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The Early and Latter Rain

Chester Clark III

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Chester Clark III

Pastor, Evangelist, and Educator

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  • September 28, 2018
    7:00 PM
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Well this evening we're going to be taking a look at the Holy Spirit and I don't know how I feel like I'm a long ways from you all I know we have an ant problem so I may spend some time up here I may just come a little closer that's all right you will be offended if I don't stay up here the whole time will you we're going to be looking at the Holy Spirit and how and how the early and the latter rain are to impact us especially important to dig you know today we hear discussion about the Holy Spirit and we hear discussion about for example I don't know what you have in this area but it seems like an Ab and large the whole trinity question has arisen again these things sort of go in cycles it was in the mid ninety's as I recall it was last thing a big a big thing but but the question of whether the Holy Spirit is a person or not as a member of the Godhead that's something we're going to be looking at some tomorrow I think it's an important question I do I think we're going to we're going to be looking at what the Holy Spirit means to us and what it can do for us and all the different roles that it plays in our lives at least some of them tomorrow but tonight we're going to be looking particularly at the early and the latter rain and I think that as we as we think of the Holy Spirit we often just sort of. Maybe I'm just maybe his confession on my part but I feel like we we tend to think yes that too I need the Holy Spirit to write I mean salvation and Jesus and all those things are our center stage but the Holy Spirit is sort of a little bit of a side show in our thinking and maybe that's partly because the Holy Spirit does take more quiet role but it's a very important role nonetheless and it's a role that I think that we should be aware of and studying and as I think of the Holy Spirit particularly as a pastor you as a church member whatever role you have to play in God's Cause I think too often we. We do things that are that are humanly possible and we use human methods and human plans and human ideas when really I think of the Holy Spirit had free reign in our churches it would radically change the way we do business it would radically change the types of conflicts that we have and how we work through those conflicts it would radically change the way we learn to love each other you know. You will have time to talk more about some of these things but the seeming I want to specially to focus on the early and the latter rain and so we're going to start with just a little bit of a Bible study I hope you brought your Bibles because we're going to look at the at the Word of God here 1st of all tonight we're going to look at a number of passages together and then we're going to be looking also at some spirit of prophecy statements and passages that sort of amplify and and illuminates some of the things that were reading in God's word. I believe that this is largely an Adventist campus advocates gathering and so I may use the Spirit of Prophecy a little more here than I would on a typical Sabbath morning sermon where I'm preaching a lot of non at the nets but this is this is what we're going to be focusing on here tonight and I want to use it in an authoritative way as I believe God has given it to be used in that way as we learn about the Holy Spirit here this evening so the early AM the Latter Rain a symbol in the Bible that we find and I'm going to just ask you to turn in your Bibles will start Isaiah Chapter 44 and will read verse 3 as a Chapter 44 and verse 3 and we're going to look at a number of verses here this is our 1st one as we get started this evening Isaiah 44 and verse 3 and maybe someone could read that for me with a loud clear voice. Anyone found this. Or will or water on this Thursday close upon dry ground 0 for my spirit I see I see. OK so here we find a classic Hebrew literary. Construction that is being used here it's a parallel synonym ism and then them is a something like that it's appeared to parallel of a parallel thoughts presented twice you see that I will pour water on him who is thirsty and floods up on the dry ground I will pour my spirit upon your offspring and my blessing upon your descendants so here you have a thought being being conveyed and then a another way of stating it right below this happens all throughout the Bible to literary form much like we would use a limerick or some sort of a poetic a verse or meter the Hebrew writers often employed these parallel and and agreeing passages so this is the promise just like rain upon a dry ground he says I will poor my spirit upon your offspring now I suppose here in Southern California we know something about dry ground. And it's nothing like there's nothing there's nothing so rewarding you might say or gratifying than a good rain shower after it's been dry for so long particularly when you have fires and so forth burning and the rain is promised and here it says your offspring are going to be that dry ground and I'm going to poor water upon my spirit is going to flood not just a little sprinkle like a. Forgive me but a Southern California rain showers use it more like a sprinkle compared to the tropics right or even Georgia where I live when it rains it rains you know we have seen 4 inches in an hour before that so that's rain you know. So this is a flood that is promised a delusion a downpour not just a little bit of a sprinkle or a bit of humidity Zechariah chapter 10 and verse one Zechariah chapter 10 and we're going to read verse one and if I could invite someone who finds that to read it for me I would appreciate it at the Zachariah chapter 10 and verse one the restoration for Judah and Israel. In one yes or no ordering the. Lord shall write. If the Sharks were to. Feel. OK So ask from the Lord rain in the season of rain that sounds like a good idea right he will cause for you to come down the rain and if we if we continue on back will go to the next verse 34 and verse 6 I want you to see that this this promise of the Latter Rain The early in that latter rain is a thread that runs throughout the Old Testament this was not a a new thought in the New Testament when Pentecost happened but eyes Chapter 34 and verse 2634 and verse 26 some like to read that. There should be showers of blessing you know that song we sing it often right there should be showers of blessing. What a what a promise this is and this is right here for musical Chapter 34 and verse 26 I will cause i will make them and the places around my hill a blessing I will send down the showers in their season they should be showers of blessing and of course probably the best known passage on the early and latter rain is found in Joel chapter 2 and so we're going to look there real quickly here this evening Joel chapter 2 and we're going to examine more carefully this passage was quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost as a as a prophecy that was being fulfilled will start in verse 23 of Joel chapter 2 and there's multiple verses here I'll read them here Joel 223-2829 will focus on filter 23 says Be glad children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God for He is given the early rain for your vindication he has poured down for you abundant rain the early AM the latter rain as before and it goes on and talks about how this is going to result and blessing for God's people there is going to be an overflowing of harvest and so forth eating of plenty verse $28.00 and it's a come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh your sons and your daughters to prophesy your old men shall dream dreams your young men shall see visions even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my spirit and this is talking if you look down here verse 31 makes it very clear this is talking about before the great and dreadful or Awesome day of the Lord we believe this is primarily a promise about the latter rain to be poured out just before the 2nd Coming right and of course we saw a a a former rain being poured. Out there at the Day of Pentecost one more verse in the Old Testament before we move on to other passages Hosea Jose chapter 6 and verse 3 Hosea chapter 6 and verse 3 Someone like to read that for me Hosea 6 and verse 3. All on. Here. OK so here we find it I like this passage because it gives a little different perspective about the early in the former reign and there's a following on isn't there in the knowledge there's something for us to do there's something for us to participate in this experience of receiving the early and the latter redeemed now sometimes when we think of the early and latter rains we just think of well there's Pentecost and there's some future event we tend to sort of isolate or ENCEL a our current environment from the immediacy the urgency of the former and the latter ran through the early in the latter reigns and we're going to find that that's really not what we should how we should be viewing the subject now just real briefly here the climate of Palestine is much like that of right around here in Southern California there's a rainy season beginning the fall and reach into the spring and this rainy season begins with what they call the early let rain and ends with the latter rain now if you are planting in. A crop of grain let's say which was the staple barley or wheat or whatever the grain was you had planted in the fall when the early rains came and it would grow throughout the what we call the winter and then the the latter rain comes in the spring just before the harvest so the you have the early rain about the time of planting if the early rain doesn't come you have no life you have no plant it's you could go out and without irrigation in Southern California. During the dry season you plant seeds nothing's going to happen right. You have to have that rain will they didn't have your geisha in systems and it's not what we would consider geisha and systems in those days so they depended upon those rains when they put the seed in the ground they needed the rain to come to water that seed in to bring it to life you might say to bring the plants out of the ground the the Latter Rain is in the spring just before the harvest so just before those those those heads of grain are to be harvested they have to have that last push to swell them up and to make them a bountiful harvest with lots of grain the commune made into crude into into into flower or whatever else is going to be made of them so the early rain is moderate but the latter rain is expected to be in greater abundance and then tire agriculture program depended upon these rains like I was saying if you didn't have the former rain you wouldn't have plants if you didn't have a ladder rain you wouldn't have much of a harvest you wouldn't have much of a crop to