Jerusalem. That city set on a hill was the birthplace of the first church. It was the epicenter of the first great Holy Ghost outpouring. Peter preached the Keys to the Kingdom on the streets of that city while thousands looked on, but it was not received well in those days. The Roman Empire tried to handle the ever increasing issues among the Jewish leaders. The Sanhedrin despised this new Gospel of repentance, baptism in Jesus’ Name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues. They worked tirelessly against the apostles’ efforts and the culmination of Rome’s oppressive measures mixed with Jewish opposition caused havoc among the early believers insomuch that they scattered throughout the known world. They were spread abroad almost by default. Rome stomped its foot in the middle of that Born Again multitude and they were dispersed to all parts of the world for safety sake.
Yet from that scattering came revivals in Samaria and the northern parts of Africa, reaching toward the upper coasts of Ephesus and beyond. Trouble opened the door for revival. Opposition unlocked the boundaries of peoples far and wide and the Gospel soon knew no limits.
What was once a centralized revival in the City of David became a world-wide phenomenon. There were no language barriers that the Holy Ghost could not penetrate; no cultural differences that the Gospel could not bridge. The message of Jesus spread faster than its opponents could manage, and the more they tried to stamp it out, the more the fire of Pentecost spread. Through the centuries, even religions made their attempt to squash the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. In some cases, speaking in other tongues was ruled against; banished from the religious communities. Others wrote articles declaring that it didn’t matter how people were baptized and that the Name of Jesus was merely semantics. Poverty poked its head up against this Gospel message. Educators said that it was nonsense. The elite declared Acts 2:38 an outdated message that was reserved only for the disciples and that the Holy Ghost was not for people in this dispensation.
All measures of opposition have tried and failed to stop the message of His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus said it, “you must be born again of the water and the Spirit.” (John 3) Peter said that “baptism also saves us.” (I Peter 3)
Paul said that when we are baptized, we put on Christ. (Romans 6) Paul asked the question, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” indicating that belief is just the first step. They answered “no” so Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues. (Acts 19) What a message… And to think that it endures still today.
We are here to both celebrate the Gospel Message and to help facilitate this Soul-Saving Truth. There is only One Gospel. What the apostle wrote 2,000 years ago is still true today. Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, One faith, One baptism.
Our missionaries that make their way across the globe are really extensions of our church family. They are preaching in places we cannot go, but we are with them when we invest in their lives as they spread the Gospel to the world. They are our ambassadors of the Apostolic Doctrine and we are sending them to fulfill the Great Commission. I pray today that we will catch the vision of a lost world, not only in foreign lands, but also right here in our own city. This is our purpose. It is our Soul-Purpose.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole