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Applied Pentecost

By Charles T. Crabtree

I met a distinguished-looking gentleman in his mid-40s, who immediately began to impress upon me how educated he was. After a few minutes of a well-rehearsed oral résumé, I must confess I was impressed. He had several advanced degrees from an outstanding college and a prestigious university.

I mentioned our conversation to the pastor who informed me that the man was a professional student. "He has never held down a decent job," the pastor said. "His wife works day and night to support the family and pay his school bill."

While advanced degrees are laudable and often necessary, they are worthless if there is no application in real life. It would be interesting to ask the man’s wife how impressed she is with her husband’s education.

Sadly, many people wish to impress the world with their long association with and knowledge of a particular religion or denomination without an attending personal witness of how their stated religious views and associations make a difference in their lives. They are all profession and no practice. They have learned the concepts and ideas of a religion, but they have not learned a working faith; that is, an applied faith which is at work Monday through Saturday.

Pentecost came to this world as a gifting of God to His people for the express purpose of moving a religious faith out of the realm of thought to action, from promise to possession, from helplessness to supernatural power. But most of all, Pentecost is to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior and the source of a new, abundant, overflowing life that changes everything.

Some people today have trouble defining and intellectualizing Pentecost. They are desperately trying to explain the unexplainable and analyze supernatural life. They remind me of the scientists who proved beyond any doubt that a bee with its large body and small wings cannot fly. One problem: The bee stung their theory to death.

From the beginning, Pentecost was intended to be applied in reality, not in theory. In His wisdom, God took the baptism in the Holy Spirit out of the theoretical by giving the believer an undeniable physical evidence when the believer was filled. That evidence is speaking with other tongues.

When a person becomes hungry for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that person does not have to be in doubt or in question whether he or she is filled. The fact is those who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues.

Someone says to me, "I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, but I haven’t spoken in tongues."

I say, "The promise of the Father without tongues is just that … a promise. The promise without tongues is not a possession any more than a promise of a gift is not the reality of the gift itself. I believe I will receive a gift, but I cannot apply the gift until I have taken possession."

The world is looking for applied Christianity. The answer to that need is in a church empowered by the Holy Spirit in New Testament fullness. It is difficult to argue about the supernatural when the evidence is physically seen and heard.

Our forefathers came into Pentecost because they saw and heard applied Pentecost. Thousands came out of dead, cold, analytical religion because they saw the mighty works of God in miracles of healing. Others came into Pentecost because they heard anointed preaching and singing. There was a dimension of God’s presence and power beyond human ritual and form. Still others came into Pentecost because they heard about the fullness of the Spirit and then saw the results of that fullness in transformed lives.

Pentecost is the undeniable witness of a living Christ through human instrumentality. Pentecost is more than a doctrine to be questioned and analyzed; it is a reality to be sought after and possessed. Pentecost is proof positive that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that believes the promises of God are applicable to the realities of life.


Charles T. Crabtree is assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

 

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