mature and to be to be gathered in so this is the symbolism that God is using here we've looked throughout the Old Testament we've seen how God used this symbolism too to illustrate how the Holy Spirit would begin and in an early rain for. At the beginning of the Christian dispensation the Christian age and at the end the latter rain would come in order to prepare the harvest snorter to do the finishing work you might say So what's the purpose of the early rain is to soften the hard ground to cause the seed to germinate the purpose of the Latter Rain to bring the grain to full maturity. It could not ripe and swell without that latter rain without those those final touches of you might say now I'd like to just break this into different categories and we look at the early rain in the latter rain I'd like for us to consider what it means for the church and what it means for me and for you as an individual because in a corporate sense it and an individual sense there really is a difference and as we look at the latter rain in the early rain for the early rain the the church it represents the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Christian Church in moderate measure beginning at Pentecost Now we usually think of Pentecost as being a real outpouring of love of the Holy Spirit right the power of I mean 3000 baptized in a day and I mean Peter only preaches for what it was a I don't know 78 minutes if you read his sermon and all these people are predicting their hearts and they're convicted in their converted and they ask to be baptized what can we do to join the church you know I mean that's an exciting citing day and we think well that's going to happen again at the latter rain but actually the early rain was given then and it's still here now right and so that that early rain for the church is has been given for the individual the Holy Spirit given is given to convert the our souls from sin and to bring growth and victory in preparation for the latter rain so just like the church had a beginning stage you might say at the Day of Pentecost when the disciples were still does. Brand new Christians really weren't they they just come to a conversion experience and and the church was just in its infancy they didn't have any any possessions or any any meeting places or any assets or any power in the religious circles or political circles of the day but the church the Holy Spirit was given to the church and really friends that's all they needed think about it think about the challenges of the Gospel going to the world. In one generation. My understanding of Matthew $24.00 and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness and to all nations and then shall the end come my understanding of that is that that was one of the signs that was to see not only the end of time but also the destruction of Jerusalem member Jesus was asked the question of when shall these things be and when should be the the sign of your coming and of the end of the world and Jesus mean gold signs that would take place both before the destruction of Jerusalem and also before the end of time and so Paul tells us that clocks in chapter one verse 23 that the Gospel which he preached had been preached to every creature under heaven and one generation the Gospel went to the known world that's an amazing accomplishment think about it from a different perspective when that when at when Christianity started there they were the epitome of a powerless people group right they were hated by the Romans they were hated by the Christians. By the Jews I'm sorry so really they were in a hostile cultural environment you think of vandalism is hard today in secularism and all the rest that we have going on Christian and Christianity in its earliest stages faced a huge uphill battle right they had very little resources very little to draw on except they have the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit an early rain form was enough to transform people's lives so that people who had been dishonest became honest people who had been liars became truthful people there had been a sad an angry and unhappy became filled with the joy of the Lord which became their strength right and it didn't matter whether you were high or low the Gospel of Jesus Christ transform their lives the power of the Holy Spirit teaching brought conversions are around the world and the Gospel spread like wildfire I mean Paul had a big part to play in a dingy he went to these different cosmopolitan centers where people came from all over the world and there he is stablished churches and the people went back to their people and and their languages and their regions and the gospel just spread in one generation with all of the obstacles to the known world it's an amazing story it is but it gets even more amazing when you think about this paganism had a stranglehold on the Roman government the Roman Empire was a pagan empire to its core through and through right it was pagan the culture the the the way it was set up the way they worship their Emperor I mean everything was about it was pagan there were there were more there were more. Images in the city of Rome than there were inhabitants it was a pagan culture and yet and only a couple of 100 years. Christianity transformed just so many hearts and lives from inside that world impair that paganism was forced to surrender to Christianity think about it we often sort of look at Constantine with the butt of a scowl the way we think that little scoundrel you know about paganism and calling it Christianity but the silver lining to that cloud is that Christianity had overwhelmed paganism paganism could not stand any longer as the support of the Empire and for political expediency Constantine did I believe that's why he did what he did because the Gospel changes lives they didn't have much but they had the Holy Spirit and so from the early reign we see the amazing story on both the corporate level of the Christian church but also for on the individual level the Holy Spirit is given to convert from san and to bring growth and victory in preparation for the latter rain for the church the Latter Rain represents the outpouring the Holy Spirit on the remnant church at the close of its work during the loud cry we're using a lot of maybe a. At that is terminology there or in time terminology there but I think most of you understand what we're talking about the Latter Rain is is release given at at a very important juncture in this world's history when God's people need it right. To show to the world once and for all the character of God The the the the Bible says the 4th Angel revelation 18 comes down on lightens the earth with its glory right with great power that's the power of the law to reign the power of the Holy Spirit given to the church corporately by the individual the Holy Spirit given in great measure to the believer to seal his or her Christian experience to empower witness and amateur reflection of God's truth and love so here you have sort of a summary of of how we understand the early rain and the latter rain and the question that we have to be in asking ourselves as we sort of matriculate through this discussion here this evening the question we have to ask yourself is how is my experience in this process of the Early in the latter rain where we look often forward to the latter rain. I've often looked forward to a lot of rain without really thinking too much about the early rain without thinking too much about what has the early rain done in my life what is the early ring convince me I remember when I was just experiencing a reconversion experience in my late teens and I was I was not a bad person I had never been one of those people who went out and you know so their wild oats or did all those things that you know you'd have this powerful testimony to tell about drugs and all those amazing things that I was saved from but I want to I want to say something in the C.V. I believe the power of God to save someone from those choices is amazing. It's a real testimony when God has brought someone back from a life of sin and degradation but is no less a testimony friends when the Holy Spirit keeps a person from that life of sin and their good ation that's a testimony to and sometimes people like me were tempted to think well I can't really have a testimony that people are just helped spellbound you know I can't have this the story that you know I can write a book about you know on. Whatever he you know but but really we all have a testimony don't we and as a as a young person I I love Jesus there was a time in my life where to be honest with you. I wasn't walking with him on a daily basis and I was good so I didn't realize it I was you member the 2 sons that were told by their father go work in the vineyard One him said I'm not going and according to Uncle Arthur he went fishing right and he was over there by the river. The artist at least in the Bible story books. Now the other son said I'm going but he didn't go of course the 1st son afterwards I repented and went and and Jesus asked the Farriss which one did the will of the Father and blurting out an answer before they thought about their self incrimination they said Of course you know the 1st one and Jesus said well the publican's and the prostitutes the mafia bosses and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God before you and the. We're not happy about that. I was like that one that said I'm going but I didn't go you know I was like the older son in the parable of the the prodigal son he was there the whole time but he wasn't really there and so I came to this experience of and without without going into a lot of details like I came to a realization that there are certain things that I had done that I had I had wronged other people and you know sometimes when you when i situation comes back it might be from a couple of years ago and and your teenager and I was a shy teenager and I was thinking well you know that's that's a little playing and it's not a is not important and and they don't even remember it probably and and and yet the Holy Spirit keeps bringing that back like you should think that right. And finally you come to the realization that even if it's a little thing I mean especially if it's a little thing why not just get it over with right why not just feel put this out of your mind and and what peace comes in your heart when you go to someone you say you know what what I said to you what I did to you and I remember there was one friend of mine that I had said something to recently it had been a long time ago Zus I don't remember what it was I have no idea but I remember I felt convicted need to go to apologize to him and I struggled with this AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT struggles apologizing about things that sort of maybe that's normal I don't know but I think the devil through it puts all kind of lies in our heads you know they're not going to they're going to think less of me and whatever so I went to this friend and he was a he was a a great Christian