As the world dives deeper into the unknown in many different arenas, there are a growing number of believers who are beginning to hear God in a whole new way. Really, many of us have been hearing it for nearly two decades. Some longer, some shorter, but the general consensus is that there is a second-wave New Testament church on the rise.
We can find the New Testament Church intimately portrayed throughout the Book of Acts and beyond. We see what the Church Body looked like and sounded like and acted like. And if you read it closely, if you pay attention to the details, it’s there. That church looks nothing like today’s church.
These days, it seems that you should just expect the title of laughing stock if you mention what was commonplace for those early Christians in the New Testament. If you believe in supernatural healing, deliverance, casting out demons. If you think of life-changing home church services, prayer groups, and bold faith, why, that’s absurd.
Should we not listen to Jesus’ own words when He said, immediately preceding His ascension, “…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.” (Mark 16:15-18, KJV, emphasis mine)?
We could debate whether or not Jesus was speaking only to these disciples, but that doesn’t make sense. How would we separate, then, His direction to go and preach the Gospel, which is the very Great Commission?
Or that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?
No, there’s no way it makes sense that He was only speaking to the twelve there in the New Testament. Over the last 2000 years, we have seen too much. I have seen, experienced, and received too much to allow that lie to sink in and take root.
I know, I know… it’s a sickening thought…as it should be! And if you happen to have eyes to see and ears to hear, you should study further and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your understanding. 1 John 2:27 tells us, we will not need any man (or woman) to teach us. The anointing (which comes through the baptism of the Holy Ghost) teaches us
The New Testament church was powerful. It was driven by men and women who walked with Jesus Himself. And then with His disciples and apostles. The Body, comprised of those who received the Holy Ghost, baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, just as Peter taught in Acts 2:38, and the capacity for serving in every way necessary, all to God’s great glory.
Those New Testament believers went from house to house, preaching, teaching, healing, delivering, baptizing, and discipling those who would go on to do the same. And as often as they celebrated the Passover meal, which was the “Last Supper,” they did it in remembrance of Jesus, just as Jesus instructed.
In John chapter 13, supper was over, and Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. An ultimate show of servitude, even as Peter initially refused, Jesus explained if he did not allow it, he would have no part with Him. In verse fifteen of the same chapter, Jesus said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done.” But He wasn’t speaking only about washing one another’s feet, though that is certainly a humbling experience that no one should miss!
No, Jesus, I believe, was speaking of everything He did while in the company of these loyal, though sometimes befuddled, men. Those men that witnessed a miracle in their own hands, through the feeding of the thousands, only to go on to the next place and bemoan their lack of bringing bread to feed the gathered crowd. To that, Jesus responded (possible while shaking his head), “…How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:21)
I believe that He is still asking that of many of us this very day, as a testament.
As we minimize church going to specific days and attend to our “own” business all the week-long… how is it that you don’t understand?
As we cast aside the fact that “these signs follow them that believe, “…how is it that you don’t understand?
As we watch our brothers and sisters suffer from sickness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, brokenness, bondage, and more – while some of us, who are the very temple of God, possess the authority Jesus left us with – …how is it that you don’t understand?
We live in a world that flaunts perversion. It revels in deviance. It dances with sin. And takes great and deep offense if anyone should dare call down the actions that can only bring about the judgment of God.
It’s not a popular stance to take in a world where watered-down Christianity speaks only of the love of God as if sin is just shrugged off His Shoulders. You know, those Shoulders that bore His Own cross? The cross that He died on for these very sins that are paraded around as if people have a right to them?
Yes, sin is forgiven. When you repent. And then, baptism, for the remission of those sins. But to carry on IN that sin…or any other sin…
…is like spitting in the very Face of Jesus!
Praise His Name, though, He is speaking to the remnant, just as He has been doing for some time now. He is raising an army of intercessors, teachers, preachers, apostles, prophets, and so much more. Jesus is putting a hunger in His people. A fire shut up in our bones, for righteousness. For getting BACK to what He had in mind when He left His disciples in charge of it in the first place! He is firing up a brand new level of Holy Boldness that will stand in the face of all enemies, FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE!
Those early Christians faced all manner of brutality, imprisonment, and yes, even stared death face to face on more than one occasion. We would be fools to think, in a day that rivals that of Noah’s or Lot’s time, that we would have to face anything less to declare His Glory.
Is it a hard thing to stomach? You’d better believe it! But what other choice do we have?