Colossians 1:18-19, “And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell… ” (KJV)
“The following is a prophetic warning from Azusa Street 75 years ago, concerning the dangers of a Christless Pentecost!
Frank Bartleman was an eyewitness to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1907 at Azusa Street, Los Angeles. He has been characterized as the Reporter of the Azusa Street Revival. Nearly 75 years ago, during the outpouring, he wrote a tract warning of a Christless Pentecost. He warned:
“We may not hold a doctrine, or seek an experience, except in Christ. Many are willing to seek power in order to perform miracles, draw attention and adoration of the people to themselves, thus robbing Christ of His glory, and making a fair showing in the flesh. The greatest need would seem to be for true followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. Religious enthusiasm easily goes to seed. The human spirit so predominates the show-off, religious spirit. But we must stick to our text – Christ.”
“Any work that exalts the Holy Ghost or ‘gifts’ above Jesus will finally end up in fanaticism. Whatever causes us to exalt and love Jesus is well and safe. The reverse will ruin all. The Holy Ghost is a great light, but focused on Jesus always for His revealing. Where the Holy Ghost is actually in control, Jesus is proclaimed the Head – the Holy Ghost, His executive.” In addition he said: “The temptation seems to be toward empty manifestations. This does not require any particular cross, or death to the self-life. Hence it is always popular.”
“We may not put power, gifts, the Holy Ghost, or in fact anything ahead of Jesus. Any mission that exalts even the Holy Ghost above the Lord Jesus Christ is bound for the rocks of error and fanaticism.”
“There seems to be a great danger of losing sight of the fact that Jesus was ‘all in all.’ The work of Calvary, the atonement, must be the center for our consideration. The Holy Ghost will never draw our attention from Christ to Himself, but rather reveal Christ in a fuller way. We are in danger of slighting Jesus – getting Him ‘lost in the temple,’ by the exaltation of the Holy Ghost and of the gifts of the Spirit. Jesus must be the center of everything.”
I do not take Brother Bartleman’s warning lightly. The danger of a Christless Pentecost is very real today. I say to you it is possible to gather Spirit-filled people in one place, praising and lifting up their hands – and still have Christ walking among them as a stranger!
It’s true He said, “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20 NASB) But He can be in our midst as a stranger! Ignored, unrecognized – even by those who meet in His name! The Jews gathered every Sabbath in the synagogue to speak of His name, and to prophesy of His coming. They praised the name of the Father who promised to send Him. They spoke the Messiah’s name with awe and reverence. Then, when He came and walked among them – He was not recognized! He was a stranger to them!
Christ, a stranger in the midst of a Spirit-filled congregation? A stranger in the midst of those who speak His name – who worship the Father who sent Him? A stranger to those who sing His hosannas who call Him “Lord, Lord”?
Yes! Absolutely yes! It is not only possible – it is happening among God’s chosen people today! to continue…