friend and I apologize for something that he said done or said and he said to me I don't remember what the details work super member his response he says that's no problem just your course or for you whatever he says man that's the early rain in your life and ever since then I've had a little bit of an idea of what the early reign is about. The early rain is about converting us maybe point by point on things that were struggling with their ally the Holy Spirit's given right to convict us of sent to bring us to an understanding of our true selves and so forth we're going to come back to this as we move on so that the early rain is important in order for us to have the latter rain if we don't if we miss out on the early rain we are not candidates for the lottery. End of story so let's talk here about the New Testament example of early rain Acts chapter 2 and we're going to read the story here in verses one through 4 and there's then verses 14 through 18 Acts chapter 21 through 4 and then 14 through 18 when the day of Pentecost arrives they were all together in one place and suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing Winona filled the entire house where they were sitting and divided tongues as a fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other terms as the Spirit gave them this verse 14 but Peter standing with the 11 lifted up his voice and addressed the minute Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem up this be known to you and give your to my words for this people are not drunk as you suppose it is since it is only the 3rd hour of the day but this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel in the last days it shall be God declares that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesied in your young men shelfs see visions your old men shall dream dreams even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesied and so this is Peter now quoting from the prophecy which we read earlier of the prophecy of jewel the property of the Latter Rain the prophecy which we would agree I think as we look at the context that it's particularly talking about the great and dreadful or terrible or Awesome day of the Lord in which translation you're reading The is just before the 2nd Coming but Peter is saying look the promise of the Holy Spirit to be poured out is being fulfilled here today this is the Holy Spirit that is coming out the Holy Spirit does supernatural things right the Holy Spirit empowers for witness the Holy Spirit. KEIM to the early church and from that if possible 54 it says the outpouring of the spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early or former reign and Glorious was the result to the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church that is to say that the Holy Spirit has not been withdrawn it was given at the time of the Apostles and on the day of Pentecost and it is still available to the church today all of the power of the former rain or the early rain is still accessible to the church today and we might we might ask why do we not see Pentecost on a daily basis here well that's it maybe in part because we haven't experienced what the disciples had experienced so we're going to look at that here just a few minutes testimonies Volume one page 1009 says I saw that it is the privilege of every Christian how many Christians every Christian to enjoy the deep moving of the Spirit of God a sweet heavenly peace will prevail the mind and you will love to meditate upon God in heaven you will feast upon the glorious promises of His Word page $511.00 testimonies ministers the dispensation which we are now living is to be to those who to those that ask the dispensation of the Holy Spirit ask for His blessing it is time we were more intense in our devotion to us is committed the arduous but happy glorious work of revealing Christ to those who are in darkness we are called to proclaim the special truths for this time for all this the outpouring of the spirit is what does it say essential we should pray for it the Lord expects us to ask him we have not been whole hearted in this work. Praying for the Holy Spirit asking for the Holy Spirit when is the time of the early rain Well it was at the time of Pentecost it began at the time of Pentecost but really the time of the early reign is now isn't it now we're living in the time of the early reign maybe even laddering I mean from what we've studied so far right there's nothing to say we couldn't be living in the time one of the one of the passages that this that really. Gives me pause is where Ellen White talks about those who will be looking for the latter rain but it will be being poured out all around them and they don't recognize it. The way to avoid that friends is to experience the early rain to experience that work of the Holy Spirit that was meant to convert our hearts on a daily basis sometimes we might use different terminology we might call it returning to our 1st love her right in the Holy Spirit got ahold of our hearts and we don't even know about the Holy Spirit we don't know how it worked that's not the most important thing the most important thing is that we heard him speaking to us we saw our need for a savior and we allow that spirit to break our stubborn hearts and willing to make us moldable unfashionable and repentant and willing to be used of him the time is now we can have the Holy Spirit in our lives. Just some more passages. Acceptor $18.00 we won't turn there because you know what it says you shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses