used to disintegrate obstacles. It is the origin of the word “dynamite.” It makes a way where there seems to be no way. It is also the origin of the word “dynamo”—a device that generates electric current continuously. Hence, dunamis is his divine power working through us as a dynamo and working for us as dynamite.
The source of this power is the main text for our conference, Acts 1.8. There are three main thoughts in that text:
2. The reception of power
3. The purpose of power
Can you imagine a home in Ghana without power? Electric power was crucial in our last elections. When there is power there is productivity and profit. Power brings many conveniences.
This experience of the power is like communion. We don’t watch it; we participate in it. Acts 1.8 is like that. We don’t just watch it, but we participate in it. Your level of your spiritual life will be determined by the power that runs through you.
The reception of power
Acts 1.4 says,
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (NIV)
This text is the staircase to the upper room.
Luke 24.49 says,
“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power form on high.” (NKJV)
To receive the power you must wait—tarry. Power comes by waiting. No shortcuts. It comes to those who dare to wait. And we must pass that culture to the next generation. Power comes to those who are tarrying—lingering—and not hurrying to leave his presence. Waiting is temporal inactivity and, sometimes, you can solidify it with fasting. It makes you weak so you can’t go out. Waiting is the most difficult of the commands of God. For instance, waiting for your spouse or your proposal. People wait and wait and give God a deadline. Nobody likes waiting.
Examples of waiting
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” (NIV)
The Bible says because Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he waited when he received an emergency call from them. Many of us are responding to emergencies without God’s leadership. When you wait for the Spirit you will be on time.
1 Kings 18.42, 45-46
Ahab took the lead ahead of Elijah on a chariot but the power of God came upon Elijah after he had waited on the Lord so that he outrun the Ahab’s chariot and took the lead ahead of him to Jezreel. This celebrates what Isaiah said that they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40.31) Ahab must have wondered how this old man on foot was unbeatable. By the power of the Spirit you shall be unbeatable.
1 Samuel 10.8
Saul could not wait for Samuel as he had been instructed to do and it cost him dearly. His kingdom would have been established forever if he had waited. If we can go back to waiting, we will be established forever. Waiting means seeking the Lord’s favor and we cannot bypass it.
Mark 16.17-18, Luke 24.49