we look at chapter 2 in verses 42 to $47.00 we notice what happened. The work of the Latter Rain. They devoted themselves the Bible says to the Apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and prayers and ah came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were being done to the Apostles and all who believed were together and had all things in common and they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all his and he had need and day by day attending the temples together and breaking bread their homes or receive their food with with gladness and generous hearts praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved us just let us examine this passage here keep the keeper Bible open and and look at it with me we often tend to just focus on that last phrase and the Lord added their number daily those who should be saved right the church was growing there were baptisms that's a good thing we want our churches to grow we want baptisms right that's the work of the Holy Spirit yes it is but that's the last thing that happened early as last things listed here in the verse her hate the work of the Holy Spirit was not to create baptisms the work of the Holy Spirit to change human hearts that's what happened and baptisms resulted Now just just sort of call out here what were the things that the Holy Spirit did in the hearts of the disciples remember this is same groups of people saying this was the same group of people who had been arguing in and jealous about who was going to going to be the greatest. This was this was a radically changed group of disciples now and and their and their families and people that were following not just the 12 the 500 or so in addition but what what was the Holy Spirit doing in the church just say one of the things that's here in these passages in this for 42 through 47 what did the Holy Spirit do in the church unity OK All right what else to sacrifice OK they helped those who needed help right and by the way the whole having all things in common I just what I feel compelled maybe is just my my. Patriotism as an American I don't know I feel compelled to just put a little a little side note here I don't believe this is talking about communism OK they held all things in common as and there was no such thing as property ownership that is had a common ownership we know that's not true because of a certain couple that said they gave their proceeds but didn't give the proceeds. So it's clear that the new to some church had individual still had their own possession of property the point being made here is that they were willing to share with others. They they basically said. Right that's the point that the passage and my reading that's the point of what it's talking about here so they they they they sacrifice they had unity what else fellowship like that word back that was even rattling around in my mind that they've They like spending time together imagine that imagine a church where they actually enjoy each other right that's a that's a miracle Well I mean it should be I guess and it's the case here as well but I've been in churches friends where where. Where they've gone through difficult times it had divisions it had conflict it had controversy and when the sermon was over everyone scattered I mean they didn't even look at each other in the eye you know they didn't they didn't spend time eating together they didn't invite each other their homes and let me tell you that's a that's not a church filled with the Holy Spirit the early reign was was making the people so they wanted to spend time with each other well of course they all agreed on everything that why no it's not why these are the same this and it's only been a few weeks since they were arguing and fighting right Peter still had his unfiltered lips right they still had. I mean I'm not discounting the fact they were converted I'm just saying their personalities could still be capable of rubbing each other the wrong way right this is this was not a church that was a I'm going get myself in trouble here. There are certain churches even ads churches particularly in areas where you have lots of administers ever heard of a place like that. Where where they sort of they sort of separate each other out by the way they think I'm talking about and there's a good reason for that I'm not here to criticize that but I am what I am saying is where you don't have that luxury and yet you love each other it's even a greater testimony of God's power is that fair to say that I say that OK yeah the reality is no matter how much we have in harmony we still have human natures and it's it's by this show all men know that you're my disciples by the love you have for one another and that was periods they had in the early church because of the early reign. The working of the Holy Spirit what else do you see here in chapter 2 verse $4247.00 they had fellowship they had unity they had sacrifice they prayed together it looks to me like they invited each other over to their homes they had they had. They were they were studying. And and spending time I mean it was almost like their religion had become the great business of their lives right this is the work of the Holy Spirit in the early reign power and the end of that passage it says and the Lord added to their number day by day those who are beings but let's not forget the 1st part God had done or was doing an amazing work through their through the Spirit in their hearts and lives we notice a couple of passages these are all from Acts Apostles pages 35 and 37 they did not wait in idleness the record says that they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God They humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief they drew nearer and nearer to God These are the these are the these are the steps you might say that they were being taken lead through by the Holy Spirit in the early rain in order to prepare them for the for the for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost putting aside all differences all desire for supremacy they came close together in Christian fellowship. And it continues they were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls the disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and in their daily intercourse to speak Words that would lead sentiment sinners to Christ under the influence of the Spirit words of penitence and confession mean gold was songs of praise for sins forgiven daily they prayed for fresh supplies of grace that they may reach higher still higher toward perfection these are my words these are from the book actually Apostles they just 3537 and on this slide Page 49 as well these are these are these are the reasons I think why we don't see the Holy Spirit to the same degree today that we see it a Pentecost is not because the has been withdrawn from the church it's because we have not gone through the process allowed always Spirit to take us through the process in preparing our hearts for the poor of the Holy Spirit upon us as he did a has as it was poured upon the early church at Pentecost. I sometimes I sometimes like to like to say that you know the work of church is sort of a dirty work it's messy sometimes it isn't as much as we'd like to just be in this regimented perfect little coiffed world. The reality is that the whole the disciples had to go through some pretty serious heart searching heart bling confession repentance forgive this of one another in order to bring to the point where the Holy Spirit was poured out on the deep cost. I sometimes tell people when they bring up certain situations in the church. Even the church that I work with I really enjoy pastor and I have a wonderful church and congregation but I I sometimes just say it's mostly it's mostly facetious when I say you know church would be really easy to work for the people right. Dave Ramsey you heard Dame Ramsey he's not really my spiritual mentor or anything but he has some interesting ways of saying things sometimes and he was talking about how how church can become. Can become well conflict. Relationships at work and all the rest right and he says you know the Bible even says where 2 or 3 are gathered together there you have people right and you're going to have to work on relationships but that's what God is calling us to do God is calling us to do the work of preparation for the latter rain or the early rain so that we can receive that portion of the Spirit and be ready for the latter rain when it comes. We continue on from Acts Apostles page 48 the work of the early rain continuing what was the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost the glad tidings of our risen Savior were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world as the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace hearts yielded to the power of this message the church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions backsliders were reconverted sinners united with believers in seeking the Pearl of Great Price some who had been the bitterest opponents of the Gospel became its champions the prophecy was fulfilled he that is feeble shall be as David and in the House of David as the angel the Lord Zechariah 128 every Christian saw and his brother a revelation of Divine Love and benevolence one interest prevailed one subject of emulation swallowed up all others the ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ character and to in the end to labor for the enlargement of His Kingdom this is a powerful description Prinz of the Church of God when it is impacted by which rain the early rain that's what God is calling us. Now wouldn't it be an amazing church if as it says here every Christian son is brother in Revelation of Divine Love and benevolence would that be amazing if you know that the human vision that we see of each other is our busy each other's faults right and I have a theory about that too I don't mean to get off the subject too much but I have a theory Bible says Jesus said judge not to be not judged and my theory is that the faults we tend to see in other people are actually the faults exist in us that's why we recognize them in other people. Oh he's just a power hungry said nobody ever who was not power hungry you know I'm saying. It's just we tend to recognize each other's faults but they're really our own faults and as the believers in the early church were focusing their eyes on Jesus they stopped just sort of zooming in on the failures and the faults of each other and they saw ways in which their brothers and sisters actually reflected a portion of God's character that was admirable and they wish they had to. It it's almost like they realize that we're not all supposed to be just minions made in the same mold but we're all given different personalities and different spiritual gifts and and just because that person's burden isn't my burden doesn't mean their burden is wrong and mine is right right they actually saw each other as someone that they could look up to and learn from it reminds me of what Paul said to the Flip eons but each of esteem there's butter themselves. It's a miracle friends it's a miracle when that happens not talking about 2 people who are Twitter pated when that happens with a whole group of people a whole Church of people different backgrounds and different perspectives and different burdens and different gifts it's a miracle and it's one of the strongest if not the strongest evidence that we are Christ disciples by the love we have for one another it's an amazing thing this early brain it's amazing thing and it's what God is wanting us to experience to do. In the continuing on in page 48. I guess that's just nonsense I'm just same statement every Christian son is a brother Irv ablation of Divine Love and benevolence one interest prevailed one subject of emulation swallowed up all the others damn Bishan of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ character and to labor for them large amount of His Kingdom beauty is in the eye of the beholder and as we as we are transformed by the grace of God by the Spirit of God He leads us to be able to see Jesus in our own brothers and sisters I love the way this this chapter ends here when it says the Lord added to their number day by day those who are being saved I think sometimes we focus too much on the Evangelism the baptisms the Adding to the church without without focusing on what God can do to bring us to be ready for that one time when I came as a pastor of a church. And as I mentioned there was I just didn't like each other you know God gave me the wisdom to least know that they weren't ready for a band. You just can't bring new people into that kind of a hostile environment and that that's something people can tell you were that were you walk off the street into a group of people and immediately you know just intuitively you may not think it realize that the you know when they like each other they don't. And so I began praying about healing some of the broken relationships I began in fact. I learned myself as I read and studied and prayed and I learned about emotional health and how to help people through some of these processes them and it came to the point where you know we started having meals together and out vents and social activities and trying to get people to actually spend time to each other and praise God the Holy Spirit was able to heal some of those relationships still till the church would end and there'd be like $45.00 minutes later people are still just talking outside the same Sherry just because they they like each other again and that's when I realized now we can start doing evangelism now we can start bringing people to see what we have because if we don't how they gospel a religion that can make us like each other as both fellow believers fellow pilgrims planning to spend eternity together and how do we have a religion to offer to other people who need to have their hearts changed as well so this evening I just want us to ask ourselves I suggested this question earlier where am I in this experience of the latter and it's easy for us to sort of talk about the corporate sense the church has been a day of Pentecost and so forth but where my experience of the early reign and the latter rain is not enough just to hope to be in the right place at the right time going to the right tourch when the latter rains poured out at the end what I need is the Holy Spirit to have room to work in my heart today to give him permission like like David did do and he said Search me oh god a know my heart try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. I need to be seriously making religion not religion as in the forms but my relationship with God the great business of my life I mean it consumed the disciples that's all they thought about and it doesn't mean that we can't have a secular job no but there's there's ways that we can have our focus on asking God to change us and it will change the way you look at your brothers and sisters it will change the way you think it will change the way you perceive in the way you you go about church and by God's grace it can even prepare us for the time of the Latter Rain when the Holy Spirit we poured out in even greater measure is your desire today you want to have that early rain experience and would you like that not only in a personal manifestation but would you like to have your church here or wherever your home church is experience that early reign as well let's pray Father in heaven we just think you we thank you that you've given us the power of your spirit we know that this is a gift that you gave us knows it's no menial thing it's not a it's not just something small this is this is an amazing gift that you promised when you left that you would give to the church and it would be it wouldn't imbue the church with power the Holy Spirit he would imbue the church with power and and enable them to be witnesses to the whole world in one generation what we need that power in the church today we need to hear in Loma Linda we need it wherever home church is maybe we need it most of all Lord we need it in our own hearts let it start with us let it start with me help me to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. To change me and then lord may I be a conduit that others might sense is POWERS Well we thank you for that we thank you for the promise all of those promises we read in the Old Testament and the new we claim them tonight and we know that your word never fails in Jesus' name we pray Amen.

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